(Last Updated on : 05-12-2015)
Nellaiappar Temple is one of the famous temples in Tamilnadu steeped in tradition and history and also known for its musical pillars and other brilliant sculptural splendors. This temple is a shrine to Shiva and Parvati and covers 14 acres. Agastya worshiped Shiva in a bamboo grove and by Rama after killing Mareecha nine miles away. There is a shrine dedicated to Vishnu near the sanctum, supporting the belief that Nellai Govindan (Vishnu) visited Tirunelveli to officiate the marriage of Shiva and Kantimathi. Near Tirunelveli, there are nine Vaishnavite temples dedicated to Vishnu.
The temple dates back to 700 AD. There were two distinct temples for Shiva and his consort built by the Pandyan kings and the Sangili Mandapam linking the two was built in the 17th century. The towers date back to the 17th century. There are many inscriptions dating back to 950 AD in the temple.
The temple covers a vast area. The musical pillars in the Mani Mandapam produces sound in various pitches and was built in the 7th century AD by Nindrasir Nedumaran or Koon Pandyan, the Somavara Mandapam - the 1000 pillared hall, the Tamra sabha with intricate woodwork, and the Vasantha Mandapam are worth seeing. Life size sculptures adorn several mandapams including the Sangili Mandapam which links the Nellaiappar and Kantimathi mandapams. Tamra Sabhai: The Copper Dance Hall is a work of art, and is located within the precincts of the temple.
A shrine to Sandana Sabhapati is adorned with sandal paste and is located right behind the Tamra Sabha. There is another shrine dedicated to Nataraja here,- the Periya Sabhapati shrine. Religious services are carried out here on special occasions, and the festival idol is never moved from here.
Navaratri, Tirukkalyanam in Aippasi, (Oct 15 - Nov 15) and Arudra Darisanam are important festivals here. The temple charriot is massive. The Bhrammotsavam lasts for a long period of time during the Tamil month of Aani (June 15 - July 15).