Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Pippilakadeeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Timing:||7 to 11 & 4 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Alathur||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (18 km)||Tiruvarur (26 km)|
|Kumbakonam (34 km)||Nagapattinam (40 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.
At one time, the demons Kara and Dooshana were harassing the celestials, who lost their status in deva lokam. So, they approached Siva for relief, who asked them to take the form of ants and worship Him. But they could not get back their original form, due to the curses of the demons. Realising this, Siva asked the celestials to worship Him at Vata Aranya Kshetram on Bhulokam, where the Vedas were being recited all the time. The celestials – still in their form as ants – came to this place, which was a banyan forest (and hence Vata-Aranyam, vata in Sanskrit meaning banyan), and worshipped Siva, who blessed them and granted them relief, as well as helped them overcome the curses and regain their position in the celestial world.
The name of the place – Alathur – is also from the sthala puranam, since aalai in Tamil refers to the banyan tree. In Sanskrit, pippilaka refers to ants. Since the Lord gave His blessing to ants, He is called Pippalapateeswarar here. The Tamil name for the deity is therefore Erumbeeswarar.
Because of the sthala puranam, which is associated with those in power (celestials), this is regarded as a prarthana sthalam for those in the public sector or aspiring for such positions.
Being very close to the Tirumeyachur Lalitambigai temple, Soundara Nayaki Amman here is worshipped in the same way as Lalitambigai, with Lalita Sahasranamam being recited here every evening. Also, a full Rudra japam is performed every Monday.
While the original temple is regarded to be much older, the structural temple we see today is from the 13th century Chola period (specifically, 1217 CE) in the time of Kulothunga Chola III. Then, the temple went through a fairly dull period in terms of visits and maintenance, which was very evident till recently.
The temple features some very good specimens of late Chola architecture, including the koshtam deities such as Vinayakar and Dakshinamurti. There are also some inscriptions from the time of Kulothunga Chola III, but we were informed that these have not yet been published with meanings.
After more than a century at least, kumbhabhishekam was performed here in 2014, and the temple sports a refreshed look today, due to the maintenance of the dedication of the temple staff. Yet, the temple lacks a gopuram, and the staff eagerly await visitors who can contribute their bit – either in cash or kind – towards construction of a new gopuram.
Interestingly, and while in no way claimed to be connected to the sthala puranam of the temple, the temple is currently managed by two former civil servants, one of whom is also the temple priest (see contact information below).
Other Information for your visit
Anyone interested in contributing to the temple’s gopuram construction may contact the temple gurukkal. He will also be able to perform pujas for any specific reasons, and send prasadam to devotees by courier.
Venkataraman Gurukkal: 91593 28127