Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Airavateswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||VaNdamar Poonkuzhali|
|Vriksham:||Parijatham||Teertham:||Vaanchi Aaru, Surya Teertham|
|Timing:||7 to 11.30 & 5.30 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirukkottaram||District:||Tiruvarur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (23 km)||Tiruvarur (31 km)|
|Nagapattinam (32 km)||Kumbakonam (48 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Once, Sage Durvasa worshipped Siva at Kailasam and received a garland. Thinking it would befit Indra to have it, the sage gave the garland to him. Filled with pride that he was the lord of the devas, Indra kept the garland on the head of his elephant – Airavata. But the garland irritated the elephant, who shook it off, and trampled on it. Shocked at these events, the sage cursed both Indra and Airavata, as a result of which the celestial elephant (white with four tusks) lost its divinity and became a normal wild elephant. For a hundred years, Airavata worshipped at many Siva temples, and was eventually relieved of the curse at the Sundareswarar temple at Madurai. This temple is one of those at which Airavata worshipped. When Airavata came here, it used its tusks to pierce the clouds so as to bring down rain for worship. Sambandar‘s pathigam in the Tevaram, on this temple, also references this incident.
When Airavata’s tusks pierced the clouds, the rain flowed heavily like a river, and is said to have formed the Vaanchiaaru river. In Tamil, “kottu” means tusk and “aaru” means river, and so Kottaram refers to the river / flood created by tusks. This temple is situated on the banks of the Nattaru river (Vaanchiaaru) – a tributary of the Kaveri river – which is is also regarded as one of the Teerthams of the temple.
Sage Subhaka worshipped at this temple every day. One day he was delayed, and the temple doors were shut when he reached. Determined to worship the Lord here, he took the form of a bee and entered the temple. After his prayers, he chose to remain in the form of a bee. Over time, a colony of bees came up, and the honey from this hive would be used for Siva’s abhishekam. Even today, this hive can be seen at times during the year. There is a separate shrine in the temple for Sage Subhaka.
This is one of the temples that Agastyar worshipped at.
The temple has existed since at least the 7th century, given that Sambandar worshipped here. According to the inscriptions inside, the structural temple was constructed by Kulothunga Chola I in the late 11th or early 12th century. There are also inscriptions referencing the grants by various kings, including Sadayavarman Sundara Chola Pandyan. Interestingly, the temple has two bali Peethams – one each behind and in front of Nandi. The main sanctum is housed in a vavvaal-nethi mandapam (mandapam’s design like the forehead of a bat).
Other information for your visit
Maadhu Gurukkal: 7502212319
Sriram Gurukkal: 8903888174
Phone: 04368 261447