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Sri Nellayappar (Chepparai Natarajar) temple
Moolavar: Nellayappar
  Urchavar: Natarajar
  Amman / Thayar: Gandhimathi
  Thala Virutcham: -
  Theertham: -
  Agamam / Pooja : -
  Old year: 500-1000 years old
  Historical Name: -
  City: Chepparai
  District: Tirunelveli
  State: Tamil Nadu
  Maha Shivrathri in February-March is grandly celebrated in the temple.  
 Temple's Speciality:
  The idol in the temple is considered the first Nataraja statue of the world.  
Opening Time:
  The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.  
  Sri Nellayappar (Chepparai Natarajar) Temple, Chepparai, Tirunelveli district.  
  +91-4622-339 910, 88707 20217,94866 47493 
 General Information:

It is said that four Nataraja idols were designed closely similar to that of the idol in Chidambaram.  These are in Chepparai, Karisuzhunthamangalam and Karuvelankulam in Tirunelveli district and Kattarimangalam in Tuticorin district.


Devotees pray for child boon, excellence in academic pursuits and for removal of obstacles in marriage alliances.

Thanks giving:
  Devotees perform abishek to Lord and Mother with vastras. 
 Greatness Of Temple:

Veerapandian, a chieftain under king Ramapandian happened to see a Nataraja idol in Chepparai.  He told a sculptor that he wanted two such idols closely similar to Chepparai Nataraja.  After completion, Veerapandian installed one in Kattarimangalam temple and the other at Karisuzhndhamangalam.  He was too happy to see the beauty of the idols. 


The king thought that no one should have such beautiful Nataraja idol and called his men and ordered them to kill the sculptor so that he could not make idols further.  The merciful men spared the sculptor after cutting off his hands.  The chief king Ramapandian, on hearing this gruesome act, ordered cutting off the hands of Veerapandian.  These too went to Kattarimangalam and Karisuzhunthamanagalam.


The Sthapathy-sculptor was treated with an artificial hand.  The art-hungry sculptor established his skill by making the third idol too with his wooden hand.  It was a wonderful idol than the earlier two.  The excited sculptor touched hard the cheeks of the idol and this has that scar.  This was installed in Karuvelankulam.

  Temple History:

In days of yore, a wicked king was ruling a region called Uttara Pradesh.  He suddenly realized that man becomes wicked only if he has all powers and prosperity and therefore, decided to renounce all his position and possessions.  During his wandering, he saw sage Vyakrapada and Sage Patanjali doing penance in a place dense with Thillai trees.  He had the luck of also seeing Lord Shiva granting darshan to the sages.  As advised, he raised a temple for Lord Nataraja in Chidambaram and got an idol made of copper.  As it was very beautiful, he thought that the idol would be more beautiful if made of gold.  He gave sufficient gold to the sculptors to make the idol.  The idol only turned copper after it was made.   The king put the sculptor in jail.  Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of the king and told him that He would like to be in copper only and not in gold.  The sculptor was set free then.


The second copper idol was installed in Chidambaram.  One Namasivaya Sthapathy, was instructed by Lord Shiva to carry it southward and keep it at a place where it became heavy to carry.  The idol became too heavy to carry when the sthapathy came to Chepparai where he placed it.  Ramapandian built the temple there and installed Nellapayappar with Mother Gandhimathi and also built a shrine for Lord Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer.

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