Sri Jambukeshwara Temple
Built in the 10th century CE, this temple, dedicated to Shiva and Parvati, is known for its fine gopurams. Gopurams are the entrance gateways to temples in South India. They grew in size from the mid-12th century CE until the colossal ones came to dominate the temple complex, surpassing the main sanctum for architectural elaboration. Often a series of gopurams are to be found at a shrine, each providing entry through a new enclosure wall. The gopuram is generally constructed with a stone base and a superstructure of brick and pilaster. It is rectangular in plan and topped by a barrel-vault roof. The exterior walls are covered with sculpture
Thriuvanaikaval , is a famous shiva temple in tiruchirapalli . The presiding diety is Sri Jambukeswara also known as Appu lingam . This temple is one of the Pancha bootha sthalas and this temple represents the element of water .
The Legend :
As one of the pancha bootha sthalas, a lot of significance is attached to this pilgrim centre. The deity is said to have been installed by Goddess Akilandeswari , one of the forms of the Goddess Parvathi To signify that the devi worshipping the lord, even today the priest wears a saree and performs the noon pooja.
Jambukeswara, Lord shiva in Lingam form , is depicted sitting under a Jambu tree . Therefore the lingam came to be called as the Jambulingam . The Lingam grows over a small stream that engulfs the deity during the rainy season.
According to the legend there was once a forest of Jambu trees in the place of modern Thiruvanikkaval. Nearby was a tank called Chandratheertha which was filled by water from the Cauvery river. Due to a curse, two of shiva ganas Pushpadanta and Malyava, were born in a forest as a white elephant and a spider. The elephant worshipped the lingam with flowers and with water brought in its trunk. the spider too worshipped the lingam, spinning the web over the lingam to prevent leaves if the tree falling on it. the spider’s web appeared to be unclean for the elephant and it destroyed the web. This lead to big clash between the two and ultimately resulted in their death. Lord shiva granted Mokshas to both. The spider was born in a royal Chola family as the great king Ko. Chenkannan , who built 70 temples , including the Jambukeswarar Temple at Tiruvanaikaval. Because the king rememberred about his earlier birth, he built the temple in such a way that no elephant can enter the sanctum sanctorum and come near the Sivalingam.Since an elephant worshipped the Shivalingam here, the place is known as Tiruvanaivakaval (Aanai in tamil means Elephant).
The Massive outer wall, known as the Vibudi Prakara, stretches over a mile long, Legend says that the wall was built by Lord Shiva , working along with the labourers. The legend is as :
The Myth is known as Pittukku Mann Sumatha kathai :
At the time of constuction, the king decreed that every household shall send one man to work on the temple’s construction. An old lady of the village, with no male relatives requested a vagabond known to her to serve in her honor in exchange for a sweet dish called Puttu. The vagabond was actually Lord Shiva in disguise, who reluctantly accepted the offer. At the construction site of the Prakara, Shiva sang and danced without working, irritating the constuction supervisor whipped shiva on his back, an infliction of pain that was felt immediately by all people in the world and left the mark of spine on the backs of humanity. Henceforth , the supervisor and the king realised the folly and begged his forgiveness.
Goddess Akilandeswari Sannathy : The sannathy of Akilandeswari and prasanna Vinayaka are in the shape of the pranava manthram Called “OM”. It is believed that people who go round the sannathy twelve times and for on efull mandalam (48 days) will get the blessings and have a good , healthy and wealthy life.
Auspicious days : As in all Shiva temples, full moon days and Prodhoshams are special occassions in this temple . Sivaratiri days are very special .
Pooja offerings : For Pooja coconut, banana , betel & nut are offerred. Castor oil is offerred which is kept in the feet of the goddess and when given to the pregnant women will help them with easy deliveries. And the Ghee which is offerred is also kept in the feet of goddess and returned back to the couples and they are blessed with children.
Theerthams : There are nine theerthams near the temple they are as follows :
1. Sreemath Theertham
2. Rama Theertham
3. Chandra Theertham
4. Agni Theertham
5. Indira Theertham
6. Akasthiya Theertham
7. Jambu Theertham
8. Surya Theertham
9. Brahmma Theertham
To conclude : Legend also says that Adi shankarar has offerred Sri Chakra as Thaadanga (ear rings) for devi. The other legend says that Devi made the Lingam out of water particles and offerred prayers to Lord Shiva. She took Upadeshas from the lord and hence this place is also known as Upadesa Sthala.