Mahalingeswarar, Tiruvidaimaruthur, Thanjavur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:MahalingeswararAmbal / Thayar:Brihadsundarakuchambikai, Perunalamulaiammai
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tiruidaimaruthur
Vriksham:MaruthamaramTeertham:Kaveri, Karunya Amrita Teertham
Agamam:

Age (years):

Timing:6 to 11 & 5 to 8Parikaram:

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

Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

Anusham

City / town:TiruvidaimaruthurDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Kumbakonam (10 km)Mayiladuthurai (28 km)

Thiruvarur (38 km)Thanjavur (52 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

Marudhu refers to the Marudhu tree (Arjuna in Sanskrit). There are 3 temples where the Marudhu tree are special and is the sthala vriksham – these are Srisailam (where the deity is named Mallikarjunar), Tiruvidaimaruthur and Tiruppudaimarudhur (near Ambasamudram). They are also called mel-marudhur, idai-marudhur and kadai-marudhur (Mallikarjunam, Madhyarjunam and Sputarjunam, in Sanskrit) when listed from north to south. So, Tiruvidaimaruthur is simply Tiru-Idai-Maruthur. Worshipping at this temple is considered to be equal to worshipping at Kasi.

Once in Kailasam, Parvati playfully closed Siva’s eyes, causing the whole world to go dark, except for Tiruvidaimaruthur, where Siva illuminated the place with his effulgence, as Jyoti Mahalingar.

The temple features a massive Lingam – aptly named Maha Lingam (the name of the moolavar deity), which is believed to be a swayambhu murti. Unlike at other temples, Siva has no other name here. The reason for this is as follows. Once, Agastyar and the sapta rishis prayed here to have darsanam of Parvati. Hearing this, Parvati descended here and started worshipping Siva. Pleased with this Siva also came down and presented His divine form to Parvati, Agastyar and the sages. In order to teach all of them the proper way to worship the Lord, Siva Himself offered worship to the Lingam here. Because of the primacy of Siva at this temple, worship is first offered to Siva and not Vinayakar here.

Siva appeared in Ardhanareeswarar form here, to bless Sage Markandeyar. Sridhara Ayyaval of Tiruvisanallur attained jeeva samadhi here, merging with the Jyoti in the garbhagriham at this temple.

There are several puranams and interesting stories about this temple. These include the story of Varaguna Pandyan and brahmahathi dosham, the story of the fisherman, and the story of Pattinathar and his disciple. They are posted separately here.

This temple is part of several smaller / independent temple groups or circuits. It is one of the Kumbakonam Pancha Krosha sthalam temples, and also has its own set of Sapta Sthanam temples associated with it, with this temple as the hub. In addition, there are 4 temples around this temple – for Atmanathar, Viswanathar, Rishipureeswarar and Sundareswarar – and together with this temple, are called the Panchalinga Sthalams.

According to the Tiruvidaimaruthur sthala puranam, this temple is the centre point of all Siva temples in the region, and there are seven temples called the Sapta Vigraha sthalams, associated with this temple. These 7 are at Chidambaram, Senganur, Tiruvalanchuzhi, Sirkazhi, Swamimalai, Suryanar Koil and Alangudi.

In the Chola region, there is a belief that Tiruvidaimaruthur is the central point of an exceptionally large Siva temple that, in theory, is several hundred square kilometres in area! This is because the various sub-shrines (parivara devatas) that one normally sees in a Siva temple, each are associated with separate temples which are famous in their own right.

This is a massive temple, covering close to 20 acres, and three prakarams. The innermost is called the Ashwamedha Prakaram, and going around this is considered equivalent to going around mount Meru. Typically, pradakshinams here are done in counts of 7, 12, 24 or 108. The second prakaram is called the Kodumudi Prakaram, going around which is equivalent to visiting Kailasam. The third prakaram is the Pranava Prakaram, going around which is said to give moksham to devotees.

The temple has 27 separate Siva Lingams, established by each of the 27 nakshatrams. In addition, there are other Lingams such as the Agastya Lingam, Romesa Lingam, Kashyapa Lingam, Chola Lingam, etc, which have been established by others including the sages after whom the Lingams have been named.

The temple also has 32 Teerthams associated with it, each for a separate purpose or having its own puranam. The temple’s own tank is called the Simha Kinaru (only two other temples have such a feature – Gangai Konda Cholapuram and Virinchipuram). The Bana Teertham is said to have been by Rama, and the Pandava Teertham by the Pandavas. The Parachara Teertham (also in the north east) is a scared place for a bath in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January). The Kalyana Teertham is the Kaveri river itself, where the temple’s murtis are bathed during the Thai Poosam festival.

The temple has a separate shrine for Parvati as Mookambikai, who is considered to be extremely powerful. The Amman shrine is counted as one of the Sakti Peethams, and has a Maha Meru chakram installed inside. Interestingly, this shrine is to the right of the moolavar, making this a kalyana kolam representation. Vinayakar on the south of the moolavar shrine is named Aanda Vinayakar, as he rules this place.

This ancient temple finds mention in the Skanda Puranam, Linga Puranam and Brahma Vaivarta Puranam, as well as Sivarahasyam. In addition, the temple is revered in the Tevaram, Tiruvasagam, Tiruppugazh and other Tamil bhakti literature.

Since the puranam of this temple goes back to the Pandyas, the original temple here could be from that time period. However, the core structural temple is Chola from around the 9th century, with additions by Thanjavur Nayaks and the Marathas. The temple’s inscriptions include references to grants by various kings and dynasties, such as Vikrama Chola, Kulothunga Chola I, the Hoysalas, and the Vijayanagara dynasty.

Other information for your visit

There are several temples near and around Tiruvidaimaruthur. Please use our map to see nearby temples.

Contact

Phone 0435 2460660, 9790525781

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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