The main deity of the temple is Shiva lingam in the form of Kampaheswarar. There is a separate shrine for Sarabeswarar, a fusion of man, eagle and lion - the deity is believed to have relieved Devas (celestial deities) from the fury of Vishnu in the form of Narasimha after he slayed Hiranyakasibu. A sculpture of Sharbeshwaramurti in the Tribhuvanam temple, a Shiva temple in Tanjore district, in Tamil Nadu is seen with three legs, with body and face of a lion and a tail.
As per inscriptions found in the south wall of the temple, the shrine was constructed by the Chola king Kulothunga Chola III as a memorial of his successful North Indian campaign. The inscriptions in the shrine of the presiding deity is similar to the one in the outer gopuram (gateway tower), which indicates the building of the temple by Kulottunga-Choladeva. While it is unclear which Kulottunga it is, scholars have placed it at 1176 CE, which is closer to the reign of Kulothunga Chola III, who is believed to have been the last powerful Chola king. There are four inscriptions from Kulothunga Chola in Grantha script. The inscription 189 of 1907, the one on the southern wall of the central shrine, is damaged and mentions Arya Sri-Somanatha.
The distinct features of all the temples are the vimana, the structure over the sanctum, being taller than the gateway tower, which is an unusual feature in Dravidian temples. There is a separate shrine for Sarabeswarar and a metal icon of the same deity within the sanctum, which has fine artistic work. Yali, a mythical creature with the face of a lion, which is otherwise considered a symbol of Nayak architecture, has its earliest representation in Chola art in the temple, built by the Later Cholas of the 13th century.
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