Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Mandirapureeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Brihannayaki|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Tiru Usaatthanam|
|Vriksham:||Maamaram||Teertham:||Markandeya Teertham, Gautama Teertham|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kovilur||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tiruvarur (53 km)||Nagapattinam (68 km)|
|Thanjavur (69 km)||Kumbakonam (75 km)|
Kovilur is located 22km from Pattukottai and 35km from Mannargudi.
Sthala puranam and temple information
The ancient name of this place is Tiru Usathanam, derived from the Tamil usavu or usavuthal, which is to inquire or ask about something.
This temple is very closely connected with the Ramayanam. Rama came to this temple and asked Lord Siva for advice on constructing the bridge to Lanka, and that is how the place got its name. In return, Siva gave mantropadesam to Rama, and hence gets his name, Mantrapureeswarar (or Mandira Pureeswarar).
There are various other connections with the Ramayanam here. Sundarar’s Tevaram refers to Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Jambavan and Sugreeva worshipping here, and there are nearby places with names like Ramar Koil, Jambavan Odai, Thambikku Nalla Pattinam, Hanuman Kadu, etc.
There is also a story as to why this place is called Kovilur. Sage Viswamitra wanted to witness Siva’s cosmic dance during the Sayarakshai (evening) puja at Chidambaram, but was not able to do so. He came to this place and prayed to the Lord, who appeared here and performed the same tandavam as He does as Natarajar in Chidambaram during Sayarakshai, for the exclusive benefit of the sage, making this place the equivalent of Chidambaram. As Chidambaram is also referred to simply as “Kovil”, in Saivite culture, this place gets the name Kovil-ur.
According to the temple puranam, this place has existed even before the churning of the oceans by the Devas and the Asuras, and so it is also referred to as Adi Chidambaram.
In order to free his mother Vinata from Kadru’s hold, Garuda had to bring a pot of amritam from devalokam. While doing so, some of the amritam spilt out and fell on the Lingam here, resulting in this Lingam being white coloured.
The moolavar Lingam is a swayambhumurti, under a mango tree, due to which, this place also has the name Soothavanam.
This is a Chola temple, with subsequent additions by the Pandyas. The temple has inscriptions pertaining to Vikrama Chola, Raja Raja Chola III, Rajendra Chola III, Kulothunga Chola III and Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan. The architecture at this temple is truly spectacular, displaying a mix of Chola and Pandya styles.
Other information for your visit
Because of its location, accommodation options nearby are budget and mid-range ones at Mannargudi and Pattukottai.