Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Mayuranathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Abhayambikai|
|Vriksham:||Maamaram, Vanni||Teertham:||Brahma Teertham, Kaveri river, Rishabha Teertham|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Mayiladuthurai||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (4 km)||Kumbakonam (41 km)|
|Tiruvarur (45 km)||Nagapattinam (53 km)|
The temple is located within Mayiladuthurai town, and is close to several other temples of prominence as well as the Dharmapuram Adheenam.
Sthala puranam and temple information
The Mayiladuthurai Mayuranathar temple is one of the great temples on the banks of the Kaveri River. Located close to the Dharmapuram Adheenam, this is one of 6 sthalams considered equal to Kasi. Mayura means peacock, and naturally, there is a peacock legend connected with this temple, along with the Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore, Chennai.
Aduthurai refers to the banks of a river. Mayil in Tamil means peacock. Mayil-adu-thurai therefore means the place by the river where peacocks frolic! This place used to be known as Mayuram (also peacock, in Sanskrit), which was later corrupted to Mayavaram.
Parvati attended the yagam by her father Daksha, although Siva was against her going, as he had not been invited. However, she and her husband were humiliated by Daksha. When she returned to Kailasam, Lord Siva cursed her to be born as a peahen. So Parvati, as a peahen, did penance at Mylapore and Mayuram, to be relieved from the curse and reunite with Lord Siva. Eventually, Lord Siva came here as a peacock and accepted her penance. He also danced the Mayura tandavam here.
When Goddess Parvathi was under penance here she gave protection to a peacock and so is named Abhayambikai.
All the celestials were punished by Siva for attending Daksha’s yagam, so they took a bath in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers to rid themselves of their sins. In turn, these rivers approached Lord Siva, who told them to take a dip in the Kaveri river to wash of their sins, specifically in the Tamil month of Aipasi, also known as Tula (October-November). They did so, as did Lakshmi, Saraswati, Gowri, and all other celestials and sages. It is believed that they do so every year, and this is popularly known as Tula Snanam, where people also take a dip in the Kaveri river.
A lame devotee called Nada Sarma and his wife Anavidayambikai also wanted to bathe here during Tula Snanam, but due to his condition, he reached only on the first day of Kartikai (November-December). He prayed to Lord Siva to help him, and Siva gracefully extended the time till the early morning of the first day of Kartikai for the Tula Snanam. This day is celebrated as Mudavan Muzhukku (dip of the lame). Nada Sarma and his wife were made whole by the Lord, and were enshrined in this temple after they merged with the Lord. Both the Lingams are enshrined facing western and eastern directions. To celebrate this, the lingam of Anavidayambikai is always clothed only in a red saree, indicating the oneness of male and female.
Indra Lingam, Agni Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Varuna Lingam, Yama Lingam, Sahasra Lingam, Brahma Lingam, Akasa Lingam and the Lingams worshipped by Chandran, Sooriyan, Vishnu, Nada Sharma and his wife surround Mayuranathar.
The practice of a bath in the temple tank on the first day of Kartikai month can be traced to the above story. New moon day in the Tamil month of Aipasi (mid-October to mid-November) is special, to take a bath in the temple pond.
Appar, Sambandar and Arunagirinathar have sung hymns on Lord Siva here.
Other information for your visit
As is the case with several places, there are 7 temples (usually called Sapta Sthanam) in and around Mayiladuthurai which comprise the Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam set of temples, and which celebrate their festival together. These seven temples here are:
Mayuranathar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Margasahayeswarar, Moovalur, Mayiladuthurai
Aiyarappar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Kasi Viswanathar, Senthangudi, Mayiladuthurai
Punugeswarar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Brahmapureeswarar, Sitharkadu, Mayiladuthurai
Azhagiyanathar, Sholampettai, Mayiladuthurai
As part of the festival, the utsava deities of all these temples gather together, and go in procession around Mayiladuthurai, on Chitra Pournami, and finally reach the Mayuranathar temple, before going back to their respective temples.
This is also one of the 5 Pancha Dakshinamurti sthalams around Mayiladuthurai, which are:
There is a very good stay option at Srinivas Guest House, which is located very close to the temple.