This is a Shivastalam in Nadu Naadu known primarily for its association with the
attainment of sainthood by Sundaramoorthy Nayanar. Meikkanda Devar
the author of Sivagnanabodam is said to have lived here. Tirukkovilur
is located 22km west of this town. The river Pennar runs by the temple..
Tiruvennainallur is located about 20 km south west of Villuppuram. This
is the 14th of the 22 Tevara Stalams in the Nadu Naadu region of
Parvati is said to have worshipped Shiva in a fortress of butter. Shiva is said to have
danced here to enunciate the details of the Natya Sastram. The Vedas in the form of bamboo
are said to have worshipped Shiva, hence the name Venuvanam.
Sundarar is said to have been reminded of the purpose of his life by
Shiva here, and this his where he sang his first hymn 'Pittaa Pirai Soodi'. Closeby
is a village known as Puttur, (Manam tavirnda Puttur), which is believed to be the scene
of the scheduled marriage of Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, which did not happen, as Shiva in the
guise of an elder, is believed to have halted the ceremony, showing proof of
Sundarar's serfdom; this elder is believed to have led Sundarar and others to the temple
at Tiruvenneinallur, and disappeared in to the sanctum, revealing his identity as none
other than Shiva.
This ancient temple of Taduttatkonda Naathar was renovated
during the period of Uttama Chola (10th century) and the structure today is a result of
later renovations. The central shrine consists of a sanctum and an arthamandapam, with
niche images of Bhikshatanar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingodbhavar, Bhrama and Durga. The
Mahamandapam in front of the ardhamandapam has 24 finely carved pillars. On the southern
wall of this mandapam is a beautifully carved decorative window. On the northern side of
this hall in a chamber, are enclosed a fine set of bronze images of Sundarar, Paravaiyar,
Sangiliyaar, Cheraman Perumaal, Manikkavacharar and others.
The frontal mukhamandapam has a shrine to Sundarar on its roof, with a vimanam over it.
The entier complex of buildings is enclosed by a Tiruchutru maalikai, with a wide
circumambulatory passage. In this courtyard, are shrines to Vinayakar, Subramaniyar, and
Lakshmi. In the north eastern corner of the prakaram, is the vazhakkuraitta mandapam,
(scene of dispute between Sundaramoorthy Nayanar, and Shiva in the guise of an elder)
supported by 62 pillars (left over from possibly a 100 pillared hall). The eastern wall of
the outer prakaram has a 5 tiered gopuram, which was built by a later Pallava chief
Kadavarayan (circa 1181) prior to the period of Kulottunga III.