Padavedu is centrally located among Vellore, Thiruvannamalai and Arani in the Vellore – Polur (Thiruvannamalai) route. While going from Vellore, there is a junction called Santhavasal at 32 km from Vellore town and from this junction you have to turn right (towards west) and travel further for about 6 kms to reach Padavedu.Note: Normally there is no need to go through Vellore and the shortest would be through Arcot – Arani but since the road is being laid in that route, it is better to go through Vellore now.
From ChennaiChennai (Adayar) to Vellore Highways junction – 142 kmVellore Highways junction to Santhavasal – 37 kmSanthavasal to Padavedu Renugambal Temple – 6 km
From other places:Thiruvannamalai to Padavedu – 55 kmAarani to Padavedu – 23 km
Padaivedu is one of the most important 'Sakthi Sthalas' in Thondainadu (a part of Tamil Nadu). Goddess Renugambal is self-manifested in this place, indicating "Sakthi is everything in this world" and offering her blessings along with Brahma, Vishnu and Lord Siva. In this place a number of sages performed penance and attained salvation. The existence of Banalingam and Nanakarshna Chakra consecrated by Adi Sankarar is the specialty of this place.
History of the place
During 13th and 14th Centuries, the Sambuvarayar chieftains ruled this region under the patronage of the Pandyas. For a short time they became independent and subsequently came under the rule of Kempagowda. Padavedu was the capital of their empire and so this was a big commercial place during that time. There were two forts – Big fort and Small fort with moats (Agazhi in Tamil). Number of sages performed penance and attained salvation here. It is said that there were 1008 Shiva temples and 108 Vishnu temples here (though it is difficult to believe). Out of these except the Yoga Ramar temple and the Renugambal temple, all other floor temples have disappeared due to the natural disasters. During the 1990s, many temples have been unearthed and renovated. These were built at various points of time, but most of the improvements and decorations appear to have been done when the Sambuvarayar came under the sway of the Vijayanagar Empire. There are many inscriptions from Vijayanagara periods.
Legend of the place
Renuga devi, an incarnation of Parvathi devi, traveled the whole world accompanied by her friends and an army in search of a suitable husband. Finally, she arrived at Kundalipuram, where saint Jamadagini was doing penance. Since Renuga devi camped near the Ashram with her soldiers, the sacred place was named “Padai Veedu” (army encampment). Here, Renuga devi saw Saint Jamadagini, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. At that time a war broke out between the disciples of the Saint Jamadagini and the soldiers of Renuga devi. Durga (Chamundeeswari) who accompanied Renuga devi, effected havoc by producing fire from her third eye. Seeing this, the Saint Jamadagini brought all the Teerthas available in three worlds in his kamandalam (water jug used by ascetics) and dropped it. The water from kamandalam transformed into a huge river and extinguished the fire brought out by Chamundeeswari. This river is known as “Kamandala Nadhi”. Later Renuga devi and Saint Jamadagini married and gave birth to Parasuramar, one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Historic Importance of Padaivedu
Nestled among the hills between Arni and Vellore is a village called Padaivedu. This beautiful pastoral village was once the capital of Sambuvarayar Dynasty and was also a grand commercial centre. Encircled by mountains and hills, this place consists of 17 villages.
During 13th and 14th Centuries the Sambuvarayar chieftains ruled this area under the patronage of the Pandyas. For a short time they became independent of Pandyas and subsequently they came under the rule of Kempagowda. During their reign, Sambuvarayas rendered great service to art and religion. The archeological findings in this area bear ample testimony to this fact.
It is fascinating to find that Padaivedu is the abode of so many deities. The temples are dedicated to Goddess Renuka Devi, Draupadi, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ramar and Lord Venugopala.
These temples were built at various points of time, but most of the improvements and decorations appear to have been done when the Sambuvarayar came under the sway of the Vijayanagar empire.
The town Padaivedu was in full pomp and glory during the regime of the following Sambuvarayar Chieftains: