Koteeswarar, Kottaiyur, Thanjavur

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:KoteeswararAmbal / Thayar:PandhaaDu Nayaki
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tirukkottaiyur
Vriksham:Kottai AamaNakku ChediTeertham:Amudha Teertham

Age (years):


Timing:6 to 12 & 4 to 8Parikaram:

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

, Appar

Temple set:

Kumbakonam Sapta Sthanam, Mahamaham festival, Story of Kumbakonam



City / town:KottaiyurDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Kumbakonam (5 km)Thanjavur (40 km)

Mayiladuthurai (41 km)Tiruvarur (45 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

The puranam of this temple is closely linked to the story of Kumbakonam and, therefore, the Mahamaham festival. When pralayam happened, and before the start of Kali Yugam, Brahma gathered seeds of all living beings and put them in a pot (kumbham or kudam, made of sacred earth from the world) as advised by Lord Siva, and the pot was decoratively tied with string (even as we see today during functions). During the floods, the kumbham was floating and came to rest at Kumbakonam (konam=corner). Lord Siva appeared as a hunter and shot an arrow at the earthen kumbham. The pot shattered, and the different pieces that landed each became a Swambhu murti Siva Lingam. This temple is where some of the drops of the amritam in the kumbham fell.

Sage Bhadrayoga worshipped Siva at many temples. Pleased with his worship, Siva appeared to in the form of a swayambhu murti Lingam, amidst the castor seeds that had fallen from the castor tree here. He also appeared as 1 crore forms of Himself, each with its own set of parivara devatas – Parvati, Vinayakar, Murugan and Chandikeswarar. In Tamil, koti or kodi refers to 1 crore, and hence the name of Siva here as Koteeswarar. Also in Tamil, kottai refers to seed, and hence the place is called Kottai-yur. The Siva Lingam here itself looks like it is formed from the castor seeds.

In the sthala puranam of the Kapardeeswarar temple at Tiruvalanchuzhi, King Haridhwajan was assisted by Sage Herandar, who in order to save the world, entered the hole that appeared from Bhulokam to Patalam, in the form of a bee. The sage used to worship at Kottaiyur, under the castor tree here, which is called “Heranda” in Sanskrit, which gave the sage his name.

There is a saying – கொட்டையூரிற் செய்த பாவம் கட்டையோடே – meaning the sins committed in Kottaiyur will go away only upon death, ie, one has to endure their effects throughout one’s life.

The belief is that that all good deeds performed, and sins committed, at this place are multiplied 1 crore (koti) times. As a result, people were afraid to enter Kottaiyur. So, they prayed to Parvati here, who kicked away their sins as one does to a football. For this reason, Parvati here is named Pandhaadu Nayaki. The import of this name is that She kicks away the problems of devotees who worship Her here.

Satyarthi was the king of the Trihartha kingdom in the north. His son, Suruchi, was cursed to take the form of a disfigured rakshasa. His repulsive appearance would scare people, who ran away from him. In order to cure this, he was advised by Vyasa to undertake a pilgrimage to a shrine for Siva near Kumbakonam, by the banks of the Kaveri river. The king and his son made the tiring journey, and finally found this place. Once Suruchi had a bath in the river that flows near the temple, and completed his worship at this temple, his original form was restored. Following this puranam, many devotees believe that bathing in the Kaveri river and then worshipping Siva at this temple will improve their appearance.

In ancient literature, this place is also referred to as Koteeswaram (or Koteechuram), Vilvaranyam (due to this having been a forest of Vilvam trees), and Herandapuram (after the sthala puranam connected with Sage Herandar, above).

While the core temple and much of the architecture here is Chola, there are also significant additions by the Pallavas. Inscriptions in the temple refer to the Chola kings Rajadhiraja and Kulothunga Chola III.

What appear like droplets of water can be seen on top of the moolavar Lingam, symbolising the story of Ganga emerging from Siva’s hair. Parvati is also depicted in a rather playful posture, in keeping with Her name here. Vinayakar here is said to be a swayambhu murti (self-manifested) and the murti contains many smaller images of Vinayakar on it, giving him the name Koti-Vinayakar. Murugan, known here as Koti-Subramanyar, has a separate shrine along with his consorts. The Navagraham shrine here is particularly noteworthy, as all the planetary deities are depicted with their respective vehicles / vahanams. There are also several engravings and murtis in the temple, depicting various puranams, including one of Manu Needhi Cholan who gave justice to a cow by sentencing his own son to death as punishment for a crime.

Arunagirinathar has sung about Murugan in this temple, in his Tiruppugazh.

Other information for your visit

In addition to being one of the temples connected with the Mahamaham festival, this temple is also one of the 7 sapta Sthanam temples associated with the Adi Kumbeswarar temple in Kumbakonam (the others are at Kalyananallur, Tiruvalanchuzhi, Darasuram, Swamimalai and Mela Kaveri).


Phone: 0435 2450595, 94866 70043

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