Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vaikalnathar||Ambal / Thayar:||SagakomaLavalli, Vaikalaambikai|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Tiruvaikal Maadakovil|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvaikal||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (18 km)||Mayiladuthurai (22 km)|
|Thiruvarur (32 km)||Nagapattinam (55 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The name of the village – Vaikal – is a corruption of Vai-kurugal, referencing a small mound or hillock. This is possibly connected with one of the sthala puranams below. Vaikal is called mukkan kshetram (revered place of three eyes). There are 3 temples in the village, which are regarded as the three eyes of Lord Siva. The other two, which are located very close by, are the Brahmapureeswarar temple and the Viswanathar temple, and are regarded as the left and right eyes of Siva respectively, while the Shanbagaranyeswarar temple is considered the central, third eye.
The temple is located near the banks of the Nattaru river, close to Konerirajapuram. The Uma Maheswarar temple at Konerirajapuram is considered the central point (representing Suryan) of a set of Navagraham temples located nearby. The Vaikal temple is the Ketu sthalam of this set of temples.
Bhudevi requested Lord Vishnu to marry her, which He did. This angered Mahalakshmi, who left Vishnu and came here to meditate in what was a forest of Champaka (shanbagam) trees (and hence the name Shanbagaranyam). Vishnu and Bhudevi came here in search of Lakshmi, along with Brahma, and found her at this temple. In the presence of Lord Siva, Vishnu reunited with Mahalakshmi, and they both visited all the three temples here. This temple has a separate shrine for Vishnu along with His consorts Bhudevi and Sridevi (Mahalakshmi).
An elephant, while searching for its lost young one, trampled on a mound that some winged termites (ஈசல்) had built. Angered by this, the termites bit the elephant to death. Upon seeing the elephant calf nearby, the insects understood what had happened, and feeling very remorseful, worshipped Lord Siva here. They were all blessed by Siva, who also brought the elephant back to life. [Side note: Interestingly, maadakoils were built by Kochchenga Chola as a way of preventing elephants from entering the temple, yet this temple, despite being a maadakoil, has a positive story connected with elephants.]
This temple is one of the 78 maadakoil temples built by Kochchenga Cholan. The temple is revered in the Tevaram as well as the Tiruvasagam. The temple’s architecture and construction clearly shows it to be a maadakoil. Furthermore, unlike other maadakoils where the entrance to the mahamandapam is through steps on the front or the side, here the main temple itself is built on an elevated platform. The sub-shrines are at ground level. The structural temple is from the Chola period. As this is one of the Navagraham temples, as noted earlier, there is no separate Navagraham shrine at this temple.
Other information for your visit
The temple priest comes once a day in the morning, and sometimes once in the evening. Nonetheless, this is a small village, and the meikavalar (caretaker) lives very close to the temple. We visited this temple in the evening, and it was the caretaker who let us in and took us around the temple, and even asked us to perform aarathi at the garbhagriham.
The village itself is located quite remotely, and we had a tough time reaching the temple and getting back to the main road, despite driving in an SUV. This was in 2017, and hopefully roads are better now.
Phone: 0435 – 2465616
Balakrishnan (caretaker): 9788992860
Temple video (walk around) and narration in Tamil, by Sriram of templepages.com: