Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Gopinatha Perumal||Ambal / Thayar:||Rukmini, Satyabhama|
|Deity:||Perumal||Historical name:||Gopinatha Vinnagaram|
|Timing:||8 to 9.30 & 5 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Patteeswaram||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (8 km)||Thanjavur (34 km)|
|Tiruvarur (44 km)||Ariyalur (45 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Pazhaiyarai was once the capital city of the Cholas, and is home to several prominent temples. One of these temples, which surely had a lot of prominence in its time, is the Gopinatha Perumal temple. This temple is located close to the Thenupureeswarar temple in Patteeswaram near Kumbakonam, and east of the Kailasanathar temple (Tirumetrali Vaippu Sthalam). U Ve Swaminatha Iyer referred to this temple as the Dwaraka of the south – such was the importance attached to this temple. However, today the temple lies in shambles.
Vishnu, as Gopinatha Perumal, is present with Rukmini and Satyabhama here. According to the sthala puranam of this temple, this is where Vishnu showed His form as Rama, to Hanuman, in the Ramayanam.
In the Mahabharatam, He appeared as Krishna to Arjuna. Also related to the Mahabharatam, this place once had a large tank with beautiful water lilies, and surrounded by a plantain grove. The water lilies were special, since they bloomed with 1000 petals, and spread its fragrance all around. Draupadi once sent Bhima in search of exactly such a flower. Following the fragrance, Bhima came here, and encountered Hanuman (who he did not recognise, except as a monkey) who was chanting Rama Nama. He asked the monkey to move, but Hanuman instead claimed he was old, and asked Bhima to move him (all to rid Bhima of his arrogance). Bhima tried several times, but failed, upon which he realised this may not be an ordinary monkey, but Hanuman instead. Hanuman came to know that Bhima had realised his error, and revealed himself to Bhima through his Viswaroopam. After Bhima worshipped him, Hanuman offered him the 1000-petalled Sahasra-tala flower, to take back to Draupadi.
While this is a Perumal temple, it is equally famous for the twin-Anjaneyars in its premises, which are in a separate sannidhi before the mandapam. Both murtis are depicted holding the Sahasra-tala flower in their hand. Also, behind the moolavar in the garbhagriham, there is a stucco image of Vishnu, with Rama and Krishna flanking Him on either side.
While it is not a Divya Desam, the temple is situated on a large premises, with a single elevated maha mandapam, ardha mandapam and garbhagriham. The core temple is dated to the 9th or 10th century Chola period, and later Cholas and others have made additions, renovations and expansions up to the 13th century. According to records, this temple once had seven gopurams, including the raja gopuram that lies in tatters today (and is the only remaining one of the 7). Inscriptions regarding the temple found here and elsewhere refer to contributions by kings including Kulothunga Chola III, and the Vijayanagara Dynasty.
To the rear of the temple, on the northern side, is said to existed a shrine for Siva, called the Arai Aruman Thali.
Other information for your visit
The temple’s state means that while the main gate is open, the shrines are not, unless the priest comes to open them. I understand this happens only on Saturday mornings. Therefore at other times, one can only have a glimpse of the deities through the bars of the grill.
Phone: 94433 92795; 94431 30070