– Dr A Pranesh
Uma Maheshwarar Temple in Konerirajapuram is about 21 kms from Kumbakonam. It is on Kuttalam road via Thirunageshwaram where we have Rahu temple.
Uma Maheshwarar Temple is very old and was built in 7th century A.D. initially by Cholas and later developed by Vijayanagar rulers and Nayakas. The Linga of Lord Uma Maheshwarar is believed to be swayambhu.
This temple is about 21 kms from Kumbakonam. One has to take Karaikal road from Kumbakonam wherein we get Rahu temple in Thirunageshwaram after 6 kms. From there one has to drive 21 kms to reach Konerirajapuram.
The presiding deity is Shiva, known as Uma Maheshwarar and his consort Angavala Nayaki (Deha Sundari).
The temple has a bronze statue of Nataraja which is about 8 feet in length, which is bigger than Chidambaram Statue.
The statue of Nataraja looks very real. As per the story, the Chola King Kandarathitha Cholan and his wife Sembian Mahadevi were great worshippers of Nataraja. So they asked the Sthapathi to make a statue of Nataraja with an alloy of 5 metals (pancha loha). Obediently he made a statue but king did not like it. So he was asked to do another one. So did the Sthapathi and the King not only disliked but also furious and ordered Sthapathi to make a very good statue for the third and the last time, otherwise his head would be rolled.
Poor Sthapathi was worried. While melting the alloy to make the statue for the last time, an old couple came to him asked him for water repeatedly. Sthapathi was already depressed and upset and in his terrible state of mind shouted on the old couple and asked them to drink the molten alloy if he they are so thirsty. The old couple was none other than Ishwara and Parvathi in disguise and the old man without hesitation drank the molten alloy. Sthapathi was astonished and meanwhile he heard the King visiting his place. At that moment he saw the old man turning into a beautiful statue. King was amazed to see the beautiful statue. Sthapathi narrated the whole incident but king never believed. King took out his sword and hit it on the leg of Nataraja statue and immediately blood started pouring from the leg. Now the King was terrified and apologized to Sthapathi. Even to this day, there is mark on the statue of Lord Nataraja ‘s leg.
Later a King named Pururavas who suffered from Leprosy came to this temple, worshipped Lord Ishwara and by the grace of Lord his Leprosy was cured. From then onwards this place has a shrine for Lord Ishwara which is called Vaidyanatha Swamy. Even to this day lot of people with various health problems come here and offer worship to the Lord Vaidyanatha Swamy and get their health problems resolved.
The in charge of the temple Sri Gnana Skandan is very knowledgeable. Under his guidance specific Poojas are performed for various diseases.
There is a separate shrine for Angavala Nayaki, adjacent to Uma Maheshwarar Temple. Here Nandi is offered Pradosha pooja, which is believed to be very auspicious. The walls of the temple has Brahma, Vishnu, Durga, Dakashinamurty, sage Agastyar and many ancient idols.
There is a shrine having Pancha (five) Vinayakas in the temple complex. Lord Nataraja has a separate shrine and it houses number of idols made of Panchalohas.
Konerirajapuram temple is a complex of several shrines, which dates back to more than 1000 years and is worth visiting.