Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Mullaivana Nathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Garbharakshambigai, Karukkaathanayaki|
|Vriksham:||Mullai||Teertham:||Ksheera Kundram, Brahma Teertham|
|Timing:||5.30 to 12.30 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirukarukavur||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (19.3 km)||Thanjavur (22.5 km)|
|Ariyalur (45.7 km)||Tiruvarur (48.8 km)|
Tirukarukavur is located a few kms south west of Kumbakonam.
Sthala puranam and temple information
In the olden days, this area was a forest of mullai (jasmine) plants and the Lord was found here as swayambhu murti in the jasmine forests – hence the name Mullai-vana-nathar. The Lingam is made of hard sand and so no abhishekams are done to the Lord; only punugu oil is applied. One can see the marks of the mullai vines on the Lingam as the Lord was found entwined in the mullai plants.
Nithruva and his wife Vedikai who lived here, were utterly devoted to Lord Siva and Parvati. Once when Nithruva had gone out, Vedikai (who was pregnant at the time) was sleeping. Sage Urdhavar came to visit and knocked at the door. However, Vedikai took some time to open the door, due to her condition. The sage was angered for having been made to wait, and cursed Vedikai that her pregnancy would be unsuccessful. Both Nithruva and Vedikai were upset and prayed to Goddess Parvathi, who took the cursed fetus in a pot and ensured the child was born safely. As the fetus was saved by the Goddess, this place is snamed Karu-kaa-voor (place of protection of the fetus) and the Goddess is called Garbarakshambikai (one who protects the fetus / womb). As a result, devotees worship at this temple for grace in bearing children, for safe delivery, and as thanksgiving after childbirth.
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.
Lord Vinayaka and Nandikeswarar are also swayambhu murtis but are made of stone, unlike the Lingam.
Other information for your visit
Devotees often visit this temple, followed by the Akhilandeswari-Agasteeswarar temple at Karuvalarcheri, with prayers for a safe childbirth.
Temple video (walk around) and narration in Tamil, by Sriram of templepages.com: