Veezhinatheswarar, Tiruveezhimizhalai, Tiruvarur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:VeezhinatheswararAmbal / Thayar:Sundara Gujambikai
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tiruveezhimizhalai
Vriksham:VeezhichediTeertham:Vishnu Teertham (25 teerthams)
Agamam:

Age (years):

Timing:8 to 12 & 5 to 8Parikaram:

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

Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:TiruveezhimizhalaiDistrict:Tiruvarur
Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (22 km)Tiruvarur (25 km)

Kumbakonam (25 km)Nagapattinam (45 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

Sage Kathyayana and his wife Sumangala were childless, and so undertook penance which pleased Parvati, who was born to them. She was named Kathyayani, and from a very young age, had set her mind on marrying Siva. On the day of Magham nakshatram, Siva presented himself in the resplendent form of a bridegroom, to marry Her at this place. There was some delay, and so to tease Kathyayani, Siva made a statement that since the bride had not appeared, He was going to leave for Kasi forever. Soon, Kathyayani came out and the marriage took place in the sanctum, which somewhat resembles a wedding hall, complete with arasanikkaal and pandakkaal. The sage requested Siva and Parvati to stay here in their kalyana kolam, which they also did.

Siva here is also locally referred to as Mappillai Swami (the bridegroom lord), and it is believed that the Kasi-Yatra ceremony in many traditional weddings stems from the above episode. A panel depicting the wedding of Siva and Parvati is behind the Siva Lingam in the garbhagriham, and there is also a separate shrine for Siva and Parvati in kalyana kolam, next to the garbhagriham.

Vishnu once used his chakram against sage Dadichi, but it was blunted upon its touching the sage. Realising that Siva had used a chakram to overcome the asura Jalandhara at Virkudi, He decided to request Siva for it, by offering the vimanam of the temple (called the Vinnizhi Vimanam), and installing a murti of Siva inside. He was then told by Siva to pray with 1000 flowers, and while the prayers were going on, Siva took away two of the flowers. When Vishnu could not find the final two flowers, he attempted to use his eyes as replacement, when Siva reappeared and gifted Vishnu the chakrayudham, which has since then been part of Vishnu. Siva also gave Vishnu the name Kamalakannan as a result of this. These events are also referred to in both Appar’s and Sambandar’s pathigams on this temple. The temple’s annual festival procession includes the episode of Vishnu offering his eye instead of flowers.

When Appar and Sambandar visited here, there was a very bad drought and famine in the region. In order to help feed the locals, the two saints worshipped Siva, give them one gold coin each every day, with which to help the locals. While Sambandar received his coin on a peetham in front of the mahamandapam, Appar received his on a peetham in the western part of the temple. To have some fun at his expense, Siva gave Sambandar coins that were lower in quality to those given to Appar. Sambandar pleaded to Siva for coins of the same quality by singing a pathigam (Vaasi teerave, kasu nalkuveer), which pleased Siva, and received the better coins. The matham where the two saints did their food distribution to the locals is located on the North Car Street (Vadakku Therodum Veedhi). During this episode, Sambandar felt the desire to see the Lord at his hometown of Sirkazhi. Siva instructed the child saint to climb up the Vinnizhi Vimanam, from where the Lord gave him a vision of Thoniappar at Sirkazhi.

This place used to be a forest of sandalwood, senbagam, jackfruit and vila (wood apple, also called veezhi). Due to the latter, it also had the name Veezhi kaadu. Mizhalai also refers to a type of plant.

This is the avatara sthalam of Mizhalai Kurumbar, a hunter who later became one of the 63 Nayanmars. Kurumbar would visit the temple and offer a vilampazham (wood apple) to the Lord, every day. Pleased with his devotion, Siva gave him darsanam and taught Kurumbar the lessons of Ashta Maha Siddhi. Over time, Kurumbar continued his devotion and, with severe penance, attained the status of a Siddhar, and has a separate shrine at this temple.

Of all the architecture and art at this temple, perhaps the most important and most talked about is the Vavvaal Nethi Mandapam, which is shaped like the forehead of a bat. While several temples in the Chola region have this feature, the one at Tiruveezhimizhalai is supposed to represent the zenith of craftsmanship of this type of structure, which is a huge mandapam (hall) with the roof curving in from both sides, but without any pillars for support. Apparently, craftsmen sometimes provide statements that they can provide the greatest quality of output, but not comparable to this mandapam!

King Swetaketu’s court astrologers told him that he had a short lifespan. On the advice of sages, he visited Tiruveezhimizhalai and worshipped Siva, who saved the king from Yama’s clutches. As with Tirukadaiyur, this temple also has a separate murti of Siva as Kalasamharar.

This is one of the maadakoil temples built by Kochchenga Cholan, and the temple itself is built like a fort, along with a huge temple tank in front of it. The inscriptions in the temple refer to various Chola and Pandya rulers, including Kulothunga Chola I who is said to have made several refurbishments and additions to the temple.

The 9th part of the Saiva Tirumurai consists of the Tiruvisaippaa and Tiruppallandu, both being compilations on Siva by various authors, saints and poets. This temple is the subject of one of Senthanar’s hymn in the Tiruvisappaa, and Arunagirinathar has also sung on Murugan here, in the Tiruppugazh.

Because of the temple’s association with Siva’s wedding, the pillars to the entrance are shaped like plantain stems used on auspicious occasions in traditional south Indian weddings. The inner gopuram is shaped like a chariot driven by Indra, and Siva the groom is seated in the chariot. Interestingly, Dakshinamurti here does not have muyalagan under His foot. There is a separate Siva Lingam near the temple’s dhwajasthambam, which is referred to as Tirumulanathar (it is possible this may have been a very early installation prior to the construction of the structural temple, and hence very old). There is also a separate shrine for Nandi located underground on one side of the sanctum (this Nandi is called Paatala Nandi). On the western wall of the garbhagriham is a hole, through which a parrot is said to come every day to worship Siva – apparently this has been happening for hundreds of years. There is no Navagraham shrine at this temple, indicating this is a very old temple. However, there are 9 steps to the main level of the temple, which are considered as the Navagraham.

This temple is a prarthana sthalam for those wishing to succeed in business, and also – owing to the sthala puranam – those wishing to get married.

Other information for your visit

This temple is a mayana koil – one of five in Saivite literature (which are Kachi Mayanam at Kanchipuram, Kadavur Mayanam at Tirukadaiyur, Kazhi Mayanam at Sirkazhi, Naalur Mayanam at Tirumeignanam / Naalur, and Veezhi Mayanam at Tiruveezhimizhalai. Mayanam is generally used to refer to cremation grounds, with a belief that Siva, with His ganas, resides in such places. It is also used to denote places where Brahma’s fifth head (representing his ego) was decapitated by Siva. The underlying spiritual meaning is that by worshipping Siva, one is able to let go of their ego. This in turn – through the four Vedas – gives them the spiritual realization of the Brahman, which knowledge is the true knowledge. As such, these mayana koils are the height of spiritual development and are therefore regarded as very important temples.

Contact

Phone: 04366 273050, 94439 24825

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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