Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Punugeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Santhanayaki|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Koranad||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (2 km)||Kumbakonam (40 km)|
|Tiruvarur (44 km)||Nagapattinam (54 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The part of Mayiladuthurai where this temple is situated, is called Koranad today. Koranad is a corruption of Koorai-Nadu, the old name of this place, which was called thus because this used to be a famous place for the weaving of koorai sarees, which are used in Hindu weddings. Siva is named Punugeswarar here, after the sthala puranam of a cat worshipping at this temple.
At one time, this area used to be a forest of various trees, including the coral jasmine (pavazha malli). Under one such tree, Siva appeared as a swayambhu murti to enable Brahma and Vishnu to worship Him (this temple is not too far from Moovalur, where the Margasahayeswarar Siva temple also has a sthala puranam involving Brahma and Vishnu, so there is a fair amount of connection). The coral jasmine is also the sthala vriksham of this temple.
In that forest, lived a large group of civet cats, one of which came to this temple regularly and offered vilvam leaves to the Siva Lingam here. The cat was elevated to the status of a Gandharva, by the Lord. There is a bas relief image in the temple depicting a cat worshipping Siva.
Indra was one of the attendees at Daksha’s yagam, and was punished by Siva by being turned into a civet cat (punugu). When he begged for relief, he was asked to come and worship at this place, since this is where a civet cat had previously benefited by worshipping Siva. He did so and regained his position as Indra.
The temple is closely associated with Nesa Nayanar, who was originally born as Sivanesan in Kampili, in the Bellary region, and later moved here with his family. Hailing from a Saliya family that specialised in weaving, Nesa Nayanar was given that name because he was a Nesavalar (weaver). The Nayanar’s service to Siva was to continuously chant Siva’s name, and weave and give loin-cloth garments to Siva devotees, for no charge. Siva tested him (more for the benefit of others, than the Nayanar), and so he was elevated to the status of a Nayanmar. His birth is celebrated by the weaver community of the region even today, on the day of Rohini Nakshatram in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April).
This temple is a west-facing one, which type of Siva temples are regarded as a thousand times more powerful. Punugeswarar is worshipped for debt relief, and relief from illnesses. It is believed that this temple’s layout is largely a replica of the Vaitheeswaran Koil Vaidyanathar temple, in addition to both being prarthana sthalams for relief from illnesses and diseases.
Amman is specifically worshipped to remove obstacles in getting married and also for childbirth. Interestingly, Amman is depicted holding the pasa (noose) and ankusa (mahout’s whip), which are normally associated with Siva and Vinayakar. There is a separate shrine for Siva as Jurahareswarar, who is worshipped for relief from all sorts of illnesses. Not just at this temple, but elsewhere as well, worship for Jurahareswarar is usually done by offering steamed rice and pepper rasam!
Other Information for your visit
As is the case with several places, there are 7 temples (usually called Sapta Sthanam) in and around Mayiladuthurai which comprise the Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam set of temples, and which celebrate their festival together. These seven temples here are:
Mayuranathar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Margasahayeswarar, Moovalur, Mayiladuthurai
Aiyarappar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Kasi Viswanathar, Senthangudi, Mayiladuthurai
Punugeswarar, Mayiladuthurai, Mayiladuthurai
Brahmapureeswarar, Sitharkadu, Mayiladuthurai
Azhagiyanathar, Sholampettai, Mayiladuthurai
As part of the festival, the utsava deities of all these temples gather together, and go in procession around Mayiladuthurai, on Chitra Pournami, and finally reach the Mayuranathar temple, before going back to their respective temples.