Architectural Marvel – Thiruvanaikoil Shiva Temple


Thiruvanaikoil Shiva Temple is one of the architectural marvel with beautiful sculptures and unique carvings.

This Post mostly contains photographs rather than text since it is easier to understand the glory of this temple.

Third Praharam with majestic pillars on both the sides.

Thiruvanaikaval Jambukshwarar templeThird Praharam
Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple – Third Praharam

In the middle of the third praharam, four majestic pillars are standing tall with most intricate designs. Each pillar bears amazing carvings of

  • Somaskanda Murthy
  • Kshetra Mahatmiyam
  • Vrisabharuda Murthy
  • Chandrasekhara Murthy
Thiruvanaikoil - 4 majestic pillars
Thiruvanaikoil – 4 majestic pillars

Somaskanda Murthy:

Shiva and Sakthi are sitting in Suhasan and Subramanya is standing in between them. This is Somaskanda murthy one among the 64 forms of Shiva.

Thiruvanaikoil Somaskanda
Thiruvanaikoil – Somaskanda

Kshetra Mahatmiyam:

Jambu Maharishi is doing penance and white jambu tree is emerging out of his head. Goddess Akilandeswari is doing Shiva Pooja. The elephant is pouring water on Shiva linga. Spider is creating its web to protect the Shiva linga from getting dirt. Therefore, entire kshetra mahatmiyam is carved in single sculpture.

Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Kshetra Mahatmiyam
Kshetra Mahatmiyam

Vrisabharuda Murthy

Shiva and Sakthi is on the bull. According to various puranas, Shiva blessed devotees and gave them dharshan in this form only on many occasions. Shiva holds deer in left hand (deer is Veda purusha (Lord of vedas)) and he continuously sings Sama vedam in the left ear of Shiva. Shiva holds axe in the right hand. Lord Vishnu and Dharma devata both had the privilege to act as a bull and blessed to bear Shiva. This carvings is one among the most amazing sculpture especially the ear & eyes of the bull. Koti pranam to that anonymous sculptor.

Thiruvanaikoil – Vrisabharuda murthy

Chandrasekhara Murthy:

Chandrasekhara murthy holds deer in the left upper hand and axe in the right upper hand. Lower right and left hands show ‘abhaya’ and ‘varadha’ mudra respectively. As per the legends, Shiva accepted the surrender of “Chandra (moon)” and wear him on his ‘jata’. Chandrasekhara means, the one who wears ‘moon” on his head. This carving is an another architectural marvel.

Thiruvanaikoil - Chandrasekhara murthy
Thiruvanaikoil – Chandrasekhara Murthy

Carvings in Third Praharam:

When we go to Akilandeswari temple from third praharam, there are beautiful carvings of Brahma, Saraswati, Maha vishnu, Maha Lakshmi, Dattatreya and Shri Durga.

Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Brahma
Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Saraswati
Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Maha vishnu
Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Mahalakshmi


It is the great carving with bit intricate starting from his Jata, eyes, three faces, Kamandalu in left hand to his padukas (wooden chappals). There are four dogs in this carving and they are considered as a four Vedas. Especially, we can see the feelings of the dog near to his left leg, how completely it got mesmerized when it stands near the foot of Datta guru.

Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Dattatreya
Shri Durga

Deer and Hamsam in same carving:

This carving is an another creative beauty. If you see the left hand side, there is deer on the downside of the sculpture. However, if you see the right side of the sculpture on the top, it is “hamsam”. It is really amazing how our ancestors got this kind of creativity???. The only possible conclusion is that our puranas and epics must have given them enough imaginative mind to think like this otherwise how it is possible.

Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Deer and Hamsam
Deer and Hamsam in same carving

Eka Pada Trimurthi:

This is one of the 64 forms of Shiva. It is there only in very few temples such as,

  • Thiruvanaikoil
  • Thiruvottiyur in Chennai,
  • Thiruvidaimaruthur
  • Suruttapalli

We can say that this is one panoramic shot captured when Brahma & Vishnu came out from the body of Parameshwara during beginning of the universe hence we don’t have the capability to describe its beauty.

This unique carving is there in “Akilandeswari temple dwajasthamba mantapa”

Thiruvanaikoil Jambukeswarar Temple - Eka Pada Moorthy
Eka Pada Moorthy. Photo credit: Twitter handle of Ms. Sunayana Chatrapathy @sunayanamc

Bhringi Maharishi:

Bhringi maharishi is an ardent devotee of Shiva. However, he ignored shakthi regularly. When Shiva and Sakthi become “Ardhanareeshwara”, Bhringi maharishi took the form of ‘bee’ and circumvent only shiva. Due to this, Sakthi cursed him and he lost flush and blood from his body and he was unable to stand. Then, Shiva blessed him with third leg to stand and this below image is the same Bhringi Maharishi such a ardent devotee of Shiva

I may have missed still many more treasure jewels and will update the same during my next devout yatra near Srirangam.

Thiruvanaikoil Shiva Temple is an architectural marvel by default possess unimaginable vibrant divinity. These ancient sculptures and unique carvings with marvelous architecture enhances the ever prevailing divinity in Thiruvanaikoil Shiva Temple.


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