Being at Karur, in centre of TamilNadu, I was trying to make up my mind as of towards which direction should I move on. Towards one direction is Tirupur and Kovai, another is Palani, another is Trichy, another is Namakkal and Salem, another is Erode. But a major drawback of a temple tour is the timing. Any temple which not tooooo big, would be for sure closed (Nadai Moodudhal) at noon. So any trip must start in the morning and finish off by noon and again re-start at evening.
After shortlisting on Kodumudi and Paramathi Velur, I thought over for some time. Paramathi is rather a road lesser traveled than Kodumudi, so that was my choice.
At 9:00 AM, I reached Karur busstand. Only after asking a few bus conductors of Namakkal and Salem buses “Will is stop at Paramathi.?”, who answered in absolute frustration, “No”, did I realize that Karur itself has a smaller village besides called Paramathi. People call it Karur Paramathi. And clearly specifying Paramathi Velur only yields results. Then, I took a local bus to Velur, with a hope of getting another bus from Velur to Paramathi.
As I reached Velur in a 45 mins ride, there was a bus that goes to Namakkal, via Paramathi. I boarded it and as I was directed earlier, I told the conductor to inform me when we reached Paramathi-2. Well, it’s not the pincode. There are 2 stops in Paramathi. Stop 1 is in the centre of the village and stop-2 is at the end of the village which also has the diversion to Thiruchengodu.
With the co-operation of the sweet conductor, I got down at Paramathi-2. I enquired a customer at a local vegetable shop, “Where is the Ishwaran Koil (Shiva temple, as it is mentioned in every little village or town of TamilNadu)”, who replied “I am also new here. I have no idea”. Then I asked the owner of the shop, on which point, a local elderly man came forward for my help and said, “Walk down the highway (the way to Thiruchengodu) for about more than half a kilometer, there you’ll find the temple on your right. You can’t miss it”.
I started walking the road, and the road made me hum “I walk a lonely road, the only one that I had ever known….”. Well, it was a highway and apart from the occasional screeches of the high speed motors and people with cattle on the either sides, it was pretty much lonely. Indeed a road less travelled.
Just as he directed, when I was almost reaching half a kilometer, I could find the gopuram of the temple. Along the way, the river Thiru Manimutharu kept me company. I kept my fingers crossed hoping the temple would be open. To my gladness, the temple was open. I went inside. The Lord Shiva, here faces East. Since, I entered through the highway, i.e. through west, I circumambulated (Pradakshinam) and went to the eastern side. But alas, the Sanctum Sanctorum (Garba graham) was closed. I noticed that the eastern way directly led to the Thiru Manimutharu River. I came back to the western door and asked the elderly lady seated there for shade, “Where can I find the Gurukkal of this temple?” For which she answered “He went back home.” Oh no.. Did I travel all the way from Karur for this.? I asked her “When will he be back.?”. She – “Tomorrow only”. Me – “Fine, where is his home”. She – “Go straight, turn right. His home is opposite to Amman koil.”. It was a walk back in the scrotching sun to the bus stop and turned right. Finding his home was rather a simple task, everyone here knew him. I requested him to come to the temple and he did. This onward journey was a bike ride, thanks to him. Since it’s a rare temple, with hardly any visitors, he doesn’t stay there throughout.
The Lord Shiva here is Bhimeshwarar and Ambal here is Vedanayagi. This was built 600-800 yrs ago. It seems like during Pandya Reign, with the presence of their symbol, Fish on the ceiling. It was further improvised and renovated during the reign of Tipu Sultan. The compound wall was not built until recently.
I just stood there besides the river for a few minutes. It was a great sight. The local shepherds where indeed amused to see a lone traveler here, inspite of me wearing a salwar kameez and not jean clad. One lady couldn’t control her curiosity and asked me,”Who are you.? Came alone.? Where are you coming from.?” Well, I just said, “I had to say my “hi” to Bhimeshwarar”.
I walked back again, and on my way I saw the shed where cremations take place. Indeed soul stirring. Then I reached the Paramathi bus stop again and had a juice, thanks to the lowered water and glucose content in my body, and got my bus back to Karur.
To Reach there:
1. From Karur: 28 km; Take any bus that goes to Namakkal or Salem.
Just be sure to specify its Velur Paramathi.
2. From Namakkal: 18 km; Take any bus that goes to Velur or Karur.
3. From Thiruchengodu: 30 km; Take any bus that goes to Velur or Karur.
Walk or drive a bit more than half a kilometer in the route to Thiruchengodu. The temple is on the right side.
Phone no. of the Gurukal (Priest): 04268 - 251946