Azhinjal Tree - Nootreteeswarar Temple (Thiruvallur - Tamil Nadu)

A Challenge with Nature!
You might have seen my last post on Sausage Tree at Red Hills Bus Terminus. From there our next stop was a little village called Chinnakkavanam. Why Chinnakkavanam? Well, there a unique tree there too!!! Pretty close to Chinna Kavanam bus stop is the Nootreteeswarar temple. 
The temple's legend is that when Saint Agasthiar went to Kasi / Varanasi, he stopped here to offer his prayers to Lord Shiva here who was in the name, Chathurvedeeswarar. The Lord's consort here was called Sivagami Ammai
During the night, the Lord appeared in his dreams and told him that if he offered prayers here for 108 days, he need not come to Kasi and would get the blessing of Kasi here itself. So from the next day, he bathed in the nearby river of Aranya and brought a handful of sand and made a Siva Lingam out of it below a tree here called Azhinjal tree and performed his prayers for 108 days. On the 108th day, all the 108 Siva Lingam he made, merged into one which appeared like a figure of Lord Vinayaka. Reason - he didn't start his first day with prayers to Lord Vinayaka which is the custom. Looking at this miracle, the king Nandi Varman built the temple here. Since the 108 became one, a single Siva Lingam was made to represent the 108, and was called Nootreteeswarar or Ashtothreeswarar. His consort was Ashtothravalli.

Well, today the Azhinjal tree stands still and we can spot a imperfect sculpture of Vinayaka beneath the tree. The temple has 2 sets of Sanctum Sanctorum - one for the Chathurvedeeswarar and one for Ashtothreeswarar! 
The entire temple was white washed and I couldn't spot any inscriptions! So was it really built by Nandi Varman - I don't know!
So back to the tree, that's the very specialty of the temple and the main reason I ventured to this place. The tree is said to be 2500 yrs old. 
That insect egg like thing attached the tree is actually the seed of the tree! 
The tree, like any other tree, bears fruits and seeds. But unlike other trees, the seeds of the tree get stuck to the main tree itself and gets mingled with the parent tree!!! 
Bark Texture
The tree is locally called in Tamil as Azhinjal / Azhinjil / Eranzhil / Alinjal / Alinjil  / Eru Azhinjil etc. Scientifically its called Alangium Salvifolium. In Hindi its called Ankul and in Sanskrit its called Ankola. Its an important tree when its comes to herbal medications. Its is said to have properties to cure hypertension, anti dote for dog bite, rheumatism, leprosy etc. Studies have proved that the plant has high dose of antioxidant!
The fruits were tiny red and were berry like. The seeds and bark have formed a very interesting texture on the tree that I totally loved. Apart from the main tree, presently, 2 saplings are in the premises itself, that germinated from the underground root network (like how curry plant multiplies) of the existing tree. 
Btw, just outside the temple, was this old, typical village house that had fallen into disuse!
Here comes the challenging part. The temple priest has tried quite a lot of times to replant this tree from its stem, seeds etc, but nothing worked out effectively! The priest had tried earlier to segregate the saplings and replant them at a different location, but that too didn't work out. Quite a few people have taken the seeds from here and tried growing them, but at vain. Would you like to take up the challenge and try growing them at your place? If you're successful, not just you, hundreds of botanists and tree-lovers too would relish your success!!!
P.S: This post is an entry for the Relish the Challenge contest by Cinthol.


To Ponneri:
From Redhills: 22 km towards Pulicat / Pazhaverkadu
From Pulicat: 19 km
From Chennai: 44 km via Perambur, Puzhal, Red Hills
From Ponneri: 4 km (Town buses and autos are available).

Ph. no. of the temple priest: +91 98437 08593.

Dedicated to Mom


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. Hi bhushavali...

    Nice travelogue... In our villages there are hidden treasures...

    thanks en-lighting...

  2. Interesting tree. Nice find Bhusha.

  3. The photos are great :)!!

    New post on My blog --->

  4. What a lovely story. Strange that nobody can get the seeds to grow.

    1. Yeah! That's what makes the tree so special!!! :)

  5. Good to know that you are writing about these rare trees (I read the redhills tree post too). We definitely need to know more about our neighborhood trees.

    Destination Infinity

    1. Glad that I could introduce such trees to you! :)

  6. Great to know about this place and the old tree.

    Check out My Indian Travel

  7. Lovely story and lovely place, i like it..

  8. Hi shavali, hope ua re good

    Am from ,ponneri
    Just near to 108eswaran Temple
    Thanks for this doing a wonderful thing

    There is thousand of incredible and mysterious in and around ponneri temples
    The name ponneri has meaning in it
    And chinakavanam village is the birth place of vallalar
    Suriya temple near ponneri .village nayuru

    U should come again and find them


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