Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Agasteeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Anandavalli|
|Timing:||6 to 10 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirukodiyalur||District:||Tiruvarur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (18 km)||Tiruvarur (26 km)|
|Kumbakonam (34 km)||Nagapattinam (39 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
We request you to please read this short background about village temples, before you proceed.
This temple is located just a little further west of the Tirumeyachur Lalithambigai temple, to the south of the Nattaru river.
One of the lesser-told stories of Tirumeyachur is about Suryan worshipping there, in order to beget progeny. Later, in his lust, he chased his wife Usha who had run away, unable to bear Suryan’s effulgence. As Suryan would not give up, she created an image of herself in black, called Chaya (which is said to be the origin of shadows, today), with whom Suryan eventually consummated. The offspring of that union were Sani and Yama. Tirukodiyalur is said to be the place they were born in (some puranams say it is Tirumeyachur, but they are very near each other). According to another version, Sani is the son of Suryan and Usha, while Yama is the son of Suryan and Chaya.
The place used to be called Koodalur (koodal, referring to the coming together, or union, of Suryan and his consorts). Over time, this has corrupted to Kodiyalur (one local legend for this name change, is that Sani is generally the malevolent one – kodiyavan, in Tamil – and hence the place is called Kodiyalur).
According to another puranam, it is only Sani who was born here as the son of Suryan. Yama had been overcome by Siva at Tirukadaiyur, but upon worshipping Siva, was blessed with rebirth. According to this second puranam, this is the place of Yama’s rebirth.
Sani is regarded as the ultimate judge, which is why he takes people through three cycles of 7½ years each, to test people; and Yama is considered the embodiment of justice. They both worshipped at this temple, resulting in them having no end to their lives, and continue to worship Siva here. Because of the story of Sani and Yama, devotees worship here for the longevity of their children.
Children by nature are not malevolent, but are believed to look upon others with happiness and positivity. Therefore, at this, their birthplace, both Sani and Yama at this temple are regarded as benevolent deities (anugraha murtis), and Sani is in fact called Mangala Saneeswarar here, and is depicted seated displaying abhaya hastam. Both have separate shrines facing east, with Sani facing his preceptor, Bhairavar.
Those who are unable to go to Tirunallaru can pray here instead. Worshipping at this temple is regarded as the equivalent of, or even better than, worshipping at Tirunallaru (a Siva temple and the Kumbakonam Navagraham temple for Sani), as it is Sani’s very birthplace.
But what has all that got to do with the name of the moolavar here? Sage Agastyar worshipped Lalitambigai at Tirumeyachur and then came here, where he installed a Siva Lingam and worshipped it. Therefore, Siva here is called Agasteeswarar.
Another sthala puranam here is about how nobody can escape Sani’s testing of them. At one time, Indra became aware that he was to be under Sani’s spell, and challenged Sani that he should not have to undergo this, as he was the leader of the celestials. But Sani countered that nobody was exempt from his testing, but at Indra’s request, Sani told him the specific time when he would come for Indra. Indra in turn approached sage Agastyar for a solution. The sage told him to take the form of a bandicoot and hide in the waterspout that flowed from the garbhagriham to the outside, at this temple, and stay there at the time of Sani’s spell while sprinkling himself with abhishekam water. Indra did so, and once the time was over, came out and proudly announced to Sani that he had avoided the latter’s hold over him. Sani replied that the very fact that the leader of the celestials had to hide taking the form of a lowly creature and give up his position as king of the celestials for that time period, was itself evidence of Sani’s hold on Indra! Realising that even he was not spared, Indra repented, and even got the celestials down to dig a tank and bathe in it, and be blessed by Agasteeswarar, as he himself had been, by sprinkling abhishekam water on themselves. This is also how the temple’s tank – the Deva Teertham – came to be.
Other Information for your visit
One of the main functions at this temple is the homam for longevity, performed every Saturday from 1.30 to 3.00 pm (yamagandam time on Saturday, thereby being the day and time when both Sani and Yama are the height of their powers).
Muthu Gurukkal: 9488266372. He lives in nearby Tirumeignanam, just outside that temple, but also takes care of this temple.