Thiruneelakanta Nayanar – Darasuram

Thanks to Satheesh again we are going to see another interesting panel from Darasuram. Tiruneelakanta Naynar.

For a change we are going to see the panel first and see if you can help identify it.

This is the long shot from Satheesh,

zoomed in

some more

ok, this is the panel, see the `Hero’ pen for the size comparison

Its a very simple panel – to the left you see a temple, to the right a couple shown holding a stick, emerging out of a tank.

For those who want to read the full story here goes:

Thiruneelakanta Nayanar’s birth place was chidambaram( Thillai). His profession was making pots and clay items. He extended his service to the saivite Nayanmars by providing them with begging bowls made of clay because they bowed down in reverence before the pinaka bow shouldered Lord Shiva, like him. He was also an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He is the place of all good qualities. His youthful vigour influenced him to lead an amorous gay life.

One day he returned home after he had carnal pleasure with a woman of low character. His wife came to know about this and was unhappy with him for his deed. She fulfilled all the responsibilities of a wife but didn’t allow him to share the bed with her. To bring down her resentment he went near her and tried to hug her praising her with sweet words . She retorted immediately, “If you touch us (me)! Thirunilakantam !” meaning “Beware, in the name of Lord Shiva who has burnt the desire, do not touch us- lay not your hands on us”. The very moment of hearing her pledge on the name of Lord Shiva that great man Thiruneelakanta took off his hands from her.

The immense respect he had for Lord Shiva the Hero Who burnt the lust made him say with determination, “As you pronounced as “us” (emmai) rather than `me’ in your vow I won’t touch, not only you but also any woman, even in my dream. They lived together under one roof fulfilling all the responsibilities of a husband and wife barring conjugal status. They grew old.

Lord Shiva wanted to put the principle of celibacy of this great couple to an acid test. He came down to the earth as a sage and proceeded to Chidambaram . He met Thiruneelakanta and gave him His begging bowl asking him to preserve it in safe custody till the time he asks for it. He by His Godly ability made the bowl disappear from the Nayanar’s safety. After many days, He came back and asked for His bowl. The Nayanar did not find it in the place where he kept in safe custody. He searched his entire house, but in vain. He could not find it anywhere. He told the sage that the bowl was lost beyond trace. He begged His pardon and promised that he was ready to present Him even with a golden bowl, instead.

Lord Shiva, in the form of the sage was very adamant and scolded the Nayanar for his negligence and said that he required only His bowl and not any other even if it is made of gold. Nayanar begged many a time. The sage asked the Nayanar whether he could vouch that he kept the bowl safely. The Nayanar replied that he was ready to vouch like that to the satisfaction of the sage. Then Lord Shiva started to play His game of trickery on him. He told the Nayanar that if he takes a dip in the pond in front of the local people holding the hand of his son He would believe his words. Nayanar told him that he did not have any offspring. “O.K. then hold the hand of your wife and and have dip in the pond and vouch your promise” said the sage, cunningly. When the sage asked him to have a dip holding his wife’s hand he replied humbly that due to a vow he was not able to do that. Acting as if angered the Graceful sage went to the court of the priests of Thillai and appealed to them his case. The court upheld the argument of the sage that Nayanar should have a dip in the pond holding his wife’s hand since the bowl was lost while in his custody.

Nayanar came with his wife to a pond of the Thiruppulichchuram. True to his secret vow that he won’t touch his wife he held one end of a bamboo while his wife held the other end and was ready to take the dip. But the old sage stopped this and was very adamant that the Nayanar should hold his wife’s hand and take the dip and then only He will be satisfied. The Nayanar was caught in a fix. He had to declare to the entire public the secret behind his not touching his wife and the entire episode behind it. He narrated the entire secret story and they both plunged into the water, holding the bamboo. The couple who rose from the water after the dip regained their youth, to the astonishment of all. They were as young as one could covet and at the same time they found the Lord who came in the form of the sage disappear. There appeared the Lord in the horizon on the holy Bull with His consort Parvathi Devi to bless the hailing devotee, “You both are very great due to your victory over your five senses and conquered the craving for carnal pleasure . You be with Me, in bliss, for ever with your ever-lasting youth.

images courtesy: Satheesh and

7 thoughts on “Thiruneelakanta Nayanar – Darasuram

  1. அருமையான சிற்பம், ஒரு சிற்பத்தினாலே முழுக்கதையையும் சொல்லும் சிற்பியின் திறமை பாராட்டுக்குரியது.

  2. am new to this site.However I wish to thank Mr.Vijay for inviting me to see this site and also my wishes for the awesome work you are doing. I recently read this article by Prema Kasturi about the indian- cambodian connections. a lot of discussions have been going on on PSVP abt it however i though Id share my view here. I know that it is out of context to the above panels but it is still abt darasuram.
    Kasturi has mentioned a stone that was gifted to Kulotunga I by Suryavarman II, a cambodian king while kulotunga was reconstrcting the Chidambaram Shiva Temple.

    There is a similar stone at the Darasuram Airavatesvarar temple. It is placed near the bali peetam and the Nandi. According to Dr.Kudavoil Balasubramaniam this stone too was gifted to kulotunga by a cambodian king along with the chidambaram stone. It was perhaps brought to darasuram later while rajarajan II was building it.

    Ottakottar in Takkayagabarani mentions Rajarajan II'”S construction of a chariot for the chidambaram and the plans of Kulotunga II to construct a seven tier tower for the Chidambaram temple. we do not know if he has made any mention of a stone gifted to the cholaz by a cambodian king being brought to darasuram. but both the stones at chidambaram and darasuram are very identical. however i did not look for any inscriptions on the stone so far. if anyone has got any info that would be great. do see the article of prema kasturi on this link

  3. thanks lakshmi.

    Geetha amma, mikka nandri

    Dear Swarnamalya, we are honored to have you here. welcome.

    Recapping the inscription

    1) South Indian Shrines By P. V. Jagadisa Ayyar

    A precious stone given to chola king rajendra by king of kambojia
    was inserted into the hall of god.

    2) also checked the reference in – Hultsch E., (Ed) Epigraphia
    Indica, Vol V, 1889-99, pp 105-106; Ancient Kamboja, People and the
    Country, 1981, p 10, 333]

    (L. 10.) A stone was exhibited by the Kamboja king before the
    glorious Rajendra- Choladeva* This (stone) was, by order of the lord
    Rajendra choladeva, placed in front of the shrine of the god who is
    the lord of Tirucitrambalam, This stone was placed in the
    upper front row of stones of the hall opposite the shrine.

    trying to get the actual tamil words as below:

    Rajendra sola devarku kambosarajan kaatchiyaaga kattina kallu, idu
    udaiyar rajendra sola devar tiruvaai molindaruli udaiyar
    tiruchrirramblam udaiyar koyilil mun vaittadu indakkallu tiruvedir
    ambalattu tiru kkai sarattil tiru mum pattikku melai ppattiyille

    The first portion of the inscription records donations made to the
    temple at Chidambaram
    Tillai, 11, 7 and 9, or Tiruchchirrambalam, 1. 12) by Kundavai
    Alvar, (the daughter of)
    rajaraja and yonnger sister of Kulottunga-Chola. She presented the
    god with a golden
    easel (1. 3) and a mirror (1. 10) and covered (the roof of) the
    shrine with gold (L 8),
    the second portion (11. 10-14) states that a stone which the king of
    Kamboja had given to
    rajendra Chola was, by order of the latter, inserted into the wall
    of a hall in front of the shrine,
    Of the names mentioned in the preceding paragraph, Kulottunga-Chola,
    (1, 1 f.) and rajendra chola (11. 10 and 11) refer to the reigning
    king Kulottunga-Chola I., who is known to hv
    have originally borne the name Rajendra-Chola (II,) and to have
    subsequently assumed the
    name Kulottunga. 4 Rajaraja, the father of Kulothunga’s younger
    sister Kundavai (11, 2 and
    is identical with the Eastern Chaiukya king Rajaraja I. (A.D.
    1022-1063), 5.

    >>>>>>>>>This is on the gift of the chairot incl a artists impression

    Karanthai Copper Plate

    Period: Early 11th Century CE
    Script: Tamil Grantha
    Language: Sanskrit, Tamil
    Found in: Puttur, Tamilnadu, India
    Material: Copper
    Present Location / Lender Government Museum, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

    The Karanthai copper-plate charter issued by Rajendra Chola I in the 8th year of
    his reign (1012-1044 CE) contains a significant verse in its separate Sanskrit

    The verse reads as follows:
    Kamboja-rajo ripu-raja-send jaitrena yen a ajayad ahaveshu
    tam prahinot prarthita-mitra-bhavo yasinai
    ratham rakshitum – atma-lakshmixh.

    It says that in order to seek the Chola’s friendship and also in order to
    protect his own kingdom (lakshmi), the king of Kamboja presented to Rajendra
    Chola a chariot with which he had vanquished his enemies in many battles.

    The danger that threatened Kamboja kingdom, which prompted Kamboja King
    Suryavarman I to solicit Rajendra Chola’s friendship, is not mentioned in the

  4. திருநீலகண்டரின் கதை எனக்கு கவியரசு கண்ணதாசனின் பாடல் வரிகளைத்தான் நினைவுப்படுத்தும் விஜய்!
    ‘நிலவைப்பார்த்து வானம் சொன்னது, என்னைத் தொடாதே, நிழலைப்பார்த்து பூமி சொன்னது என்னைத்தொடாதே, என்று சொல்லி விட்டு கவிஞர், ‘திருநீலகண்டரின் மனைவி சொன்னது’ என்று முடிப்பார். எந்த மனைவி அப்படி உரிமையை மறுத்துப் பேசமுடியும், அதுவும் சிவபக்தரின் வீட்டில் அப்படி நடக்க முடியுமா.. சிவன் சுந்தரரின் காதலுக்காக பரவையாருக்கு தூது சென்றவன். மாணிக்கவாசகரின் திருவெம்பாவைப் பாடல்களில் இந்த சிவ-சக்தி மகிமை ‘நீரும் அலையுமாக’ வர்ணிக்கப்படுகிறது. நீரிருந்தால் அலை வரும். அலை வராவிட்டால் நதி நீரோட்டம் இல்லை. எத்தனையோ செய்திகள் இந்த சிற்பங்கள் மூலம் பாடம் படிக்கலாம். முக்கியமாக குடும்ப வாழ்க்கை சிறப்பாக இருக்கவேண்டும் என்பதை சிற்பிகள் இந்தக் கதை மூலம் சொல்கிறார்கள். எத்தனை தூய உள்ளம் கொண்டவர்கள்..

    நல்ல கதை.. நல்ல சிற்பங்கள்.. வாழ்த்துகள்


  5. Regarding Karanthai copper plates,i wish to state that,for more than seventy five years these plates were in the hands of Karanthai Tamil Sangam.The inscriptions of these plates were published by Karanthai Tamil Sangams monthly Tamil Pozhil in 1954 itself.Since these plates were in the custody of Karanthai tamil Sangam these plates are called Karanthai Copper Plates.In the year 1995 these plates were handed over to the Govt. Now these plates are diplayed in the Govt.Musium,Chennai

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