Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vataranyeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Vandarkuzhali|
|Timing:||7 to 1 & 5 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvalangadu||District:||Tiruvarur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (16 km)||Kumbakonam (23 km)|
|Tiruvarur (40 km)||Nagapattinam (59 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This place is not to be confused with Tiruvalangadu in Tiruvallur district near Chennai, although they have the same name and etymology – as they used to be a forest of banyan trees (vata-aranyam, in Sanskrit which translates to Alan-kaadu in Tamil).
This is one of the temples connected to Siva and Parvati’s earthly wedding. Sage Bharatha and his wife Subhadra did not have any children, and so they worshipped at Kuttalam, but were directed to come to this temple instead, which they did, and worshipped Siva and Parvati here. Pleased with their prayers, Parvati Herself came down to Bhulokam in the form of a cow (read more about this here), and at Tiruvavaduthurai, became a young girl. The sage and his wife took the child home, and showered great love and affection on Her. Once the girl attained marriageable age, she married Siva at Tirumananjeri.
Siva here is also called Putrakameshteeswarar, not just because of the above story, but also, Indra was blessed with his son Jayanta, and Sage Kashyapa and Aditi were blessed with the Devas as their children. Worshipping at Tiruvavaduthurai is part of the procedure to worship at this temple, if one is praying for children.
This is one of the 7 temples forming part of the Kanjanoor Sapta Sthanam group of temples.
Appayya Dikshitar, the great Advaita scholar, spent his last days in Tiruvalangadu and often visited this temple. He is believed to have performed many miracles. One in particular, is about the severe colic pain he is said to have suffered, and so he would meditate at this temple with a cloth in front of him. Once, a disciple saw the cloth jumping about, even though Dikshitar was in deep meditation. Later, the disciple asked his guru about the cloth, and was told that for the duration of this mediation, Dikshitar transferred his colic pain to the cloth, so that he would not be disturbed by it during his meditation! Another incident is about Dikshitar wanting to test his own devotion, and so he consumed a potion made from the juice of the highly poisonous datura seeds, and in his delirious state, dictated fifty stanzas of his Atmarpana Stuti (which is also called the Unmatha Panchashati, as it was delivered in a state of unmatham or drunkenness).
The original temple is said to be over 5000 years old. The structural temple is almost entirely Chola, though the mandapam around the garbhagriham and some of the prakaram were built by the Marathas. The original structural temple is estimated to have been built in the 10th century, but substantial modifications and renovations were undertaken in the time of Kulothunga Chola III (late 11th and early 12th century). A murti of the king is enshrined in the temple itself, along with Appar, Sundarar, Sambandar and Manikkavasagar; and the depiction is of the king carrying the Lord’s feet on his head. This is probably the only idol available anywhere, of a Chola king.
The temple has two Amman vigrahams. Many centuries ago, the earlier / older murti was in a damaged condition, and so the authorities tried to dispose it off in the agamic way. But the idol would not budge. Then they heard a celestial voice – that of Amman Herself – asking them to leave her as is, and install a separate Amman murti as well. Murugan is also depicted beautifully, with five faces facing the front, and one in the rear.
In the prakaram, Yama is seen with his consort as well as Chitragupta, which depiction is unique. Another unique aspect is the presence of Mandi, the son of Sani and sometimes regarded as the 10th planetary deity, who is installed as a separate murti. Also, this being an old temple, there is no separate Navagraham shrine here; instead, Sani is installed separately.
There are also two Vinayakar shrines – Rettai Vinayakar and Putra Santhana Vinayakar (the latter, installed by Sage Bharata) – as well as a Bhairavar who is regarded as very special and powerful, here. There is also a separate shrine for Siva as Jurahareswarar, worshipping who is said to ward off illnesses, and a shrine for Kaveri Amman, representing the Kaveri river. There are also two Dakshinamurti murtis in the temple.