Yoganandheeswarar, Tiruvisanallur, Thanjavur
Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Yoganandheeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Santha Nayaki, Soundara Nayaki|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvisanallur||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (8 km)||Mayiladuthurai (31 km)|
|Thiruvarur (42 km)||Ariyalur (50 km)|
Tiruvisanallur is located near Kumbakonam, and close to Tiruvidaimaruthur.
Sthala puranam and temple information
It is said that this temple has been in existence in all 4 yugams – Lord Siva was Purathaneswarar (Krita yugam), Vilvaranyeswarar (Treta yugam) and Yoganandeeswarar (Dwapara yugam) and now blesses devotees as Sivayoganathar in Kali yugam. The deity is also alternatively called Yoganandeeswarar, which is the name in dwapara yugam.
There are also 4 Bhairavars at this temple, called the chatur-kala Bhairavar, who represent the four stages of human life. Gnana Bhairavar bestows education, knowledge and employment in the Brahmacharya phase. Swarna Akarshana Bhairavar bestows material gains during the Grahasta phase. Unmata Bhairavar blesses devotees with good health and financial stability in the Vanaprastha phase. Finally, during one’s Sanyasa phase praying to Yoga Bhairavar and the Kailasa Lingam beside it ensures salvation. Also, it is regarded that worshipping the 4 Bhairavars on Ashtami of Krishna paksham (waning phase of the moon) is beneficial for one’s health and family life, while worshipping them on Ashtami of Shukla paksham (waxing phase) is beneficial for prosperity and material advancement.
Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi are said to have been blessed by Siva here on the occasion of their wedding. So there is a shrine inside the temple for Lakshmi-Narayanar, and worshipping here on the days of shravana nakshatram, ekadasi and on Saturdays is considered special.
Brahma and six others were born as yogis to a person called Vishnu Sarma, and they undertook penance to Lord Siva and. They were granted his pratyaksham on Mahasivaratri day, and they merged with the Lord. Seven strands of hair – representing the seven yogis – are said to be visible on the rear of the Lingam even today.
Once, a man who had committed several crimes realized he was nearing his death, and approached Lord Siva at this temple a pradosham day, asking to be forgiven. The Lord, through Nandi, found out why and come and why (Nandi here is depicted in the pose of listening to Lord Siva’s instructions, with his head to one side). Since the sinner had repented, Lord Siva being ever-merciful, absolved him of his sins. Upon Siva’s instruction, Nandi fought Yama and drove him away. Therefore, it is believed that praying at this temple on pradosham day absolves one of all their sins. Also, unusually as Siva temples go, Nandi comes before the bali peetam, for this reason.
About 300 years ago, a person named Sridhara Iyer was performing annual rituals for his father, when a poor beggar approached him for food. At such rituals, it is custom to feed the brahmins first, and then any others. However, Sridhara Iyer took pity on the beggar and fed him, which angered the local people who drove him away. He was told by them to wash off his sins in the river Ganga. Sridhara prayed to Lord Siva, who brought the River Ganga to the well in Sridhara’s house!
There is a belief that Agastyar comes here to pray to Lord Siva every year on Mahasivaratri day. Jatayu is said to have worshipped here and built the temple tank, which is called Jatayu Teertham. Other legends say that Jatayu’s feather fell here at the place which is now the Jatayu Teertham.
Because of the specialty of the Nandi at this temple and the Lord being Yoga Nandeeswarar, this temple is considered auspicious and special for those born under the Rishabha rasi.
This is a Chola temple, likely built in the time of Raja Raja Chola I. There is a sundial built into the outer wall of the temple, which shows the time quite accurately (varies by season) between 6 am and 6 pm – an indication of the Chola period engineering and architecture skills. Today, the temple is run by the Thanjavur Palace Devasthanam.