The next temple we visited was Hridyaaleeswarar Temple. Both the Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple and Hridyaaleeswarar Temple are about 1500 years old. In those days the kings built temples for both Sivan and Vishnu nearby.
The legend of Hridyaaleeswarar temple is that Poosalar Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanars wished to build a temple for Lord Shiva. As he did not have funds to build a temple, he built a temple in his heart for Lord Shiva. It was not a rough structure, but a detailed one, covering all aspects of a Sivan temple. He also fixed a date for the kumbabishekam of the temple. Pallava king Rajasimha had built a temple for Lord Shiva in Kanchipuram during this time and he fixed a date for kumbabishekam which happened to be the same day as the Poosalar’s heart temple’s kumbabishekam day. On the earlier night, Lord Shiva came in the king’s dream to tell him that he cannot come for his temple kumbabishekam as he has to be present for Poosalar’s temple kumbabishekam. The king went in search of Poosalar and was shocked to find that Poosalar had built a temple in his heart for the Lord. He got a detailed description of the heart temple from Poosalar and built a temple accordingly. This temple is the Hridyaaleeswarar temple – Hridya meaning heart. To this day people pray here for cure for their heart ailments. This is again a huge temple.
As soon as we entered we prayed to Lakshmi Ganapathy and then proceeded to Lord Shiva’s sannidhi. This temple was fairly crowded, but most of the crowd seemed to be part of a group that had come for some film shooting. The imposing dwajasthambam was there with Nandi in front of it facing the Lord.
Sivan sannidhi was more like a hall with a couple steps leading to the Lord’s sannidhi and with Ambal on our right side. We first went to the Lord’s sannidhi and prayed there. Lingam is a fair size, neither too big, nor too small. Poosalar Nayanar was sitting in front of his Lord in the form of a statue. We prayed to the Hridyaaleeswarar to take care of any heart ailments and then got down to go to Ambal Sannidhi. Ambal alangaram was minimal but she was looking very beautiful in a nine yards sari. The name of the Goddess is Maragathaambigai.
Towards right side of the Siva Linga is the Navagraha sannidhi. We did a few pradakishnams around the nine planets. Just in front of the Navagraha, we could see a statue of Rajasimha, the Pallava king who built this temple for Poosalar. The ceiling of the inner prakaram was a visual treat with very beautiful paintings.