Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Veeratteswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Gnanambikai|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Tirukkurukkai Veerattam|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4 to 9||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Korukkai||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (8 km)||Kumbakonam (41 km)|
|Thiruvarur (52 km)||Nagapattinam (63 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is one of the eight ashta veeratta sthalams (or veerattanam), at each of which Lord Siva performed valorous deeds to vanquish a form of evil. This is the place where Kama was burnt for having interfered with Lord Siva’s tapas. This is a west-facing temple, which are considered very powerful.
This story goes to a time before Vinayakar and Murugan. 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. As utsavar, Siva here is worshipped as Kama Dahana murti.
The legend is geographically quite comprehensive, covering various nearby places (many of their names are also consistent with the legend)! It is believed that the nearby Kanagamputhur is the place where Kama decided to disturb the Lord’s penance. At Palakudi, he drank milk as part of his vow to break the penance. He then took up his bow at Villinur, and aimed from a place called Kavalamedu. He was followed by Devas who suggested he aim from Ivanallur, but Kama found the place unsuitable, and came to Korukkai to do the deed.
Very close to the temple is a small enclosure – called Vibhuti Kuttai – in the middle of the bushes, which is said to be the place where Kama’s dahanam happened. The place still contains ashes, which devotees smear on their foreheads.
Subsequently, Kama’s consort Rati pleaded with Lord Siva at the nearby Abatsahayeswarar temple at nearby Ponnur, and Kama was restored in flesh and blood – but only for her. To others, Kama continues to remain formless (and hence, Siva here is also called Kama Anga Naasan). Murtis of Kama and Rati form part of the annual temple procession.
After Kama’s dahanam, Lord Siva sat in meditation under the kadukkai tree here, and so one of His names here is Yogeswarar.
Sage Dheerghabahu (meaning, long-armed) used to perform daily abhishekam to Lord Siva with water from the river Ganga. He would spread his hands and the Ganga would start flowing, due to his powers. He came to Korukkai, and unaware of the divinity of the temple tank (Soola Teertham), he tried his usual method, but his hands became tiny. He prayed to Vinayakar, who refused to help. Realizing his error, the sage started banging his head against a stone. All of a sudden, a hand appeared from within the stone to protect and bless him. Due to the shortening of his hands, the sage came to be known as Kurunkai munivar, and the Vinayakar is called Kurunkai Vinayakar. The name of the place – Korukkai – is also a corruption of Kurunkai.
The Lingam here is a tall Swambhu murti that sits on a square avudai. In the centre of the peetham, is a carving of a lotus – one of the five flowers in Kama’s arrow.
This is also a Tiruppugazh temple, Arunagirinathar having sung on Murugan here.
Given the legends associated with the temple, it is no wonder that this is a pilgrimage site for those wishing to cleanse themselves of impurities. However, and interestingly, it is also a prarthana sthalam for single people who wish to get married. Those seeking children also perform putra kamayesthi pujas here.
Other information for your visit
The temple priest sticks to the temple timings, because of the relative distance between this temple and Mayiladuthurai, where most facilities are available. Also, mid-mornings on some days, the priest is often called to officiate at private functions or at another local temple nearby. If you arrive at a time when the priest is not there but will return soon, this temple particularly is worth taking a stroll around and admiring the architecture, iconography, etc.
There are several temples in the area, including the Arul Somanathar temple at Needur and Abatsahayeswarar temple at Ponnur, both of which are Paadal Petra Sthalams, and the Parimala Ranganathar Divya Desam at Indalur. This region is also home to several small village temples dedicated to Siva and Vishnu.
Mayiladuthurai or Kumbakonam are the nearest places with decent accommodation, Mayiladuthurai being much closer.
Contact: 04365 222389
Video by my friend Sriram of TemplePages.com: