Tiruthalinathar, Tiruppathur, Sivaganga
Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Tiruthalinathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sivakami|
|Vriksham:||Sara Kondrai||Teertham:||ThaLi, Sivagangai|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Pandya Naadu)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirupputhur||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Sivaganga (38 km)||Pudukottai (45 km)|
|Madurai (72 km)||Dindigul (91 km)|
Tiruppathur is located 23km west of Karaikudi, in Sivaganga district, and is not to be confused with the Tiruppathur near Vellore or the one near Tiruchirappalli.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana, was once a thief. Wanting to turn a new leaf, he did penance in the kondrai forest, to a point where anthills formed over him. Lord Siva, pleased with the penance, appeared near the anthill (puthu in Tamil) and blessed Valmiki. As a result, He is also called Puttreeswarar, and the place was called Tiruputhur. Over time, this has been corrupted to Tiruppathur.
The sthala vriksham is the Sara Kondrai (Indian Laburnum). It is believed that the tree is the manifestation of Lord Siva as pranavam, since they are the same.
Hiranyakshan, an ardent devotee of Lord Siva, had two sons – Andhakasuran and Sambasuran. The sons were also the Lord’s devotees, but were constantly harassing the devas and celestials, who complained to Lord Siva. The Lord deputed his Bhairavar form, who demolished both the demons. To get rid of the resulting dosham, he undertook penance by standing on the toes of one leg – this is vividly depicted in the iconography of Bhairavar at this temple.
Goddess Mahalakshmi once wished to witness Lord Siva’s cosmic dance. He gave her that splendid sight here, where he danced the Gauri Tandavam. Lord Vishnu, who also prayed here to Siva, is installed as Yoga Narasimhar on the western koshtam – this is a very unique representation, since generally, the western koshtam houses Maha Vishnu, Lingodhbhavar or Ardhanareeswarar only.
Another interesting feature at this temple is the unique iconography of the Navagrahams – they are all seated. The explanation given is that they are seated in order to patiently hear devotees’ requests and prayers!
This is chiefly a Chola temple, but there are clear signs of subsequent additions and maintenance work by the Pandyas and Cheras as well as later period Pallavas. Also, the Maruthu Pandiyar brothers have patronised this temple, as they have with many others in this region.
This is likely a very old temple, going by the Vritta Sputika feature (two circular pilasters with circular shafts on all four sides) in the vimanam of the garbhagriha. Similar features are there in only a handful of other temples (eg, Moovar Kovil at Kodumbalur, which is regarded as one of the earliest expositions of complete temple architecture that is still in its complete form).
Other information for your visit
Karaikudi offers some budget and mid-range accommodation options, and some mid and high end heritage Chettinad themed options. There are also resorts located outside Karaikudi. Madurai is farther, at 64km, but has more options for accommodation.