Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Chokkanathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Adi Meenakshi|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4.30 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Muraiyur||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (39 km)||Pudukkottai (51 km)|
|Madurai (62 km)||Sivaganga (68 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
There are three stages of life in which Parvati as Meenakshi Amman is portrayed in temples. The first is as a young girl of marriageable age, as She is at Madurai. The second is in middle age, as at this temple. The third is old age, as She is said to be at a place called Vasarkudi near Karaikudi, which does not exist anymore. These three temples are most important in the concept of Meenakshi-Sundareswarar worship.
In ancient times, Nagarajar – the king of serpents – consecrated eight Siva Lingams and worshipped the Lord here. The moolavar at this temple is said to be one of the eight, while the other seven are not to be found.
A king named Vannirajan was a staunch devotee of Meenakshi Amman and would worship Her every Friday. As he grew older, he was unable to visit as regularly as he liked to, and so regretted his position. This dejection reached such a stage that he intended to take his own life. One night, he had a dream in which Siva and Parvati instructed him to recover a Lingam that was buried along with a lemon, under a vilvam tree at a particular spot in the Marudhavanam forest in his kingdom. Despite the distance involved to the forest, the king paid heed to the instructions he received in his dream, and was able to locate the Lingam and the lemon. He immediately built a temple for here, and stayed here for the rest of his life, worshipping Siva and Parvati.
The original temple dates back to the later (Imperial) Pandya period, from possibly the 14th century. However, the temple has been significantly rebuilt and renovated by the Nagarathar community, and is a classic example of a Chettinadu temple, mainly defined by ornate architecture on the walls and pillars. However, the agamic principles are applied consistently, so the overall layout of the temple is similar to most other Siva temples.
To the east of the temple, right in front of the raja gopuram, is a fairly large temple tank. The mukha mandapam is at an elevation of 4-5 steps, balustraded by beautifully carved elephants. The upper part of the mandapam is decorated with stucco images of various deities including Siva and Parvati on the Rishabha vahanam, and also some of the Saivite saints. The ornate pillars in the front look like they are Pandya period, but are actually much more modern, going by the corbelling.
The usual koshtam deities are there, as are the shrines for parivara deities, including Bhairavar (who can be found in this region in virtually every Siva temple, without exception). Except perhaps the Siva Lingam and sthala Vinayakar, and maybe the murti of Adi Meenakshi Amman, virtually all of the deities’ murtis are newly cast. The older murtis of the temple, including Lingams, are kept separately in the western mandapam, or otherwise lie about in the temple premises.
Other information for your visit
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.
Ramaswamy Gurukkal: 9940025026; 9894688929