This Shivastalam is one of the 7 Saptastanam Temples of Tiruvanaikkaval.
Shiva here is referred to as Aranya Vitankar. This temple is located 20 km away from
Tiruchirappalli & about 5 km from Bhikshandar Kovil. It is
considered to be the 61st in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola
kingdom located north of the river Kaveri.
Shiva is said to have blessed Vasishtar with a vision of the cosmic dance and the dance
hall here is known as Ratna Sabha. Shiva is said to have blessed Tirunavukkarasar
(who had arrived from Tirupachilasramam with a sumptuous meal on a banana leaf (Painneeli
- Vaazhai). It is here that Yama is believed to have worshipped Shiva, to retrieve his
power over mortal souls, after Shiva vanquished his powers at Tirukkadavur
in saving Markandeyan.
The Temple: This is a vast temple with 4 prakarams a 100 pillared
hall, and a Vinayaka Vasanta Mandapam among other mandapams.The 3rd prakaram houses
Sorudaiya Eeswarar, Viswanathar. The second prakaram houses the stalavriksham.. The
outer walls of the temple have been built with a certain variety of rock obtained locally
that has the texture of a tiger's skin. The 'Pulivarikkal' is said to have been used in
response to a devote by name Vyagrasooran who had assumed the form of a tiger.
There are 2 shrines to Ambaal here.There are no navagrahams here, only 9 pits adjacent
to the Dwajasthampam. The vast tank to the north of the temple is the Deva
Theertham, while the Vishala Theertham is a well. There is a shrine to Yama in the third
Inscriptions dataing from the prriod of Rajendra Cholan and his descendants are seen in
Festivals: Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the month of
Chittirai.Appar's association with Shiva here is celebrated even today in the month of
Chittirai (Aries) - Avittam.