Vakrakaali Amman & Chandramouleeswar Temple, Thiruvakkarai, Villupuram
Chandramouleeswar Perumal Temple (also called Sivalokam Udayar or Vakrakaali temple) in Thiruvakkarai, a village in Villupuram district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is believed to have been built during the Cholas period in the 10th century. The temple has received gracious endowments from the Chola queen Sembiyan Mahadevi. Shiva is worshipped as Chandramouleeswar and his consort Parvathi as Amirthambigai.
The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Thevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopuram, the gateway tower.
The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu. Lord Muruga in the temple is praised in the Thirupugazh hymns of saint Arunagirinathar.
Lord Chandramouleeswar is also praised as Chandrasekhara, Piraisoodia Peruman. Mother is praised as Amirthambigai, Vadivambigai.
Thiruvakkarai is a place where one can find shrines of Lord Siva, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Shakti together. The sacred bathing Ghat of this place is the Varaaga River.
As per Hindu legend, Vishnu killed a demon king Vakrasura. Goddess Kali destroyed his sister Dhunuki. Since Dhunuki was pregnant, the sin of which Kali realized only after killing the demon. She pulled out the kid from the womb and wore it as an ear ring. Since Kali slayed the sister of Vakrasura, she came to be known as Vakrakaali and the place came to be known as Thiruvakkarai.
It is believed that Adi Shankara quelled her anger by installing a Srichakra in her left leg. The place is called Vakra Shanti Thiruthalam. The shrine of Kali is modelled similar to the Durga shrine at Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteeswaram, Brahma Chamundeeswari Chidambaram and Thillai Kali at Chidambaram. Usually Kali temples are located in the outskirts of the village, but the shrine of Kali is located inside a Shiva temple only at Thiruvakkarai.
As Kali is the deity for the serpent planets Rahu and Ketu, while circumambulating the shrine, 4 rounds should be clockwise and 5 anti-clockwise. The place became popular because of the grace of Mother Vakrakaali Amman. The place is known as Vakra Shanti Thiruthalam.
Greatness of Temple
There are two famous Lord Shiva temples with Pancha mukha Linga (Linga with five faces) only in Nepal in North and Kaalahasthi in South in Andhra Pradesh. But a three faced Linga – Mummukha Linga – is only at Thiruvakkarai. The Mukha looking east is Tatpurusha Linga, the one facing north is the Vamadeva Linga and the one facing south is the Agora Linga. Agora Linga has two sharp teeth on sides, visible only during abisheks.
There are many things in the temple that are Vakra in nature-contradictory to tradition. The flag post is slightly on the north side. Generally, one can have the darshan of the deity from the very entrance under the main tower. None of main features in the temple-the Rajagopuram, flag post, Nandhi are on a straight line and are found away from one another.
The devotee crowd in the temple is huge at 12.00 p.m. (midnight) on Poornima-full moon days and 12.00 a.m. on new moon days when Jyoti darshan is offered to Mother Vakrakaali Amman. That is the light lit above the tower mandapam. This darshan is very important for the devotees. The Sri Chakra, installed by Acharya Sri Sankara is on the left of Mother Vakrakaali. The discus of Lord Varadaraja Perumal is differently seen in the temple.
This is the place where saint Kundalini Siddha attained Samadhi which is within the temple itself. The ear rings of Mother Vakrakaali are designed as a little child. Mother Vakrakaali graces in the temple in a smiling-merciful form – Shanta Swarupi.
The crow, being the vahanam of Sani Bhagwan is on the left against the right. Those facing Vakra Sani period (sometimes planets use to move retrograde called Vakra), pray here for relief from its effects.
The exact year of building could not be ascertained from the inscriptions, but the stone structure of Chandramouleeswar shrine in its current form, is built during the time of Chola king Aditya I (870 - 907 CE). The inscriptions on the two sides of the Southern shrine of the temple indicate an endowment from Aditya for perpetual lighting of lamps in the temple during Theerthavari, the sacred bathing of the presiding deity during the auspicious days in the Tamil month of Puratasi (September - October).
The temple has another inscription in the second precinct during the time of Uttama Chola (970-985 CE) for the maintenance and worship of Chandramouleeswar and Varadaraja Perumal afforded to four able men. During the reign of Raja Raja Chola I (984-1015 CE), a village named Manali was gifted to the temple - the inscription indicates that the temple was built by Sembiyan Mahadevi. The structure of the Vishnu shrine is believed to have expanded during the reign of Rajendra Chola I (1012-1044).
The Lord of the temple is praised in the Thevaram hymns of saints Thirugnana Sambandar and Sundarar. This is the 30th temple in Thondai Naadu region praised in the Thevaram hymns.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
· 6.00 am - Temple Opening
· 8.00 – 8.30 am Kalasandhi
· 12.00 Noon – 12.30 pm Ucchikaalam
· 6.00 pm – 6.30 pm Sayaraitchai
· 8.30 pm – Temple Closing
From the verses of Thirumangai Azhwar during the 8th-9th centuries on the temple of Thirunaraiyur indicate that there are seventy temples built by Kochengat Cholan during the Sangam period (3rd BCE to 3 CE). The Chandramouleeswar is counted as one of the seventy Maadakovils built by Kochenganan.
Thirugnana Sambandar, a 7th – century Tamil Saivite poet, venerated Chandramouleeswar in ten verses in Thevaram, compiled as the First Thirumurai. Appar, a contemporary of Sambandar, also venerated Annamalaiyaar in 10 verses in Thevaram, compiled as the Fifth Thirumurai. As the temple is revered in Thevaram, it is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam, one of the 276 temples that find mention in the Saiva canon.
Sri Chandramouleeswar Temple,
Thiruvakkarai Post-604 304,
Phone: +91 - 413 2680870
Mobile: 94435 36652