Pazhayanur & Nemili Temples(Thiruvallur - Tamil Nadu)

From Thirumazhisai, our next stop was Thiruvalangadu. Photography is not allowed inside this temple, so there won't be any here.... This is the Rathna Sabhai of Lord Shiva. You may remember my earlier post on Chidambaram. Remember I told you its the Kanaka Sabhai? Well, Lord Shiva has 5 major temples, called the 5 sabhais where He performed His cosmic dance. One of it was Chidambaram and another one is Thiruvalangadu. The present structure seems to have been built by Vijayanagara Kings. Anyways, this is a famous temple and a lot of people have written about here, so let me skip it.
It was slightly past noon by the time we reached there and we were thinking about lunch and guess what??? There was free lunch at the temple's Annadanam, by the state govt!!! That's some money and time saved. So we spent it in err.... sleeping. Just behind the temple is this very very huge, temple tank. As the temple's tree (sthala vruksham) is Peepul tree, just around the pond were some 5-6 huge Peeupuls. 
The day was rather hot. Not just us, even a dog there couldn't bear the heat and was making itself wet and slept in shade!!! With the water from the tank and the wind from the tree, the temparature there was relatively lower than elsewhere. Guess what, we slept off beneath the trees for almost an hour before we set off to our next place.
From there our next stop was Pazhayanur Saatchi Bhoodeshwarar temple. That has a very interesting legend behind it. Its believed that about 2500 yrs ago, there was this merchant named Dharisanan. He was followed by a ghost called Neeli. As he fled and reached this village, the farmers of this village provided protection to him, after taking oath at the Saatchi Bhoodeshwarar temple. But this extensively angered the ghost. 
To calm her down the villagers sacrificed 70 of their own people by jumping into fire. The temple where they took oath still exists and just opposite to that spot is a memorial for those 70 people!
The memorial is a cement sculpture showing a person dunking into flames and around it is a square pavilion where stone reliefs which depict various people and incidents around this massacre.
From here, our next stop was Nemili and I had a broken heart there. Why? Let's see to it. The temple was built by Aparajitha Chola around 900 AD. Inscription date here from 905 AD to 1252 AD. Now that's awesome, isn't it? But why was I heart broken.
As I reached the locality, I asked for the Perumal temple and kept going. Beside the highway, I spotted a temple that had Garuda on the compound wall. That was intriguing. It didn't look like an ancient temple, nor were there any ASI board in sight, but the Garuda (eagle - vahana of Lord Vishnu) was unusual for a modern temple! So I went there and asked again to the locals if there are any other Vishnu / Perumal temple in locality and the answer was no. 
In the sanctum sanctorum was Lord Vishnu as Perumal in seared posture, with one leg folded. On either sides of him are Sridevi and Bhoodevi. A unique feature is that He holds a grain of paddy. The legend goes that a farmer wished to the Lord here for good cultivation and that he would offer half of the yield. However after the cultivation, he opted not to keep his word. So Lord converted all his paddy grains to stones. When he realized his error, Lord took one grain as his share and gave the farmer everything. And its that grain he holds. Another unique feature is that his palm show the lines pretty well. Another astonishing feature is that the 3 dieties in sanctum sanctorum, are all made of a single stone!
Some awesome factors include the beautiful bronzes. One of the bronzes is of Lord Krishna in the Kalinga Mardhana (Kaliya Mardhan) posture i.e. the dance on snake! 
What I came to know was that the temple was built in the shape of a chariot, with wheels below! What I saw was just a regular architecture. We went in and a small walk around the temple and it revealed tons of inscriptions. 

Upon enquiry we found that the temple was indeed in the shape of a chariot. About a decade back, the temple was renovated and the chariot shape was damaged and the wheels were chucked! Not just that, below the present layer of inscription, there was another layer of adishtanam with more inscriptions. Now, that's beneath a plank of concrete. Believing that the temple shouldn't be lower than the ground level of the village, they increased the ground of the temple not with soil, but with concrete. Worse enough, the entire temple has been white washed and now all the inscription has gone so difficult and beyond recognition. The frontage of the temple before renovation seems to have had a Gopuram. However presently there's nothing. Its just in shambles and the pallava pillars are lying everywhere and is used as seating arrangement, resting place for goats, clothes drying planks etc.
This is not under ASI as well, though this is under HR & CE. Is anyone listening? A Pallava Era temple is damaged beyond recognition. Will it be preserved before whatever is remaining also vanishes???


Dedicated to Siva & Gopu


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. there,another sad tale of philistine "conservation"! the adage "casting a pearl before a swine" comes to mind.will somebody wake up? srinivasan

    1. We should. As citizens we should prevent when the age old heritage building around us get damaged!

  2. Bhushavali, I talked to Dr Nagaswami - he says that the Pallava temple is actually only half a km from the Tirutthani railway station. And under ASI. The one in Nemili that we saw may not be a Pallava monument - though the vimana was superbly well proportioned to my eyes.

  3. pl give the phone no of thirvalangadu temple to


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