Margasahayeswarar, Moovalur, Nagapattinam

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:MargasahayeswararAmbal / Thayar:Mangalambikai, Soundara Nayaki
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Punnagavanam
Vriksham:PunnaiTeertham:Kaveri river, Chandra Pushkarini, Durga Pushkarini, Upamanyu Koopam

Age (years):

Timing:7 to 12 & 5 to 9Parikaram:

Temple group:Vaippu sthalam
Sung by:

Temple set:

Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam, Mayiladuthurai Pancha Dakshinamurti sthalam



City / town:MoovalurDistrict:Nagapattinam
Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (3 km)Kumbakonam (35 km)

Tiruvarur (43 km)Nagapattinam (56 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

There are many temples that are specific to a particular birth star (janma nakshatram), However, this particular temple is said to be beneficial to each and every birth star, as long as the devotee worships here on the day of their janma nakshatram. It is especially suitable for worship for those born under the Uthiram nakshatram.

The sthala puranam of this temple is connected to the Tripurantaka Samharam / Tripura Dahanam performed by Siva. The three asuras Tarakaksha, Kamalaksha and Vidyunmali created three almost-indestructible worlds, which Siva, in his Tripurantaka form, destroyed. However, Brahma and Vishnu believed that they alone were responsible for the victory over the asuras. As a result, a sin accrued to them, and they worshipped Punnagavaneswarar here who guided them on the way to be rid of their sin.

According to another version, after the incidents of Tripura Dahanam, the celestials including the Devas, Brahma and Vishnu visited Mayiladuthurai to worship Siva. Here, Siva in the form of a hunter, led them to Moovalur. After showing them the Lingam that had emerged there, He disappeared. As a result of this, He is known as Marga Sahayeswarar – the one who helped find the right path / direction.

The sthala puranam of this temple is also linked to that of the Vanmutti Perumal temple at nearby Kozhikutti. Nirmalan, a local king, was affected by a chronic skin disease. He searched all over for a cure, before finally coming across a sage who was playing the veena. The king sought succour and the sage taught him a mantra to be repeated every day, which would invoke Lord Vishnu. The king did this, and one day, heard Vishnu’s voice telling him to travel along the bank of the river Kaveri, where he would be guided by Siva as Margasahayeswarar, and would be cured at the place his body turned into gold. Upon worshipping Siva, the king was guided to Kozhikuthi, where upon being cured, he surrendered at the feet of Vishnu, and later came to be known as Pippala Maharishi.

There is a separate shrine for Aadi Margasahayeswarar, in the southern part of the outer prakaram – presumably this is the original Lingam connected with the sthala puranam. There are two Ammans at this temple – Soundaranayaki and Mangalambigai – with separate shrines, which is unusual (though not unique) A special feature at this temple is the 4 Nandis leading up to the garbhagriham, where there is a fifth Nandi in front of the moolavar.

The region around this temple – particularly to the north – is associated with Kali / Durga and Her slaying of Mahishasuran. For this, Parvati had to take a fierce form. After the task was completed, She worshipped at Punnagavanam, to be restored to Her original form. This incident is re-enacted as part of the temple’s annual festival. The Tirukkalyanam festival here is on the day of Ayilya nakshatram in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April).

An earlier name of this place was Punnagavanam, as it was full of Punnai trees, which is also the sthala vriksham of this temple. Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra worshipped Siva here, and after this, the place came to be called Moovarur – denoting that the 3 primary deities had worshipped here. This further got corrupted to its current name of Moovalur.

This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is mentioned in Appar’s Tiruthandagam. When Sambandar came to worship here, every inch of land leading up to the temple was covered in Siva Lingams. So the child saint worshipped Margasahayeswarar from the temple tank itself. Sambandar is depicted with a shrine at the entrance to the temple. Durga, as well as the sapta-matrikas, are believed to have worshipped here. Sage Upamanyu worshipped here and also dug a tank, which is one of the Teerthams of the temple today – the Upamanyu Teertham.

This temple is from the 10th century Chola period, with subsequent renovations by the Pandyas and the Vijayanagara Dynasty. Inscriptions here refer to the contributions, grants and endowments made to this temple by Vikrama Chola, Kulothunga Chola III and Rajendra Chola III. The architecture here is classic medieval Chola, replete with a vavvaal-nethi mandapam, as well as other unusual and different-looking styles combined into the main mandapam of the temple. The vimanams of all the principal deities, and above the garbhagriham, are fantastically sculpted.

Other information for your visit

As is the case with several places, there are 7 temples (usually called Sapta Sthanam) in and around Mayiladuthurai which comprise the Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam set of temples, and which celebrate their festival together. These seven temples here are:

Mayuranathar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Margasahayeswarar, Moovalur, Mayiladuthurai
Aiyarappar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Kasi Viswanathar, Senthangudi, Mayiladuthurai
Punugeswarar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Brahmapureeswarar, Sitharkadu, Mayiladuthurai
Azhagiyanathar, Sholampettai, Mayiladuthurai

As part of the festival, the utsava deities of all these temples gather together, and go in procession around Mayiladuthurai, on Chitra Pournami, and finally reach the Mayuranathar temple, before going back to their respective temples.

This is also one of the 5 Pancha Dakshinamurti sthalams around Mayiladuthurai, which are:

Mayuranthar, Mayiladuthurai; Vataranyeswarar, Mayiladuthurai; Margasahayeswarar, Moovalur; Uchira Vaneswarar, Tiruvila Nagar; Vageeswarar, Peruncheri


Swaminatha Gurukkal: 9677413768


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