Sakti Gireeswarar, Senganur, Thanjavur
Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Sakti Gireeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sakhidevi|
|Timing:||7 to 9 & 5.30 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Senganur||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (17.3 km)||Mayiladuthurai (26.3 km)|
|Tiruvarur (47.8 km)||Ariyalur (50 km)|
Senganur is located on the banks of the Manniyaru river, about 18 km from Kumbakonam, and 2 km from Tiruvelliangudi.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Senganur is the avatara sthalam of Chandesa Nayanar, who was elevated to the status of a god, as Chandikeswarar – invariably seen on the northern side of the garbhagriham of Siva temples. Chandesar is also the protector of Siva’s property, which is why the worship practice is to wipe one’s hands in front of Chandesar, to indicate we as devotees, are not taking anything away from the temple! The nearby Tiruvaaippaadi is considered Chandesa Nayanar’s mukti sthalam.
Visara Sarma, a staunch Siva devotee, was the son of brahmin couple – Echa Thathan and Pavitrai. One day, after seeing a cowherd beating a calf, he intervened, and as a result, took up tending to the cows owned by the village’s brahmins. He would use some of their milk for puja of a Lingam he made with sand from the Manniyaru river. While the remainder of the milk was sufficient for the brahmins, they complained. His father wanted to find out the truth, and visited Visara Sarma when he was doing his puja. Angered by what he saw, he hit Visara Sarma (who was was engaged in worship at the time) and kicked the sand Lingam. Being deep in worship, Visara Sarma did not see who was doing this, and took up a stick he used when grazing cows, to return the attack. The stick turned into an axe, and without even considering it was his father he was attacking, Visara Sarma cut off his father’s legs. Pleased with his actions as a devotee, Siva embraced him, gave him the title Chandikeswarar, and also restored his father’s legs. Since Lord Siva gave pratyaksham to Chandesar, the latter is embellished like Siva Himself – with the crescent, earrings, matted hair, and river Ganga.
Murugan imprisoned Brahma for not knowing the meaning of the pranava mantram. This angered Siva, who asked Murugan about it, but Murugan said that this could be done only if Siva took up the role of disciple, to Murugan’s role as guru. (Later, at Swamimalai, Lord Siva got to hear the meaning of the pranava mantram from Murugan.) All of this resulted in Murugan losing his power of speech, and to overcome this, he built this temple at Senganur. How this happened, how his speech was regained, and the connection with the Tirupandurai Sivanandeswarar temple, is here.
On his way to battle with Soorapadman, Murugan worshipped here and obtained the Rudrapasupata weapon from Lord Siva. At that time, Daksha – the architect of the Devas – made this place into a city. Since Murugan came here, this place used to be called Kumarapuram, and its current name is a corruption of Sei-nallur (Sei or seyyon is a very early form of reference to Murugan). Murugan has a separate large sannidhi at this temple. The nearby river Manniyaru itself is said to get its name from Subrahmanya Aaru.
Given the number of Siva temples in Tamil Nadu, the chance of repeating names of the deities is very common. However, this is the only place where Parvati has the name Sakhi Devi.
A Chola king used to donate land to 300 of his people every day. One day, there was one recipient short, and so Lord Siva took on the form of the missing person, received the land, and went to one of the houses in the village. Later, the king was informed that no one was in the house where the person entered after getting the land, and so the king himself visited the house to verify facts. There he found Siva in sculpture form, and received moksham.
During the Chola period, Senganur was considered one of the 5 important cities of the empire, and coronations would take place here, on occasion.
While this is clearly a Chola temple, it does not come with the usual plethora of architecture and sculptures. That said, there are some interesting aspects to this temple, including a Bhairavar murti made of stone in the maha mandapam, which emits a metallic sound when tapped. This is one of the maadakoils built by Kochchenga Cholan.
Other information for your visit
The temple is open for only a couple of hours in the morning and evening every day, so it is advisable to plan one’s visit. However, there is no shortage of temples nearby to spend time at, including: Kolavilli Ramar at Tiruvelliangudi, Paaluganthanatha at Tiruvaaippaadi, Aruna Jadeswarar, at Tirupanandal and Bhairaveswarar at Cholapuram.
The moolavar is also called Satya Gireeswarar in various signposts, literature, contemporary books, etc.
Senganur, is important to Vaishnavites as well, being the avatara sthalam of Vaishnavite guru and scholar Periyavachan Pillai, and the birthplace of Sri Krishna Premi, whose ancestor was Periyavachan Pillai.
TK Ramakrishnan Gurukal 93459 82373 / S Chandramouli 70948 29225 / 96006 30839