Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Ezhuthari Nathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sugandha Kunthalambigai + Nityakalyani|
|Vriksham:||Pala, Sanbagam||Teertham:||Airavata Teertham|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4.30 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Innambur||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (8 km)||Thanjavur (39 km)|
|Ariyalur (42 km)||Mayiladuthurai (42 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Sudasman, a staunch devotee of Siva, was an accountant in the court of a Chola king. He was maintaining the accounts for a specific piece of work, and the task was turning out to be very difficult. One day the king asked him to produce the accounts, Sudasman tried to delay it, so he could give the king the right information. But after repeated delays, the king got annoyed, and stated that if the accounts were not presented the following day, Sudasman would be put to death. Not knowing what to do, Sudasman prayed to Siva. The following morning, the King saw Sudasman walk up to the court and present the accounts, which were perfect, and this pleased the king, after which he left. A little later, Sudasman was seen coming to the court with a morose face. When the king asked Sudasman why he had come again, the response was that he needed more time. Everyone in the court was confused, but it then dawned on both Sudasman and the king that it was indeed Siva who had, in the guise of Sudasman, presented the correct accounts, in answer to his devotee’s prayers the previous day.
Following from the above puranams, Siva here is named Ezhutharinathar (in Tamil, ezhuthu refers to writing – in this case, the accounts). The corresponding name of Siva here in Sanskrit is Akshara Pureeswarar. Naturally, this is a prarthana sthalam for education, and devotees bring children here for a special Vidyabhyasam worship, before the children start formal education, where children are taught to write on grains of paddy spread out on the ground. This is also a prarthana sthalam for children with speech impairments, and the worship procedure for this is special: the priest writes on the child’s tongue using a grain of paddy, and it is believed that at the end of the rituals over a period of time, the child will be cured.
It is also regarded in the temple’s sthala puranam, that Siva taught Sage Agastyar the nuances of grammar here.
The name of the place – Innambur – has an interesting back story. Once, Suryan lost his powers, and was advised by sages to worship here. Placing all his hope on Siva, Suryan came here but found his way blocked by Nandi and Vinayakar. He pleaded with them both, and they moved a little to the side to enable Suryan to offer his prayers to Siva, after which his powers were restored. Since Suryan, who is also called Inna or Innan, placed his full trust (Tamil = nambikkai) in Siva in this matter, the place was called Innan-Nambiya-Oor, which has become Innambur over time.
There are a few references to elephants, with regards to this temple. According to the temple’s sthala puranam, Airavata (Indra’s elephant) took a bath at the temple tank here, to be relieved of a sin. However, he was unable to enter the garbhagriham, as it was small. The elephant prayed to Siva to remedy this, and so Siva made the garbhagriham larger. Even today, one can see the garbhagriham for the moolavar being large enough for an elephant to go around the Lingam (which is also quite large). This layout is similar to the Nattrunai Appar temple at Punjai. The vimanam over the garbhagriham – a Gajaprishtha vimanam – is designed like the back of an elephant.
The other unusual aspect here is that there are two separate Amman shrines in the prakaram, and they are worshipped for almost opposing reasons! Nityakalyani Amman, whose shrine is to the right of the moolavar, blesses devotees who are to get married. Sugantha Kunthalambal Amman, whose shrine is in the outer prakaram, blesses those who have decided to stay single.
The core temple was constructed in the early part of the medieval Chola period, with later Chola kings making renovations. Inscriptions in the temple refer to the Chola king Raja Raja Chola I (identified in the inscription by his title, Rajakesari Varman), as well as Kampannar from the Vijayanagara Dynasty. According to the sthala puranam of the temple, the five levels of the temple’s rajagopuram signify the five roles of Siva – creation, sustenance, destruction, veiling and grace. The temple also has some great architecture and carvings – specifically of Bhikshatanar in the koshtam.
Other information for your visit
In addition to several other smaller and/or interesting temples, there are 4 Paadal Petra Sthalams and 2 Divya Desam temples in the vicinity, including this temple. These are:
Vilvavaneswarar, Tiruvaikaavoor, Thanjavur
Saatchinathar, Tiruppurambayam, Thanjavur
Vijaya Natheswarar, Tiruvijayamangai, Thanjavur
Ezhuthari Nathar, Innambur, Thanjavur
Andalakkum Aiyan, Adhanoor, Thanjavur
Valvil Raman, Tiruppulaboothangudi, Thanjavur
Phone: 0435-2000157, 2459519;
Balasubramaniam Gurukkal: 96558 64958