Padaleeswarar, Tirupathiripuliyur, Cuddalore


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:PadaleeswararAmbal / Thayar:Brihannayaki, Periyanayaki
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tiruppathiripuliyur
Vriksham:Paadalam (Pathiri)Teertham:Brahma Teertham
Agamam:

Age (years):

Timing:6 to 12 & 4 to 8.30Parikaram:

Temple group:Paadal Petra Sthalam (Nadu Naadu)
Sung by:

Sambandar, Appar

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:TirupathiripuliyurDistrict:Cuddalore
Maps from (click): Current location Cuddalore (1 km)Viluppuram (43 km)

Mayiladuthurai (91 km)Tiruvannamalai (115 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

Once, while playing Chokkattan, Parvati closed Siva’s eyes with her hands. This playful act, however, had serious outcomes, as it brought the entire universe to a standstill. Realising Her fault, She begged Siva to forgive Her, but the Lord asked her to perform worship at 1008 Siva temples on earth. He also told Her that He would join Her at the place where Her left eye and left shoulder experienced unnatural throbbing. This happened at Tirupathiripuliyur, after Parvati had worshipped at 1007 other places, and She was performing penance in aroopa (formless) state. She then merged with Siva – also in aroopa state – here.

Those of other faiths had inflicted various forms of punishment and torture upon Appar, the Saivite saint. One of these was to tie him to a huge boulder, and push it out to sea, believing the saint would sink along with the boulder. Due to the grace of Siva, the boulder floated, and came to rest at the seashore near this place. Appar has a separate shrine here, where he is depicted seated (usually the depiction is of Appar standing), his favourite plough in hand. There is also a panel depicting the story of Appar, inside the temple. Because Siva aided Appar in reaching the shore, He is also called Karaiyetreeswarar here (the one who brought him ashore).

The temple is close to the place where the Gadilam river takes a southward bend, and then proceeds east to join the sea. It is believed that at the time when Appar came to worship at this temple, the river’s course was quite different. To enable the saint to worship without hindrance, Siva changed the course of the river.

Sthala vriksham – Pathiri tree

There are two parts to the name of this place – pathiri and puliyur. Pathiri refers to the Pathiri tree, which is also the sthala vriksham of this temple (the ancient tree – called the Adi Pathiri – is still seen within the prakaram of the temple). The Puliyur part of the name comes from the fact that Vyaghrapada (the tiger-footed saint; puli in Tamil = tiger) worshipped here along with Patanjali. The nine places they visited and worshipped at together, are collectively called Nava-Puliyur; these are Perumpatrapuliyur (Chidambaram), Tirupathiripuliyur (this temple), Sirupuliyur, Erukathampuliyur, Perumpuliyur, Omampuliyur, Atthippuliyur, Thaplampuliyur and Kanattampuliyur. It is believed that later in life, Vyaghrapada attained mukti here.

Sage Vyaghrapada’s son Upamanyu was worshipping the Goddess when his foot struck the murti, by accident. Nonetheless, he was cursed to live as a rabbit, with salvation only upon worshipping Amman here. One day, a king named Adirajan was out hunting, and chased the rabbit, who entered this place for protection. Remembering the Goddess’ words, it prayed to Amman here, and Upamanyu regained his original form.

Arunagirinathar has sung on Murugan at this temple, in the Tiruppugazh.

One of the unusual practices in this temple compared to other temples, is that when the temple closes at night, Parvati goes to the palliyarai (bedchamber) to join Siva, rather than the other way round. Also, the palliyarai is located adjacent to the garbhagriham of the moolavar, rather than Amman.

Literary sources mention 9 types of structural temple construction – Perunkoil, Karakkoil, Gnazharkoil, Kudikoil, Ilankoil, Manikoil, Alakoil, Madakoil and Poonkoil.

The structural temple we see today is from Pallava times, with subsequent renovations by the Cholas. Among temple types, this temple falls under the category of Gnazhar Koil. Gnazhar refers to a group of trees with a specific type of wood, such as Kondrai, Kongu, Thekku (teak) and Pathiri. Gnazhar koils are where the presiding deity, or the temple itself, is constructed of these types of wood. Appar’s pathigam on this temple also refers to it as a Gnazhar Koil, suggesting that in his time, this temple could have been built from wood.

The temple has some stupendous architecture and carvings, as well as bas relief images on the inner walls. Interestingly, Vinayakar here is depicted without any weapons in his hands – instead, he is shown holding a garland of pathiri flowers. There is a belief that worshipping Siva here is the equivalent of worshipping thrice at Chidambaram, 8 times at Tiruvannamalai and 16 times at Kasi.

Other information for your visit

Contact

Phone: 04142-236728; 98949 27573; 94428 32181

Gallery

Author: TN Temples Project

A personal project to catalogue information on temples (both mainstream and off-the-beaten-track), so that people can learn about them and visit those temples more regularly.

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