Architectural significances

The temple's architecture dates back to early 11th century. It is constructed with exact precision and standards. Though the temple had undergone a lot of changes today, it stands as a witness to architectural knowledge of the early Tamils.

Traditionally the temple complex was comprised of five built forms and an open temple tank. Later, a lot of other spaces like the entrance mandapam, Navagraha shrines, Pidari Amman shrine etc got added to the complex. The older architectural spaces are as follows

  • Thirukameeshwarar main shrine
  • Kohilambigai main shrine
  • Vasantha mandapam
  • Oonjal mandapam
  • Vagana mandapam
  • Hiruthaba nasini (Temple tank)

Thirukameeshwarar main shrine:

This is the crux of the temple complex with granite monolithic pillars, granite floor and granite topped roof with lime terracing above it. The Vimana in the garba graha is covered with wooden planks from interior. The main deity being a Suyambu Linga (Linga which said to have been evolved on its own), the floor of the garba graha and the space before the garba graha are with insensitively added marble flooring.

Kohilambigai main shrine:

The space is said to have equivalent sanctity when compared to Thirukameeshwarar shrine and is located in the same complex. This space is also constructed with granite and the flooring in the space is also insensitively floored with marble.

Vasantha mandapam:

This mandapam is one among the three mandapams inside the temple complex. This mandapam is a load bearing structure constructed with granite. The roof was insensitively repaired which has led to the deterioration of the structure. The present unsafe condition of the structure is due to the water seepage from the roof..

Oonjal mandapam:

Located at a crucial location, on the eastern side of the tank, this mandapam has extensively carved pillars inside and outside of the structure. The covered interior part of the structure is poorly maintained as it is kept closed for long period and moreover it is used as storage for the temple car. This structure is damaged due to water seepage from the roof. The foundation of the structure needs to be carefully examined so as to cull out the reason for the sinking floor in the covered portion.

Vagana mandapam:

Hiruthaba nasini (Temple tank) :

The mystical space is closely associated with the history of the temple and Dharmabala Cholan.The temple tank, today stands as an unique open space for the citizens of Villiayanur. The tank is flanked with visitors and devotees in evening and in mornings making the space lively. During the month of Karthigai and in any special occasion the tank is lit with lamps which gives a magnificent and a spectacular view. The tank is the cultural activity space of the town today.

The car festival which happens during the festival seasons are marked by the presence of the lieutenant Governor of Puducherry state. The Governor also participates and starts to pull the temple car – the tallest of all in the region. This tradition is followed from the French period and still it is a living tradition that the Governor of the state will participate and start the car pulling ceremony.

The Varuna lingam (Varuna in Sanskrit means the good of rain) has a unique mythical background that if a ceremonial pooja is performed there will be rain fall. Though it is a belief, it is strong amidst the devotees that the Varuna Lingam cangive rain fall. During summer, special poojas are performed for the Varuna Lingam.

S P A T I A L O R G A N I S A T I O N

Any built form as a whole has an order and a spatial organisation, which can be experienced part to the whole or as whole to the part. Temple being a spiritual space, it has defined orders or hierarchy of spaces, which are arranged in a defined geometry and axis. Thirukameeshwarar temple also has a spatial order which can be experienced from the entrance till the garba graha.

The temple in Hindu mythology is conceived as a space for realizing oneself. The architecture and the embedded knowledge system also communicates the same in all perspectives. The material, aesthetics, space, order, proportion and geometry, all these design elements are experienced in a temple as spirituality.

The hierarchy of the spaces in Villiayanur temple is as follows,

  • Entrance manadapa with shikara (Gopuram)
  • Outer circumbulatory path with mandapams and Temple tank
  • Entrance pillared pavilion (Vettai mandapam/Arangetra mandapam)
  • Interior Circumbulatory path
  • Dwajasthambam (Kodimaram)
  • Garba graha (Moolasthana) with Vimana