கும்பகோணத்திலிருந்து 4 மைல் தொலைவில் உள்ள இத்தலம்,
அம்பிகை: கொந்தார் பூங்குழலம்மை
தீர்த்தம்: ஐராவத தீர்த்தம்
அகத்தியர் பூசித்து இலக்கணம் உபதேசிக்கப்பட்ட தலம், சிவபெருமான் கணக்கராய்க் கோயிற்கணக்கை அரசனிடம் ஒப்புவித்த தலம், ஐராவதம் பூசை செய்த தலம், கர்ப்பக் கிருகத்தின் மேற்பாகம் யானையின் உருவம் போல் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது, கோயிலுக்குள் பலாமரமும் சண்பக மரமும் இருக்கின்றன, நர்த்தன விநாயகர் கோயில் கம்பத்தில் இருக்கிறார், அம்மன் சந்நிதி இரண்டு, வெளிப் பிரகாரத்தில் சுகந்த குந்தளாம்பா சந்நிதி, கஜப்ருஷ்ட விமானம், வைகாசி சிவராத்திரியில் வேடனுக்குக் காட்சி கொடுத்த தலம், யமனை சம்ஹாரம் செய்த இடம் என்பர், நந்தி திரும்பி இருக்கிறது, திருஞானசம்பந்தரும் திருநாவுக்கரசரும் பாடிய தலம்.
Inambur Temples: Inambur is around 10 Kms from Kumbakonam on the Tiruvaiyaru Road. It could be easily reached from Swamimalai also. This place is on the banks of the Kollidam river. The first temple we are going to visit is that of Shri Nithyakalyani sametha Shri Ezhutharinathar. It is one of the Paadal Petra Sthalams with Thevarams sung by Thirunavukarasar and Sambandar. Hence it must be in existence for at least the past 1400 years. This temple is under the control of the HR&CE Dept.
The Swamy is known by different names- Ehutharinatheswarar, Thanthondrinathar, iravatheswarar and Aksharapureeswarar. Ambal is Nithyakalyani/Poonkuzhali Ammai/Sugantha Kunthalambal. The entire temple as well as the shrines are enclosed in rectangular walls. The temple is having a five tiered Rajagopuram and two prakarams. The sthala vrukshams are Jackfruit and Shenbagam( golden champa) and the theertham is Iravatha Theertham. There is no Dwajasthambam in this temple. The last kumbabishekam was done in 2013. The temple is open from 6 to 11 am and from 5 to 8 pm. The temple authorities could be contacted through 0435 2000157and 96558 64958.
I have mentioned about the different names of the Lord in this temple. Tanthondrinathar is given because it is a Swayambulingam and was not man made. The Lord is a big Lingam. There is a scar on the Lingam. It is said that when the Lord wanted to save a cow from the river flood, His face was injured. Agasthyar was taught the Tamil grammar by the Lord in this temple. Hence He is called Ezhuthari ( one who taught language/grammar) Nathar. Due to this legend, even today, parents bring their children to this temple and keep the books and notebooks near the Swamy and pray so that the children excel in studies. The Sanskrit name for the the Lord is Aksharapureeswarar as it is believed that He gives relief to those suffering from stammering and voice problems. In the case of speech problems, the priest would first offer prayers to the Lord and then write on the child’s tongue with Hibiscus flower and this is believed to have solved the problem. For those children who are going to the school for the first time (Vidyabhyasam/Aksharabyasam), the priest writes on their tongue with a grain of paddy.
For this name, there is another story also. Once here lived an accountant of the temple by the name Sudasman. The local king asked him to submit the accounts relating to the temple. Despite being an ardent Shiva devotee, Sudasman was slipshod in his work and was not maintaining accounts properly. Fearing the repercussions from the king, he prayed to the Lord to save him. Lord took the form of the accountant and gave the full details to the king. When the King later praised the accountant for his meticulous job, the later realised that the Lord Himself had come to save him. As the Lord gave the details of accounts (Ezhuthu has got this meaning also), He is called Ezhutharinathar.
The elephant of Indra, Iravatham incurred a curse from a rishi and was running amok as an wild elephant. When it came to this place, it realised its mistakes and after taking bath in the temple tank ( Iravatha Theertham), prayed to the Lord to give the original form. Since the steps were very small, the elephant could not get near the shrine. The Lord took pity on the elephant and ensured construction of wide steps so that the elephant could enter the inner precincts and have darshan. ( Another account says that the Lord came out of the main shrine and offered darshan). The Merciful Lord restored Iravatham to its original position. Hence He is called Iravatheswarar. The connection to the elephant is manifested in the Vimanam over the Swamy’s shrine. It is shaped like the hind part of an elephant ( Gajabrushta Vimanam). The sthala purnam incidents are sculpted in sudhai (mortar) in the vimanam.
Sun is also one of the deities who prayed here to get relief from some curse. The meaning of the word Innan is Sun. Since Sun believed in this Lord and got relief, it came to be called Inan Nambia Oor ( the place believed by Sun). Over a period of time, it became Inambur. The Sun’s prayers could be guessed since the Sun rays fall on the Lord on the 31st Avani ( Sep), Puratasi 1st and 2nd (Sep) and 13th and 14th day of Tamil month Panguni (March last week). When the Sun wanted to worship the Lord, He could not see the Lord as the view was obstructed by Ganaesa and Nandi. Sun requested the Lord to help Him. The Lord ordered both of them to move a bit so that Sun could get an un-obstructed view. Hence we find both of them slightly away from the straightline from the Moolasthanam.
The main shrine is having Pillayar and Murugan on either side. The Lord faces east. Normally in Shiva temples, we find only one Ambal shrine. Here there are two- Sugantha Kunthalambal (Poonkuzhal Nayaki) and Nithya Kalyani. The former is on the outer prakaram and the latter is by the side of the Shiva’s shrine. While the former is in meditating posture, the latter is in full wedding dress. Hence those aspiring spiritual pursuits, meditate in the former and those wanting to get married/lead a happy married life, pray in the latter shrine. Koshtam wall is adorned with Dakshinamurthy and other deities we find in Shiva Temples. One of the interesting shrines in the prakaram, is that of Shri Natarajar. Here He appears with matted hair (jatamudi) and in stead of Sivakami, we find Ganga in this shrine.
Inambur is also the home for another big temple. It is that of Shri Sridevi Bhoodevi sametha Shri Srinivasaperumal which is around ½ km from the Shiva temple. This temple dates back to the Vijayanagar period ( around 17thcentury). During the Moghal invasion, the idols from Tirumala were brought to Navalpakkam ( a well known centre for Sanskrit scholars) near Kanchipuram for safe custody. Shri Veeravalli Krishnamacharya, a staunch devotee took the permission from the authorities in Navalpakkam and installed the Murthy in Inambur. Later a big temple was constructed by his nephew Shri Ragava Iyengar. Both these gentlemen were the forefathers of Shri Kasturi Ranga Iyengar, the founder of the Hindu news paper. Srinivasa Sath Sangam, a local organization of devotees, take care of the maintenance of this temple.
Several decades ago, there was a committed priest by name Krishnamurthy Bhattachariar who was living in Pullam Boothangudi ( we have already seen the write up of the Ramer temple here) which was around 5 Kms from here. He used to cross the slushy fields and perform poojas in this temple. He was doing this even during the monsoon season! The temple is open between 8.30 and 11.30 am and from 4.30 to 7.30 pm. The temple priest Shri Sriram Bhattar could be contacted through 96008 23071. Note: Some of the inputs were collected from various web sites.