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Thirukutralam Temple located in Kutralam in Southern Tamil Nadu represents the Chitra Sabhai, one of the Pancha Sabhas of Nataraja. Kutralam also known as Trikootaachalam serves as a popular tourist destination. It is mostly visited by the tourists for its waterfalls and its scenic beauty. It is also a favoured spot for scholars as it inspires their literary talents. There are five dance halls of Lord Shiva namely, Madurai, Chidambaram, Kutralam and Tirunelveli.
Legend of Thirukutralam Temple
Thirukutralam Temple is associated with a legend according to which Lord Shiva requested sage Agastyar to proceed in the southern direction to maintain the balance of the earth. He was instructed to mitigate the instability caused due to the gathering of large number of devas for the wediing to Lord Shiva and Parvati. Sage Agastya while waiting outside to get a glimpse of the divine couple formed a Shiva Lingam.
Architecture of Thirukutralam Temple
Thirukutralam Temple has been designed in the shape of a conch. It is also known as Sangakkovil. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is also known as Kuttralanathar by the devotees and the Ambal his consort mother Parvati is referred to as Kuzhalvoi Mozhiammai. A small shrine dedicated to Parvati has also been constructed within the temple premises. It is regarded as one of the Shakti Peethas in India. It is believed that Lord Shiva depicted himself as Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma.
The Chitra Sabhai or the hall of pictures is another striking feature of the temple. It is located at a distance away from the temple. It bears resemblance to another Nataraja Sabhas located in Tamil Nadu. The interior of the building is decorated with several beautiful murals that illustrate pictures from the Indian epics. During the festival time the Natarajar is brought here from the Kurumpalaveesar temple. The Theertham is Chitranadhi and the sthala vriksham is Kurum Palaa.
Thirukutralam Temple has been mentioned in many popular verses. The Kutrala Kuravanji written by Tirikootaraasappakavirayar has mentioned about the temple. Kurumpalaveesar, sung in Tevaram by Sambandar has also stated about the temple.