Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kalamegaperumal||Ambal / Thayar:||Mohanavalli|
|Deity:||Perumal||Historical name:||Mohana Kshetram; Tirumogur|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Divya Desam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirumohur||District:||Madurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Madurai (14 km)||Sivaganga (42 km)|
|Virudhunagar (61 km)||Dindigul (63 km)|
Tirumohur is located on the outskirts of Madurai, about 12km from city centre, and 3km from Othakadai, to the east of the NH45.
Sthala puranam and temple information
Bhasmasuran performed severe penance and obtained a boon from Lord Siva, that whoever he touched on the head would be reduced to ashes (and hence the name, Bhasmasuran). Upon receiving the boon, he wanted to try it on Siva himself, and the Lord rushed to Vishnu for help. Vishnu transformed Himself into Mohini and, through a series of dance moves, made the asura touch himself on the head, leading to his destruction. This incident is said to have taken place here, and hence the place is called Tiru-Mohur (Mohanam=beautiful, attractive). The other story linked to Mohini is, of course, the churning of the ocean, where Mohini appeared and in the pretense of distributing the celestial nectar equally, deprived the asuras of it.
Since the Lord Himself took the role of Mohini, Thayar at this temple does not step out of her sanctum, even for festivals (only Andal accompanies the utsavar). She is called padi-thandaa-pathini (the wife who doesn’t cross the threshold).
Kalamegham refers to the dark, water-laden clouds. Just like those clouds are full of water, waiting to rain on earth, Vishnu is full of blessings, ready to shower them on His devotees.
This temple is commonly referred to as the Chakarathazhvar temple, since Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakram receives special worship at this temple. Chakarathazhvar is seen after the Narasimhavataram, with Hiranyakashipu on His lap. The Chakarathazhvar murti faces east, sporting 16 hands and 16 different weapons, with 154 letters which are said to be from a Beeja Mantram. The Chakarathazhvar murti has Narasimhar on the rear, behind facing west. Narasimhar has the Chakram in all four hands (it is believed that the Chakram was used to kill Hiranyakashipu, by being present in all the fingernails of Narasimhar).
In the main sanctum, Kalamega Perumal is in Panchayudha kolam, with consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi. Unlike in other temples, the Thayars do not touch Perumal’s feet. Ranganathar (Ananta Sayi Vishnu) is in a separate shrine in prarthana sayanam, and Mohanavalli Thayar also has a separate shrine.
The temple is deeply connected with the literary and art world of its time, and finds mention in Sangam literature, including in Pathirupathu, Madurai Kanchi, and the epic Silappatikaram.
This is a fairly large temple complex, with a separate Teertham outside. The structural temple is from the Pandya period (inscriptions identify it as Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan from the 13th century CE), with subsequent additions by the Madurai Nayaks and, later, by the Marudhu Pandyan brothers who were famous in the region in the 18th century.
There are some interesting architectural aspects here, including the ornate pillars, carvings, etc. There is also a beautiful image of Lord Siva in tandavam, on the northern side of the main gopuram (this can be seen from outside the ardha mandapam, when exiting the main temple premises).
During the colonial period, a British general attempted to take away the treasures and idols of the temple, but was stopped by the Kallars. This incident is reenacted every year as part of the temple festival. The Kallar community of Tirumohur and nearby villages are also given the privilege of pulling the temple car during processions.
Other information for your visit
Madurai has accommodation for all budgets, and is also well connected by air, road and rail, to the rest of the country. The airport also serves some international destinations.