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read read read read read Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple

Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple

Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple is the well known twin temple dedicated to Goddess Parvathi (Kanthimathi Ammai) and Lord Shiva ( Nellaiyappar - the Protector of Paddy). Covering an area of 14 acres, it is the biggest temple in Tamil Nadu situated in the heart of the city on the banks of river Taamiraparni at a distance of 2kms from the railway station. The temple, believed to be built by the Pandyas in the 13C was entirely remodeled and extended in 17C - 18C. Some of the inscriptions in the temple dates back to 950A.D. The temple is hailed as one of the 5 Pancha Sabhas (dance halls) of Nataraja (lord Shiva); the others being at Chidambaram, Madurai, Tiruvalankadu and Kutralam.

The temple complex consist of two huge temples, one for Lord Shiva (Nellaiappar temple) and the other for his consort Parvathi (Kanthimathi Ammai temple). The former temple is also called as 'Swamy Venunathar', 'Nelveli Nathar', 'Chaleevadeesar' and later by the names 'Vadivudaya Ammai' and 'Kamakottamudaya Naachiyaar'. These two temples are linked by a big terraced hall namely Sangili Mandapam that has life sized sculptures adoring the pillars. The main deity of Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple is a 'Suyambu Lingam' or a Shiva Lingam which erupted from underneath the earth. 

The Nandi mandapam has a fairly big statue of Nandi (the bull God), similar to those at Tanjore and Rameswaram . The unique feature of the temple is the 'Mani manadapam' located near the nandi mandapam with two giant pillars carved out of a single stone and each one is having 48 sub pillars which produce musical notes when struck. Tamil poet Nellai M.S. Shankar says that the pillars here are a combination of the Shruti Gana Laya types. Other mandapams in the temple include Oonjal Mandapam and the 1000 pillared hall. The 1000 pillared hall is famous for the celestial wedding of Kanthimathi Ammai with Nellaiyappar which is celebrated every year in the Tamil month of Aippasi corresponding to October-November.

A copper dance hall, known as Tamra sabha which is made of wonderful woodwork is located within the temple. Lord Nataraja and Sivakami are worshipped here during the Arudra Darisanam festival, celebrated in the Tamil month of Margazhi (Dec 15 - Jan 15). Behind the dance hall, there are shrines of Sandana Sabhapati (Natraja adorned with sandal paste) and Periya Sabhapati where religious services are done only on special occasions. 

With in the temple premises near the sanctum sanctorium, there is a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Nellai Govindan) where his idol can be seem in a lying posture. It was built on a belief that Lord Vishnu had visited Thirunelveli to solemnize the divine marriage of Shiva and Parvathi. The temple is one of the five sacred places in Saiva religion, worth seeing for its beautiful sculptures, musical pillars, valuable jewels, a golden lily tank and a thousand pillared mandapa. 

Car festival is the most auspicious festival of this temple that is celebrated during Aani (June- July). Temple has 5 cars for Vinayakar, Murugan, Nellaiappar, Kanthimathi, Sandikaeswarar. Weighing 400 ton and having steel wheels, Nellaiyappar car is the 3rd largest car in Tamil Nadu and is the first car to be driven fully automatically. The other festivals celebrated here are Navaratri, Tirukkalyanam in Aippasi (Oct 15 - Nov 15) and  Bhrammotsavam during the Tamil month of Aani (June 15 - July 15).
Contact Address: 
Nellaiappar Temple 
No 5, Thirunelveli Town , Thirunelveli - 627006
Phone : 0462-2339910 , 2331373

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›› Car Festival
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