Padal Petra Sthalam - Thiruvallur District

Unbelievably, in the busy and dusty North Chennai area you will see this ancient and important Thiruvotriyur Thiyagarajaswamy Temple. And it is breathtaking both in looks and history.


Aadhipureeswarar, facing east.
Other names Padampakka Nadhar, Ezhunthariyum Peruman, Thiyagarajar, Putridankondar, Anandhathiyagar, Vanmeeganadhar.


Vadivudaiamman, facing south

Other Deities

Thiruptheeswarar, Kuzhandhai Eesar, Jaganadhar, Annamalayar, Jambukeswarar, Nagalingar, Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Sagasralingam, Amirthakandeesar, Gowreeswarar, Egabaadhar, 27 lingams believed to have been worshipped by the Stars

An immaculate and beautiful 5 tier Rajagopuram faces east at Thiruvotriyur temple. The large Temple pond is located north east of the Rajagopuram. Aadhipureeswarar, is in the form of a Mud Mound which cannot be touched. The mound is covered by a Kavasam (covering). On the day of the full moon of the Tamil month Karthigai the Kavasam is opened and the lord is visible to devotees adorned with Punugu, Javvadhu and Sampirani oils. It is believed that one gets great blessings if one can see and pray to Thiruvudaiamman in a Shiva temple (Melur) near Ponneri in the morning, Vadivudaiamman here at Thiruvotriyur during noon and Kodiyidaiamman in the Shiva temple at Tirumullaivayil in the evening. These three idols are believed to have been created by the same sculptor.

Thiruvotriyur is Kaliya Nayanar’s birth place. Pattinathar lived and attained Mukthi in the form of a Lingam in this area. Thiruvarutprakasa Vallalar rendered a song on this lord as part of the Tiruvarutpa. Kadavarkone Nayanar has sung in praise of the lord here at Thiruvotriyur.

Holy water (Theertham) – Brahma Theertham, Kasi Theertham

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Athi (Ficus carica), Magizhamaram (Mimusops elengi)


Thiruvotriyur Temple dates back from the Pallava period. Inscriptions from the periods of Vijaya Aparajitha Potharaiyar, Kovijaya Niruthungavarmar and Kovijaya Kambavarmar have been found. Among the Pandiyas, inscriptions from the periods of Jatavarma or Thirubhuvan Chakravarthy Sundara Pandian have been located. From the Rashtrakutas, inscriptions bearing the name of the King of Kanchi and Tanjore, King Kannara Devan have been found. Inscriptions from the Vijayanagar Kingdoms that have been found are said to belong to the reigns of Sayanna Udaiyar, Devaraja’s son Punnana Udaiyar and Veerappradaba Devaraja Maharayar. Stone inscriptions from the Sampuvaraaya dynasty belonging to the reign of Sakalabhuvana Chakravarthy Raja Narayana Sampuvaraayar have also been found here.

Thirugnanasambandar, Sundarar and Tirunavukkarasar(7th – 8th Century CE) have rendered Thevaram hymns in praise of the Lord here at Thiruvotriyur. Mandhada, the King of Ayodhya, has contributed greatly to this temple.

King Tondaiman, the ruler of Kanchipuram and an ardent devotee of Shiva restored the Thiruvotriyur Temple in 750 A.D. He worked on the restoration of the temple and constructed the shrines of Vadivudai Amman, Gunalaya Vinayagar, Vattapparai Amman, Valarkali Amman, Arul Jothi Murugan, Akasalingam, Sahasralingam and the 27 Natchatras. He also constructed the temple towers and the temple walls. Besides this, he also procured 500 shivalingas and 500 austere Brahmins from Kasi and reinstated the temple according the Agama texts.

Tiruvotriyuran Adimai was an ardent Devotee of Sri Thiagarajaswamy and Vadivudai Amman. He undertook the restoration of the temple and organized the Kudamuzhukku of the temple in 1936. For 12 years, he visited the temple from his home in Choolaimedu without fail (even on the day of his son’s demise). Such was his devotion. He worked fervently and diligently for 14 years and completed the restoration work of the temple. He has also built a school and a hospital in honor of the reigning deity of Thiruvotriyur.


Tradition holds that Thiruvotriyur Shiva temple was the first temple ever on the face of the Earth and was called ‘Adipuri’ (‘the primordial town’). Shiva is present as Agni or fire. He is also present as a swayambu lingam of earth covered with a Kavacham (armour), removed only on the occasion of the Karthikai month full moon day. Shiva is also present in a third, complex dimension. The story goes like this. Vasuki, the snake heard about the greatness of Shiva here through Sage Upamanyu. He worshiped Shiva ardently until he attained unison with him. Vasuki’s hood protects the manifestation of Shiva in this temple and Shiva is called Padampakka Nathar (‘He who is protected by a hood’). He is also called Putridam Kondar (He who resides in a snake pit).

Shiva is thus present in Thiruvotriyur in three dimensions:
In the formless form of Agni (fire) or Light with neither beginning nor end.
In the physical form of a swayambu lingam of earth in the form of a snake pit facing the east.
In a form as Padampakka Nathar who was ordained as not to be touched by any hand, mortal or immortal.


Located in Thiruvotriyur, North Chennai, just off the Thiruvotriyur High Road. The temple is well connected by public transport from all parts of the city. Parking is available just opposite the temple.

Stay and Food

Advisable to stay and eat elsewhere in the city.

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