It was a Thursday and I need to drop my son to his school in Anna Nagar (West) and on my return as usual I decided took a different route instead of the routine one. The new route took me in to the by lanes of Padi and dropped bang in front of a pretty old temple. I fortunately took the decision of visiting the temple even it was getting late to office only to find out later that this temple is one of the “Thevara padal petra sthalam” (i.e. temple visited and sung by the nayanmars or great shiva devotees). I bought some offerings to the Lord and went inside the temple.
This Shiva temple is in Padi, i.e. between Anna Nagar and Ambattur. Padi is basically an industrial area. Lucas TVS, Wheels India, Sundaram Fasteners, Sundaram Clayton, Brakes India and Britannia are some of the popular industries located at Padi. Near to the Lucas TVS, there is a temple called “Padaivettamman” opposite to this temple around 400 meter distance on the right side, this temple is situated.
The temple is called “Thiruvalithayam”. In Tamilnadu there are about 275 Shiva Temples sung by the Nayanmars. Out of this 275 about 32 are in Thondai region and this temple is the 21st of the 32 Tevara Stalams. Legends hold that Bharadwaja Muni worshipped the lord in the form of black sparrow (Valiyan) and hence the name Valithaayam. The Lord is called “Valithaya Nathar” and the mother is known as “Jagadambal”.
When you enter the temple you can see the outer prakara where lots of pigeons were flying around chirping the holy panchakshara. If you cross the “Kodi Maram” or the Flag pole you will be entering the main complex of the temple. Immediately on the northern side Goddess Jagathambal is awaiting for you to shower her grace. After having the darshan of the mother you can go near the “Thiru Valithaya Nathar” the Universal God personified in the linga form. You can feel the spirit moved by seeing the Lord. You cannot see the God with our naked eyes however you can feel his presence if you close your eyes and make a sincere prayer. Lo! The Lord who doesn’t have a beginning nor an end is right there in front of you.
This temple has been visited and sung by Thirugnana Sambandar, Arunagirinathar, Ramalinga Adigalar, and Pamban Swamigal. Thirumylai, Thiruvanmiyur, Thiruverkadu, Thiruvirkolam, Thiruilambayangottur, Thiruvooral, Thirvalangadu, Thiruvenpakkam, Thiruppasur, Vadathirumullaivoil, Thirvottriyur all these eleven temples are structured in the form of a Garland and Thrivalithayam is in the centre of this Garland. Also this temple is also referred as Gurusthalam as this is one of three temples worshipped by Lord Brahaspathy or Guru, the other two being Thittai and Thiruchendur.
On the western back side of the main prakara you can see the Lord Vishnu and on the North side you can see Lord Brhama. It was a rare sight to see the trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Sivan in the same complex. In the second prakara you can see Dakshinamurthy, Bikshadanar, Annai Uritha Devar, and Rishabanthikar. “Jeyankonda Chola Vala Nattu, Puzhal Kutrathu, Ambattur Nattu Thiruvallithaya Mudayar” is the description found in the stone inscription inside the temple. We will be happy to know that the places Puzhal and Ambattur are there since last 700 years going by the inscriptions.
The temple vimana is in the form of an Gaja Prishta or Elephants Back. Though one of the oldest temple, it is well maintained. The temple houses a very good Goshala wherein divine Cows are seen which are huge and mangalakaram. Since it is a Gurusthalam many people offer yellow cloth to the Lord and also garland made of Kabul Channa (Konda Kadalai Malai).
I saw a parent who came there and telling the archaka that their son is going to School for the first time and the priest blesses the child with the flower offered to the Lord. What a blessing for that kid to start his career. Blessed indeed are those who visits this ancient temple!