Description : This Dhivya Desam is accessed from Arakkonam junction, the terminating point of the suburban railroad originating at Chennai. Sholingur has its own railhead, although the temple is located at a considerable distance from the railway station.
Sholingapuram is a town of historical importance as this is where a battle was fought between Hyder Ali and the British in 1781.
The name Sholingapuram stems from the legend that a Chozha Raja discovered a Shiva lingam and built a temple here (Chozha Linga Puram, hence Sholingapuram). The Bhrama Puranam refers to this shrine as Katikachalam and Chintamani. It is also referred to as Vada Thiruvarangam.
This Dhivyadesam is a complex of three temples, one at ground level, one on a 500 feet high hill, and another on a smaller hill, enshrining Yoga Anjaneyar.
Deities: In the ground temple, the festival image of Bhaktavatsala Perumal is enshrined. There is also a shrine to Adikesava Perumal here.
The Katikachalam Hill, (400 feet above sea level) reached via a flight of 1000 steps enshrines Yoga Narasimhar in a seated posture facing east; Amritavalli Thaayaar is enshrined in a separate sanctum. The entrance faces north while the shrine faces east. Seven mandapams are seen enroute. The hill temple has 2 prakarams and a 5 tiered vimanam.
The Srinivasa Pushkarini is in front of the Bhaktavatsalar temple while the Bhramma theertham is on the road leading to the hill temple. There are also the Narasimha Theertham and the Bhairavi Theertham and the Thiruvadi Theertham. There are several other Theerthams in the hill and its environs.
Enroute, there is a shrine with an image of Varadaraja Perumal, seated on the Garuda mount.
The smaller hill enshrines Yoga Anjaneyar, with four arms, bearing a conch and a discus. This temple has two towers and the Hanuman theertham and the Rama theertham. There are also shrines to Pallikonda Ranganathar facing south, and Kodandaramar facing West. The Pandava theertham is situated at the bottom of this hill.
Inscriptions from the period of Parantaka Chozha I (10th century) as well as those from the Vijayanagar period are found here. It is said that even during the time of Karikal Chozhan, this region of Tamilnadu was referred to as Kadikaikkottam.
Legends: It is believed that even residing here for a matter of minutes (katikai or half an hour) would liberate one from the cycle of births and deaths and hence the name Katikachalam. (Ghatikachalam). Legend has it that Viswamitrar worshipped Perumaal for a 'katikai' and earned the title Bhrammarishi. The Saptarishis desirous of a vision of Narasimhavataram, were blessed after they prayed here for a 'katikai'.
It is believed that those afflicted with psychological ailments, find cure upon residing here. There is also a legend that this hallowed hill which arose out of the surrounding plains, continued to rise in height much to the chagrin of Indra, who requested Balaramar to press it down to its present height. Another legend has it that a ruler engaged in hunting in this area, was guided by a divine source of light emanating from a deer which he had struck - to the path of non violence. It is believed that Hanuman had manifested himself in this form. Hanuman is believed to have been sent here by Rama to help a ruler kill demons in this area. Valmiki is said to have worshipped here.
Another legend has it that upon the completion of his mission in Ramavataram, Rama intended to leave the mortal world here; desirous of being with him, Hanuman accompanied him here. Upon reaching here it was discovered that demons were causing undue hardships to the saptarishis who were desirous of having a vision of Perumaal. With Rama's blessings Hanuman vanquished the demons. Rama provided the saptarishis with a vision of Narasimhavataram and an elated Hanuman bearing a conch and discus that had been given to him by Rama stood on the nearby hill.
Another legend has it that the planet mercury - Budhan worshipped here and was relieved of a curse that had been placed on him by Durvasa muni.
There are several literary works extolling the greatness of this shrine.
Festivals: Two worship services are offered each day in the hill temples while three are offered in the Bhaktavatsalar temple, as per the Vaikanasa Agamam. Festivals celebrated here include the Chittirai Bhramotsavam, Avani Pavitrotsavam, Margazhi Padi Utsavam, Navaratri and Kartikai, the girivalam on the 2nd 3rd days of Thai. And Mukkoti Dwadasi. Worshipping on Thursdays is considered of significance here.