Manikka Vannar, Tiruvalaputhur, Nagapattinam


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Manikka VannarAmbal / Thayar:BrahmakunthaLambigai, VaNdamarpoonkuzhali
Deity:SivaHistorical name:TiruvaazhkoLiputthur
Vriksham:VaagaiTeertham:Brahma Teertham
Agamam:

Kamika

Age (years):

1000-2000

Timing:6 to 12 & 4 to 7Parikaram:

Temple group:Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)
Sung by:

Sambandar, Sundarar

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:TiruvalaputhurDistrict:Nagapattinam
Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (14 km)Kumbakonam (46 km)

Tiruvarur (59 km)Nagapattinam (68 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

When King Rudraketan ruled this region, this village faced a severe famine, causing extreme suffering for the people. The king, being an ardent devotee of Siva, surrendered to the Lord begging Him to save the people. Moved by the king’s love for his subjects, Siva made it rain diamonds and other precious gems, and instructed the king to use them to benefit the people. This also gives the principal deity the name Manikka Vannar (Manickam=jewel or gem, in Tamil).

In the Mahabharatam, when the Pandavas were in exile, Arjuna undertook his own pilgrimage to Kailasam. On that pilgrimage, he felt very thirsty, and came across an old man who gave him a stick, with which to tap the ground to get water. Arjuna handed his sword to the old man for safekeeping while he drank the water, but when he was done, the old man had disappeared with the sword. Arjuna traced the old man’s footsteps to this place, which led him to an anthill, where Siva Himself (who had appeared as the old man) blessed Arjuna and returned the sword. Due to this, the place is called Tiru-vaal-oli-putr-ur (in Tamil, vaal=sword, oli=hide,putru=anthill) in ancient texts.

During the churning of the ocean, Vasuki spat out the extremely poisonous halahala, which Siva swallowed for the benefit of the world. For having caused this inconvenience to the Lord, Vasuki felt extremely repentant, and came here to perform penance. Very pleased with this, Siva blessed Vasuki and, at the latter’s request, stayed here in the Lingam of this temple.

Durga slayed Mahishasuran at the nearby Kidathalaimedu (which itself means the mound of the bull’s head), and came to this temple to calm down her fierce aspect. In terms of worship, it is a convention to therefore worship Durga first, at this temple.

Connected with the sthala puranams, there are some very interesting and unique architectural and iconographic aspects related to this temple. Related to the story of Vasuki, is the portrayal of Vinayakar here, as Ashta-Naga-Vinayakar, depicted with eight snakes. Also, Durga is depicted with 8 hands (which is regarded by experts as the original and most faithful representation of the agamas – Ashta-Bhuja-Bhairavi), but one of them holds a lotus (since She is also Vishnu’s sister).

The ardha mandapam and maha mandapam here are in the vavvaal nethi design. The koshtam shrine for Dakshinamurti has beautiful pillars with carvings of lions. There is no separate Navagraham shrine here, but Sani has a separate shine, facing east (which is unusual since he normally faces west, towards Siva).

Other information for your visit

Contact

Mohana Sundaram Gurukkal: 95854 50057

Gallery

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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