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Kampaheswarar ( Sarabeswarar ) Temple, Thirubuvanam, Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu

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The Kampaheswarar Temple or kampa-hara-ishvarar ( Kampa-hareswarar ) is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. It is situated in the town of Thirubuvanam near Kumbakonam.

Shiva is worshipped as “Kampahareswarar” in this temple as he had removed the quaking (Sanskrit Kampa) of a king who was being haunted by a Brahmarakshasa (Evil Spirit) on account of the king killing a Brahmin by mistake.

Kampaheswarar / Sarabeswarar Temple, Thirubuvanam, Kumbhakonam

The temple has a shrine for Sharabha, a depiction of Shiva, a part-lion and part-bird beast in Hindu mythology, who, according to Sanskrit literature, is eight-legged and more powerful than a lion or an elephant, possessing the ability to clear a valley in one jump.

The temple is considered in the line of Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur,  Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple and Airavatesvara temple, with the trio forming the Great Living Chola Temples.

Legend

As per Hindu legend, Shiva is believed to have relieved Kampa (quaking) of a king haunted by evil spirits on account of the king killing a Brahmin by mistake.

This led to the name of Kampahareshvara. As per another legend, Shiva is believed to have assumed the form to quench the fury of Narasimha, an Avatar of Vishnu

Kampaheswarar / Sarabeswarar Temple, Thirubuvanam, Kumbhakonam

Vaippu Sthalam

It is one of the shrines of the Vaippu Sthalams sung by Tamil Saivite Nayanar  Appar.

Kampaheswarar / Sarabeswarar Temple, Thirubuvanam, Kumbhakonam

Architecture

The temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture. An unusual feature of the temple is that the Vimana is extremely high unlike other Dravidian-style South Indian temples.

The architecture of the temple is similar to the Big Temple at Thanjavur, Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram and Gangaikonda Cholapuram temples.

The distinct features of all the temples is the Vimana, which is an unusual feature in Dravidian temples.

There is a separate shrine for Sarabeswarar, a fusion of man, eagle and lion, with a metal statue of the deity within the Sanctum, having intricate artistic work.

As per inscriptions found in the southern wall of the temple, the shrine was constructed by the Chola king Kulothunga Chola III as a memorial for his successful North Indian campaign.

The main deity of the temple is Shiva Lingam in the form of Kampaheswarar. 

History

As per inscriptions found in the south wall of the temple, the shrine was constructed by the Chola king Kulothunga Chola III as a memorial of his successful North Indian campaign. 

The inscriptions indicate the contribution towards the construction of the Nataraja shrine and the Mukhamandapa.

Some of the other temples that figure in the inscriptions are the Nataraja temple in Chidambaram, the Ekambareswarar temple at Kanchipuram, the Meenakshi temple at Madurai, the Mahalingeswarar Temple at Thiruvidamaruthur and the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur.

The inscriptions in the shrine of the presiding deity are similar to the one in the outer gopuram (gateway tower), which indicates the building of the temple by Kulottunga-Choladeva.

While it is unclear which Kulottunga it is, scholars have placed it at 1176 CE, which is closer to the reign of Kulothunga Chola III, who is believed to have been the last powerful Chola king.

There are four inscriptions from Kulothunga Chola in Grantha script. The inscription 189 of 1907, the one on the southern wall of the central shrine, is damaged and mentions Arya Sri-Somanatha.

Inscription 190 on the same wall indicates the building operations of Kulothunga Chola.

191, at the entrance of outer Gopura, is a duplicate of the 190. On the same gopura, inscription 192 indicates record of king Kulothunga Chola.

There are two inscriptions in Tamil from the period of Jatavarman Tribuvanachakravarthin Parakrama Pandyadeva registered by Epigraphy Department in 1911.

One of them, 159, registers a contract between the residents of  Tribhuvanavirapuram and Kulamangalanadu, who were Urkaval  (watchmen) of the village.

On the same wall, the inscription numbered 160, records a similar contract in the presence of chief Udaiyar Kulasekharadeva.

The Temple Complex

The temple is approached through a five-tiered pyramidal rajagopuram, the original structure, according to Sarkar, is from Kuluthonga’s regime.

The vimana, the shrine over the sanctum is axial and of same height of that of the gopuram.

The temple’s gopuram is similar to its counterparts at Thyagaraja Temple, TiruvarurSomeswarar Temple, Pazhayarai and Nageswaraswamy Temple, Kumbakonam, which all belong to the same period.

The presiding deity of the temple is Shiva lingam in the form of Kampaheswarar and is housed in the central shrine.

There is a separate shrine for the deity Sarabeswarar, a fusion of man, eagle and lion, who is believed to have relieved the devas (celestial deities) from the fury of Vishnu in the form of Narasimha after he slayed Hiranyakasipu

Sharbeshwaramurti is depicted with three legs, the body and face of a lion, and a tail. It has four human arms, with an axe held in the right upper hand, a noose in the lower right hand, a deer in the upper left hand, and fire in the lower left hand.

Narasimha is shown with eight arms, flailing and struggling under Sharbeshwaramurti’s feet.

The shrine also has sculptures of Sridevi and Bhudevi, the consorts of Vishnu. The bronze image of Sarabheswara temple is believed to be from the period of Kulothunga Chola III.

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Contact Particulars

Sri Kampahareswar Temple

No. 55, State Highway 64, Thirubuvanam, Tamil Nadu


Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

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Though academically trained in modern Western Sciences, Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar is a crazy maniac of India's ageless, timeless ethnic arts, crafts & textiles. The rich & glorious cultural & spiritual heritage of India is a subject extremely dear to her heart, and the whole of this Blog has been dedicated to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide, to every nook & corner of the globe, through these simple Blog-posts. Any constructive criticisms & suggestions in this regard for improvement of the Blog 'MOST WELCOME'. Also, High-Quality Guest Blog-posts 'MOST WELCOME". LinkedIn Profile : https://in.linkedin.com/in/mala-chandrashekhar-04095917a