Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Maatruraivaradeeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Balambigai, Balasoundari|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4.30 to 7.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvasi||District:||Tiruchirappalli|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tiruchirappalli (14 km)||Perambalur (56 km)|
|Ariyalur (65 km)||Thanjavur (66 km)|
Tiruvasi is located about 13km from Trichy, on the way to Salem and just off the route to Tiruvellarai and Mannachanallur.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Sundarar was coming from Tiruvanaikka when he realised he needed money to feed the poor. As was his practice, he asked the Lord – who he treated as his friend – for gold, for this purpose. Siva, however, remained silent. An infuriated Sundarar sang a song decrying the Lord’s benevolent nature. A little while later, Sundarar saw some gold lying on the path to this temple. He knew this was the Lord’s work, but given his first attempt, he was not sure if the gold was of proper quality, and so he took it to two different goldsmiths, who confirmed that the gold was indeed of high quality, before revealing themselves to be Siva and Vishnu! A much-chastened Sundarar, now a bit ashamed of his doubt regarding the gold, changed his song to one of praise. One interpretation of the name, since the Lord of this temple got Sundarar to change his song, He is called maatru-urai-varadeeswarar (mattru = change, urai = song/paean). Another interpretation of the name comes from Maatru (quality in Tamil), Urai (or Urasi, Tamil for scratching, the way jewellers do to check jewellery).
Kollimazhavan, a local king of Mazhanadu and Kolli hills, had a daughter who suffered from epilepsy (also called the Muyalagan disease), and doctors could not cure her condition. When Sambandar visited this temple, the king requested him to cure his daughter. Sundarar sang a pathigam on Natarajar, pleading with the Lord to cure the young girl, upon which Natarajar transformed the disease into the form of a snake and danced on its head, curing the girl. (The name of the disease – Muyalagan – could be a later interpolation, since otherwise Dakshinamurti and Natarajar are traditionally depicted with one foot on Muyalagan, representing ignorance.)
The Natarajar here is unusual, in that instead of muyalagan, it is a snake under the Lord’s foot, and His hair tied into a knot. Sundarar is also present in the shrine, with a pair of golden cymbals in his hands, keeping beat to the Lord’s dance. Natarajar here is therefore also known as Sarpa Natarajar.
Kamalan, a local trader and an ardent devotee of Lord Siva, adopted an abandoned baby and named her Amalai. As the girl grew up, she realised she wanted to marry the Lord. However, her father had agreed to marry her off to her uncle. The Lord took the form of the uncle, married her, took her inside the temple for worship and the couple disappeared. In the meantime, the real uncle came over, which surprised the trader. He prayed to Lord Siva for a solution, upon which the Lord and Parvati appeared, informing him that his daughter Amalai was, in fact, Parvati in another form (and therefore, in a sense, this is also one of the sites of Siva and Parvati’s marriage). The Goddess then threw down one of her anklets, creating a hole in the earth, out of which a river started flowing. The river used to be called silambu nadi, and is now called the Panguni river.
Brahma, Lakshmi, Parvati and sage Agastyar have worshipped here. Siva here is also called Brahmapureeswarar. The historical name of this place is Pachil Kutrathu Achiramam, which corrupted to Tirupachilachiramam during the bhakti period, and Tirupachi / Tiruvasi today. This used to be a forest of Vanni trees (Sameevanam in Sanskrit) and so Siva here is also called Sameevaneswarar.
Located close to Uttamar Koil on the northern bank of the Kollidam river, the structural temple is medieval Chola, with the core temple estimated to be even older – possibly the 6th century CE or earlier. Later modifications were made by the Pandyas and Hoysalas. Inscriptions in and about the temple contain various references to Raja Raja Chola I, as also Kulothunga Chola I, the Pandyas and Hoysalas.
The garbhagriham is in a separate raised part of the temple in the central prakaram. The Navagraham shrine here is different from usual – Suryan alone is depicted with his consorts Usha and Chaya / Pratyusha, and all the other planets face Suryan. Ambal Balambika is also depicted uniquely – Her left hand is carved like a crab. It is believed that children who suffer from Balarishtha dosham (suffering from frequent and inexplicable issue of ill health, in children, and which do not respond to conventional treatment) are relieved of their illness after drinking the milk from Ambal’s abhishekam, for 3 consecutive Sundays.
Other information for your visit
Close to this temple are
- Tiruvellarai Pundarikaksha Perumal temple, a Divya Desam, is located about 10 km away
- Gneeli Vaneswarar temple at Tiruppaigneeli (Paadal Petra Sthalam)
- Uttamar Koil Perumal temple
- Bhoominathar temple at Mannachanallur
- Sundararaja Perumal temple at Palayanallur, and
- Aadi Narayana Perumal temple at Gopurapatti.
The last 2 temples in the list above are closely related to the history of the Srirangam Ranganathar temple.
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: 0431 6574 972, 94436 92138
Vijaya Kumar Gurukkal: 98656 64870