Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vriddhapureeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||ḍfs|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu Sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Annavasal||District:||Pudukkottai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Pudukkottai (19 km)||Tiruchirappalli (45 km)|
|Karaikudi (55 km)||Thanjavur (74 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finds mention in two of Appar’s pathigams. This temple should not be confused with the Vriddhapureeswarar temple at Tiruppunavasal, which is located in Ramanathapuram district.
The temple is said to have been built by Siva’s ganas. The original temple here would have been very old, which may be the reason for the moolavar’s name here – Vriddha in Sanskrit means old or ancient.
According to one puranam, a priest of a nearby temple was to get married. But due to the death of a child in the family, the wedding was cancelled. He worshipped Siva at this temple, and miraculously, the child was revived, and the wedding took place as per original plans. As a manner of gratitude, the priest established smaller temples for Meenakshi Amman, Siva as Viswanathar, and Murugan, nearby.
Also following from the above puranam, is the practice of offering one’s children to the Lord, in symbolic adoption. Devotees first offer a mix of rice, jaggery and sesame at the temple’s sthala vriksham, and then place the child in the garbhagriham, to be adopted by Vriddhapureeswarar and Dharmasamvarthini Amman. The child is then taken back by the parents. This is believed to give the child a long life, and also strength of character.
The name of the place – Annavasal – itself is an evolution of “Annal-Vayil”, which finds mention in the Tevaram. Annal refers to Siva, and vayil (or vasal) means entrance – possibly a reference to this as the entry point to various Siva temples in the region.
The structural temple here is dated to around the 7th century, built by the early Pandyas. Subsequent renovations have been done by Cholas as well as later Pandyas. There is also an inscription referring to renovations done by one person from the Nagarathar community. This temple is said to have been much bigger than it is today, but had to be rebuilt in its current size, after it suffered severe damage during the Mughal invasion of the south in the 12th / 13th century.
There is a large pond opposite the temple’s entrance, which is also the temple’s Teertham. Also found right outside the temple entrance, are eight free-standing pillars. It is possible that these are the remnants of a mandapam that existed previously.
The architecture here is rather typical of most Pandya temples – there is virtually no art or sculptures on the walls, koshtams and pillars. However, the various murtis are intricately and finely crafted. The entire inner sanctum and surrounding areas are relatively low-slung in height. In the prakaram, there are 2 more Siva Lingams, which are regarded as extremely old.
Other Information for your visit
After visiting this temple, it is customary to visit the nearby Theradi Karuppar temple, located down the same street.
Sitthannavasal, located 4 km from the temple, is a famous site for Jain history and religion, and has several rock-cut cave temples and other Jain monuments, built into its hilly terrain.