Mandirapureeswarar, Kovilur, Tiruvarur

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:MandirapureeswararAmbal / Thayar:Brihannayaki
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tiru Usaatthanam
Vriksham:MaamaramTeertham:Markandeya Teertham, Gautama Teertham

Age (years):

Timing:6 to 12 & 4 to 8Parikaram:

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


Temple set:



City / town:KovilurDistrict:Tiruvarur
Maps from (click): Current location Tiruvarur (52.5 km)Nagapattinam (67.8 km)

Thanjavur (69 km)Kumbakonam (75.3 km)


Kovilur is located 22km from Pattukottai and 35km from Mannargudi.

Sthala puranam and temple information

This temple is very closely connected with the Ramayanam. The ancient name of this place is Tiru Usathanam. In Tamil, usavu or usavuthal is to inquire or ask about something. 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.

12 Rasis painted on the ceiling in natural dyes

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.

Other information for your visit

Because of its location, accommodation options nearby are budget and mid-range ones at Mannargudi and Pattukottai.



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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