Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Udhvaganathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Kokilambal|
|Vriksham:||Karu Oomathai||Teertham:||Sapta Sagara Teertham|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||6 to 12 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirumanancheri||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (8 km)||Kumbakonam (32 km)|
|Tiruvarur (46 km)||Nagapattinam (61 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is considered the place where Siva and Parvati were married, and is therefore connected to the story of, and temples related to, their marriage. After being born as a calf at Tiruvavaduthurai, Parvati was brought up at Kuttalam as the daughter of sage Bharatha, who welcomed Siva as a groom at Mela Tirumananjeri (also where Parvati met the Lord prior to their wedding). This is also one of the Kuttalam Pancha Krosha Sthalams.
In addition to the moolavar Lingam, there is a separate shrine for Siva as Kalyana Sundareswarar, with His bride Kokilambika, in kalyana kolam. The specialty of this temple is that these two murtis are depicted holding hands, which is not to be missed (unfortunately, it is not easy to see this, due to all the garlands that are offered to them). Also, Parvati is depicted with her head bent, as a shy bride! The two deities are always dressed in their wedding attire. This is also a nitya kalyana kshetram, meaning there is a tirukalyanam event for Siva and Parvati every day. For this reason, and as with all of the temples associated with the Siva-Parvati wedding, this temple (and this shrine of Kalyana Sundareswarar in particular) is a prarthana sthalam for those wanting to get married. (Read about the Siva-Parvati marriages here.)
Another puranam connected to marriage and this temple, is a story of two women who promised each other that their children would get married. While one of them gave birth to a girl who grew up to be beautiful, the other gave birth to a boy with the head of a tortoise. The girl’s mother refused to keep her promise, and so the boy’s mother worshipped Lord Siva here. As a result of His grace, the boy’s head became human, after which he was able to marry the girl, as the two women had promised.
There is yet another legend connected to this temple. Kama (Manmadhan) was burnt by Siva at Korukkai, for having tried to disturb Him and get Him interested in Parvati. After Rati’s prayers at Ponnur, Siva pardoned Kama. Thereafter, Kama came to this temple, where he worshipped and praised the Lord and His grace, as a result of which Siva blessed Kama that he would regain his status in the celestial world.
The temple tank is called the Sapta Sagara Teertham, and represents the seven seas of the world that came to witness the celestial wedding. Because this is a highly auspicious place for having hosted the Siva-Parvati wedding, there is no Navagraham shrine here. Interestingly, while the Karu Oomathai is considered the main sthala vriksham of this temple, Vanni and Kondrai are also considered sthala vrikshams.
This temple dates back to the Chola times, and is said to have been either built or significantly renovated by Sembian Madevi. The rajagopuram was built by Mallapa Nayakar. There are shrines for Sembian Madevi and Mallappa Nayakar (as well as for sage Bharatha, Parvati’s father on earth) here.
Other information for your visit
Balaji Sivacharyar, one of the temple’s priests, is extremely dynamic and articulate, and is always more than happy to give a detailed account of the temple puranam (we spoke to him for nearly an hour), provided he is not tied up with the various pujas and Tirukalyanam.