Rudrakeswarar, Thepperumanallur, Thanjavur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:RudrakeswararAmbal / Thayar:Veda Nayaki
Deity:SivaHistorical name:
Vriksham:Teertham:Brahma Teertham
Agamam:

Age (years):

Timing:7 to 12 & 5 to 9Parikaram:

Temple group:
Sung by:

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:ThepperumanallurDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Kumbakonam (6.2 km)Mayiladuthurai (31.8 km)

Tiruvarur (38 km)Thanjavur (47.8 km)

Location

Thepperumanllur is located 2km from Tirunageswaram, 5 km from Tiruvidaimaruthur, and 7km from Kumbakonam.

Sthala puranam and temple information

It is regarded that Siva is in Ananda Swarupam at this temple, and so only those who are not destined to be born again, will be able to visit this temple. In other words, despite all plans, it is by the Lord’s grace that one can visit this temple.

While it is not a Tevaram Paadal Petra Sthalam, this temple is considered extremely powerful. Siva here is worshipped as Viswanathar and Rudrakeshwarar. There are several specialties and puranams about this temple.

Once, Siva was leaving Kailasam to provide Viswaroopam darsanam at the Aadi Kumbeswarar temple at Kumbakonam. As part of this festival, He would become Annadana Sivan, feeding countless devotees at the Mahamaham festival. It also happened to be the time when Sani was to stop him for 7 and a half nazhigais (a unit of time). Sani was initially reluctant to do so, afraid of Siva’s wrath, but he also believed he would be failing in his duties if he was not impartial. In order to achieve this, Sani told Parvati that he would stop Siva for seven and a half nazhigais. This angered Parvati, who asked Lord Siva to hide inside a Peepul tree, while She continuously chanted the Vedas. At the end of the specified time, Parvati mocked Sani that he could not do anything, but in response, Sani arrogantly stated that he had made the Lord hide from him, which was equivalent to being stopped by Sani. An angry Siva came out as Bhairavar and tore Sani into two. Sani pleaded with Siva, that since everything happens according to His wish, this too was of the same nature. Sani was pardoned, but lost his inauspiciousness / negative powers. But because Sani’s effects are required in order to keep people in check, Siva and Parvati arrived here as Viswanathar and Visalakshi, to pardon Sani so that he could resume his duties. Due to His anger towards Sani, the Lord also directed all the planets to change their positions and face Suryan. Sani is also depicted in “garva kolam”, ie, appearing arrogant.

Sage Agastyar wanted to come to this place to undertake penance. Since the sage was destined to have future births for the benefit of the world, Lord Siva directed Makaranda Rishi to prevent Agastyar from coming here. The Rishi feared going against the will of Agastyar, but had the Lord’s backing. So he took the form of a Makaranda flower (which gave him his name) which bloomed once in 48 years and was considered equivalent of darsanam of Kailasam, and populated the whole place which such flowers. When Agastyar came here, he was surprised, and requested the flowers to move, since he did not wish to step on them. When the flowers refused, Agastyar realized what was happening, and cursed Makaranda rishi to have a lion’s face. The Rishi continued his penance here for 44 years, until one day when he slipped. One of the rudrakshams he was wearing fell on the Lord’s murti, and instantly shone as the equivalent of the 12 Jyotirlingams. The Rishi was liberated from his curse. For this reason, worshipping at this temple is considered the equivalent of worshipping at all 12 Jyotirlingam temples in India. The moolavar is covered with a canopy made of rudrakshams, and archanai is done with rudrakshams.

When Raja Raja Chola I heard of this story, he had a desire to visit this place with his retinue. But his ministers advised him against it. Disregarding their advice, the king came alone on his horse. When he reached the temple, the horse did not stop (as that would have meant that Raja Raja Chola would have had to step on the ground), and instead took him around the Lingam 12 times. It is believed that during each circumambulation by the horse, the Lingam changed form as each of the Jyotirlingams. Apparently, this led Siva to remark that in the Chola kingdom, even horses are intelligent. It is also said that later, the horse came here on its own and sacrificed itself for the well-being of the king and the kingdom. Raja Raja Chola then built this temple.

It is said that during pralayam, this place was not inundate but was completely dry. This surprised Brahma, who came here to see why this was the case, and found that there was a Jyotirlingam of Viswanathar here, wearing a garland of skulls of the ashta digpalakas. Another version of this is that during pralayam, Siva took the Viswaroopam, which caused a lot of heat and fear in the world. To cool this down, Parvati continuously chanted the Vedas.

In another legend, when Brahma wanted to know why this place did not get inundated during pralayam, he asked Siva, who told him to ask Vishnu, who in turn told him to ask Ganapati. But Ganapati did not tell him, until Brahma undertook severe penance. After getting Siva’s permission, Ganapati took 3 avatarams – as animal, human and maya – with the body of an elephant, fingers and eyes of humans, and wearing a garland of skulls (representing maya) and revealed the truth to Brahma. For this reason, Vinayakar here is called Kapala Ganapati, and sports eyes, fingers and toes just like human ones.

Even today, Amman Vedanayaki (or Vedantanayaki) is said to be continuously chanting the Vedas for the benefit of mankind. It is believed that the mouth of Amman’s murti here moves, and if one checks the position of the lips with a few minutes gap, there will be a perceptible difference. Amman is also seen in a posture as though she is walking – one leg a little in front of the other. It is also believed that on pradosham days, devotees who offer sincere prayers can hear Amman’s footsteps as she moves / dances.

When Nandi came here, he fell down, and his right ear became bent. He prayed to Siva for help, but the Lord told him that the ear could not be rectified. However, any request by a devotee in Nandi’s right ear, would be fulfilled.

There is a story which is said to be true even today. On several days of the year, and particularly on the day of the solar eclipse, a snake carries a vilvam leaf in its mouth and places it on the Lingam. Sometimes, the snake is seen lying on top of the Lingam, or sheds is skin in the garbhagriham. There are photographs in the temple, of this having taken place.

The temple is a Chola temple, and is built in the shape of a chariot, and its building employed a technique using honey and lime. The temple is constructed in such a way that the sun’s rays fall on the moolavar on all days of the year, except the day of solar eclipse. This is because, Nagarajan (king of the Nagas) undertook penance here for 12 years, and attained moksham on the day of the solar eclipse. On this day, therefore, Nagarajan in his full form, prevented the sun’s rays from falling on the Lord.

This place used to be called Devarajapuram, and has its own puranam. Adi Sakti kept all the gods in a vessel, but was responsive to calls of mother by Ganapati and sister by Vishnu. Siva, however, told Sakti that if she wanted to be with Him, She would need to give it to Him in writing. The following day, Sakti wrote so with mercury on a palm leaf, with the condition that Siva should catch the leaf without spilling any of the mercury. But Siva could not do so, and the mercury spilt. The place where this happened is called Devarajapuram, in the puranams.

During Navaratri time, Vishnu at the nearby Perumal temple takes Siva and Parvati to His own temple, and showers them with gifts. Perumal is also depicted in this temple, giving the wedding gifts and inviting the couple to his temple.

Dakshinamurti here is considered more powerful than any other, including the one at Alangudi which is a Guru Navagraha sthalam.

Other information for your visit

Contact

Prakash Gurukkal: 9790894408

Gallery

Author: TN Temples Project

A personal project to catalogue information on temples (both mainstream and off-the-beaten-track), so that people can learn about them and visit those temples more regularly.

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