Thenkarai, is situated near Madurai, and was once the capital of the Pandiyas. This lies on the southern bank of river Vaigai. Sholavandan is on the other bank in the North Nagamalai hill range runs west to east. The temple bears Cholas’ architecture. The boom period of this village was in the 11th century during the rule of Parakrama Pandiyan.
About the temple
In the Arulmigu Moolanadhar temple, one can see two beautifully carved dwarabhalaka statues belonging to 11th century Parakrama Pandian’s contribution reveals his aesthetic sense. Lord Ganesa and Lord Subramaniya are installed on the left and right side of the dwarabhalakas. Then we can see a small nandhi in front of the sanctum Lord Moolanadhar in the form of Linga blesses us. In the Prakaram, Dakshinamoorthi is in south, Lingothbhavar is in west and Brahman in north. Lord Ganesa, Goddess Durga, Lord Vishnu with this consorts, Juradevar, Kasi Viswanathar and Visalakshi, Goddess Mahalakshmi, Navagrahas and Bairava sannathi are beautifying the temple. The idols reveal the sculptural skill of the ancient sculptures. The ceiling and pillars are beautifully decorated with the carvings of Yaali, Elephants, Swans, Flowers and such else.
The holy tree of the temple of Arulmigu Akilandeswari Samethe Moolanadhar is wood apple tree (Bilva tree). People assume that the leaves of wood apple tree subsides the head of the body. So they perform archana with these leaves to cool Lord Siva. The leaves have medicinal effect too.
Holy water tank
The temple tank of Arulmigu Akilandeswari sametha Moolanadhar is called as “Swarnapjini”. This is infront of the dwajastamba (Kodi maram) of Goddess Akilandeswari. The water has medicinal effect, says Thenkarai Puranam. To illustrate this, an instance is referred. King Veerapandian who was suffering from leprosy had this bath in this holy water source for 48 days and got cured by the grace of Lord Moolanadhar. People of this century too believe that the water in this holy tank has medicinal effect.
Legend and stories
The Puranic background of Thenkarai is narrated in detail in “Bilvaranya Mahathmiam” manuscript. This can be found in “Brahma Vivarthat Puranam” under the topic of “ Bilvaranya Kshetra Mahathmiya Kuchikai”. The puranic name of this village was “Janakapuri” as well as “Adhi chidambaram”. During those days there were a lot of wood apple trees (Bilva trees) as a result the dense forest was called as Bilvaranyam. The holy water tank in the temple was called “Swarnapjini”.
Goddess Akilandeswari, as a spinster had done her penance her so as to marry Lord Moolanadha and Moolanadhar has performed his five miracles here.
History of the Temple
The inscriptions found in Arulmigu Akilandeswari Samethe Moolanadha swami temple clearly show us the dominance of Pandiyas, Cholas and Naickers of 11th century and afterwards in this region. The renowned Bronze plate of Velvikudi belongs to this region. These describe the infrastructure of the temple.
King Veerapandian in the year 946 A.D. constructed a temple for Lord Siva, so says Thenkarai Puranam and the inscriptions. This temple lasted for 100 years and in due course falls into decay. In the 11th century, Parakrama Pandian constructed a temple in the same place. This took 17 years for the completion. There are inscriptions in the temple regarding the construction and contributions made by the rulers. Lord Moolanadher’s temple had its full form in 1090 A.D. King Parakrama Pandian, Srivallabha Pandian , Kulasekara Pandian and later Naicker rulers had donated abundantly. The inscription of Tirumalai Naicker in 1629 A.D. and ChokkanatheNaicker in 1673 A.D. are still found in this temple which narrates their contribution to the temple. There is a separate temple to Goddess Akilandeswari. A huge compound wall is erected around the temple of Arulmigu Akilandeswari same the Moolanadha swami.
Vaikasi Visakam, Aani Uthiram, Adi Pooram, Vianayaka Chathurthi, Navarathri, Kandar Sasti, Karthikasomavaram, Thirukarthikai, Thiruvadhirai in Margazhi month, Ashtami in Margazhi, Sivarathri, Masimaham and Panguni Uthiram festivals are performed in Arulmigu Moolanadhawamy temple every year.
The nearest airport is Madurai Airport. Vadippatti Railway stations, Karuppatti railway stations are the closest railway stations. However Madurai Jn Rail Way Station is major railway station 27 KM near to Thenkarai. Thenkarai is a Village in Vadipatti Taluk in Madurai District of Tamil Nadu State, India. It is located 28 KM towards North from District head quarters Madurai. Regular bus services are available from Madurai to reach Tenkarai.
Sri Ahilandeswari Moolanathar Temple,
Thenkarai, Vadipatti Taluk, Madurai District, Tamil Nadu,
India, Pincode – 625207.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Remedy from illness
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.