Sundareswarar Temple, Mela Pazhuvur, Pazhuvur, Ariyalur
Sundareswarar Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva located at Mela Pazhuvur Village in Ariyalur District of Tamilnadu. The ancient name of this village was Mannuperumpaluvur, Periyapaluvur and Melaipaluvur. It was the capital of the Paluvettaraiyar Chiefs who were from Kerala and ruled Ariyalur area as feudatories of the Chola Kings from Aditya I to Rajendra Chola I. Paluvettaraiyar Kumaran Kandan, Kumaran Maravan, Kandan Amudan and Maravan Kandan were some of the important Kings of this family. The Sundareswarar temple in this place dates back to the period of Aditya Chola – I. Its name was Pagaividai Isvaram.
The eastern part of this village is called Kilaiyur which was called as Avani Kandarvapuram during the period of the Cholas. It was a mercantile town of itinerant trade guilds. The Siva temple at Kilaiyur was called Avani gandarpa Isvaram and built in A.D. 884 during the 13th year of Aditya – I by Paluvettaraiyar chief Kumaran Kandan. This temple is one of the finest stone temples and one of the best preserved early Chola temples offering different architectural styles with an array of beautiful and charming sculptures.
Chola Kings had marital alliances with the Paluvettaraiyar family. Parantaka Chola married Arumolinangai who was the daughter of the Paluvettaraiyar Chief Kumaran Maravan and the Chola King Arinjaya Chola was born to this princess. Uttama chola (970-986) also married a princess of this family. Panchavan madevi, wife of Rajaraja – I was also a native of Avani Kandarvapuram and she was a dancing girl of the temple. The Chola Kings seem to have had their minting factory at this Capital. Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan a portion of the story revolves in this place.
Sundareswara Temple at Melapazhuvur belongs to the period of Parakesari Varman. In this temple Lord Shiva was called ‘Pagaividai Eshwara Grahathu Mahadevar’ which is etched on an inscription. The inscriptions of Raja Raja Chola and Kulothunga Chola refer to the deity as ‘Thiruthotramudaya Mahadevar’ which was probably later translated into Sanskrit as Sundareswarar. According to legends, Jamadagni Rishi, father of Sage Parasurama, worshipped here. You can see the sage's statue in the prakaram facing west with his head surrounded by flames.
The temple is facing east with 3 tier a simple Rajagopuram without any stucco Sirpams. The tall, stunning Dwarapalakas (sentries) welcome visitors at the entrance of the Rajagopuram (entrance tower). Iravatham, Dwajasthambam and Balipeedam are located after the Rajagopuram entrance. The temple has a mukha mandapam, ardhamandapam and sanctum. The Sanctum was built with double wall makes the passage around inner sanctum. Nandhi is located in the mukha mandapam.
In the outer prakaram Sannadhi for Jamathakni rishi, Suryan, Sapthamatharkal, Akora Veerabhathirar, Sri Natarajar, Devi Kottai Karumari Amman, Kadan Nivarthi Vinayagar, Sri Valli Devasena Subramaniyar, Baladhandayuthapani, Sandikeswarar, Gajalakshmi, Jyeshta Devi, Navagrahas, Sani Bhagavan, Naagar, Uma Maheswarar, Rishabaroodar, Nagar, Mahavishnu and Bairavar are located. Ambal is in a separate Sannadhi with stone Vimanam.
The Nandi Mandapam has a beautifully carved Nandi and in the prakaram you can see wonderful images of Lord Subrahmanya, Chandikeswara and Gajalakshmi. Presiding Deity is called as Sundareswarar and Mother is called as Meenakshi. The temple was renovated recently and is about 3 feet below the outside ground level.
Kumbhabhishekam was performed on 09-09-2015 after 500 years with contribution of Nattukkottai Nagarathar AR Ramanathan. Melapazhuvur is about 1.5 km from Keezhayur and is close to the main road. Both Melapazhuvur and Keezhayur were collectively known as Perum Pazhuvur during the Chola reign.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is kept open between 07.00 Hrs to 11.00 Hrs and 17.00 Hrs to 19.00 Hrs.
This place is located at a distance of 15 Kms from Ariyalur, 35 Kms from Thanjavur & 53 Kms from Trichy.
By Road: This place is well connected to Ariyalur which is in turn connected to major cities in Tamilnadu
By Train: Ariyalur is the nearest Railway Station.
By Air: Trichy is the nearest domestic & International Airport.