Kutralam is a popular tourist resort in Southern Tamilnadu known for its waterfalls, amidst picturesque surroundings – and is a source of inspiration of many a literary work. Thousands visit this town when the waterfalls are in season. Kutralam represents one of the 5 Pancha Sabhas of Nataraja – Chitra Sabhai. The five dance halls of Shiva are Chidambaram, Madurai, Tiruvalankadu, Tirunelveli and Kutralam. Kutralam is also known as Trikootaachalam. Near Kutralam, is Ten Kaasi with its Viswanathar Temple featuring one of the largest Gopurams in Tamilnadu. This shrine is regarded as the 13th of the Tevara Stalams in the Pandya region of Tamilnadu.
Agastyar who at Shiva’s request, proceded southward to stabilize the balance of the earth, and relieve it from the instability resulting from the presence of a multitude of entities at Shiva’s and Parvati’s wedding in the Himalayas, to wait for a glimpse of the divine couple, is said to have created the Shivalingam here by shrinking an image of Vishnu, hence the name Kutralam.
The Temple:Kurumpalaveesar, sung in Tevaram is associated with the stala vruksham Kurumpalaa. Tirikootaraasappakavirayar’s well known work Kutrala Kuravanji glorifies this shrine.. The temple has a conch shaped temple (Prakaram) plan and is referred to as Sangakkovil. In the Mummurasukkovil, Shiva showed himself as Bhrama and Vishnu. The Tirikootamandapam here is the site of festivities here.Parvati’s shrine is also of significance here and is regarded as one of the 64 Shakti Peethams.
The Chitra Sabhai or the hall of pictures is located in a picturesque locale (see image above) away from the main temple. Architecturally the Chitrasabha resembles that of the other Nataraja Sabhas elsewhere in Tamilnadu, and its interior is decked with hundreds of murals, depicting images from the Indian epics. Natarajar is brought here during festivals from the Kurumpalaveesar temple.
Nine worship services are offered each day here. Arudra Darisanam is celebrated in the Chitrasabha, and the Taandava Deepa Aradhanai carried out then is of significance here. In the annual festival Shiva appears as Bhrama, Vishnu, Rudra, Eswara, Sadasiva and Subramanya. Other festivals celebrated here are Vasanta Utsavam in Chittirai, Pavitrotsavam in Kartikai, Navaratri, Skanda Sashti, Chittirai Vishu and Aippasi Vishu. The ivory festival used in processions is of great beauty.
Location: Kutralam near Tirunelveli .
Shiva: Kurumpalaveesar, Kutrala Nathar
Vriksham: Kurum Palaa
Patikam : Saambandar Other: Chitra Sabha
Travel Base: Tirunelveli