Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vellaidainatha Swami||Ambal / Thayar:||Kaviyamkanni, Neelotpala Visalakshi|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Tirukkurukavur Velladai|
|Timing:||6 to 10.30 & 5 to 7.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Vada Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirukurukavur||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (29 km)||Kumbakonam (67 km)|
|Nagapattinam (67 km)||Tiruvarur (68 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
When Sundarar was undertaking one of his many pilgrimages, he came to this place but could not immediately find a Siva temple to pray for the day. Tired and hungry, he rested for a while, when an old man appeared from nowhere and offered food and water, which according to him, was his way of serving Siva’s devotees. Sambandar and his entourage went to the man’s house nearby and had a sumptuous meal of curd rice, and rested for a while. When he woke up, Sambandar could not find the old man. In fact, the house where they had had food and rested, was no longer there! The saint realised that the old man was none other than Siva Himself, and upon praying to the Lord, was led to this temple nearby. This temple’s customs even today involve feeding people curd rice, on every full moon day in the Tamil month of Chithirai (April-May). There is also a belief among devotees that worshipping here will ensure no shortage of food in their lives.
Another story here relates to Sambandar, who had caused the death of many of other faiths, after they had lost in debate with him (as was the custom in those days). He therefore wanted to go to Kasi, in order to rid himself of the sin of having caused so many deaths. So he worshipped Siva at Sirkazhi, to take the Lord’s permission to visit Kasi. To save the child saint trouble, Siva told Sambandar to go to Kurukavur instead, and brought the River Ganga to the temple tank here, in which Sambandar took a bath and cleansed himself. This is said to have taken place in the Tamil month of Thai (January-February), and so during this time every year, the temple well is opened up for devotees to take a bath in (it is closed during the rest of the year). The water in the temple tank is said to turn white during this period of one month, which is why it is also called Paal Kinaru (paal = milk in Tamil).
Siva’s name as Vellaidainathar derives from Vella (Tamil for white) and idai (bull, referring to His Rishabham) – essentially, the Lord riding on a white bull. It is said that Vishnu once took the form of Rishabham to worship and service Siva. Another name for Siva here is Ratnakureswarar, after He told Kubera to give a gift of gemstones to a poor deovtee). Amman here has a beautiful name – Neelotpala Visalakshi.
The origin of names of this place are also very interesting. This place was also called Rishabhapuram in ancient times, following from the etymology of Vellaidainathar as stated above. Because Siva fed curd rice to Sambandar and his followers, this place was called Dadyonnapuram (dadyonnam in Sanskrit means curd rice). We have read about Agni, in the guise of a pigeon, testing King Sibi Chakravarti. Agni worshipped here to regain his original form, and for this purpose, created a tank here. Kuruvi is Tamil for pigeon, and the name of Kuru-kavur derives from this.
While this is an early Chola temple at its core, and must have been in existence in the 7th century (going by Sambandar’s visit here), it was rebuilt with stone in the time of the medieval Cholas in the late 10th century, by Uttama Chola. The temple also houses inscriptions from his time, and also of Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola, Vikrama Chola and Kulothunga Chola I, among others.
There are several interesting aspects to this temple’s iconography and architecture. Connected with the temple’s puranam, Vishnu has a separate shrine here as Kariyamanikka Perumal, along with Bhudevi. Unusually, Murugan faces south (instead of east normally) in this temple and is regarded as Guru, the equivalent of Dakshinamurti, and so special worship is offered to Murugan on Thursdays. Durga is depicted with eight arms, as Ashta Bhuja Durga. Sage Durvasar is depicted as Shanta Durvasar, sporting a smile, and holding palm leaf manuscripts in one hand. Vinayakar also has a koshtam shrine, and is depicted with an umbrella and chamarams (fly-whisks). There are also two other Vinayakar shrines here for Selva Vinayakar and Mavadi Vinayakar, as well as individual Lingams for Siva in various other forms such as Sattanathar, Sivalokanathar, Bhoolokanathar, etc. There is no separate Navagraham shrine here, though Sani has a separate shrine.
Other information for your visit
The temple priest comes in the morning (7-10.30 am) only, and in a sense, this is the only official time that the temple is open. However, one can visit at other times as well, in which case the temple meikavalar (who lives on the street to the south of the temple) will be able to open the temple for enabling devotees to worship here. Phone numbers of both the priest and the meikavalar (Mr Kaliyamurthy) are given below.
Muthumani Gurukkal: 96555 23342; 94892 53941
Temple meikavalar Kaliyamurthy: 9597776197