Sampangi Pitchaaleeswarar Temple, Arani, Thiruvallur
|Architectural style:||Dravidian architecture|
This temple is believed to be very ancient and is said to be over 2000 years old. This town happens to be the birth place of Shri. Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathy (Bala Periyava). The same house has been acquired by the Kanchi mutt and an Adi Shankara temple has been constructed here, there are a devoted Bhaktha family staying here taking care of the temple.
This is an east facing temple with three tiered Rajagopuram. There is an elegant Dwajasthambam facing the sanctum. There is an ancient Nandhi Mandapam where Sri Nandhigeswarar is present, facing the Lord towards the sanctum. There is a spacious ‘Thirukalyana Mandapam’ on the right-hand side after the Rajagopuram, where the God’s wedding is performed. Presiding Deity is called as Sampangi Pitchaaleeswarar. He is housed inside the sanctum, facing east.
Ganapathy, Dakshina Moorthy, Mahavishnu, Brahma, and Durga are the niche idols situated on the sanctum walls. Mother is called as Sivakamavalli. Mother shrine is situated adjacent to the sanctum. Natarajar is present just outside the sanctum, facing south. There is also a small peetam outside the sanctum, where Sri Ambal’s Paadham (Goddess’ feet) is present, which is very rare. The outer prakaram has a very large space with shrines for many other deities.
Sri Ganapathy is present on the southern side of the sanctum facing north. There is a separate shrine for Lord Ayyappan which is present behind the sanctum (western side) facing east. Also, there are shrines for Sri Annamalaiyar and Sri Kalahastheeswarar adjacent on the western side. Rahu and Kethu combined together have a separate shrine in this temple. Also, there is a shrine for Sani Bhagwan on the eastern side, facing west.
Legend / Local stories
This temple has an interesting legend attached to it. It is said that this village had lots of Sampangi (flower) plants all over. A man who owned many cows in this village, saw one of his cows going alone in the bushes and pouring milk by its own. Surprised by this act of his cow, the man and few villagers curiously went and cut the bushes off including a Sampangi plant to see what’s under bush. To his surprise, he saw a beautiful Shiva Lingam in the ground which was bleeding as the Axe had hit while cutting off the Sampangi plants.
Guilty of his act, the man cut his own hand off as he felt he had done an irreversible sin. The man’s wife pleaded to Lord Shiva and with his blessings the man got back his hand. Since the Lord evolved from the Sampangi bush and gave the man’s hand as Bhiksha (alm), He came to be known as Sampangi Pitchaaleeswarar.
Pancha Brahma Sthalams:
The river Brahma Aranya was believed to have been created by Lord Brahma. Once when he churned the Arani wood (Arani means fire) to create fire to start the Yagna for Sage Romesa, fire came out initially but on churning further, water came out of it and flown as a river. Since this was created by Lord Brahma from the Arani wood, this is called Brahma Aranya river.
The Brahma Aranya river flows from Andhra Pradesh and merges with sea at Pazhaverkadu. Many sages have meditated at the banks of this river and created many temples. Out of these, in five places they have contained all their meditative powers into Shivalingams and built temples. They are called Pancha Brahma Sthalams, representing the five faces of Lord Shiva and they are:
- Ramagiri alias Thirukaarikarai in Andhra near Surutapalli/ Nagalapuram representing Ishana face of Lord Shiva
- Pallikondeswaram alias Surutapalli representing Tatpurusha face
- Vamadhevapuram alias Arani near Periyapalayam (not North Arcot) representing Vamadeva face.
- Varamoorthy Kshetram alias Ariyathurai representing Satyojatha face.
- South Gokarnam alias Chinthamaneeswaram – Kattur near Minjur, the place where Brahma Aranya river merges with sea representing Aghora face of Lord Shiva.
All these temples are many thousand years old and since they have been created by Sages, the base of the lingam (Avudayar) will be in square shape.
The place Arani got its name as it lies on the banks of Arani river which was known as Brahmaranya River in ancient days.
Rishis worshipped with Sampangi Flowers:
Rishis worshipped with Sampangi flowers and attained their wishes.
How to Reach:
The Temple is located at about 200 meters from Old Arani Bus Stop, 400 meters Arani Bus Stop, 7 Kms from Chinnambedu, 11 Kms from Kavaraippettai Railway Station, 5 Kms from Periyapalayam, 14 Kms from Gummudipoondi, 16 Kms from Gummudipoondi Railway Station, 15 Kms from Ponneri, 14 Kms from Thatchoor, 35 Kms from Thiruvallur, 41 Kms from Chennai and 54 Kms from Chennai Airport. To reach Arani, one has to cross Red Hills from Chennai and take the road towards Gummidipoondi. Local Buses are available from Ponneri and Periyapalayam.