Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Abatsahayeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Brihannayaki, Periyanayaki|
|Vriksham:||Elumichai||Teertham:||Varuna teertham, Agni Teertham|
|Timing:||7 to 10 & 5.30 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Ponnur||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (5 km)||Kumbakonam (38 km)|
|Thiruvarur (48 km)||Nagapattinam (60 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
A demon named Tharakan (not the same one associated with the Thanjai Mamani Koil) undertook extreme penance to please Brahma, who granted him a boon of immortality, unless killed by a son of Lord Siva. Armed with this boon, the asura started harassing the celestials. The Devas therefore approached Lord Siva, who was in meditation along with Parvati. So they approached Kama (Manmadhan) help incite desire in Siva’s mind, indicating they would curse him if he did not perform the task. Preferring to be punished by Siva rather than the Devas, Kama aimed his arrow of love upon Lord Siva. The very next moment, the all-knowing Lord opened his third eye and burnt Kama to ashes. Kama’s wife Rati was distraught, and came to this temple at Tiruanniyur to plead with Lord Siva, who relented and restored Kama. Since He came to Rati’s aid in her time of distress (aabattu in Tamil), He is called Abatsayaheswarar.
Harischandra was once afflicted with leprosy. He worshipped the Lord here, offering a neivedyam of curd rice, and was relieved of his disease. On the day of Vishakha nakshatram in the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May-June), worshipping here by offering curd rice is said to remove the many obstacles faced by devotees. Women devotees also worship here for the health and longevity of their husbands, and to remain as sumangalis. This temple is also a pitru dosha nivritti shtlam.
When Rati lost Kama, Suryan started behaving inappropriately with her. Annoyed by this, Rati cursed Suryan to lose his right hand. Despite this, he followed her to this temple, but seeing her worship Lord Siva here, he too started to pray for restoration of his hand, and was able to get it back with the Lord’s grace. Because of this story, this temple is a Surya parikaram sthalam, and the place is also called Bhaskara Kshetram.
Ponnur is also called Anniyur (but not to be confused with Vanniyur, another Paadal Petra Sthalam). Both anni (derived from agni) and vanni are terms in Sanskrit for fire, and this place gets is name from the sthala puranam and the fire from the Lord’s third eye (see puranam above). Another story related to the name of this place as Anniyur, comes from Anni, a local ruler during the Sangam period. Anni’s battle with another ruler named Tithiyan is mentioned in the Agananuru in Sangam literature.
There are two Dakshinamurtis here – one of them is Agnipureeswarar, while the other is Medha Dakshinamurti. Interestingly, Medha Dakshinamurti’s shrine depicts Nandi sitting by his feet. Siva here has other names connected with the various puranams here. These include: Pandaveswarar or Pandataveswarar), Rateeswarar, and Agneeswarar.
Other information for your visit
Ravi Gurukkal: 97867 66995
Temple video and narration in Tamil, by Sriram of templepages.com: