Agneeswarar, Mela Tirukattupalli, Thanjavur

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:AgneeswararAmbal / Thayar:Soundaranayaki, Azhagammai
Deity:SivaHistorical name:MelaitirukkaaTTuppaLLi
Vriksham:Vanni, VilvamTeertham:Agni Teertham, Kaveri

Age (years):

Timing:6 to 11 & 4 to 8.30Parikaram:

Temple group:Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)
Sung by:

Sambandar, Appar

Temple set:



City / town:Mela TirukattupalliDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Thanjavur (27 km)Tiruchirappalli (37 km)

Ariyalur (43 km)Perambalur (54 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

There are two places on the banks of the Kaveri river, called Tirukattupalli. One is this temple – located at Mela Tirukattupalli (as it is upstream of the river) between Trichy and Thanjavur – and the other is the Keezh Tirukattupalli (located downstream of the Kaveri river, where the Aranyeswarar temple is located), very close to the Tiruvenkadu Swetaranyeswarar temple.

Once there was a gathering of the celestials at this place, to pray to Lord Siva. Agni had a specific request. He put forth that he was carrying the burden of all the sins that were burnt in the fires of yagams. In addition, he had a poor reputation of scorching and charring anything he touched. So he wished to be purified of these accumulations. At Sivas’ directions, Agni worshipped Him after taking a bath at the temple tank. So the moolavar here takes the name Agneeswarar, and the temple tank is also called Agni Teertham.

At one time, the reigning king of Uraiyur would get sevvanthi flowers from the garden of Sage Saroma, which were intended only for Siva worship. The king would then give the flowers to his two wives. The elder one who lived in Tirukattupalli would use them to worship Siva, while the younger wife at Uraiyur wore them on herself. Displeased with this, the sage made Siva rain sand at Uraiyur, until the king and the queen realised their error, and worshipped here in penitence.

The temple is referred to in ancient Tamil literature by the name Theeyadiappar. The structural temple is Chola, initially from the time of Aditya Chola I with significant enhancements by Sundara Chola, and subsequent additions by the Pandyas and Vijayanagara dynasty. All of these dynasties are referred to in the inscriptions in the temple.

The garbhagriham and inner prakaram are located slightly below ground level, and the moolavar Lingam is relatively small in size. Interestingly, Lingodhbhavar who is usually enshrined in the west koshtam, occupies a place on the south koshtam. Ardhanareeswarar is on the west koshtam instead. There is a separate shrine in this temple for Vishnu, as Srinivasa Perumal. The Navagraham layout is also unique, with all the grahams facing Suryan. Yoga Dakshinamurti here is also unique, with only two arms, and sporting both the sun and moon on his head. Other architecture work in the temple prakaram include scenes from various puranams involving Siva, Krishna and Durga, as well as scenes from the Ramayanam.

The temple has a unique custom as part of the festival celebrated in the Tamil month of Masi (February-March). The nearby village of Nagachi is believed to be the birthplace of Soundaryanayaki, the Ambal at this temple. As part of the festival, Siva goes to Nagachi one evening, and returns the following day. For this return trip, He is given food to last him the journey back to Tirukattupalli. It is regarded that the tradition of “kattusaadam” in traditional weddings may have arisen from the practice followed at this temple.

Other information for your visit

By some accounts, the Brihacharanam sub-sect of Iyers are said to trace their origins to Krishna-Raman (also called Mummudi Chola Brahmarayan), a general in Raja Raja Chola I‘s army, who was from the nearby village of Palamaneri.

It is believed that a subterranean passageway exists from this temple to the Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar temple.


Phone: 94423 47433

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