Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Swarnapureeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Soundara Nayaki, Azhagammai|
|Timing:||7 to 12.30 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Alagaputhur||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (6 km)||Tiruvarur (34 km)|
|Mayiladuthurai (35 km)||Thanjavur (45 km)|
Alagaputhur is located 7km southeast of Kumbakonam, on the way to Nachiyar Koil.
Sthala puranam and temple information
On his visit to Kailasam, Brahma did not pay heed to Murugan, which annoyed the latter. When Murugan asked who he was, Brahma replied with pride that he was the creator of the world. Murugan then asked him about the power under which creation took place, to which Brahma responded as “Om”. So Murugan asked Brahma the meaning of the pranava mantram, but Brahma said he did not know. Murugan imprisoned Brahma for this. When Siva came to know of this incident, He asked Murugan if the latter knew the meaning, to which Murugan replied that he did, and would tell Him only if Siva approached as a student (which happened at Swamimalai). Then Siva advised Murugan that while it was acceptable to question an elder, it was wrong to punish them. Murugan regretted his behavior, and came here to worship the Lord.
Later, when the atrocities of the asuras was increasing, Siva sent Murugan to defeat them. As Murugan was ready to leave, various gods and celestials gave him their weapons, including Vishnu who gave Murugan the sudarshana chakram and sangu. Further, in what is a rare iconography, Murugan is seen with 12 arms, along with his wives Valli and Devasena as well, and goes by the name Kalyana Sundara Shanmugar.
This is the avatara sthalam of Pugazh Thunai Nayanar, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars, whose service to the Lord involved carrying water for abhishekams from the Arasilar river to the temple. Despite his poverty, the Nayanar continued his service. Once, the area came under a severe drought and famine. One day during that time, the aged Nayanar tried carrying water to the temple but fainted and fell down. The Lord Himself appeared and asked him for his wish, to which the Nayanar asked that He protect the people from the famine. The Lord then promised the Nayanar one gold coin on the steps of the temple each day (and hence, He is also called Padikasu Nathar). Using this, the Nayanar was able to revive the people of the area until the drought ended. The priests of this temple claim lineage from Pugazh Thunai Nayanar, who has a shrine at this temple.
In terms of order of worship, it is Swarna Vinayakar who is prayed to first, before proceeding to the other shrines, including Lord Siva in the garbhagriham. Devotees worship Lord Siva here for removing obstacles in life, obtaining wealth, or to obtain what they have lost. The worship procedure usually involves placing an even number of items of what one desires, at the feet of the Lord, and taking back only half of them. They believe they will receive their wish later, in abundance.
Historically, this place was Seruvilliputhur, and also Arisir Karai Puthur (referring to its location on the banks of the Arasilar river).
This west-facing temple is one of the maadakoils built by Kochchenga Cholan, though the typical elements of a maadakoil (narrow or side entrance, significantly raised platform for the inner precincts, etc) are substantially missing. In a unique arrangement of Navagrahams, Suryan and Chandran face each other. There are also 9 pits in the temple, which are said to be the Navagrahams in the form of vayu. The temple has some exquisite architecture and sculptures, particularly the koshta murtis in bas relief. There are also two Bhairavars in separate shrines here.
The structural temple is a Chola temple built, expanded and renovated by various Chola kings including Raja Raja Chola I and Kulothunga Chola III (this place also has the name Kulothunga Chola Valanattu Azhagar Tiruputhur, going by one of the inscriptions), as well as the Nayaks. The present structure is after a relatively recent renovation by the Nagarathar community.
The puranam of another Swarnapureeswarar Temple, at Andan Koil, is often (incorrectly) attributed to this temple.
Other information for your visit
When we visited this temple (in December 2017), the gurukkal here narrated the puranam, and then in a continuing discussion, indicated that he had visited all of the Paadal Petra Sthalam temples, twice. He is a storehouse of knowledge, and freely shares it with those who have the time and are interested.
Kumbakonam is a temple town, and there are a number of temples in and around Kumbakonam. Please visit the pages on Kumbakonam, Near: Kumbakonam, and Near 25: Kumbakonam, for more information on these.
Kumbakonam and its outskirts have several accommodation options for all budgets, including some resorts.
Durai Gurukkal: 99431 28294