Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Sundareswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Abhirami|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Koranattu Karuppur||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (5 km)||Mayiladuthurai (35 km)|
|Tiruvarur (43 km)||Thanjavur (45 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Koranattu Karuppur is located 5 km northeast of Kumbakonam. During the Chola period, this place was called Karambai Naadu, which has corrupted over time to Koranadu. The suffix Karuppur is seen across several places in the immediate vicinity. This perhaps derives from the black (Karuppu) box in which Kali was found (see below).
When the 33 crore devas came to worship Siva and Parvati here, Siva is said to have revealed His handsome form to them, and so He is called Sundareswarar here (as is the case in a few other temples around this place).
At one time, this was a forest of pathiri trees, and so was called Tiruppatirivanam or Tiruppatalavanam. Brahma wished to have knowledge and enlightenment, and sought upadesam from Siva. Siva asked him to come to this place, install a Lingam, and worship Him under the pathiri tree. Brahma did so, and received the upadesam he was seeking.
Sage Agastyar is said to have worshipped Sundareswarar here, after bathing in the temple tank, after which he received many blessings and boons. Another sage called Vakkilliyar was also a devoted Siva disciple, and worshipped here regularly. He merged with the Lord here. These two stories form part of the Koranattu Karuppur Kshetra Mahimai, which describes the glory of the temple, and is regarded as the temple’s official sthala puranam. Others who worshipped here include Kubera (who was blessed with the task of guarding the 9 nidhis – Navanidhi; and also was anointed as one of the ashta digpalakas – guardians of the eight directions), and a king named Surathan.
Because of the association with Kubera and the blessings he received here, this temple has become a prarthana sthalam for those seeking material prosperity. To this end, devotees sometimes undertake a Lakshmi-Kubera yagam at this temple.
This is one of the many temples that belong to the Kumbakonam Pancha Krosha Sthalam set of temples. Other temples of this set include the Nageswarar temple at Tirunageswaram, Airavateswarar temple at Darasuram, and the Mahalingeswarar temple at Tiruvidaimaruthur.
The temple is locally more famous as the Petti Kali Amman temple. Several centuries ago, a wooden box came floating down the river Kaveri, and settled on the riverbank near this temple. When the locals opened it, they found an ancient wooden murti of the upper half of Kali. As the people and the temple priest were wondering what to do, one of the young girls who had gathered around, suddenly started speaking in Malayalam and Prakrit. One of the knowledgeable locals understood that the girl was relaying the guidance from Kali, on how She should be worshipped. Initially, the box with the murti was kept in a thatched shed but was later moved to this temple. Since Kali was found in a box (petti, in Tamil), She is called Petti Kali Amman, and the temple itself is therefore referred to by this name.
The murti of Petti Kali Amman is depicted with eight arms. The four right hands hold the soolam (trident), aruval (bill hook / blade), a parrot, and the udukkai (drum). On the left are the paasam (noose), shield, bell and kapalam (skull). Kali is also depicted with fangs (kora-pal), but is also believed to be of extraordinary beauty, and so is also called Sundara Mahakali.
Petti Kali Amman taken out of the box only once a year, during the Uttarayanam period (northward movement of the sun), when She is taken in procession by devotees, to the accompaniment of wind instruments and drums. Special pujas are conducted for Her on specific dates, such as pournami, Amavasya, Ashtami and Navami. Her worship too is a bit different. Devotees offer something called Pallayam, a mix of boiled rice, curd, sugar, etc. Also, the various offerings to Amman – such as Kumkum, lemons, flowers, etc – are not distributed to devotees.
Some say that the Chalukya King Vikramaditya (11th-12th century) worshipped Petti Kali Amman here. However, this is not in keeping with the most accounts suggest that the above-mentioned incident pertaining to Petti Kali Amman took place in the late 1600s or early 1700s. So, it must be the Ujjain Mahakali that Vikramaditya worshipped, which is wrongly attributed to this temple.
The core temple is said to be extremely ancient and has no date to it. The original portion of the structural temple we see today is regarded as Chola, though undated. However, much of the main structure is from a renovation of the temple in the 12th century, in the time of Kulothunga Chola III, as evidenced by inscriptions in the temple.