The stunning idol at the Purushottamar Temple in Ambasamudram is carved out on a single stone.
It is over 1,000 years old and one of its kind. But the temple dedicated to Lord Purushottamar which has several unique features, is a sad state, craving for attention and support from devotees. Located on the northern banks of the Thamaraibarani in Ambasamudram (Tirunelveli District), the temple was prosperous till a couple of centuries ago with grand celebrations being a regular feature year-round.
In fact, Rajagopalaswamy of Kulasekara Azhwar temple in Mannar Koil (about 6 km North West) used to visit the Purushottamar temple every year on the occasion of Chitra Pournami for Theerthavari festival. Floods in the Tamaraibaranai had the people of Ambasamudram moving North into the bustling town that exists now, leaving the temple in the midst of greenery but a little away from the heart of Ambai town and in a state of neglect. Thirupalli Yezhuchi used to take place early morning on all days of Margazhi but that too has been discontinued now.
Its unique feature
The moolavar idol here is unique, the features not found in any other Vishnu temple in Tamil Nadu. Armed with eight hands, Ashtabhuja Lord Purushottamar is in a sitting posture on the Padma Peedam with his right leg placed on the right shoulder of Garuda, thus providing a daily Garuda Sevai to devotees. The Lord is seen with a conch, chakra, bow, arrow and kedayam. Alarmel Mangai Thaayar, seen holding a lotus in her left hand, is seen sitting on His left lap. Interestingly, the Adisesha too has a conch and chakra. The whole idol is carved out of a single stone!
The style of the necklace carving seen on Purushottamar’s chest indicates that this temple could be at least 1,200 years old.
Another special feature is the three-tier Indira Vimana with Dasavathara carvings on the first, sculptures of Indira, Rudra, Brahmma and Hayagriva on the second and Kalasam on the third.
Legend has it that a rishi used to walk a long distance to bring water for the Lord. One day, when the rishi fell ill and could not travel, Lord Purushottamar is believed to have created the Pongi Karai Theertham, South West of the temple, now seen on the other side of the railway line.
Thiru Madapalli, from where thaligai (sacred prasadam) used to be served to over 1,000 devotees during the 10-day Chitrai Festival, is in dilapidated condition now. The roof above the sanctum is damaged and could fall off any time.
Electrical wires are hanging out of walls. The Vimanam, and the inner and outer walls have not been refurbished for several years. The Paramapada Vasal door too is in a bad shape and has to be replaced. The last renovation happened 40 years ago.
Those interested in helping in the renovation the temple may contact: 95786 46287