Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kailasanathar||Ambal / Thayar:||x|
|Deity:||Vaippu Sthalam||Historical name:||Chaturvedi Mangalam|
|Timing:||7.30 to 9.30 & 5.30 to 7.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu Sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Brahmadesam||District:||Tirunelveli|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tirunelveli (36 km)||Nagercoil (77 km)|
|Kanyakumari (90 km)||Thoothukudi (97 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
There are many places in Tamil Nadu named Brahmadesam, but this is possibly one of the oldest of them all. As with several temples in this region, including the Nava Kailasam set of temples, this temple is also connected with Sage Romaharshana, regarded as the grandson of Brahma.
The sage had incurred Brahmahathi dosham at some point, and was visiting many Siva temples in order to obtain relief from the curse. When he came to worship, he saw a swayambhu murti of Siva as a Lingam, under an elanthai tree. The sage, after creating a temple tank, duly installed and consecrated the Lingam and worshipped it every day, eventually getting rid of his dosham.
This place is also referred to by other names, including Adi Kailasam, Raja Chaturvedimangalam (possibly because it was set up by the king as a place of living for brahmins), Ayaneeswaram (the Tamil version of Brahma-Desam; and is referred to by this name in the Tambraparani Mahatmiyam). One version of the etymology of the place is from Sage Romaharshana’s Brahmahathi dosham – that resulted in the place being named Brahma Dosham, and over time, corrupted to Brahmadesam.
There is also mention of this place in the Brahmanda Puranam, where Siva is said to have informed Sage Atri, that He would appear as a swayambhu murti simultaneously at three places – Sivasailam, nearby Tiruvaleeswaram, and here at Brahmadesam.
If the temple and its walls remind one of a fortress, there is good reason for this. At one time, this was an extremely prosperous town, and so there were frequent invasions, as well as widespread thievery here. Therefore, in his time, Raja Raja Chola I established the Naalayira Padai (an army of 4000 soldiers) to guard the place, and installed the Nalayirathu Amman as a guardian deity, whose shrine can be seen near the temple.
This temple finds mention in the Saiva canonical work, Tevaram, as a Vaippu sthalam. While the origins of the temple are not known, the architecture here (more on that below) clearly shows the involvement of all of the major ruling dynasties of the region – the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas; as well as more recent additions by the Nayaks in the late 16th century.
Like the Brihadeswarar temple in Thanjavur, the theme of this temple seems to be on size. The temple is spread over a huge are, with a really tall raja gopuram (that one can climb up using stairs) adorning the main eastern entrance, followed by a big bali-peetham. Nandi here is about 7 feet tall, and sports a chain and anklets. To the right of the Amman shrine, there is a murti of Siva as Bhikshatanar, also about 6 or 7 feet tall.
The architecture in this temple as fascinating as it is extensive. In the mandapam right after the main gopuram, the roof is carved out stone in such a manner that it looks like a wooden carving! To the north of this is the Tiruvadhirai Mandapam, which itself is worth a visit and spending a lot of time at. Every mandapam, pillar, and shrine is heaped with intricate architectural work.
There are five Siva Lingams that are worshipped at this temple: Kasi Viswanathar, Annamalaiyar, Sokkanathar, Elanthaiadinathar, and Kailasanathar. Natarajar here is called Punugu Natarajar, who is so named because He receives abhishekam only on the day of Tiruvadhirai in the Tamil month of Margazh (December-January); on all other days, he is simply anointed with punugu oil.
There is also a separate shrine for Saraswati. There is no separate Navagraham shrine here, but interestingly, there is a shrine for Suryan, who is said to worship Siva here twice a year – on the day of moving from Uttarayanam to Dakshinayanam (northward to southward movement of the sun), and the other way round. Being associated with both Saraswati and Suryan means this temple is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to do well in education.
Other information for your visit
Phone: 04634-254247; 9442894094