Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Pasupateeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sargunambal, Nalla Nayaki|
|Timing:||6.30 to 11.30 & 5.30 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvetkalam||District:||Cuddalore|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (42.5 km)||Cuddalore (49.2 km)|
|Kumbakonam (75.1 km)||Viluppuram (81.4 km)|
Tiruvetkalam is located inside the Annamalai University campus, 5 km from Chidambaram.
Sthala puranam and temple information
The puranam of this temple is connected to the episode of Kiratarjuneeyam in the Mahabharatam, and is similar to the one at Sundareswarar temple at Tiruvettakudi. During the Pandavas’ 13-year exile, Arjuna went separately to worship Lord Siva at Punnagavanam. One day when he was in penance, he saw a wild boar, and shot an arrow at it. When he went to retrieve his kill, he saw a hunter there, whose arrow had also hit the boar, who was claiming it as his kill. A fight ensued between the two claimants, in which Arjuna’s arrow hit hunter. Eventually, the hunter eventually won, breaking Arjuna’s bow, and tossing Arjuna with his foot into the nearby water tank. He then revealed himself to be Lord Siva in disguise, and pleased with Arjuna’s valour, and granted him the Pasupatastram. He also blessed Arjuna to be reborn as a hunter in a later birth. The Lingam here has a scar – where Siva was injured by Arjuna’s arrow. Since Lord Siva gave Arjuna the Pasupatastram here, He is called Pasupateeswarar.
It is regarded that Arjuna’s rebirth was as Kannappa Nayanar.
The tank in which Arjuna fell is considered the temple’s tank – Krupa Teertham. The villages surrounding this area depict this event – the place where the fight took place is Easan Por Veli (Por=fight), the place where Arjuna hit the Lord is Nakkar Utkantha Kudi and the place where Arjuna’s bow was broken is Velliruthan Kuttai.
In the past, this used to be a bamboo forest, and so the place was called Moongilvanam or Venuvanam. The sthala vriksham of the temple is the moongil (bamboo).
The temple has some interesting element of architecture and sculpture. Dakshinamurti in the koshtam is a bas-relief image rather than a separate idol. The imagery of Parvati is with her hair unbound, which is quite unusual. Equally unique is the separate Nandi outside Amman’s shrine. There is also a metal-formed image of Arjuna receiving the Pasupatastram from Lord Siva.
Other information for your visit
Chidambaram is the nearest place to stay, where there are some budget and mid-range options for accommodation. Also, some home-stays have come up in recent years, which offer simple and clean options to stay. Hotel Krishna Vilas, opposite the eastern entrance to the Chidambaram temple, provides good, wholesome food options through the day.