Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Saatchinathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Karumbanai Soll Ammai, Ishuvaani|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruppurambayam||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (11 km)||Ariyalur (39 km)|
|Thanjavur (41 km)||Mayiladuthurai (42 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Tiruppurambayam – located on the banks of the Manniyaru river and also abutted by the Kollidam and Kaveri rivers – gets its name from the sthala puranam. The waters of the pralayam from the seven seas, did not enter this place due to the grace and protection of Vinayakar (in Tamil, one of the meanings of puram is exception, and payam means water). He did this by diverting the flood waters into the temple tank – called Sapta Sagara Koopam – using the vibrations of the Pranava Mantram.
The Vinayakar here is named Pralayam Kaththa Vinayakar, and His murti is said to be created by Varuna, the Hindu deity representing water, using sea foam and shells. Therefore, abhishekam for Vinayakar is done once a year only – on the day of Vinayaka Chaturti – and only using honey. In ancient times, this place was also called Punnahavanam.
Ratnavalli was the daughter of a Nagarathar businessman from Poompuhar, who was to marry her cousin in Madurai. The businessman fell ill, and so called his nephew to Poompuhar and gave his daughter away to him. As the couple were returning to Madurai, they spent the night before the wedding at Tiruppurambayam, when the groom was bitten by a snake and he died. Ratnavalli rent her heart out to Siva, who brought the boy back to life. Their wedding was solemnised under the Vanni tree here, with no other humans present, and only the temple tank, madappalli (kitchen) and the Vanni tree as the witnesses. Later, the businessman’s wife challenged the wedding, so Siva Himself went to Madurai along with the three witnesses – the temple tank, madappalli and Vanni tree – to provide proof of the wedding having taken place. This is included as the last of the 64 Tiruvilaiyadals in Paranjothi Munivar’s Tiruvilaiyadal puranam. The three witnesses can be seen in the north-eastern part of the prakaram of the Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, and interestingly, also at Tiruppurambayam!
Siva here gets His name as he officiated and provided witnesses (Saatchi / Sakshi in Tamil) for the wedding. Because Siva Himself helped Ratnavalli get married, this is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married. Also, worshipping Parvati at this temple is said to help with those having trouble with childbirth.
King Haridhwajan (who is associated with the Tiruvalanchuzhi Kapardeeswarar temple and Kottaiyur Koteeswarar temple) was cursed by Sage Durvasa and ended up with a disease. After worshipping at various Siva temples, he came here to worship, after which he was cured of the disease. Others who have worshipped here include Brahma, Agastyar, Sugreeva and Sage Viswamitra from the Ramayanam, and Dronacharya from the Mahabharatam.
The original brick temple was constructed in the time of the Pandya king Varaguna Pandyan. The granite and stone edifice we see today is Chola, from the time of Aditya Chola I, possibly to commemorate the eventual rise of the Chola empire after the Battle of Tiruppurambayam (see section below). More recently, renovations were made by the Nayaks in the 16th century. Inscriptions in the temple also refer to various other Chola kings, including Paranthaka Chola I, Gandaraditya Chola, Raja Raja Chola I, Vikrama Chola, Kulothunga Chola, and Raja Raja Chola III; and also Virupakshirayan of the Vijayanagara Dynasty.
In keeping with its Chola heritage, the temple is replete with some excellent architecture. However, some of the murtis in the koshtam and elsewhere in the temple are damaged – either in wars or due to religious conflicts. Interestingly, though by no means unusual, Parvati’s shrine has a separate sub-shrine for Chandikeswari. Durga is present here with 8 arms, and is therefore called Ashta Bhuja Durga.
In addition to the murti in the koshtam, there is a separate shrine for Dakshinamurti to the right, at the entrance of this temple. This is the only temple in Tamilakam with such an arrangement, and Dakshinamurti is regarded as extremely powerful and auspicious here. The sthala puranam of the temple also refers to a woodcutter from the nearby village of Govandaputhur, who would bring firewood to the temple, who was blessed by this Dakshinamurti Himself. This is one of 24 Siva temples where Dakshinamurti is given prominence, and also one of only 44 temples where all three principal Saivite saints – Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar – have sung pathigams at. Arunagirinathar has sung about Murugan in this temple, in his Tiruppugazh, and finds mention in the works of Pattinathar.
Other information for your visit
The Battle of Tiruppurambayam is an important turning point in Tamil history. The battle was fought in about 879 CE, between the Pandyas on one side, and the combined forces of the Pallavas, Gangas and Medieval Cholas on the other. The Pandyas were routed but the Pallavas, though victorious in the battle, had to cede several concessions to the Cholas. This battle therefore marked the re-emergence of the Medieval Cholas as an independent dynasty in their own right.
To the west of the temple, amidst the fields, is the pallipadai temple (a temple constructed over a burial or cremation site) of the Ganga king Prithvipathi I. This site, and Tiruppurambayam itself, are also featured prominently in Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan.
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
Rajasekhar Gurukkal: 94446 26632; 99523 23429