Panchavarneswarar, Urayur, Tiruchirappalli
Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Panchavarneswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Kantimathi|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Uraiyur||District:||Tiruchirappalli|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tiruchirappalli (5 km)||Perambalur (62.5 km)|
|Thanjavur (63.7 km)||Pudukottai (65.2 km)|
Uraiyur (or Woraiyur) is an area in the northern part of Trichy south of the Kaveri river.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Siva appeared as a Lingam in five colours – gold, red, black, white and ash – to Brahma here. Sage Uthanga had lost his wife in the river, to a crocodile. He worshipped here and the Lord appeared to him in five colours and forms – as a gem, gold, diamond, spatikam and an image. So, the Lord here is called Panchavarnaswamy or Panchavarneswarar.
An atheist once disregarded the vibhuti given to him as prasadam. In his next life, he was born as a pig, living in squalid surroundings, with memory of his previous birth. He regretted his behaviour, and bathed in the temple’s Teertham, and was cured of his form and surroundings.
Veeravaditya, a Chola king, saw the five daughters of Nagarajar, the Naga king, worshipping a Siva Lingam each, on the banks of the temple tank. He married the youngest of the daughters, and requested Nagarajar for the Lingam that the latter worshipped. Nagarajar handed it over to the king, along with the five lingams worshipped by his daughters. All of these Lingams merged into one, which is considered the presiding deity of this temple. This is commemorated in the temple’s annual festival in the month of Vaikasi (May-June).
One of the more ancient names of Uraiyur is Kozhi (Tamil for rooster or cock). As the legend goes, Karikalan, the early Chola king with his capital at Kaveripoompmattinam (today’s Poompuhar) was passing through this place on his elephant, when the elephant suddenly went out of control. Lord Siva, in the form of a rooster, appeared and struck the elephant on the forehead, upon which the elephant started to retreat. Then the king saw the rooster dig a spot on the ground, and upon further digging, there was a Lingam there, and this temple was built as a result. Realising the greatness of the place, the king decided to stay here and make it his new capital.
The Lord here appears in five colours or aspects, and each of these is regarded as one of the 5 elements. Therefore it is believed that the collective benefit of worshipping separately at each of the five Pancha Bootha Sthalams, can be had by just worshipping at this temple.
It is believed that just as Rama worshipped Lord Siva at Rameswaram, Vishnu worshipped Siva here at Mukkeeswaram (another ancient name for Uraiyur).
Uraiyur is the avatara sthalam of two Nayanmars – Pugazh Chola and also Kochchenga Cholan; and also Vaishnavite saint Tiruppanazhvar’s avatara sthalam. It is also the mukti sthalam of Kochchenga Cholan.
Uraiyur is extremely significant in the history of Tamilakam as one of the capital cities during the Chola times, up to the 11th century CE. Chola kings often referred to themselves as the rulers from Kozhi.
This is almost entirely a Chola temple, and it is regarded that this temple was built by Kochchenga Cholan (it is one of the maadakoils built by him), with additions by later Chola kings. The Chola influence on this temple is obvious, based on the intricate sculptures and architecture. As a prominent temple, however, the moovendar (Chera, Chola and Pandya kings) have worshipped here, and so there are some elements of Chera and Pandya influence as well, in the temple.
There are inscriptions in the temple referring to grants of property for the maintenance of the temple. There is also an inscription referring to this place as Rajasraya Chaturvedimangalam in the time of Raja Raja Chola I, and another announcing the reign Rajendra Chola I.
Other information for your visit
Trichy is served by an international airport. Being in roughly the geographical centre of Tamil Nadu, Trichy is well connected by trains to the rest of the state and with other destinations as well.
There are several accommodation options in Trichy across all budgets.