Swetha Vinayagar Temple

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Swetha Vinayagar Temple
Thiruvalanchuzhi temple entrance.JPG
Swetha Vinayagar Temple is located in Tamil Nadu
Swetha Vinayagar Temple
Swetha Vinayagar Temple
Location in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Vellai Vinayakar Koil
Coordinates 10°57′N 79°19′E / 10.950°N 79.317°E / 10.950; 79.317Coordinates: 10°57′N 79°19′E / 10.950°N 79.317°E / 10.950; 79.317
Country India
State/province Tamil Nadu
District Thanjavur
Locale Tiruvalajuli (near Swamimalai)
Primary deity Kabardeeshwarar(Shiva), Vellai Vinayagar(Ganesha)
Architectural styles Dravidian architecture

The Swetha Vinayagar Temple (Tamil: Vellai Vinayakar Koil) is a Hindu temple situated in the village of Thiruvalanchuzhi (also spelt as Thiruvalanjuli) near Swamimalai in Kumbakonam taluk of Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India. The presiding deity is Kapardiswarar, a form of the Hindu god Shiva and his consort Brihannayaki.[1]


Image of Nataraja

The temple is associated with a sage called Herandar who according to legend, is believed to have gone through an underground passage to the nether world and brought the Kaveri River to the earth to flow into the Bay of Bengal.[1] Since the river took a convoluted direction in its flow, the place is called Tiruvalanjuzhi. There is an image of Herandar in the temple and the trunk of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha (Vinayagar) swirls towards the right.[2] The presence of Buddhist images from the Chola period in the temple show influence of Buddhist tradition in the region.[3]

Vinayaka idol[edit]

The temple is renowned for its shrine dedicated to Ganesha (Vinayagar, Vinayaka).[1] The idol of Vinayaka is white in colour and is believed to have been created out of sea sand. Hence, the temple is also known as Swetha Vinayagar Temple in Sanskrit or Vellai Vinayakar Temple in Tamil, meaning "the temple of the white Vinayaka".

According to popular legend, Indra, the king of the Devas created the idol of Ganesha out of sea sand during the churning of the ocean and left it in a niche in the temple hoping to get back the idol sometime later.[1] But later, when he returned to remove the idol of Ganesha, it would not budge. So, the idol was allowed to remain where it was.[1] A lattice-worked stone window pane called palahani is present in the temple.[2] The temple is originally believed to have been built by Kanaka Chola in prehistoric times.[2]


Vellai Vinayaka shrine[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e P. V. Jagadisa Ayyar (1920). South Indian shrines: illustrated. Madras Times Printing and Pub. Co. pp. 355–359. 
  2. ^ a b c A. 1987, p. 35
  3. ^ Pillai, Suresh B. (1976). Introduction to the Study of Temple Art. Equator and Meridian. p. 59. 


  • A., Kuppuswami (1987), The Crest Jewel of Divine Dravidian Culture, Pudukottai: Sarma's Sanatorium Press .
  • Tourist Guide to Tamil Nadu. Sura Books. p. 81. ISBN 81-7478-177-3, ISBN 978-81-7478-177-2. 

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