Azhagiya Koothar Chepparai

Azhagiya Koothar, Chepparai

Saivite Temples - Tirunelveli District


Nellaiappar, facing east


Gandhimathiamman, facing south

Other Deities

Natarajar (Azhagiya Koothar), Sivakami, Adhikara Nandi, Suryan, Chandran, Bhairavar, Meikandar, Vinayaka, Subramanya, Juradevar, Kanni Vinayaka, Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi, Muruga with consorts, Mahalakshmi, Saneeswara. Sanctum niches – Dakshinamurthy, Chandikeswara

Azhagiya Koothar Chepparai is an east-facing temple with a single Prakaram. Entrance is through a large Mandapam followed by a gateway in the east. Inside is the Mahamandapam where entrances to the sanctum and the shrines of goddess and Natarajar are present. Another mandapam called Karaikkal Ammaiyar Mandapam is also present. The Nataraja Idol is housed in a copper-roofed Sabhai along with his consort Sivakami. This idol was the first of the five such Nataraja idols created by the same sculptor and the others are found in Chidambaram, Karisoozhndhamangalam, Katterimangalam, and Karuvelankulam. South of Azhagiya Koothar Chepparai runs the Tamiraparani River.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Tamiraparani River (Pushpa Padani Theertham)

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Vilwam (Aegle marmelos)


The original Azhagiya Koothar Chepparai temple was washed away along with the village during floods in 1721. The present-day temple was then constructed in a safer spot by various local kings and Zamindars as per small pieces of inscriptions found around the sanctum.


In the ancient days, a King called Singavarman (also called Hiranyavarman) gave up his royal life and became a saint. In a forest of Thillai Trees (present-day Chidambaram area) he saw Sages Vyagrapadar and Pathanjali in penance and decided to be there. He shared the divine vision of Lord Shiva dancing for the 2 sages. Upon their advice, he created the dance posture as 2 metal idols, one in copper and one in gold. It is believed that the lord not wanting to be in gold changed the metal to copper. Of these two, the first one was brought to Chepparai Shiva Temple ( Azhagiya Koothar Chepparai ) near Tirunelveli and the other was kept in Chidambaram. The sculptor was one Namachivaya Muthu. Further to this, the ruler of a place called Katterimangalam, Veerapandyan who ruled under another King Ramapandya requested him to employ the same sculptor to create two more. One for Katterimangalam and another for the Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelveli. This was done and upon seeing the beauty of the pieces Veerapandyan chopped off the hands of the sculptor to prevent him from creating more. One was carried to Katterimangalam and one was taken towards Tirunelveli. The second group of carriers was prevented to proceed by the Tamiraparani in spate. They left the idol on the banks which was washed away and discovered by villagers later. The idol washed away and found later could not be moved and the Lord appeared in King Ramapandya’s dream asking him to build the temple there itself. This became Karisuzhnthamangalam. Later, the sculptor provided with wooden appendages made one more such idol which was kept in Karuvelankulam near Kalakkad.


Azhagiya Koothar Chepparai is about 11 kilometers northeast of Tirunelveli and some way behind the India Cements factory. Refer to our map below for the exact location and route.

Stay and Food

None locally. Closest is Tirunelveli.

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