Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Saraparameswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Gnanambikai, Gnanavalli Ammai|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Tiruchcherai Chenneri|
|Vriksham:||Mavilangai||Teertham:||Markandeya Teertham, Bindusudha Teertham, Gnana Teertham|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||7.30 to 12 & 4 to 9||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirucherai||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (14 km)||Tiruvarur (27 km)|
|Mayiladuthurai (38 km)||Thanjavur (46 km)|
Tirucherai is located about 15km from Kumbakonam.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Past karma is considered debt and need to be repaid through good deeds in the current birth. Sage Markandeyar was born with a lot of such past karma, and despite several good deeds, felt that he was unable to get rid of the karma. He worshipped at various temples, and finally when he visited this place, he felt the burden of his past karmas being lifted from him. The sage installed a separate Lingam near the Vinayakar, who was named Rnavimochana Lingeswarar (the Lord who relieves one of debt). It is also interpreted that by removing the effects of past karma, Siva here shows the right way of living, and so the moolavar is also called Senneriappar (sen=good, neri=path/way).
From a spiritual and religious point of view, the Lord at this temple is to be worshipped for removing the ill effects of past karma. But because of it being viewed as debt, devotees worship at this temple to rid themselves of financial debt, at the shrine of Rnavimochana Lingeswarar. In particular, worshipping here on Mondays is considered auspicious, and on some days, up to 3000 archanais are booked by people wanting to rid themselves of debt!
This temple has some unusual aspects as regards its murtis and iconography. Siva temples usually have one, or sometimes two, Durgas. At this temple, there are three Durgas – the Siva Durga, Vaishnava Durga and Vishnu Durga, in the same shrine. Also, Bhairavar’s murti here carries a trident with a bell on it, which is not seen anywhere else (Appar has sung a separate Tevaram pathigam on this Bhairavar).
It is believed that Suryan worshipped Lord Siva here to seek pardon for attending Daksha’s yagam. This penance continues, and every year on the 13th, 14th and 15th of the Tamil month of Masi (February-March), the rays of the sun fall directly on the moolavar and at the feet of Parvati.
In terms of the structural aspects, this is a Chola temple from the time of Kulothunga Chola I, though the core temple is much older. The moolavar Lingam is a Swambhu murti.
Other information for your visit
The Saranatha Perumal Divya Desam temple is located very close to this temple.
Phone: 0435 2468001
When we visited this temple (happened to be a Monday in December 2017), significant reconstruction was in progress, which explains the pictures and the crowds below.