Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Panangaateeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sathyambikai, Puravammai|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||PuravAar PanankattUr|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||6 to 11 & 4 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Nadu Nadu)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Panaiyapuram||District:||Viluppuram|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Viluppuram (10 km)||Cuddalore (47 km)|
|Tiruvannamalai (71 km)||Kanchipuram (116 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Many celestials attended Daksha’s yagam, including Suryan, who also partook of the havir-bhagam (food offered at the yagam). Angered by this, the punishment that Siva meted out through Veerabhadra, was to blind Suryan. As a result, Suryan lost his lustre and brilliance. After attempts to regain these at various places, he finally worshipped Siva here at Panaiyapuram, and his effulgence and sight were restored. As if to acknowledge this, every year, the sun’s rays fall on the garbhagriham first, and then at Parvati’s shrine, for 7 days starting with the date of the Tamil new year. Connected to this, Siva is also called Kann Parithu Aruliya Nathar (the one who took and then restored eyesight). Naturally, this is a prarthana sthalam for those with eye ailments.
Interestingly, another puranam around this incident at Daksha’s yagam, relates to Suryan losing his teeth, and its connection with the menu for the Pongal festival.
In keeping with the sthala puranam of the temple, there are four palm trees in the temple premises.
At one time, this place was a dense forest of palm trees, and hence has the name Panaiyapuram (Panai in Tamil refers to the palm tree). Even the ancient name of the place – Puravaar Panankattur – as mentioned in Sambandar’s pathigam here, is based on the same history.
The story of Sibi Chakravarti, who rescued a pigeon from a vulture, is well known. Pleased with his sacrifice, Parvati gave him salvation at this place.
This later Chola temple, believed to have been built by Kulothunga Chola I, is closely connected with the Cholas themselves, who consider themselves descendants of Sibi Chakravarti, who attained salvation here (the Chola name Sembian derives from Sibi).
Parvati – as Satyambika – also faces east, and so this is considered as a temple representing Siva and Parvati in kalyana kolam. At the entrance to the temple is a bas relief on stone, of Vinayakar, which is polla (ie, created using only stone tools, and without the use of chisels). There is also a rare depiction of Tiruneelakanta Yazhpanar, (the Nayanmar who played the lute as accompaniment to Sambandar’s pathigams) together with his wife, holding a staff and worshipping here.
In what is a rarity, there is a separate Siva Lingam beside the sthala vrikshams (the 4 palm trees), along with Nandis, in the outer prakaram. The surroundings of this beautiful old temple are extremely quiet and peaceful, enabling devotees to take in the atmosphere and enjoy the architecture here.
Other information for your visit
Interestingly, there are very few Siva temples where the palm tree (panamaram in Tamil) is the sthala vriksham. This is one of them, and forms part of the group called Panchatala (or Panchapana) Kshetram. The five panchatala kshetrams are: Soundareswarar, Tirupanaiyur, Tiruvarur, Aruna Jadeswarar, Tirupanandal, Thanjavur, Panangaateeswarar, Panaiyapuram, Viluppuram, Vedapureeswarar, Cheyyar, Tiruvannamalai, and Thalapureeswarar, Tirupanangadu, Kanchipuram. Sometimes, Tirumazhapadi is also added to this list.
Ganesh Gurukkal: 94448 97861 / 9443594501