Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kachabeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Mangalambigai|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Eachangudi||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Thanjavur (17 km)||Kumbakonam (33 km)|
|Ariyalur (34 km)||Perambalur (59 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Eachangudi is the birthplace of Kanchi Periyavaa’s mother, and the native village of her father. The temple is located at the eastern end of the Agraharam, while the other end has a Perumal temple.
Originally, the village of Eachangudi was located a few hundred meters away, amidst what are agricultural fields today, which had its own Siva temple that is said to have existed from several centuries earlier. This village’s principal temple was a Perumal temple, and was therefore called Srinivasa Puram, although there is believed to have been a Siva temple here, during the Chola period.
During the Nayak period, both the Siva temples (here and the original Eachangudi) were washed away due to floods. All that were left behind were 5 murtis / vigrahams – Siva Lingam, Amman, Nandi, Vinayakar (inside the temple) and the Vinayakar in the koshtam of the temple. Those were brought and installed at this place and a new temple was constructed here in its current location. Since the Lingam of the original Eachangudi was brought here, this place took on the name Eachangudi.
There are four stories of how Eachangudi gets its name. One is from the story of Siva’s walk from Tiruvaiyaru to Swamimalai, to receive from His son Murugan, the meaning of the Pranava Mantram – during that journey, He left His Eesanya status here (as one is supposed to go to one’s Guru without any possessions). The second is a variant of the above, inasmuch as, since Siva is above everything else, He could not have left his Eesanya status behind. So the name is said to derive from the story that Siva (as Easwaran or Eesan) spent a night here on the way to Swamimalai.
The third is from the Mahabharatam, where Siva is said to have showed His Eesanya aspect to the Pandavas here, while they were in exile. The fourth story is from the fact that the Eecha Maram (Phoenix sylvestris) is the sthala vriksham of this temple.
Prior to the churning of the ocean, Vishnu asked Siva as to what He (Vishnu) should do, to help mitigate the tension between the devas and asuras. Siva is said to have told Vishnu to take the Kurma Avataram, in the form of a tortoise (kachabam in Sanskrit), and hence He is called Kachabeswarar.
Siva has another name here, the origin of which is quite interesting. When Siva and Parvati appeared to the Pandavas, the image of a lion that was on Parvati’s waistband, came alive and started to roar, which startled the Pandavas. Siva helped quell the ferocity of the lion. In Sanskrit, the lion’s roar is garjanam (गर्जनं), and so Siva is called Garjarapureeswarar. This is as narrated by one Ammalu Mami of Kumbakonam, who is said to have received divine knowledge of various places, in her dreams. She would then go to each of those places and sing about those places and temples there.
Agastyar is said to have worshipped at this temple.
During the floods that caused the temple to be shifted here, Ayyanar (who is installed in the temple as Udaippu Katha Ayyanar) is believed to have protected the murtis. Over time, those worshipping Ayyanar were blessed by their weddings taking place. It is said that because of this, Maha Periyavaa named him Kalyana Sastha. Sastha is present with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala, and his parivara deities – Karuppu Swami and Selliamman.
The sthala vriksham of this temple – Eecha maram – is said to be special for worship by those born under the Poorattadhi and Uttirattadhi nakshatrams, and so this place is worshipped by many such devotees falling under those birth stars.
While the garbhagriham faces east, and the temple has an eastern entrance, that is now closed. Instead, entry to the temple is from the south, which leads directly to the Amman shrine. There is a Nandi mandapam at this southern entrance, presumably a later period addition after the temple’s entrance was shifted.
There is a separate house down the street from this temple, where Maha Periyavaa’s mother was born. The place has been converted into a shrine for Periyavaa, and meditation centre.
The temple’s dedicated Sivacharyar lives a few houses down the road, on the same side as the temple. He is always willing to open the temple to devotees, and show them around.
Other Information for your visit
Shanmugasundaram Gurukkal: 98434 18906
Sthala puranam by temple Sivacharyar