Akhilandeshwari Temple | History, Timings & Best Time to Visit

Akhilandeshwari Temple, Thiruvanaikovil (Thiruvanaikal), is one of the Pancha Bhuta Sthalas, representing nature-water, located on Srirangam Island – on the outskirts of Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) District, Tamil Nadu State and contiguous with the Kaveri River. Akhilandeshwari Temple timings are from 05:30 am to 09:30 pm.

Overview Akhilandeshwari Temple

Akhilandeshwari Temple

The Collidam (Coleroon) River is on the South and the north sides. This temple had located near Srirangam Temple (Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple), considered the origin of all Vaishnava temples. 

The concept of God had probably derived from Mahabhuta or the five significant elements of nature (also known as Pancha Bhutas) – Agni, Vayu, Prithvi, Akasha and Jala. It is interesting to note that in India, Shiva is considered Rudra, the earliest form of a deity and has five temples worshipping him as a manifestation of the Pancha Bhutas. 

These temples are collectively named “Pancha Bhuta Places” — the Vayu Lingam at Sri Kalahasti, the Agni Lingam at Thiruvannamalai, the Akasha Lingam at Chidambaram, the Prithvi Lingam at Kanchipuram and the Jala Lingam at Thiruvannaikaval. 

The Akhilandeshwari Temple also represents the element of nature. Known as ‘Appu Vaati’, the Shiva Lingam (‘Swami’) here is known as ‘Appu Lingam’. Even today, you see water dripping near the Shivalingam statue inside the temple. 

The goddess of this temple is ‘Akhilandeshwari’ (‘Amman’), also known as Akhilandanyaki. Akhilandeshwari had pronounced it as ‘Akilam – Ananda – Ishwari’ (Akilam – Universe, Ananda – Ruler, Ishwari – Goddess).

History of Akhilandeshwari Temple

According to the Purana texts, Goddess Parvati, in her incarnation as Goddess Akhilandeshwari, performed penance in Jambu Forest (Thiruvanaikoil). She made a lingam with water from the river Cauvery, installed it under a naval butter tree (jambu tree in Sanskrit or Indian blackberry in English) and anointed it with holy river water. 

So, there is a mythological reason why Shivalinga is called Appu Lingam (water lingam). Pleased by her devotion, Lord Akhilandeshwari appeared before Devi and taught her Shiva Gnana. Hence this Akhilandeshwari Temple is also known as Gnanashetra. 

Devi Akhilandeswari took upadesha (lessons) facing east from Shiva, who was facing west. Hence, this temple had also revered as a place of instruction. Thirukalyanam is not performed in this temple (because Devi is like a student, and Jambukeshwara is like a teacher). 

As Akhilandeshwari worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple, the priest dressed up as a woman and honoured him even today at noon.

  • Jambukeshwar
  • ‘Gomata’ (COW)
The two Shiva ganas (who live in Kailash)
  • Malyavan
  • Pushpadantham

Although both were Sivaganas, they used to quarrel with each other. During one of their fights, they mutually cursed each other—one was born as an elephant and the other as a spider on Earth.

 Both came and continued worshipping Lord Shiva as Jambukeswaram had called earlier. The elephant collected water from the river Kaveri in its trunk and anointed the Linga under the Jambu tree. 

The spider spins a web over the lingam to prevent dry leaves from falling on the lingam and direct sunlight. The elephant thought it was dust, destroying the ring and pouring water to clean the lingam. 

It used to happen every day, but the spider got angry one fine day because the elephant was destroying the web, and it crawled into the elephant’s trunk and bit it. The form of Lord Jambukeshwara had moved by the deep devotion of the two who freed them from their curse.

Elephant Worship

As the elephant worshipped here, the place got its name ‘Thiru Anai Ka’ (Thiru- holy, anai- elephant, ka(kadu)- forest). Later the original word, ‘Thiruanaika’, became ‘Thiruvanaikaval’ or ‘Thiruvanaikoil’. As a result of the sin of killing an elephant, in the next life, the spider king Kochengannan Chola King (Kochengannan Cholan means red-eyed). 

And he was responsible for building 70 temples, and this temple had believed to be his first. Remembering his enmity with the elephant in his previous birth, he made the ‘sannati’ (womb) temple so that even the baby elephant could not enter. One has to stoop to enter the sanctum as it is only 4 feet (1.22 m) high and 2.5 feet (0.76 m) wide.

 The nearly 70 temples he built were all Mada temples, where an elephant could not climb, or there were no doors into the sanctum sanctorum; Instead, there is a stone window with nine holes through which we can see. These nine holes represent the nine holes in the human body; some believe that they represent Navagrahas.

The story behind King’s Red-Eyes

When the queen (king’s mother) was pregnant, the palace astrologer suggested a good time for delivery, but the queen had labour pains too early. She ordered her servants to be tied upside down so that childbirth would delay and a wise and virtuous son would be born who would rule the kingdom righteously. 

According to the astrologer, the baby was born at an auspicious time, but the waiting time inside the womb made the baby’s eyes red. Hence, he had called Ko Chengannan (Ko — king, Chenganan — red eyes). He was responsible for the construction of around 70 temples.

It had believed that Lord Rama worshipped this temple after killing Ravana. Sages Agastya, Gautama and Parashara also visited this place. According to temple authorities, the present temple was built 2,000 years ago by King Kochengannan (Kochega Chole), one of the Cholas. 

Some scholars say he ruled in 600 BCE, while others believe it was 100 BCE/100 CE. The Cholas, Pandyas and Hoysalas also contributed immensely to its maintenance and expansion.

Akhilandeshwari Temple Timings

These are the timings of Akhilandeshwari Temple.

105:30 amAkhilandeshwari Temple Opening Time
205:30 amDarshan
35:30 – 6:30 amUshakkala Pooja
406:30 am – 7:30 amDarshan
5.7:30 am – 08:00 amKaalasandhi Pooja
68:00 am – 08:45 amDarshan
78:45 am – 11:00 amUchikkala Pooja
811:00 am – 12:00 pmDarshan
912:00 pm – 01:00 pmTemple remains closed
101:00 pm – 03:00 pmTemple reopens
113:00 pmDarshan
123:00 pm – 05:00 pmSaayaraksha Pooja
1305:00 pm – 5:45 pmDarshan
145:45 pm – 09:00 pmArdhajama Pooja
1509:00 pmTemple closing hours

Best Time to Visit Akhilandeshwari Temple

The best time to visit this Akhilandeshwari Temple is during the cold winter months, from November to March. During this time, the weather is pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities. Temperature ranges from 19°C to 22°C. During this period, the weather is cool and comfortable.

 Places to visit nearby Akhilandeshwari Temple

  • Some major pilgrimage centres in South India are Thanjavur, Madurai and Srirangam (Ranganathaswamy).
  • East of Tiruchirappalli (Tiruchi) is Thanjavur, home to the majestic Brihadeeswara Temple. Raja Raja Chola built it.
  • To the South of Tiruchirappalli (Trichy) lies Madurai, famous for the Meenakshi Temple.
  • In the north, just 10 km away, Srirangam is famous for the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Thiruvaram.
  • It is a sacred pilgrimage for all followers of the Vaishnava faith. 
  • This 13th-century shrine is dedicated to Lord Ranganatha (a form of the Supreme God, Lord Vishnu) and was built in the Dravidian style of architecture, later rebuilt with a new gopuram of genuinely magnificent proportions—rising over 70 meters from 13 tiers. , the tallest temple dome in Asia. It has a mammoth reclining figure of Ranganatha.

Where to Stay Near Akhilandeshwari Temple?

Most resorts, hotels, cottages and homestays in Srirangam offer budget accommodation.

  • The Scarlet Srirangam
  • Hotel Rhythm Grand Suite
  • Grande Inn
  • Star Inn
  • Hotel Deepam
  • Hotel Sri Hayagriva

Akhilandeshwari Temple Address

N Car St, Srirangam, Thiruvanaikoil, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 620005

How to reach Akhilandeshwari Temple?

By bus:

The Akhilandeshwari Temple is about 8 km from Central Bus Stand and 3 km from Chattiram Bus Stand in Tiruchirappalli. Public and private bus services are available to reach Thiruvanaikaval. The city had connected by road to major South Indian cities like Madurai, Chennai, Pondicherry and Thanjavur.

By train:

The nearest station is Tiruchirapalli which is 8 km from the Akhilandeshwari Temple, and there are two railway stations, Tiruchirapalli and Tiruchirapalli Fort. 

Both had connected to cities in South India like Chennai, Chidambaram, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tirupati, Tuticorin and Rameswaram. Trichy is a critical junction on the Southern Railway connecting Chennai, Thanjavur, Madurai, Tirupati, Tuticorin and Rameswaram.

By air:

The nearest airport is Tiruchirappalli, 15 km from the temple and 10 km from Srirangam. Regular flights connect Chennai, Bangalore, Madurai, Sharjah, Kuwait and Colombo.


How old is Jambukeshwara Temple?

The history of Jambukeshwarar temple had built by Kochengannan (Kochenga Chola), one of the earlier Cholas, about 1,800 years ago.

What is the significance of Jambukeshwara Temple?

Unlike other Shiva temples where their divine marriage is of utmost importance, the Jambukeswaram temple does not follow that custom. Devotees who worship here will get merit in this life and the next life. It had said that Goddess Akhilandeshwari bestows intelligence and good education on the devotees.

Who is Akhilandshwari Amman?

Akhilandeshwari Devi is one of the primary forms of the Hindu Goddess Parvati.

Who is Devi Akhilandeshwari?

Therefore, Devi, the divine mother who protects the entire universe in her womb (visva andam), is called “Akhilandeshwari”.