Tiruninravur, a small village near Chennai, one of the four main cities of India, has a temple which is a replica of the temple originally built within the heart of a great devotee. The name of that Shiva temple is Hridayaleeswarar Temple.
Tiruninravur has two ancient temples; one of the two temples is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is named as Hridayaleeswarar in this temple. As per the Bhakti movement of Tamil Nadu, there are 63 great devotees of Lord Shiva named as Nayanmars. Poosalar was one of the Nayanmar, who was very poor. He lived in Tiruninravur. He wanted to build a temple for Lord Shiva. However, he couldn't do the same. Hence, he started visualizing to build the temple step by step within his heart. Ultimately, he constructed the entire temple within his heart and fixed up a date for consecration ceremony. Apparently, it was the same day fixed up by the Pallava king Rajasimha Pallava for the consecration ceremony of his newly built Kailasanath temple in Kanchipuram. The God appeared in the dream of the king and ordered him to postpone the ceremony as he had to attend the ceremony in the temple built by Poosalar. The king wanted to visit the temple of Poosalar. When he reached Tiruninravur and met Poosalar, he realized that the temple was built within his heart. Thus, the importance of the great devotee was known to the outside world. Later, a similar temple was physically built in Tiruninravur. As the original temple was built within the heart, the God got the name "Hridayaleeswarar" (Hridaya means heart).
The ancient temple of Hridayaleeswarar has the west facing entrance with a beautiful tower. In front of the main shrine, the flag staff and Nandi idol are located. The main shrine has the sanctum of Lord Hridayaleeswarar in the form of a big Shiv Linga idol facing the east direction. Along with Shiv Linga, the idol of the devotee Poosalar is also present. There is a separate shrine for the Goddess Maragadambal.
About the temple
The temple is close to Lord Bhaktavatsala perumal temple in Tiruninravur on the outskirts of Chennai. ( Story credit- google)
Poosalar hailed from a town called Ninravur. He was a great devotee of Lord Siva and longed to build a temple for his Lord, though he was a very poor man. He roamed far and wide to get the required funds, but his efforts were not fruitful. He was desperate and distressed beyond words.
Suddenly a thought struck him. "Why do I not attempt to build a temple for my Lord in my heart? Why should I beg these worthless persons who have no devotion for my Lord?" He determined to do so. He studied the Agama Sastras and consulted knowledgeable Sivacaryas. The thought got shape in his mind and gathered further strength and determination - this thought of building a grand temple for his Lord.
He gathered requisite materials in his mind. He approached rich donors and collected huge amounts from them - all in the mind again. Expert architects were approached who formulated designs, plans and drawings. He collected artisans, renowned sculptors, labourers, tools and even tools? He did not leave the minutest details, however trivial it might appear on first sight! His thoughts were occupied only with the construction of a grand temple for the Lord, unrivalled it would stand when completed! He slaved and slogged for it.
On an auspicious day, the corner (foundation) stone was laid. The king laid it according to rituals. With infinite love and meticulous care he had the temple built brick by brick, stone by stone, pillar by pillar, sculpture by sculpture, day and night, unseen by anyone.
Layer by layer, from the base to the top, the temple was nearing completion. He planned the huge Rajagopuram, other four towers, one each for the four directions, North, East, West and South. He supervised the construction scrupulously, devotedly. The rounded dome, the ancillary pillars, pavilions, shrines and the sacred kalasams were all made ready, worked on the wall sides and niches. Shrines for the Divine Mother, the Lord's Consort, Vinayaka, Muruga, main deity, Durga were completed. Walls and prakarams were laid. The temple tank was dug and filled with clean water fit for abihsekham (anointing)
At last, the temple was fully completed. It was grand, mighty and a rare sight to behold! He consulted the priests, discussed with them in great detail and fixed an auspicious date for the Mahakumbhabhishekam (consecration) of the temple. Problem arises - no problem! There arose a problem. He had no knowledge of it of course. It was on this most auspicious date that the Kaadava ruler of Kanchi, who had built a magnificent temple of granite, marble, red and black stones for the Lord Siva, had decided to perform the Kalsabhishekam. The Lord was to be installed therein on the same date!
The Lord appeared in the king's dream the night before the sacred consecration date. The king was thrilled. But, the Lord asked him commandingly, so it appeared to the king to postpone the consecration date. The Lord explained that He had to be present at the installation and consecration ceremony fixed by His dear devotee Poosalar of Ninravur on that same date! That was far more important!
The King moved on to Ninravur in search of the temple. He could’nt find any. He came to know about poosalar through some sources. The King spotted Poosalar in the town and inquired him about the temple. He also told him about the words of the Lord in his dream.
Poosalar was in tears. He was deeply touched by the grace of the Lord. He told the king that the consecration was happening that day in his mind, for the temple he was building in his mind.
The King later on built a temple in Ninravur and made the dream of Poosalar come true. Even today, the temple stands in that place (Tiruninravur near Chennai, India) as a testimony to the “power of human belief”.
The small corridor surrounding the shrines of Hridayaleeswarar and Maragadambal has the idols of Surya, Chandra, Raja Simha Pallava, Polla Pillayar (Ganesha), Nalvar (four great devotees), Navagraha (nine planets), and Bhairav. There are also small shrines for Maha Ganapati and Murugan with Valli and Devasena. The shrine appears very ancient and the architecture is similar to the back side of the sleeping elephant. The roof of the shrine has some beautiful paintings. In fact, the roof near the back side of the shrine is too beautiful; there are holes which are artistically beautiful to allow sun rays to fall inside the small corridor. The wall surrounding the main sanctum has the idols of Ganesha, Dakshinamurthy, Vishnu, Brahma, Durga, and Chandikeswarar. The Sapta Mata idols are present in the outer corridor of the temple.
How to reach
Tiruninravur is 30 kms from Chennai. Suburban trains from Chennai central to Arakonam, Tiruvallur, Tiruttani and Kadambattur stop at Tiruninravur. After getting down, from one side you can reach the Chennai Tirupati highway while the other side goes to the temple and Poonamalle. Share autos, private autos and buses are available to go to the temple. Private autos charge Rs 25-30 one way while share autos charge Rs 5 one way. You could even walk down to the temple.
Specialty of the temple
The temple is said to very powerful in curing heart related problems