Tirupanjali Neelivaneshwar temple is 5 Kms from Tiruvellarai Pundareekaksha Perumal temple and about 20 Kms from Trichy. It is situated in a beautiful village surrounded by greenery. This Siva temple is also one of the padal petra sthalams . The Lingam of Neelivaneshwar is very small and is a Swayambhu Lingam . Neeli means banana trees and there are lot of banana trees in this temple and is considered as the sthala vriksham .
The Gopuram here also looks incomplete or worn out like the Tiruvellarai temple. The second tower known as Ravana Vayil is intact. There is a Siva Lingam just outside this tower in a small shrine known as Chotrudaieeshwaran . It is believed that the Lord himself served rice to the the saint Tirunavukkarasar who was hungry and tired when he was on his way to this temple and later Siva appeared here in the form of a Lingam . There's a festival here in the month of Chithirai related to this event.
Before entering the Ravana vayil tower pilgrims have to offer their prayers at the shrine of Yama the God of Death. I think this is the only temple where we have a shrine dedicated to God of death This shrine is in a cave under the ground. To save Markendeya from the clutches of Yama, Siva kills him and it is here that the God resurrected him. Yama here is in the form of a child. People offer special poojas for longer life and to ward off ill effects.
This temple does not have any Navgraha images. There are 9 steps leading from the Ravana Vayil tower inside the temple and this is built with the belief that the Navagrahas themselves were like slaves to Ravana. There are nine small pits near the Nandi in front of the main Lingam and are worshipped as Navagrahas.
The main deity Neelishwarar is also known as Adhikara Vallabhar as the deity here restored Yama all his powers to perform his duty.There are two shrines for Amman here ,one for Visalakshi and other for Neela Nedunkann Amman. This shrine has a separate dwajasthambha.
Parvati had performed penance here and she wished to have some shade during her penance and the sapta kanyas became the plaintain trees to provide shade to Her. Hence the Neelivanam ,with 7 plaintain trees occupies a special place in the temple. Devotees perform special rituals on Sundays to these plantain trees here in belief that this will lead them to matrimony. The plantain trees have yellow threads tied to it as part of the ritual. See the photo.
How to reach: Trichy is well connected by rail, road and air. It is better to hire cabs to reach this temple as the frequency of buses are very low.
Chotrudaieeshwar shrine on the left side