Mullaivana Nathar, Tirumullaivasal, Nagapattinam

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Mullaivana NatharAmbal / Thayar:Kothaiammai, SatyAnanda Soundari
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Then Tirumullaivaayil
Vriksham:MullaiTeertham:Chakra Teertham

Age (years):


Timing:7 to 10 & 4 to 7Parikaram:

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


Temple set:



City / town:TirumullaivasalDistrict:Nagapattinam
Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (35 km)Nagapattinam (66 km)

Cuddalore (70 km)Tiruvarur (71 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

Wanting to understand the meaning of the Panchakshara mantram, Parvati worshipped Siva here. Heeding to her prayers and request, Siva appeared as her Guru and initiated her into the Panchakshara mantram. It is believed that those who chant the Panchakshara mantram here – particularly on days of Amavasya, pournami and eclipses – will not be subjected to the cycle of rebirth. Also, since Siva took the form of Parvati’s guru here, this is a prarthana sthalam for those wanting to to succeed in their education.

Because at this sthalam, Siva and Parvati took on the roles of guru and sishya, there is no palliarai (bedchamber for Siva and Parvati as a couple, which is usually seen at Siva temples) at this temple, and hence no palliarai puja, which is generally performed twice a day.

Killi Valavan, the early Chola king and grandfather of Karikala Chola, was suffering from a terrible skin disease. At the advise of his doctors, he worshipped at this temple and took a bath at the temple tank, which cured him of his disease.

A Chola king and his entourage arrived at this place to take a bath in the sea, located close by. Unfortunately, the place was surrounded by a forest of mullai plants (a type of jasmine), making moving around difficult – so much that the king’s horse got its legs tangled in the plants. To release it, the king started cutting the offending plants with his sword, when he hit something hard, and blood started oozing out. The shocked king ordered his team to dig the place, and found a swayambhu Siva Lingam that was freshly bleeding. Saddened by the events, the king attempted to take his own life, when Siva and Parvati appeared on Rishabha Vahanam, and stopped the king. They then blessed him, after which the king ordered a temple to be built here, installing the Lingam that was struck by him (even today, the 3.5 foot tall Siva Lingam sports a scar, regarded as being from the king’s sword). A version of this puranam suggests that the Chola king in question was Killi Valavan (as above).

Susavi, Sage Vamadeva’s eldest son, was immersing his father’s ashes at various holy places. When he did so here, they turned into emeralds! Astonished, Susavi conducted pitru puja here, enabling his father’s soul to reach Siva’s holy feet.

The place gets its name from the mullai (jasmine) plants that were here at the time. Vasal (or vayal / vayol) indicates this was an opening or an entry point to the sea, for the Uppanar river. In olden times, this place was called Then Tirumullaivasal, to distinguish it from the (Vada) Tirumullaivasal, located near Chennai.

The timeline of Killi Valavan is not certain, and he is referred to primarily in Sangam literature. There are also references to different kings by that name, across different eras. Therefore, one view is that the Killi Valavan who constructed this temple was not the early Chola king, and father of Karikala Chola.

Those who have worshipped at this temple include Indra, Chandran, Yudhishtra from the Mahabharatam, and the naga Karkotakan.

This is one many sets of 5 temples known as pancha-vaneswaram temples, where Siva temples are in what used to be forests. The others in this set are at Chidambaram (also mullai vanam), Tiruchaaikadu (Sayavanam), Tiruvenkadu (white flowering plants) and Poompuhar (Pallavaneswaram).

Since Sambandar has sung pathigams here, the core temple must have existed from at least the 7th century, and the structural temple could have been built thereafter, as it has all the hallmarks and indications of a medieval Chola temple. Subsequent renovations and additions seem to have been made by the Marathas. There is no raja gopuram at this temple’s entrance. Bas relief images in the temple vividly depict the sthala puranam.

Other information for your visit


Phone: 94865 24626

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