Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Venni Karumbeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Soundara Nayaki|
|Vriksham:||Karumbu||Teertham:||Surya Teertham, Chandra Teertham|
|Timing:||8 to 12 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Koil Venni||District:||Tiruvarur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (23 km)||Thanjavur (30 km)|
|Tiruvarur (36 km)||Mayiladuthurai (56 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Paadal Petra Sthalam that has existed across the four yugams, and where Siva appears as a bunch of sugarcane stems tied together.
It is believed that this temple has existed across all four yugams. The banam (Lingam) at this temple appears like a bunch of sugarcane stems tied together, and the sthala puranam explains why. Once, two sages who were Siva devotees visited this place, which was full of sugarcane and Nandiyavartham (Venni in ancient Tamil) plants. Sensing the presence of Siva here, the sages went looking and found a Swambhu murti, but then started arguing about how the Lingam should be installed and what name should be given to the Lord here – since there were both sugarcane and Nandiyavartham. At that time, Siva Himself appeared and told them that He would be covered by the sugarcane, which would also be his name, and that the Nandiyavartham plant would be the sthala vriksham. This is why the Lord here is named Karumbeswarar (karumbu in Tamil is sugarcane). Worshipping Siva here gives one all the sweetness of His grace, and so He is also called Rasapureeswarar (Rasa is extract, in this case of the sugarcane).
In olden times, places were primarily identified by the temple that was there, and so this place began to be called Venniyur, which later became Koil Venni.
In an interesting episode from historical legends, Karikala Chola defeated Uthiyan Cheralathan, the Chera king, at Venni (then known as Venni Paranthali). The spear that he hurled entered the Chera king’s chest and exited from his back. The Chera king went without food or medicine to ensure his own death, ashamed that he was injured in the back. Karikala Chola also worshipped Goddess Pidari here before every war, and so devotees worship here to remove all fears and obstacles in their lives.
It is said that Karikala Chola built the original temple, and it was renovated later by Muchukunda Chakravarti. This is also a maadakoil, one of the 70-odd such temples built by Kochchenga Cholan, and this must have been part of a later renovation. More recently, the Nagarathar community performed renovations as well.
Also interestingly, worshipping at this temple is said to cure diabetes, and devotees offer sakkarai Pongal, and feed ants by sprinkling a mix of sugar and rava, by the inner wall of the temple precincts. The belief is that as ants eat away the sugar, which reduces diabetes.
This is the birthplace of Vennikuyathiar, the Sangam poet who is one of the authors of the Purananuru in Sangam literature.
Though this is a Chola temple as is evident from the overall structure, the fact that it is quite ancient is clear from the lack of carvings on the pillars and outer walls of the mandapams and garbhagriham. Having said that, the simplicity of the temple’s architecture is extremely pleasing. Many of the murtis and shrines are additions made well after the original temple was constructed. Another rare aspect is the Nandi made of bronze, rather than stone, at the entrance to the garbhagriham. This Nandi, of course, is a later addition.
Other information for your visit
Phone: 98422 94416