Nattrunai Appar, Punjai, Nagapattinam

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Nattrunai ApparAmbal / Thayar:Parvataputri, Swarnambikai
Deity:SivaHistorical name:TirunanippaLLi
Vriksham:SaNbagamTeertham:Swarna Teertham

Age (years):


Timing:9 to 12 & 5 to 7Parikaram:

Temple group:Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)
Sung by:

Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar

Temple set:



City / town:PunjaiDistrict:Nagapattinam
Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (18 km)Nagapattinam (52 km)

Nagapattinam (52 km)Kumbakonam (56 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

Once, Vinayakar had taken the form of a crow, and was flying near where sage Agastyar was meditating. As the crow landed, it toppled Agastyar’s kamandalam. This angered Agastyar, who cursed the crow, without realizing it was Vinayakar. Due to this curse, the crow was unable to regain its original form as Vinayakar. So it came here, took a bath in the temple tank, and worshipped Lord Siva. When it came out, the crow had turned into gold. Because of this, the place got the name Ponsei (pon=gold, sei=become, in Tamil), which over time was corrupted to Punjai.

Bhagavatiyar, mother of the Tevaram saint Sambandar, was born here. When, as a child, Sambandar came to know of this, he was filled with a desire to visit this place and temple. After a long walk from Sirkazhi, the child saint’s feet were getting sore, so his father Sivapada Hrudayar, carried the child on his shoulders. Immediately upon reaching the temple, Sambandar sang a pathigam while still seated on his father’s shoulders (the pathigam itself mentions this fact). At that time, this place was arid (paalai, in Sangam literature terms), but as a result of Sambandar’s pathigam, this place became fertile, despite being not too far from the coast (neithal in Sangam literature).

This is one of the places where Agastyar received a vision of Siva and Parvati in kalyana kolam. the temple has a separate shrine in the main corridor, for Kalyana Sundareswarar, symbolizing this.

In the past, this place was called Nanipalli or Tirunanipalli. In the early Chola period, this place was called Jayamkonda Valanaattu Aakkoor Naattu Pirathameyam Aagiya Nanipalli (ஜயங் கொண்ட வளநாட்டு ஆக்கூர் நாட்டுப்பிரமதேயமாகிய நனிபள்ளி)During later Chola times, this place was also called Kadaramkondan, which is one of the titles of Rajendra Chola (Kadaram refers to Kedah, in present day Malaysia, and kondan means the one who achieved victory over it).

In architectural terms, this temple represents a turning point in temple and vimanam construction, and Chola architecture. Built by Parantaka Chola in the early part of the 10th century, this temple features a massive garbhagriham, large enough for an elephant to circumambulate the Lingam (this is because there was a legend at the time, that an elephant had worshipped at this temple). With this in mind, the vimanam above the garbhagriham – which is an eka-tala vimanam of the Vesara type – is massive, and is one of the earliest of its kind. The main temple itself has just a single, long corridor. The entrance features sculptures of the Panchamurti – Siva, Parvati, Vinayakar, Murugan and Chandikeswarar. On the walls of the temple, there are bas-reliefs depicting various episodes from the Ramayanam. The overall aesthetics and architecture of this temple are simply spectacular.

There are also 17 inscriptions in this Chola temple which refer to various Chola kings (Kulothunga Chola, Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola and Vikrama Chola), and one inscription that refers to the Vijayanagara dynasty.

This is one of only 44 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples where all three of the Tevaram moovar – Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar – have sung pathigams.

Devotees worship here to remove obstacles in their marriage.

Other information for your visit


Phone: 04364-283188
Vaidyanatha Gurukkal: 94439 06587


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