Jalakandeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located inside the Vellore Fort, Tamil Nadu State and it is under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India, along with the St. John’s Church, Tippu Mahal, Hyder Mahal, Candy Mahal, Badhusha Mahal and the Begum Mahal.
Legend and History of the Jalakandeswarar Temple
According to legend, Athri muni installed a Siva Lingam in this place and worshiped. After he left, without proper maintenance the Siva Lingam in the temple was covered by an ant-hill. Rain waters in the lower levels of the ant-hill made a tank there. Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of a chieftain Chinna Bommi Nayaka who was ruling the region and asked him to build a temple in 1550 CE. The king went to the tank, demolished the ant-hill and took out the Shivalinga and installed the Lord in the water itself. Since the Lingam was surrounded by water the deity was called as Jalakandeswarar (translated as “Lord Siva residing in the water”). The temple was built during the reign of the Vijayanagaram king Sadasivadeva Maharaya (1540–1572 CE). The temple also has the statue of Sri Akhilandeshwari Amma, the consort of Jalakandeswarar.
Architecture of the Jalakandeswarar Temple
The Jalakandeswarar Temple is a fine example of Vijayanagaram Architecture. The temple has two courtyards and has a main shrine with a closed path around it and a number of sub-shrines. Inside the Garbha griha, main deity Jalakandeswarar is seen in the form of Shivalinga. Goddess Sri Akilandeswari Amman is seen in separate sanctum in the inner enclosure of the temple. The temple has fine carvings on its 100 ft. height gopuram (tower), richly carved stone pillars, large wooden gates and stunning monoliths and sculptures. The temple also has a Mandapam, with the hall supported by carved stone pillars of dragons, horses and yalis (lion like creature). The temple itself built in middle of a water tank (called Agazhi in Tamil), and there is water surround the temple like a garland. The circumference of the water tank is 8000 ft. The wedding hall (Kalyana Mantapam) inside the temple has a 2 faced sculpture, that of a bull and an elephant. The water used for bathing the deity (abishekam) is drawn from an ancient well called the Ganga Gouri Thertam, within the temple.
Jalakandeswara Temple Festivals
The major festivals celebrated in the temple are:
- 10 day Chitra Poornima (April-May)
- Mahashivaratri (around Feb)
- 10 day Aadipooram (July-August)
- Vinayaka Chaturthi in Avani (August-September)
- Navaratri during September-October
- Surasamharam in Aipasi (October-November)
Jalakandeswara Temple Timings:
The temple is open from 6.30 AM to 1.00 PM and 5.00 PM to 8.30 PM.
How to reach the Jalakandeswarar Temple, Vellore
Nearest Airport Chennai International Airport is 131 Kilometers at distance.
Nearest station Vellore Town Railway Station is only 1.5 Kilometers at distance. Another station Katpadi Junction is 6 Kilometers at distance.
Nearest Bus Station is Vellore Central Bus Station only 2.5 Kilometers at distance.