Thiruvalangadu temple tree catches fire

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Sri Vadaranyeswarar temple in Tiruvallur district, built by the Cholas during the 12th century, is regarded as a sacred Shaivaite shrine.

The temple tree or the Sthalavriksham of the Chola-era Sri Vadaranyeswarar temple in Thiruvalangadu In Tiruvallur district caught fire on Wednesday.

It is believed that some devotees had lit camphor under the tree and that led to the fire. The tree was also dry, allowing the fire to spread quickly, sources said.

Last Friday, a fire broke out at the Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple in Madurai, near the Temple Museum in East Tower severely damaging a few granite pillars with sculptures in the Veeravasantharayar Mandapam.

The Vadaranyeswarar temple in Thiruvalangadu, built by the Cholas during the 12th century, is regarded as a sacred Shaivaite temple in that it is one of the 5 majestic cosmic dance halls of Lord Shiva, known as “Ratna Sabai”.

Shrine history

The Vadaranyeshwarar temple  is a shrine steeped in history and religion. This is one of the 275 Padal Petra Sthalams, sung by the Nayanmars in praise of Lord Siva. While Appar, Thirugnanasambandar and Sundaramurti Nayanar worshipped the deity here, what is truly noteworthy is the association of Karaikkal Ammaiyar with this temple. An ardent devotee of Lord Siva, she visited all the temples where He was enshrined. When she wished to see his Urdhava Thandavam, Lord Siva asked her to go to Tiruvalangadu.

This peaceful village was once a dense forest of banyan trees as indicated by the Tamil name Thiru-Alam-Kadu and by the Sanskrit name of the presiding deity Vadaranyeshwarar (God of the banyan forest).

It may be noted that many inscriptions have been etched on the walls of the Thiruvalangadu temple, recording various donations over the centuries. A very important Chola inscription, dated 1018 A.D., etched on thirty-one copper plates was discovered in this temple as early as 1905.