Suddha Ratneswarar, Oottathur, Perambalur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Suddha RatneswararAmbal / Thayar:Akhilandeswari
Deity:SivaHistorical name:
Vriksham:Teertham:Brahma Teertham
Agamam:

Age (years):

1000-2000

Timing:5 to 12.30 & 4 to 8.30Parikaram:

Temple group:Vaippu Sthalam
Sung by:

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:OottathurDistrict:Perambalur
Maps from (click): Current location Perambalur (22.5 km)Ariyalur (31.3 km)

Tiruchirappalli (44.9 km)Thanjavur (56.1 km)

Location

Oottathur is located about 5km east from the NH45, and about 42 km from Trichy.

Sthala puranam and temple information

The puranam of this temple is linked to the legendary dispute between Vishnu and Brahma as to who was superior. After Brahma acknowledges to Siva that his claim (with the thazhampoo bearing false witness) of having seen the top of the pillar of fire, Siva ordered him to bring water from all the holy rivers and perform abhishekam. Brahma did so, and created a spring of water in front of the garbhagriham. Water from this Brahma Teertham is used even today for daily abhishekam in the temple, and is said to have curative properties for a variety of ailments. The type of water source created by Brahma is called ootru in Tamil, giving the town its name Ootratur (which has been corrupted to Ootathur).

In the 7th century, the local army was clearing the way to make a path for the king. In the process, they found blood oozing on the ground at this particular place, and informed the king. Upon further digging, the king found a Siva Lingam made of ruby, with a cut on the head. Taking this to be a sign, the king built the temple here. The temple was later renovated by Raja Raja Chola I in the late 10th / early 11th century. It is said that this was a result of Raja Raja hearing about the curative properties of the Brahma Teertham, and being cured after some of its water was sprinkled on him.

In order to resolve the question of which of the seven rivers of Bharatam (Ganga, Yamuna, Tungabhadra, Sindhu, Saraswati, Kaveri, Narmada) was the holiest, Siva asked Nandi to drink up the water in all seven rivers. Nandi lay down facing east, and began to drink up the water, and at the end of it, only the River Ganga‘s water poured out as a separate river, called Nandi aaru, to the east of the temple. There are 2 large Nandis at this temple – one facing east (honuoring the Nandi aaru), and the other facing Siva. The Nandi aaru is not existent now, but is believed to be a mystic river that joins the Kollidam river.

Raja Raja, on his trip to Varanasi to immerse his father’s ashes in the Ganga, noted that when he passed by the Nandi aaru, the ashes turned into flowers, and stayed that way till they reached Varanasi, where they turned into ashes again. The king decided to return, and eventually immersed the ashes in the Nandi aaru. It is believed that the king also constructed a Kasi Viswanathar temple here near the Nandi aaru, but it too, like the aaru, does not exist today. It is possible that the nearby shrine of Swarnambikai sametha Choleeswarar, located to the south-west of the temple, could be that temple.

The image of Natarajar at this temple is made of panchanadhana stone (which is said to have the ability to absorb the Sun’s rays) and is worshipped with a garland of vetiver (khas). Water from the Brahma Teertham, after being used for Natarajar’s abhishekam, is said to cure kidney related ailments, with a lot of people attesting to this even in current times. Worshipping Natarajar is also believed to help regain the lost power, as Indra did after praying here, and so this temple is also a favourite of many politicians!

One of the exquisite works of architecture in the temple is the carving of the 27 nakshatrams and 12 rasis on the ceiling. Also, both the Natarajar and Sivakamasundari are made of a single stone, each.

This is an early Chola temple, and as mentioned earlier, was rebuilt by Raja Raja Chola I. The rajagopuram and some of the mandapams are from the Nayak period.

Other information for your visit

To the west – no more than a couple of hundred meters from this temple – is an ancient temple for Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, where the principal deity is Kodandaramar. This is a very simple temple but with some amazing carvings on the walls (and a special Thundikkai Azhvar – Vinayakar at the entrance to the garbhagriham).

Contact

Nataraja Gurukkal: 97880 62416

Gallery

Sthala puranam by temple Sivacharyar

Author: TN Temples Project

A personal project to catalogue information on temples (both mainstream and off-the-beaten-track), so that people can learn about them and visit those temples more regularly.

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