Masilanathar, Tharangambadi, Nagapattinam

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:MasilanatharAmbal / Thayar:Dharma Samvarthini, Akhilandeswari
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Alapur

Age (years):


Timing:10 to 11 & 6 to 7Parikaram:

Temple group:Vaippu Sthalam
Sung by:

Temple set:



City / town:TharangambadiDistrict:Cuddalore
Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (32 km)Nagapattinam (37 km)

Tiruvarur (47 km)Kumbakonam (64 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

Adi Masilanathar temple on the coast

This is a complex of two temples – the older one for Adi Masilanathar and Akhilandeswari, built on the sea-shore; and a newer one for Masilanathar and Dharma Samvarthini, built a few meters inland. The temples are located opposite the Dansborg Fort in Tharangambadi, and very close to the old Collectors’ Bungalow, which is today a private commercial establishment.

There is no sthala puranam as such for this temple, except that it is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam mentioned in the pathigams of Appar and Sundarar.

Given the temples’ construction history, the Vaippu Sthalam would be the Adi Masilanathar temple located on the shore. This temple would have been a smaller shrine in the time of those saints, as there are records indicating that the temple was built in 1306 on land given by the Pandya king Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I.

In olden times, this place was one of a series of port-towns along the eastern coast of Tamilakam. This town’s trade seems to have been significantly with China. Based on historical references and the temple’s architecture itself, the main temple (Adi Masilanathar) seems to have incorporated both Tamil / Dravidian and Chinese elements, in order to attract traders of the time.

Tharangambadi in Tamil translates to the town (padi) of waves (tharangam). There is also another interpretation that Tharangambadi is a corruption of Sadangambadi, where Sadangam refers to Siva.

The newer temple

The Adi Masilanathar temple – where puja is still performed once a day – has its own koshta shrines for Dakshinamurti and Lingodhbhavar, as well as a small Vinayakar in front of the garbhagriham. In addition, there is a Nandi, east of whom the breakwater extends into the see, and presents a stunning sight. In an earlier time, there would likely have been other shrines, making this a larger temple overall, but the sea seems to have eroded all of those. There are also inscriptions indicating the name of this place as Kulasekarapatnam (after the Pandya king who gifted land to the temple) and Sadakambadi. These are from the time of a king named Kulasekara Pandyan, from the early 14th century, who is believed to have changed its name after his own.

Several years ago – in the late 2000s – the vimanam of the Adi Masilanathar temple had completely come off and had fallen into the sea. In the 8-10 years after that, the temple underwent significant rebuilding.

The newer Masilanathar temple is a much more recent brick temple, which was last consecrated in 2013. Siva here is with his consort Dharma Samvarthini in a separate shrine, and there are separate shrines for the usual parivara devatas.

Other information for your visit


Hariharan Gurukkal: 7397026278
Sivakumar Gurukkal: 9095248959
Phone: 91500 75007

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