Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Yazh Moori Nathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Madhuraminammai, Thaenamritavalli|
|Vriksham:||Vaazhai||Teertham:||Dharma Teertham, Brahma Teertham|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||7 to 12 & 5 to 9||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Dharmapuram||District:||Karaikal|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Nagapattinam (22 km)||Tiruvarur (34 km)|
|Mayiladuthurai (36 km)||Kumbakonam (59 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
At Tirukadaiyur, Yama threw his noose around Markandeyar, but due to the latter’s piety, the noose encircled Siva as well, who had come to protect his devotee. This resulted in a sin attaching to Yama, who was then banished from his job of maintaining balance on earth and being responsible for dead souls. As repentance, Yama worshipped Siva at various temples, and when he finally offered worship at this temple, Siva appeared and told Yama that the curse would be lifted at an appropriate time. To offer thanks, Yama created the temple Teertham here. Since Yama, who represents Dharma, was blessed by Siva here, this place is called Dharmapuram.
There is also another puranam as to the name of the place. In the Mahabharatam, Yudhishtira is said to have worshipped here, when the Pandavas were in exile. Yudhishtira is also called Dharmaraja – both due to his father being Dharma / Yama, and for his righteous conduct. Therefore, this place is named after Yudhishtira, as Dharmapuram.
Dharmapuram is the birthplace of the mother of Neelakanta Yazhpanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars (Neelakantar given the epithet Yazhpanar, both for his proficiency with the instrument, and also to distinguish him from another Nayanmar named Neelakanta Kuyavanar).
Neelakantar was very close to Sambandar, and played the yazh as an accompaniment to Sambandar’s pathigams (the yazh is a stringed instrument like the veena, but no longer in use). Neelakantar and his wife Mathanga Chudamani travelled with Sambandar to worship at various Siva temples. Over time, Neelakantar’s relatives started believing that his playing was the reason Sambandar became popular. Distressed by this thought, Neelakantar sought Sambandar’s forgiveness, which was readily given.
Later, when Sambandar came here to visit Neelakantar’s mother, he came to the temple and sang the Yazh Moori pathigam. Neelakantar tried playing the yazh, but on that day, he was just not able to get the tune right despite several attempts. Upset with this, Neelakantar was about to break the instrument, when Siva Himself appeared to those present, tuned the yazh, and played it Himself, as accompaniment to Parvati’s singing that sounded like honeyed nectar. This is the story behind Siva’s and Parvati’s names here.
It is said that when Siva played the yazh, Dakshinamurti leaned back as He was overcome with joy and was enjoying the performance! Dakshinamurti here can be seen leaning to one side. Quite unusually, at this temple, Dakshinamurti is adorned with a red coloured cloth, as against the usual yellow.
Yazh Moori Nathar – after whom the temple is named – is actually the utsavar at this temple (the moolavar is Dharmapureeswar). The utsava murti is depicted bearing yazh in His hands.
This temple and town are significant in Saivism as it is the origin of the Dharmapuram Adheenam (currently located near Mayiladuthurai), which was founded by Sambandar. Naturally, there is a separate shrine for Sambandar here.
This temple is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to succeed in music and the fine arts.
While this temple would have existed prior to the 7th century (considering Sambandar visited here), the structural temple is Chola from the 8th or 9th century, with subsequent renovations by the Vijayanagara dynasty and the Marathas. However, several additions and renovations made in recent years have left very little of the temple’s heritage and legacy in full view.
Other information for your visit
Within a 5km driving distance from here are the Paarvateeswarar temple at Tiruthelicherry and Darbaranyeswarar temple (Saneeswaran temple) at Tirunallaru (both of which are Paadal Petra Sthalam temples), and also the beautiful Tirukolanathar temple at Thakkalur, which is a Tevaram Vaippu sthalam.
Phone: 04368 226616