Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Paraithurainathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Hemavarnambikai, Pasumpon MayilambaaL|
|Timing:||6 to 11.30 & 4.30 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruparaithurai||District:||Tiruchirappalli|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tiruchirappalli (21 km)||Perambalur (65 km)|
|Karur (66 km)||Namakkal (70 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Parai refers to the Daruka tree (Streblus asper). The place and the deity get their name from being a forest of parai trees on the bank of the Kaveri river.
The sages in Darukavanam were purva-mimamsakas, led by the belief that performing Vedic rites alone was key, as opposed to Bhakti towards God, and that they could overcome God with their rituals. To teach them a lesson, Siva arrived here as Bhikshatanar (the naked mendicant), along with Vishnu as the beautiful Mohini. The sages’ wives were drawn to Bhikshatanar as they Him as the Lord. However, the sages thought this to be the result of their wives being enamoured of the naked mendicant, and caused various nefarious forces to issue, including a snake, a tiger and a rogue elephant.
Siva overcame the snake and wore it around his neck, and the tiger was also dispatched, its skin serving as the Lord’s waistcloth (this is supposed to have taken place at Papanasam, according to the sthala puranam of that temple).. At Thalayalangadu, Siva overcame ignorance, portrayed as Muyalagan, and at Vazhuvur, the Lord entered the elephant and tore its skin from inside out, earning Him the name Gajasamharar (this is also considered a veerattam, and is the chief focus of the Vazhuvur temple). All of this finally brought the sages to their right senses by overcoming their pride. This temple is considered the starting point of the entire story of Siva as Bhikshatanar, who subdued the egos of the sages. (Read our feature on the Legends of Bhikshatanar for more details.)
In the outer prakaram, behind the garbhagriham, is the sthala vriksham, and a Lingam underneath it. It is said that this is where Siva appeared from, when He went to subdue the ego of the sages of Darukavanam.
Interestingly, the Chidambaram Natarajar temple also has a similar legend, the only main difference being that at Chidambaram, it was a mangrove forest (thillai) instead of the parai / Daruka forest here.
At one time during the Chola period, this place was named Rajagambheera Valanattu Mazha Nadu Thenkarai Uraiyur Kootrathu Melpilatru Tiruparathurai.
Dakshinamurti is depicted with a simhathoon, ie, pillars carved with lions, and the leaves on the banyan tree behind Him are depicted very intricately. there is a bas relief carving of Siva in Urdhva Tandavam on a pillar in front of the Amman shrine, and another pillar opposite this shows Kali dancing. There is also a carving of a rasi-chakra showing the various rasis, and it is believed that devotees who worship the moolavar while standing under their respective rasi, will have all their wishes come true.
The core temple is dated to the 6th or 7th century early Chola period (with subsequent renovations by the Nagarathar community), and there are some exemplary sculptural and architectural elements in this temple (these could be later additions after the initial construction of the temple). Nonetheless, the skill of the Chola craftsmen and sthapatis is clearly evident here.Subsequent improvements and maintenance have been carried out by the Pandyas, Vijayanagara dynasty, Nayaks and even later, by Nagarathar community. Temple inscriptions refer to Parantaka Chola, Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I, Kulothunga Chola I, Uttama Chola, Sundara Pandyan and several others.
Other information for your visit
Trichy is the nearest major city, and is served by an international airport. Being in roughly the geographical centre of Tamil Nadu, Trichy is well connected by trains to the rest of the state and with other destinations as well.
There are several accommodation options in Trichy across all budgets.
Phone: 99408 43571