Sabdapureeswarar, Tirukolakkaa, Nagapattinam

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:SabdapureeswararAmbal / Thayar:Osai Koduththa Nayaki;Dhwanipradhaambaal
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tirukolakka
Vriksham:KondraiTeertham:Ananda Teertham

Age (years):

Timing:7.30 to 11 & 4.30 to 8Parikaram:

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

Sambandar, Sundarar

Temple set:

Pancha Ka Kshetram



City / town:TirukolakkaaDistrict:Nagapattinam
Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (23 km)Kumbakonam (60 km)

Tiruvarur (65 km)Nagapattinam (67 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

When, Vishnu undertook the Narasimha avataram to quell the atrocities of the demon Hiranyakashipu, He had imbibed asuraic properties as a result, and caused fear among the celestials. So Siva took the form of Sarabha (a creature with two heads, two wings, eight legs of the lion with sharp claws and a long tail), to subdue Narasimha by drawing out the latter’s negative energies. This involved Siva keeping Narasimha under His control, but Lakshmi worshipped Siva so that Vishnu could return to her. Siva asked her to perform penance at kondrai vanam, which Lakshmi did, and pleased with this, Siva arranged the wedding of Vishnu and Lakshmi here.

It is regarded in Saivite lore that Siva had to bring each of Vishnu’s avatarams to a conclusion, in the form of a samhara murti.

Lakshmi (Thiru) appeared in her bridal attire (kolam), in the kondrai forest (kaa) and so the place came to be known as Tirukolakkaa. Another interpretation is that it refers to Lakshmi’s Tirumana Kolam (again, referring to her bridal attire), which has been corrupted to Tirukolam (kaa being added to represent the forest). Yet another interpretation of kolam, is that it refers to kolahalam, the Tamil word for festivities that took place at the Vishnu-Lakshmi wedding.

Sambandar, the child saint, sang his first Tevaram pathigam at the Brahmapureeswarar temple at Sirkazhi. Later that evening, he visited Tirukolakkaa (his first pilgrimage as such), and sang a pathigam using his soft hands for keeping beat, as a result of which his hands turned red. Overcome by the devotion shown by the child, Siva presented Sambandar with a pair of golden cymbals, and Parvati infused the cymbals with music and the power of sound. They are therefore respectively called Thalamudaiyar (thalam = beat and also cymbal, in Tamil), and Osai Kodutha Nayaki (the Goddess who infused sound). Sabda in Sanskrit also refers to speech, and hence Siva here is named Sabda Pureeswarar. This is therefore a prarthana sthalam for those with speech difficulties and impairments, and those aspiring for proficiency in music, who perform a Vaak-Vadhini puja for receiving these graces.

Sundarar visited this temple during his time, and his pathigam refers to Sambandar receiving the golden cymbals from Siva, who had melted for Sambandar’s pathigam.

The puranam of Sambandar also illustrates the unity of Siva and Parvati. While Siva provided the cymbals, they made no sound until Parvati infused them with the ability to produce sound. In a sense, this is a different representation of the Ardhanareeswarar concept, or the Siva-Sakti concept, according to with Siva and Parvati are one, and need to be considered and worshipped as one.

The Tirumulai Paal Utsavam that forms part of the Chithirai Tiruvadhirai festival (April-May) at the Sirkazhi Brahmapureeswarar temple, ends with the procession coming to this temple. The scene of Sambandar receiving the golden cymbals is re-enacted at that time, after which the procession heads back to Sirkazhi.

The moolavar is often referred to as Saptapureeswarar (which would mean the blessing of seven people or similar), which is incorrect.

Once, Indra and Suryan had a dispute as to who was more powerful. They worshipped Siva here, after which Indra was made lord of the celestials, while Suryan was made the lord of the planets. Suryan’s ascension is celebrated in this temple, in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November-December). Due to this puranam, this temple is also a prarthana sthalam for those seeking growth in employment or business ventures.

Others who worshipped here include Agastyar and Sage Kanva. The musical trinity – Muthuswami Dikshitar, Thyagarajar and Syama Sastri – have also worshipped at this temple.

According to a local story, in 1979, a mute child and his parents worshipped here, after which the child was able to speak. The parents donated a pair of golden cymbals here, which are kept on display at the temple. The temple also maintains a record of such incidents, which number over 500 as of date.

The temple is believed to be over 2000 years old, and was certainly in existence in the 7th century, during the time of Sambandar. Subsequently, the structural temple was constructed in the time of the medieval Cholas. The Lingodhbhavar murti on the western koshtam is breathtakingly beautiful, and is depicted as being flanked by Brahma and Vishnu – this representation is believed to be highly auspicious. Interestingly, the temple does not have a raja gopuram (rather, has a flat mottai gopuram of sorts) or a dhwajasthambam. Parvati has a separate temple abutting the Siva temple, within the premises. The temple also has a separate murti depicted holding a cup. The procession of Natarajar in the temple’s annual festival, includes His consort Sivakamasundari, and Sambandar holding the golden cymbals.

Other information for your visit


Phone: 04364 274 175


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