The Tourism Department brochures will tell you enough. You must visit the magnificent Nellaippar Temple built by the ancient Pandya Kings and improved, expanded and maintained by every ruler to have Tirunelveli under his wings. The brochures will also advise you to stand under the Kuttrallam Falls post a massage with herbal oils. And of course visit the adjacent Kuttralanathar Temple which like most temples of Tamilnadu are ancient, big and magnificent! What the brochures will possibly not tell you is a must visit place in the vicinity, Sivasailam.
As the name suggests, Sivasailam is yet another temple dedicated to Lord Shiva that dot the landscape in and around the Tirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Approximately 60 kms away from Tirunelveli, in the Ambasamudram Taluk is the abode of Sivasailanathar and his consort Paramakalyani. Located on the banks of Ghatana Nadhi, a tributary of Thamaraparani River this temple is steeped in myths and legends.
While the primary reason to visit any Sivalayam is to offer prayers to the reigning deity of the temple or sink in the beauty of the marvellous temple, Sivasailam offers a unique but interesting diversion to the routine. The most attractive exhibit in Sivasailam is the not in the sanctum sanctorum but outside it, the vehicle of Lord Shiva, the divine Nandi!
Myths, legends, folklore and a mixture of all these says that once Nandi complained to Lord Shiva that while the Lord and the Goddess along with the million other gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon get the pride of place and attention in all the temples, Nandi despite being the Vaahanam of Shiva is mostly ignored by the devotees. So upset, Nandi asked Shiva to help get some spotlight on him. Shiva having accepted the complaint as one with some merit in it, asked Maya the Architect/Engineer/Sculptor of the Asuras to sculpt a statue of Nandi which would be unmatched in its beauty and the same to be consecrated at Sivasailam. Maya, the story goes, sculpted a statue of such divine beauty, so lifelike, so perfect that the statue came to life and it prepared to get up and fly off to the heavens! Such perfection being too much for mere mortals of the earth to witness and appreciate. Maya, ever alert to such a possibility, promptly threw his instruments on Nandi even as it was getting up and made a thin wound on its back and thereby reducing the Nandi statue from the levels of perfection of the gods. The so dented statue promptly froze into a stone again and adorns the pride of place in the temple.
|Ready to get up and fly away!|
|Offered without comments!|
The 'Dent' of imperfection!
There are many temples in India where one can see statues of Nandi much bigger in size and grander in scale, the ones in Brahadeeshwaran Temple in Thanjavur or the Basavangudi in Bangalore readily comes to mind but I bet if you would ever see a Nandi, more beautiful, almost bordering on perfection anywhere else but Sivasailam!
|Even the 'tail' tells a tale of perfection!|
PS: And while you are in the district don't miss too the Glorious temple in Tenkasi. And Papanaasam. And Sankarankoil. And................!
Vaahanam : Mount/Vehicle
Asuras: People of the dark and evil in Indian Mythology