Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Atmanatheswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Gnanambikai|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvalampozhil||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Thanjavur (15 km)||Ariyalur (38 km)|
|Kumbakonam (46 km)||Tiruchirappalli (53 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Once, the Ashtavasus stole Kamadhenu. Sage Kashyapa realised this through his divine vision and cursed the eight of them to be born as humans. They pleaded with the sage for mercy, and also came and worshipped at this temple to ensure that they would spend as little time as possible on Bhulokam. Eventually, the sage modified the curse in such a way, that seven of them who were only complicit in the stealing plan but did not actually involve themselves in the act, would spend very little time on earth. However, the eighth vasu – the one who committed the actual crime – would live for very long on earth. Later on, in the Mahabharatam, they were born as Santanu’s sons by Ganga, and the eighth vasu was born as Bhishma. [Note: there are variants of this puranam, where it is sage Vasishta’s cow Nandini that is stolen.]
The identity of Ashta Vasus varies by text. Some suggest they are sons of Dharma and Vasu (another daughter of Daksha), while others say they are sons of Brahma or Manu. The names of the eight also vary.
- In the Adi Parva of the Mahabharatam, their names are given as Dhara, Dhruva, Soma, Ahas, Anila, Anala, Pratyusha, and Prabhasa.
- In the Vishnu Puranam, they are named Apa, Dhruva, Soma, Dharma, Anila, Anala, Pratyusha and Prabhasa. They are Drona, Prana, Dhruva, Arka, Agni, Dosha, Vasu, and Vibhavasu in the Bhagavatam, and
- in the Harivamsa, they are identified as Akha, Dhara, Dhruva, Soma, Anila, Anala, Pratyusha, and Prabhasa.
Tiruvalampozhil gets its name from “ala”, meaning banyan in Tamil. This place must have been full of banyan trees at one time. In his Tiruthandagam (forming part of the Tevaram), Appar sang about this temple, with the line “தென் பரம்பைக் குடியின் மேய திருவாலம் பொழிலானைச் சிந்தி நெஞ்சே” (meaning “always think of Siva residing at Then Parambaikudi as Tiruvalampozhilaan”) appearing in each verse. From this, it is understood that around the 7th and 8th century, this place used to be called Parambai.
Sundarar was reminded of Nandi’s wedding when he was worshipping here. This is a parikara sthalam for those born under the Magham nakshatram. This temple is also a prarthana sthalam for childbirth. Durga at this temple is considered extremely powerful.
The moolavar at this west-facing temple is a swayambhu murti. This is quite an old temple with a simple layout and design. The absence of ornate pillars suggests this is from either a very early Chola or possibly even late Pallava period.
Other information for your visit
The temple does not have its own priest. Instead, the priest from Mela Tirupoonthuruthi temple also takes care of this temple. Therefore, while the temple may be open during the stated times, it is best to contact the priest in case there are any specific pujas etc that need to be performed.
We visited this temple in late 2015, it was in a poor state of disrepair. However, as some of the pictures below indicate, the temple was preparing for a kumbhabhishekam which was conducted in 2017. That said, it is understood that the temple has substantially gone back to its earlier condition, for want of maintenance.
Phone: 04365 284573