Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vedapureeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Soundaraambikai|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Therazhundur||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (9 km)||Kumbakonam (30 km)|
|Thiruvarur (38 km)||Nagapattinam (53 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Therazhundur has two temples – this temple and the nearby Devadiraja Perumal temple, which is located about a kilometre down the road in front of this temple. So, when Sambandar came to this village, he was confused as to which one was the Siva temple. At that time, Vinayakar came and provided directions to Sambandar, and so Vinayakar here is called Gnanasambandar Pillaiyar or Vazhikaatti Vinayakar.
This is the first of the temples connected to the story of Siva’s marriage to Parvati. During a game of Chokkattan, Parvati upset Lord Siva, and so He cursed her to be born on earth as a cow. When She pleaded with Him, He assured her that She would be reunited with Him, with the help of her brother, Lord Vishnu. Therazhundur is regarded as the place where the game was played.
One puranam extends this further to say that Siva and Vishnu were seated opposite each other when playing, which is why the Siva and Vishnu temples are located the way they are, at this village. For this reason, this temple’s puranam is very closely connected with the puranam of the Devadiraja Perumal temple.
Once Parvati had left, Siva Himself taught Vedas to the sages, under a sandalwood tree. Therefore, He is named Vedapureeswarar or Adhyapakeswarar. Since the process of teaching Vedas requires peace and quiet, Nandi was tasked with not allowing anyone to disturb Siva and the sages. So even though various devas and celestials wanted to worship Siva, Nandi did not allow this, since Parvati was not with Siva at the time. Therefore, the ashta digpalakas (guardians of the eight directions), who were among those wanting to worship Lord Siva, built eight Lingams around the temple, for the devas to worship.
Therazhundur (which is the correct name, though it has been corrupted as Therezhundur lately), in Tamil, simply means the place where the chariot was grounded (ther=chariot, azhundu = grounding, ur = place). There are many similar stories about how this place got its name, all related to a king called Uparicharavasu (named Vasu, and the prefix Uparichara refers to his flying chariot. In Sanskrit, upari = over / above, and chara = move)…
…all beings that came under the shadow of the chariot would be burnt. When he was about to fly over here, Vishnu pressed his big toe hard on the ground, making the chariot come to earth
…when his queen wanted to worship Vishnu at Therazhundur, Uparicharavasu refused to stop the chariot. This annoyed Vishnu, who brought the chariot down to earth
…the chariot would fly over sages performing penance, which upset them, and so sage Agastyar – who was worshipping at this temple – brought it down to earth.
Therazhundur used to be a forest of sandalwood trees, and so the place used to be called Chandanaranyam.
Adjacent to the sthala vriksham is a shrine for “Kshetra Lingam” – possibly one of the eight lingams installed by the ashta digpalakas, which also has murtis of Nandi and Vinayakar. Another of the eight Lingams is the separate shrine for Madeswarar (with Madeswari) in the outer prakaram. There is one belief that the shrine for Madeswarar and Madeswari was the original temple at this place, and the other shrines, including the moolavar Vedapureeswarar, came later.
Connected with the sthala puranam, the temple is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married, or couples with broken relationships seeking to reunite.
This temple is considered to be one of the 78 maadakoils built by Kochchenga Cholan, although from the outside, it seems to lack the elevated platform that is unique to maadakoils. The structural temple here is medieval and later Chola, and there are inscriptions referring to Kulothunga Chola III and Raja Raja Chola III. The mandapam in the temple is believed to be the hall where Siva and Vishnu played their game of chokkattan, and this puranam is depicted beautifully through paintings in the mandapam. The temple also has separate shrines for Agastyar and Kaveri river. Dakshinamurti here is called Medha Dakshinamurti. The temple also features a unique Navagraham arrangement – all the planets are seen facing Suryan, who is himself facing west rather than east.
Other information for your visit
Therazhundur is the birthplace of Kambar, the author of the Tamil Ramayanam. The house that Kambar lived in – called Kambar medu – is located nearby and is an ASI controlled site.
Rajamohana Sivam Gurukkal:98421 53947 / 94864 57103