Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vyaghrapureeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Parvati Devi, Brhadambal|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Tiru Vengai Pathi|
|Timing:||6 to 11 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvengaivasal||District:||Pudukkottai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Pudukkottai (7 km)||Karaikudi (47 km)|
|Tiruchirappalli (54 km)||Thanjavur (71 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Vyaghra in Sanskrit means tiger, and Siva is named Vyaghrapureeswarar due to the sthala puranam concerning a tiger. Once, Kamadhenu came late to Indra’s court. Angered by this, Indra cursed her to be born in Bhulokam. She came here, and approached sage Kapila for a remedy, and the sage advised her to worship Siva by bringing water in her ears and pouring it on a Siva Lingam. One day, when she was doing this penance, a tiger appeared before her, threatening to kill her. Kamadhenu calmly responded that she was ready for being eaten by the tiger, but wanted to finish her worship of Siva. After completing this, she came back to be devoured by the tiger. The tiger pounced on her, but instantly changed form to reveal itself as Siva and Parvati on their Rishabha vahanam – it turned out that Siva was testing her all the time! Siva told her to ask Him for boons, and she asked him to stay here as Vyaghrapureeswarar, and also be rid of Indra’s curse.
The sthala vriksham here – Vanni maram – is dated to be over 800 years old.
Based on the architecture here, this appears to be a Chola temple, despite a conspicuous absence of koshta murtis. Though the temple’s its exact age has not been determined, it is likely that this belongs to the 10th or 11th century. There are also some inscriptions from the time of Rajaraja Chola I, Rajendra Chola, Rajadhiraja Chola, and Vikrama Chola, and also an inscription which refers to endowments made to dancers who performed for the temple, and endowments for oil for the lamp that is never extinguished. Other inscriptions refer to Siva here as Nitya Chudamani Vitangar and Tirumetrali Mahadevar. Later modifications have been made by the Pandyas.
The architecture and iconography here, however, is quite different and unique, compared to other temples. Firstly, there is almost a surfeit of Vinayakars here! Not only is there one in front of Siva, but in place of the Navagraham, there are nine Vinayakars in the temple. This is in addition to several other Vinayakars in the temple.
Next, Murugan here is enshrined neither with his Vel and peacock, nor with his consorts Valli and Deivanai. He is also not depicted as a householder in royal attire, or as a youth. Instead, he is present here as Gnana Guru, or Yoga Murugan, in penance, seated on an octagonal pedestal. There is also a separate shrine, built later, for Murugan with his consorts.
Even in the garbhagriham, there is only one dwarapalaka; the other side has Vinayakar. Several shrines here are constructed such that they are facing each other. These include Siva in the garbhagriham, and Theradi Vinayakar; Murugan and Kala Bhairavar; and Vishnu and Lakshmi.
Perhaps the most interesting of the iconography here is the representation of Dakshinamurti as Ardhanareeswarar. This is an extremely rare sight to see. There are also two Ammans in this temple – both named Brhadambal (which, as I’ve later realised, is a fairly common theme across temples in the Pudukkottai and Sivaganga districts – the erstwhile Pandya country).
It is believed that Suryan worships Siva here every day, as represented by the fact that the sun’s rays fall on the moolavar Lingam every evening (the temple faces west).
Other Information for your visit
Phone: 04322-221084; 9486185259