Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram

Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram

Saivite Temples, Thirukazhukundram Taluk


Bakthawatsaleswarar, facing east


Thirupurasundari, facing east

Other Deities

Second Prakaram – Somaskandar, Ekambareswarar, Aathmanadar, Ganesha, Jambukeswara, Murugan, Arunachaleswara, Pratishta Vedapureeswarar, Kalahasteeswarar. Inner most Prakaram – Naalvar, 63 Nayanmars, Ganesha, 6 Large Lingams, Muruga with consorts, 6 Lingams, Veerabadhra, Chandra. Sanctum niches – Ganesha, Dakshinamurthy, Lingotbavar, Brahma, Durga, Chandikeswara

Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram is the base temple which together with the other two temples of Vedagireeswarar and Rudrakoteeswarar form the three important Shiva Temples here. Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram is a very large temple with three enclosed Prakarams and an outermost Prakaram which are the streets used for the processions of the deities. The large temple campus has 4 huge Gopurams. The ones in the east, south and west are 7 tiered. The one in the north is the largest and is 9 tiered. Outside the eastern Rajagopuram is a large temple tank and further towards the east is a huge temple tank which is called Sangu Theertham. The first Prakaram has the Aamai Mantapam, Sarva Vadhya Mantapam, 16 Pillared Mantapam, 4 Pillared Mantapam and a beautiful temple tank (Nandi Theertham) in the north eastern corner. The mantapas in this Prakaran have some beautiful intricately carved pillars. There is an excellent 7 feet idol of Aghora Veerabadra. The second Prakaram is reached through a 5 tiered gopuram in the east called Rishi Gopuram. This prakaram houses the Pancha Bhootha Lingams in different shrines around the main sanctum. In the north west corner is the separate shrine of Goddess Thirupurasundari who is about 6 feet tall and the Mantapa in front has some excellent carvings. A beautiful Nandavanam houses Arunachaleswarar with two large Lingams on either side of the shrine’s entrance. The innermost Prakaram with the sanctum sanctorum of the lord is entered through a doorway with two large Dwaralapalakars on either side.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Nandi Theertham. There are actually 12 Theerthams common to Vedagireeswarar and Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram (1. Indra Theertham, 2. Sambu Theertham 3. Rudra Theertham, 4. Vashishta Theertham, 5. Meygnyana Theertham, 6. Agasthiya Theertham, 7. Markandeya Theertham, 8. Kaushika Theertham, 9. Nandi Theertham, 10. Varuna theertham, 11. Agalikai Theertham, 12. Pakshi Theertham)

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Plantain Tree


Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram is more than 1500 years old and has been served by many dynasties of Kings including Pallavas and Vijayanagar. Many stone inscriptions have been found here and in the hill temple of Vedagireeswarar. Gandhavarman, a Pallava King (400 – 436 CE) is said to have initially constructed the temple as a mud and wood structure. Later during the time of Aditya Chola (898CE) the temple was expanded. An inscription dating 1400 CE belonging to Vijayanagar King Bhoopathirayar mentions this lord as Thirukazhukundramudayar. After this period only the main deity has been named as Bakthawatsaleswarar.


The lord is believed to have appeared before Manickavasagar as Dakshinamurthy and initiated him into the Panchakshara here at Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram. When Sage Markandeya wanted to perform ablutions for the lord here he could not locate a suitable vessel. Suddenly a Conch floated up at the large tank of Sangu Theertham with a humming sound. He is believed to have used the conch for the purpose. The administration of the two temples has preserved the Conches which are said to float up approximately every 12 years. These are used to perform Ablutions to the lord at the hill temple even today. The last such conch surfaced in 1986.


Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram is in the center of town and 12 kilometers south east of Chingleput. Bakthawatsaleswarar Thirukazhukundram can also be reached from Thiruporur which is 21 kilometers away.

Stay and Food

None locally except tea and snack shops. A couple of small restaurants are available around the eastern gopuram and one just below the climb to the hill temple.

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