Navaneetheswarar, Sikkal, Nagapattinam


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:NavaneetheswararAmbal / Thayar: Satyaayadhakshi, Velnedunkanni
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tiruchchikkal
Vriksham:MalligaiTeertham:Ksheera Pushkarini, Paal Kulam, Gaya Theertham, Lakshmi Theertham
Agamam:

Age (years):

1000-2000

Timing:6 to 12 & 4 to 9Parikaram:

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

Sambandar

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:SikkalDistrict:Nagapattinam
Maps from (click): Current location Nagapattinam (6 km)Thiruvarur (24 km)

Mayiladuthurai (52 km)Kumbakonam (62 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

Kamadhenu, Sage Vasishta and others worshipping Siva

Once, Kamadhenu – the celestial cow – consumed meat in error. As a result, she was cursed to be born as a tiger on earth. Realising her fault, she worshipped Lord Siva, who pardoned here, and asked her to worship at Mallikaranyam, the ancient name of this place, because it was a jasmine forest. Kamadhenu did so, and also dug a temple tank which she filled with milk from her udder (and hence, Ksheera Pushkarini). Over time, the milk churned itself into butter. Sage Vasishta came here looking for Kamadhenu, and made a Lingam out of the butter – and so Siva here is called Navaneeteswarar or Vennai Nathar. Later, when the sage attempted to move the Lingam, it refused to budge as it was entangled with the jasmine plants in the place. So the place came to be known as Sikkal (which in Tamil, means tangled). There is also another puranam that says that there were several obstacles when the temple was being constructed, so the place was named Sikkal (which also means problem or obstacle, in Tamil).

The celestials approached Vishnu to save them from the troubles they were being given by Mahabali. Prior to embarking upon the Vamana Avataram, Vishnu worshipped here to receive Siva’s blessings. There is a separate temple for Vishnu, as Kola Vamana Perumal, inside the temple, with Anjaneyar also installed in a separate shrine facing Perumal. This is one of 28 temples where there are separate shrines for Siva and Vishnu in the same temple complex.

Sikkal is equally – if not more – famous for Murugan as Singaravelar, depicting Murugan holding his Vel (spear). Several temples speak of the legend of Murugan receiving his Vel from Parvati, prior to his battle with Soorapadman at Tiruchendur. This temple has the same puranam as well, and as a consequence, Soora Samharam is celebrated with great pomp here during Sashti. Interestingly, the murti of Murugan here is said to sprout beads of sweat, when receiving the Vel, during the annual Sashti festival! Arunagirinathar has sung on Murugan here, in his Tiruppugazh.

There is a lot of similarity among the murtis of Murugan at Sikkal, and the temples at Ettukudi and Enkan. It is said that all three were crafted by the same sculptor, who crafted the Sikkal murti first, and awestruck by it, vowed not to make another one like it. So he cut off his right thumb. But following a dream in which Murugan appeared, the sculptor crafted another idol, which is at Ettukudi. When this was done, he blinded himself. But Murugan appeared in yet another dream, and with the help of his daughter, he started creating a third murti, of Murugan on his peacock. Due to an accident, his chisel hit the girl, and the blood that sprouted from her wound hit the sculptor’s eyes, giving him back vision. The murti he crafted was installed at the temple, and the place was named Enkan (my eye, in Tamil).

A slightly different version of the above story is that after the first murti was sculpted, the Chola King Mutharasan had the sculptor’s thumb cut off. And when the second murti was crafted despite this, the king had the sculptor blinded. But after the third murti was crafted, the king realised the greatness of the sculptor and his work, and sought pardon.

The temple is a maadakoil, built on an elevation, and is one of 78 such temples said to have been built by Kochchenga Cholan. There is also a version that the temple was developed later by Muchukunda Chakravarti (possibly because the temple houses a maragatha Lingam, but it appears that this is unrelated to the story of Muchukunda Chakravarti and the Sapta Vitanga Sthalams). The temple has beautiful architecture and carvings, including a bas relief depicting Kamadhenu, Sage Vasishta and others worshipping Siva. The Lingodhbhavar murti on the western koshtam wall also depicts Vishnu and Brahma worshipping Siva as Lingodhbhavar – this representation is said to be highly auspicious to worship.

Vinayakar here is called Sundara Ganapati. Inscriptions in the temple refer to various rulers including the Pandya king Jatavarman Veerapandian, and Veerabhupati Achyuta Deva Maharaja of the Vijayanagara Dynasty. This is also one of the 64 Sakti peetham temples for Parvati.

Other information for your visit

Contact

Siva Gurukkal: 86082 29929

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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