Abatsahayeswarar, Alangudi, Thanjavur
Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Abatsahayeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Umayammai, Elavaar Kuzhali|
|Vriksham:||Poolai||Teertham:||Brahma Teertham, Amirtha Pushkarani and 13 other Teerthams|
|Timing:||6 to 12.30 & 4 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Alangudi||District:||Tiruvarur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (17.3 km)||Tiruvarur (29.8 km)|
|Thanjavur (37.6 km)||Mayiladuthurai (47.1 km)|
Alangudi is located a few kms south of Kumbakonam, on the way to Nidamangalam and Mannargudi.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Alangudi is said to be the location where Lord Siva ingested the Hahalaha poison when the paarkadal (ocean of milk) was churned. Hence he is called Abatsahayeswarar (the Lord as protector) and the name of the place derives from this legend as well (alan-kudi, where alala/halahala was drunk).
Parvathi worshipped here as penance for visiting her father Daksha’s yagam, and to marry Lord Siva on her rebirth. Daksha’s image with the head of goat is seen outside the main temple.
This temple is also one of the Kumbakonam Navagraha sthalams – the Guru sthalam – where devotees throng to worship Dakshinamurti, almost entirely ignoring the moolavar (Abatsahayeswarar). Worshipping at this temple on Thursdays is considered special, given its connection to Guru, and hence this temple is always crowded on Thursdays.
When one enters the temple, first is the Amman sannidhi, followed by Lord Siva’s sannidhi and then Dakshinamoorthy (on the south wall / koshta), following the traditional theme of mata, pita, guru.
There is an image of Sundarar (also closely associated with the legend of the churning of paarkadal and halahala) with chicken pox marks on the face. According to legend, the King at the time was so impressed with the beauty of Sundarar and took it to Tiruvarur for installation. But the priest wanted to save the idol and took it, hiding it in a piece of cloth as if carrying a child. He told the soldiers that the child was suffering from chicken pox to keep them away. The following morning, the idol had developed marks on the face to indicate chicken pox.
This is one of the Pancha Aranya Kshetrams (or five forest temples) near Kumbakonam, and according to sthalam puranam, the recommended route is to start a pilgrimage in the morning, and visit the 5 temples on the same day, in the following order (for pujas): Tirukarukavur (ushatkala puja, early morning), Avalivanallur (kalasandhi puja, morning), Haridwaramangalam (uchikala puja, midday), Alangudi (sayaratchai, evening) and Tirukollampudur (arthajamam, night). However, in today’s terms, these temples are within a total driving distance of about 36km, and can quite easily be completed in about 4-5 hours, including the temple visit time.
Similar to the story at Tirukollampudur, when Sundarar came to pray to the Lord, he was unable to cross the Vettaru river due to heavy floods. Lord Siva took the form of a boatman to help Sundarar cross the river, thereby giving the Lord the name he is Abatsahayeswarar. While crossing the river, the boat hit against a rock but Vinayaka ensured the safety of the boat, and is hence named Kalangamal Kaththa Vinayagar.