Thoovai Nathar, Tiruvarur, Tiruvarur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Thoovai NatharAmbal / Thayar:Panjin MennadiyAL
Deity:SivaHistorical name:TiruvarupparavaiuNmaNthaLi
Vriksham:PalaTeertham:Akasa Teertham
Agamam:

Kamika

Age (years):

1000-2000

Timing:6 to 11 & 5 to 8Parikaram:

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

Sundarar

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:TiruvarurDistrict:Tiruvarur
Maps from (click): Current location Thiruvarur (2 km)Nagapattinam (29 km)

Kumbakonam (42 km)Mayiladuthurai (44 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

At the time of pralayam, the seas overran the earth, causing terror amongst not just humans, but also celestials. Led by Sage Durvasa, the sages and Devas prayed to Siva for help, and were instructed by Him to dig a tank here, where He then settled the overflowing seas. Later, Durvasa installed a Lingam and worshipped it here, and so the Lord was named Durvasa Nathar. Over time, this was corrupted to Thoovaai Nathar. Amman here is named Panjin Mennadiyal (Mridu Pada Nayaki in Sanskrit), and is said to have feet as soft as cotton! There is also a murti of Durvasa near the Vinayakar shrine here. It is believed that the murtis at this temple have been crafted by Vishwakarma, the celestial architect.

Sundarar married Sangili Nachiyar at Tiruvottriyur, and vowed never to leave her. But he left for Tiruvarur later, to see his first wife, Paravai Nachiyar. As punishment so for his falsehood, he lost sight in both eyes. Later, he regained sight in one eye after worshipping Siva and Parvati at Tiruvirkolam (Cooum) and Kanchipuram, and continued his worship as he travelled to Tiruvarur, regretting his ways. Pleased with his penance, Siva instructed him to worship at this temple’s Teertham, after which Sundarar’s eyesight was completely restored. The utsava murti at this temple is called Satyavakeeswarar, since he kept his promise to Sundarar. Because Sundarar’s eyesight was restored here, there is a carving of an eye on the Siva Lingam, but it can be seen only during the abhishekam. Associated with the story of Sundarar, this temple is a prarthana sthalam for those having problems with eyesight.

It is believed that even today, Indra – the chief of the Devas – worships Siva every evening. As a consequence, a unique practice in this temple is where the priest performing the evening puja wears attire like a king, including a flowing robe and headgear.

In consonance with the puranams as above, it is believed that this temple was made out of sand or mud in its initial days. In fact, in the development of structural temples, this type of temple (ie, ones made of mud and sand) are called Manthali. The historical name of this temple itself is Paravaiun Manthali. The paravai referred to here is not Paravai Nachiyar; rather, she is named for the temple. Paravai, in ancient Tamil, means a vast water body.

The structural temple we see today is largely from the Chola period, as also attested to by several of the 65 inscriptions in the temple. The temple’s Teertham is located in the Agni Moolai (southeast corner), which is believed to be auspicious. Indra is also believed to stand on a square stone near the mandapam of the temple, and pray to all seven gopurams of the Thyagarajar temple, from here. Sani, who as part of the Navagraham normally faces west, is in a separate shrine at this temple, and is seen facing south.

Other information for your visit

This temple is located very close to the Tiruvarur Thyagarajar temple, and is not to be missed. Even if the priest is not available, the temple is usually opened up by 4 pm in the afternoon, in addition to the morning time.

Contact

Phone: 99425 40479

Gallery

Author: TN Temples Project

A personal project to catalogue information on temples (both mainstream and off-the-beaten-track), so that people can learn about them and visit those temples more regularly.

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