Paarvateeswarar, Tiruthelicherry, Karaikal

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:PaarvateeswararAmbal / Thayar:Parvatiammai, Sakthi Ammai, Swayamvara Tapasvini
Deity:SivaHistorical name:TiruttheLichcheri
Vriksham:Vilvam, VanniTeertham:Surya Teertham, Guha Teertham

Age (years):

Timing:6 to 12 & 4 to 8.30Parikaram:

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


Temple set:



City / town:TiruthelicherryDistrict:Karaikal
Maps from (click): Current location Nagapattinam (24 km)Mayiladuthurai (35 km)

Tiruvarur (36 km)Kumbakonam (60 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

This temple is said to have existed in all four yugams. This place was called Brahmavanam in the Satya Yugam, Sameevanam in Treta Yugam, Anandavanam in Dwapara Yugam, and Muktivanam in Kali Yugam.

Parvati – also known as Katyayini as She is the daughter of Katyanana – wished to marry Siva. To this end, She worshipped Siva here, and after much penance, Siva absorbed Her as part of Himself. Because of this, She is named Swaymvara Tapasvini at this temple!

At one time, upset by Suryan’s indifference towards her, Chaya complained to her father, who cursed Suryan to lose his effulgence. Worried by this, he came to this place to worship Lord Siva, and also created a tank for the temple. Pleased by this, Siva restored Suryan’s brightness, and so this place is a Bhaskara Kshetram, and Siva here is also called Bhaskara Lingam. In the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April), for 10 days, the sun’s rays illuminate the west-facing sanctum at dusk.

There is also an interesting story to how this place got its name. At one time, there was famine in the region. The ruling Chola king prayed to Siva and Parvati for relief. The divine couple came here in the guise of peasants, and in the dead of the night, sowed the fields and watered them. Being of divine origin, the crops were ready and plentiful in the morning, thereby saving the people. In Tamil, “theli” refers to sprinkling or sowing.

Sambanda Vinayakar shrine opposite the main temple

After visiting Tirunallaru, Sambandar came here, but carried on without noticing the temple. Vinayakar called out to him ten times, and made him sing pathigams on the Lord, before directing him to the temple. Right opposite the main temple entrance is a shrine for Sambanda Vinayakar (or Koovi Azhaitha Vinayakar – the Vinayakar who called out). Due to this incident, this place also got the name Koovi-pathu, which has corrupted to Kovil Pathu over time. When Sambandar finally reached here, Buddhists living here tried to prevent him from worshipping at the temple. It is said that Sambandar complained to the Lord, who caused thunder to fall on the protesters to scare them. But this did not stop the unrelenting protestors, so they challenged Sambandar to a debate. The child saint went on to win the debate, and as a result, the locals converted to Saivism.

In the Mahabharatam, Siva is said to have appeared to Arjuna here, and so He is called Kiratamurti (as a hunter). The temple has a separate shrine for Karaikal Ammaiyar, one of the 63 Nayanmars, and this is her avatara sthalam.

Some of the iconography in this temple is quite interesting. The moolavar Lingam here appears with four aspects / faces, representing the four yugams. Saneeswaran’s murti is depicted with his consort Renuka Devi.

Other information for your visit

This temple is located on the northern borders of Karaikal town. Within a 5km driving distance from here are the Yazh Moori Nathar temple at Dharmapuram and Darbaranyeswarar temple (Saneeswaran temple) at Tirunallaru (both of which are Paadal Petra Sthalam temples), and also the beautiful Tirulokanathar temple at Thakkalur, which is a Tevaram Vaippu sthalam.


Natesan Gurukkal: 97865 17075


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