Ambalavananadar Manur

Ambalavananadar, Manur

Saivite Temples - Tirunelveli District


Ambalavananadar, facing east


Gandhimathi, facing east

Other Deities

Vinayaka, Suryan, Vinayaka, Muruga with consorts, Saneeswara, Nataraja, Gurusidhar, Chandran. Sanctum Niches – Dakshinamurthy, Chandikeswara

Ambalavananadar Manur is an east-facing temple with 2 Prakarams. The outer Prakaram is entered through a gateway in the south and has a shrine for Ganesha. The temple is a Madakovil – on a raised platform. The inner Prakaram is inside the temple which is entered through a door in the south. This Prakaram is covered all around and on top. On the eastern side of the temple are a sealed entrance, Balipeedam, Flagstaff, Nandi, Mahamandapam, and smaller Mandapams. Both main deity and goddess face east in separate shrines. After the entrance from the south and facing the sanctum of the main deity are several small, beautiful pieces of wooden carvings including Shiva and Pravati on the bull mount, Narasimha killing Hiranyakashipu, Veerabadhra and others. These look out of place in their location and is evident that they have been moved in from some other location, probably an ancient wooden door or a temple car. The ceiling in this corridor has old and beautiful ornamental patterns painted on it. East of the temple outside the sealed entrance is a pond that is in a state of neglect. The temple is considered a Sabha where the lord performed his cosmic dance and does not have a Theertham or a Sthala Vriksham. There are carvings of a Tortoise and a Swan in the northeast corner of the Ambalavananadar Manur temple. A 6 feet tall pillar-like structure is installed before the entrance in the south and is called ‘Thiruvadi Pothi’. This is mentioned by HR Bates in the Tirunelveli Gazetteer as brought by a Pandya King from Mecca and is believed to contain Mohameddan strengths. The inscriptions on it are of a mixed script and it has not been possible to decipher them as of date.

Holy Water (Theertham) – None

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – None


Ambalavananadar Manur is an ancient temple as is evident from the numerous inscriptions found on the pillars. The inscriptions on the pillars go back to Pandya King Maranjadayan of the eighth century CE and lay down detailed rules and procedures for local administration, governance, and qualifications required for holding positions. These inscriptions are older than the famous Uthiramerur inscriptions pertaining to local administration and governance.


During the encounter with the Sages of Dharugavanam Lord Vishnu as Mohini and Lord Shiva as Pitchadanar humiliate the ego of the Sages and their wives. After fighting off their retaliatory actions Lord Shiva tells them that he has provided wisdom to them to understand the truth and asks them to witness his dance. He comes to Manur along with Lord Vishnu and performs the Acharya Nadanam (Acharya – teacher, instructor). At one time Ambalavananadar Manur was only a Nadana Sabhai, but later idols were added up.

Two sections in the Tirunelveli Temple Sthala Puranam mention Ambalavananadar Manur temple. One is in the Karuvur Sidhdhar Charukkam where the Sidhar goes away from Tirunelveli Nellaiappar temple in anger when he does not get a response from the Lord by uttering the words ‘Shiva is not here, let there be a curse’. He reaches Manur where Lord Shiva realizing his folly appears in his mount to satiate Karuvur Sidhdhar. Karuvur Sidhdhar then goes to Tirunelveli and takes back his words and curse. This event is enacted even today when Lord Nellaiappar along with other deities visit Manur Temple to give Darshan to Karuvur Sidhdhar.

The other mention is in connection to the Dances of Nellaiappar where he is said to have performed in 6 Sabhas – Thamira Sabhai (Parabrahma Nadanam), Vadivambalam (Soundarya Nadanam), Nellai Ambalam (Pratabha Nadanam), 1000 Pillar Mandapam (Surya Nadanam), Sindhupoonthurai Theertha Sabhai (Theertha Nadanam) and Chithirai Sabhai (Manur Temple) – Acharya Nadanam.


Ambalavananadar Manur is about 21 kilometers north of Tirunelveli. The temple is in the northern side of the village and off Ettankulam Road.

Stay and Food

None locally except tea shops. Closest is Tirunelveli.

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