Karunellinathar Temple, Thiruthangal – The Temple
It is built on a hillock 100 ft. (30 m) and houses a small gateway tower known as gopurams. The temple has many shrines, with those of Karunellinathar and Chokki Amman being the most prominent. The temple is located on the other side of Ninra Narayana Perumal temple, a famous Vishnu temple and can be reached from that temple on the hillock. The temple is a rock cut temple and the main shrine of the temple is of Karunellinathar. There are separate shrines for Vinayaka, Surya, Chandra and Dakshinamurthi.
There is a huge life size stone image of Nataraja and Sivakami and housed in the dancing hall of the temple. The temple is more known for the shrine of Palaniandavar, which is found near the entrance of the temple. As in Palani, Lord Muruga graces darshan in an ascetic form. This is a very ancient temple which has a mention in the celebrated Tamil epic Silappathikaram.
Arumugha Tambiran was an ardent devotee of Muruga. He used to travel to Palani carrying a Kavadi and returned to Thiruthangal the same day. As years rolled by, Thambiran found it difficult to travel all the way to Palani. He used to ascend a few steps and then return. While cooking food one day, god Murugan showered gold coins in his route. He took up the gold coins and built the shrine of Palani Andavar. The place where he breathed his last is marked by a mutt and his articles are still maintained.
The temple is believed to have been built by Gurukalathirayan during the Pandyan regime in 1233 CE. The place where the temple was located was believed to be housing two Amla trees (called nelli in Tamil) and hence got the name as Irunellinathar, which later went on to become Karunellinathar. Sthalavruksham is Amla Tree and Theertham is Arjuna Theertham.