The 7th century brick temple was rebuilt as the stone temple by Nagarathars in the 11th century CE. The huge temple with the river Cooum alongside has the south facing small tower with Ganesha and Kartikeya idols at the tower entrance.
There was a great Asura king (demon) named Tarakasura. He was a devotee of Lord Shiva. He had got the boon from the Lord that he could be killed only by the son of Lord. He was later killed by Subramanya, the son of Lord Shiva. Tarakasura had three sons -Tarakaksha, Kamalaksha andVidhyunmaali. They did severe penance towards Lord Brahma and got two boons. As per the first boon no one in Brahmas creation could be stronger than them.
As per the second boon, they got three flying forts made up of gold, silver and iron which will be separate from each other and come together only rarely; a single arrow which bring all the forts together and burn only could destroy the demons. Maya, the divine architect, constructed the golden fort in the heaven for Tarakaksha; the silver fort on the skies for Kamalaksha and iron fort on the earth for Vidhyunmaali. The three demons happily lived in their flying forts without troubling anyone. However, the Devas were partly jealous and partly afraid of the demons. They sought the help of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu created a man and ordered him and his four disciples to preach a new religion which is anti Vedic (Jainism). They were successful in converting the demons into their religion. The demons stopped worshiping Shiva and other religious rituals. They even started waging war against the Devas.
The Devas got a reason now to appeal Lord Shiva to kill the demons. Shiva agreed to wage war against the Tripuras. He made the earth as his chariot with the Sun and the Moon as the wheels of the chariot. He got the Meru mountain as his bow and Vasuki, the serpent king, as the bow string. Vishnu became the arrow and Agni became the tip of the arrow. Brahma drove the chariots and the four Vedas became the horses. As the Devas missed to worship Lord Ganesha, he broke the axle of the chariot's wheel. Realizing this, Lord Shiva requested Ganesha to set it right. Tiruvirkolam is the site where this incident happened.
There is an idol of Lord Ganesha in this temple which is believed to have broken the axle. As Lord Shiva took the bow and arrow in his arms, he is called as Tiruvirkolanathar in this site (Vil=bow; Kolam=posture; Tiruvirkolanathar means the Lord carrying the bow). He rose as a Swayambu Linga in this place; as the axle (Kooram) of the chariot fell in this site, it got the name Kooram. It later becameCooum. The village is called as Cooum and the river that originates near this place is also called as Cooum. Shiva finally put the arrow to his bow and in a split second all the three forts were merged into one and set aflame. As he destroyed the Tripura demons, he is named as Tripurantaka in this temple.
The 7th century brick temple was rebuilt as the stone temple byNagarathars in the 11th century CE. The huge temple with the river Cooum alongside has the south facing small tower with Ganesha and Kartikeya idols at the tower entrance.
The main shrine is facing the east direction; a long flag post, bali peetha and Nandi idol are located facing the main shrine. The entrance to the main shrine is not at the front side but on the right side facing the southern direction.
The sanctum sanctorum has the big Shiva Linga idol made up of sand called as 'Tirupurantaka' aka 'Tiruvirkolanathar'. It is 'Theenda tirumeni' meaning no one including the priest is allowed to touch it. It is believed that it changes its color on its own as per the season; during rainy season, it is in white color and it changes to red color during the dry season or war times.
At the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum, there is an idol of Lord Ganesha. The two out of three Tripura demons took the form of Dwarapalakas; their appearance also slightly differs from that of typical postures of dwarapalakas.
The wall surrounding the sanctum sanctorum has the Goshta idols of Ganesha, Dakshinamurthy, Annamalaiyar, Brahma, Durga and Chandikeshwarar. All these bas-relief images are very attractive. The vimana of sanctum sanctorum is in the form ofGaja brashta architectural style.
Ganesha, who broke the axle of the chariot as per the legend seen above, is found with two arms in a separate sub-shrine in the inner prakara. He is named as 'Achcharutta Vinayakar' - achcharutta means "the one who broke the axle".
The sub-shrines of Brahadeeswarar, Shanmukhanathar-Valli-Devasena, Bala Murugan and Meenakshi-Chokkanatha are also located in the inner prakara.
In the maha mandapa, there is a sub-shrine which has the big bronze idols of Nataraja and Sivakami. Kali was once defeated by Nataraja (Shiva) in dance competition. In this site, Nataraja danced with pleasure to please Kali; hence, the dance form in this shrine is called as 'Rakshi Natam'. (There is a separate small temple for Kali in this village.)
Bhairava is found unusually without his vaahan dog in a sub shrine in the inner prakara. It is said that when Shiva was getting ready to wage war against the demons, he went to invite all the Devas; during that time, his dog lost its path. Hence, he is found without vaahan in this temple.
The Ardha Mandapa in the main shrine of Shiva has few idols such as Surya, Nalvar, etc. and very beautiful utsava (bronze) idols.
It is unusual to find the Goddess shrine adjacent to the Lord's shrine. In this temple, the Goddess Tripurasundari is found in a separate sub-shrine on the right side of the main shrine. It also faces the east direction. Goddess is very tall with four arms. The shrine has a front side mandapa and also there is a separate flag post and Simha (lion) idol facing the shrine.
The outer prakara is very huge; however, there is no shrine or idol found here except that of Navagraha.
When Shiva lost the axle of his chariot, Lord Vishnu helped him. He is found in the name of Kariya Manicka Perumal with his consorts - Sree Devi and Bhoo Devi, in a separate small temple. This temple is very small and found outside the main temple. It also appears to be an ancient temple. Apart from the main deity, Hanuman idol is also found in this small temple.
Tripurantaka Temple Tiruvirkolam
The important festivals of this particular temple are Arudra darshan-Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January, 10 day Aadi Poo Pavadai festival for Ambica in July-August, 10 day Chithirai Brahmmotsavam in April-May, Mahashivrathri in February-March, deepavalli, New Year Day according to the English calendar and Tamil calendar, pongal are celebrated in the temple.
This particular temple is treated like “Agni Stala” in south India. It is to be noted that the Lord looks red during the rainy season and during other days looks like a clear crystal.
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m for all the Hindus.
This sivasthalam temple is located at Koovam. Tiruvallore - Kancheepuram bus route goes via Perambakkam, a small town. Koovam is next to Perambakkam. The temple is located about 1 Km. from Koovam bus stop
Chennai is the major station. Arakonam and Kanchi are not far
Chennai has international airport too