Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Umamaheswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Dehasoundari, AngavaLanayaki|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Konerirajapuram||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (21 km)||Mayiladuthurai (21 km)|
|Tiruvarur (30 km)||Nagapattinam (51 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
King Pururavas suffered from leprosy, which made him unfit to rule. Unable to get relief from any medications, the king started worshipping Lord Siva as a final resort. As part of this, he offered worship at various temples, but when he finally reached here, he was immediately cured of the disease. Pleased with this outcome, and as gratitude, he built the temple vimanam here and had it covered with gold. Because of this puranam, this temple is a prarthana sthalam for illnesses.
Vishnu asked Bhudevi to build a temple for Siva here, and so she engaged Vishwakarma to sculpt the lingam. For this reason, the place gets the name Bhoomicharam, and Siva here is also called Bhoominathar.
The local king (some say it was Gandaraditya Chola, while others say it was Varaguna Pandyan) ordered the stapathi to sculpt an idol for Natarajar out of panchaloham (a combination of five metals). But try as he might, every attempt of his was faulty in some manner, and therefore rejected by the king. Finally, the king told the sculptor that the next attempt would be his last, and if the idol did not come out correctly, the sculptor would be put to death. The sculptor, himself an ardent devotee of the Lord, desperately prayed to Siva and started his work. At that time, an old man came by and asked him for some water. The already upset sculptor replied that there was no water, but only molten metal which the old man could drink. The man and his wife drank the metal, and to the utter shock and surprise of the sculptor, turned into beautiful murtis of Natarajar and Mangalanayaki. Soon after this, the king reached the place, and was mesmerised by the murtis. But when he heard about the events, he was unbelieving, and attempted to hit the foot of the murti with his sword, at which blood spurted out. Then Siva and Parvati appeared on Rishabham, blessed everyone present, and promised to remain here as Uma and Maheswarar, and also in the moolavar lingam in the form of Vaidyanathar. [Note: according to some, the Natarajar murti was sculpted separately.]
This beautiful temple from the Chola period is more known for the five-foot tall murti of Natarajar (locals call this temple the Natarajar temple), which is regarded as the largest Natarajar murti in the world, which is in worship. It is said that Natarajar’s left foot still shows a scar signifying the place where it was struck by the king’s sword. This is one of three prominent temples, including Madurai and Uttarakosamangai, where there is no procession of Natarajar.
In addition, the temple has some fantastic architecture (including several detailed miniature bas-reliefs that are no wider and taller than a pen), and also astounding paintings made with vegetable dye – all from the Chola period.
The original temple is believed to have been submerged under the waters of the Kaveri river. Subsequently, it was unearthed and reconstructed in the time of Uttama Chola. Sembian Madevi is said to have contributed significantly to its construction. In the temple is a bas relief of Sembian Madevi worshipping Lord Siva. In addition to the Natarajar murti, there is a separate bas relief of a beautiful Natarajar, as well as others including Bhikshatanar, Vinayakar and Sage Agastyar. The vimanam of this temple has images of the guardians of the eight directions (ashta digpalakars).
In olden times, this place was called Tirunallam, and makes an appearance in Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan.
There is a belief that only those who are blessed with the grace of the Lord in earlier births get to visit this place, and the most blessed ones are those who live in this village.
Other information for your visit
This temple is the centre point and Suryan sthalam, of a set of 9 temples regarded as Navagraham temples connected with Konerirajapuram.
Phone: 0435 2449830