Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Tirumeninathar||Ambal / Thayar:||ThuNaimaalai Ammai|
|Deity:||Paadal Petra Sthalam||Historical name:||Tiruchuliyal|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Pandya Naadu)||–|
|City / town:||Virudhunagar||District:||Virudhunagar|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Virudhunagar (35 km)||Sivaganga (47 km)|
|Madurai (55 km)||Ramanathapuram (90 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
During the dwapara yugam, there were floods (pralayam) in this region threatened the lives of those living here. The ruling king, a staunch Siva devotee, prayed fervently to Siva to save his subjects. Pleased with the prayers, Siva hurled his trisulam (trident), creating a hole in the earth, through which the water drained. This incident is said to give the place its name as Chuli or Chuliyal, referring to the whirlpool and swirls created by the trident. There is also a separate shrine for Siva as Pralaya Vitangar, in this temple.
There is also a connection this temple has with Chidambaram. When Sundarar visited this place, Siva appeared to him in a dream, as a youth with a golden bouquet, and sporting a frontal tuft of hair (munkudumi), as worn by the Deekshitars of Chidambaram. The following morning, Sundarar visited the temple along with Cheraman Perumal.
अन्य क्शेत्रे क्रितम् पापम् पुण्यक्शेत्रे विनश्यति |
पुण्यक्शेत्रे क्रितम् पापम् वारानास्याम् विन्श्यति ||
वारानास्याम् क्रितम् पापम् कुम्भकोणे विनश्यति |
कुम्भकोणे क्रितम् पापम्, कुम्भकोणे विनश्यति ||
This sentiment is about Kumbakonam, translated as: the sins committed in any place are washed off at a holy place. Sins committed at holy places are washed off only at Varanasi. Sins committed at Varanasi are washed off at Kumbakonam, and sins committed at Kumbakonam are washed off only at Kumbakonam. There is an identical belief about Tiruchuli as well.
Parvati meditated upon Siva here, in order to seek His hand in marriage. Possibly depicting this, Parvati’s shrine is to the right of the garbhagriham, both facing east, in kalyana kolam. In the past, the celestial couple are also said to appeared in their wedding attire to devotees, and so this is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married.
Among the various names of the moolavar are Dinakareswarar (as He was worshipped by Suryan) and Bhoominathar (after Bhudevi worshipped the Lord here once). The place is considered equivalent to mount Meru.
Given the association with the core tenets of Siva worship, it is also believed that worshipping here with one vilvam leaf is the equivalent of worshipping with 1000 vilvam leaves in all Siva temples in the land. Also, worshipping Bhoominathar here is believed to help resolve land related problems of devotees.
It is believed that Siva Himself came here because he felt it to be more glorious than Kailasam! Devotees therefore consider this place as holy and fit for worship as Kailasam.
Originally built by the Pandyas, the temple has seen later additions from various dynasties that ruled this region of Pandya Nadu. Over the years, the rulers of Ramanathapuram had maintained this temple.
The moolavar garbhagriham is housed in a sanctum surrounded by a sort of a moat. The Lingam of Tirumeninathar is square shaped. Vinayakar here is named Pralaya Vitankar. The Nataraja sabha at this temple also houses murtis of sage Gautama and Ahalya. There is a separate shrine for Vishnu as Chuzhigai Govindar, along with Lakshmi. The architecture of this temple is considered to be similar to that at Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple at Madurai, and Ramanathaswami temple at Rameswaram. The temple’s premises covers a rather large area, and the grandeur of the Pandya-style architecture – going by the work on the pillars and walls – is very evident.
Another interesting aspect about this temple is that it is also a moksha sthalam for those who have departed from this world. However, what makes it unique is that one can perform archanai in the name of the deceased! It is believed that after performing this archanai, if one lights a lamp (called the moksha deepam) thinking of the deceased, their soul will cross all 21 future lifetimes without any hindrance.
Other information for your visit
The birthplace of Ramana Maharishi is located very close to the temple (see gallery below), and is a must-visit on a trip to this temple.
Phone: 04566 282644
Very close to the temple is the house where Ramana Maharishi was born. This has been converted into a memorial, and can be used by visitors for meditation, when visiting Tiruchuli.