Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kutram Poruthavar||Ambal / Thayar:||Elavar Kuzhali, Sundara Kunthalambigai|
|Vriksham:||Vilvam, Athi||Teertham:||Vanara Snana Teertham (Neeva Nadi, Vellar river)|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||S. Aduthurai||District:||Perambalur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Perambalur (33 km)||Ariyalur (37 km)|
|Kumbakonam (77 km)||Thanjavur (86 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This temple is located on the banks of the Vellar river.
The name Aduthurai is quite common in several places in Tamil Nadu, as the word “Aduthurai” refers to a place on the bank of a river or lake which is used for various general purposes. There are, however, 3 theories for why this place is called S Aduthurai (in Tamil, it is Su Aduthurai). One is that this village was established as a pilgrimage centre for those reciting Vedas (Srautas), and so it was called Stotriyam Aduthurai. Another version is that Swetaketu installed the Lingam here and worshipped it (see sthala puranam below), and so it is Swetaketu Aduthurai. The third is that in the Ramayanam, Sugreeva’s army worshipped here and so it became Sugreeva Aduthurai. All very interesting stories, but nobody knows which is for real!
There are several interesting sthala puranams related to this temple.
Due to their participation in Daksha’s yagam, the seven primary sages Agastyar, Vasishta, Bharadwaja, Parasara, Gautama, Kashyapa and Kaushika, lost their status. To overcome this, the sages bathed in the temple’s Teertham Neeva Nadi (Vellar river), and worshipped Siva in seven places – one for each of them. This temple is said to be the fourth of those seven, located in the middle, along the river’s course.
Once, the king (and later sage) Swetaketu was performing penance, he mis-pronounced the hymn “Sivaya Namah”. He was deeply disturbed by this, and it affected his meditation. He went to his father Uddalaka for a solution. He was told that during his pilgrimage, he was enamoured of Tilottama, the celestial nymph, who took him to the forest of Maya, where there were other sages – Brighu, Marichi, Atri, Pulastya, Kratu and Vasishta – worshipping Siva during pradosham time. But instead of joining the sages, he (Swetaketu) continued to enjoy Tilottama’s company, the effect of which his mis-pronunciation. Uddalaka told him to bathe in the Neeva Nadi and worship Siva, to rid himself of this mental disturbance. Swetaketu was angry with Tilottama, and cursed her to be born as a monkey – just as his mind was jumping from thought to thought, because of her. He then performed the procedures as instructed by Uddalaka, to expiate himself of his sins. Siva accepted his prayers, and blessed the sage. Because Siva forgave the sage for his misdeeds, he is called Aparadha (crime/sin) Kshameswarar (one who pardons); the Tamil rendering of which is Kutram Poruthavar (similar to the Kutram Porutha Nathar at Thalaignayiru).
Later, Tilottama learnt of the curse from Narada, and approach Brhaspati for a solution. The latter suggested she approach Swetaketu himself to resolve the matter. A repentant Tilottama approached Swetaketu here to have the curse withdrawn. The sage replied that he could not withdraw it, and that she would indeed be born as a monkey. But he modified it such that she would, in that life, be born as Neela to a pious monkey called Devadaksha, and be pardoned after Neela worshipped Siva. Things turned out this way, and Neela was blessed by Siva. Later, the monkey army of Sugreeva came here, and she joined the army (still as a monkey), and also brought other monkeys from the army here, including Sugreeva, Angada and Hanuman. Since the monkeys also bathed in the temple’s Teertham, it took on the name Vanara Snana Teertham. Outside the Amman shrine, there are sculptures of Neela, Hanuman and other monkeys, referencing the sthala puranam.
Though it appears to be a stretch, the name of the river Vellar is said to be a corruption of Vanara-Aaru (Vanara Teertham in Sanskrit), referring to Swetaketu’s curse on Tilottama. Or perhaps it is more of a nominative determinant, as there are several monkeys that can always be spotted in these parts along the riverbank.
The core temple is undated, belonging to time immemorial. The original structural temple is believed to be 12th century Chola, but was a much smaller temple int that time. Much of the structural temple we see today is, however, from about 1450 (15th century) from the time of the Vijayanagara king Mallikarjuna Raya.
The temple has a massive seven-tier raja gopuram, and stands tall and majestic on the banks of the Vellar river. There are beautiful artworks and various dance poses carved throughout the gopuram, and on the walls of the entrance doorway (as seen in Chidambaram and some other temples as well). Some say these are from the Natya Sastra, while others regard these as being stills from different stages and styles of Siva’s Tandavams (also because one of the images on the left, is that of a Siva Lingam). This is the tallest temple gopuram in and around these parts.
On the inner (temple-facing) side of the raja gopuram are images of Kubera with Sanga Nidhi and Padma Nidhi, and so there is a belief that whosoever worships here takes back wealth with them (ie, they will receive wealth in their lives).
The temple itself is quite massive in size, spread over nearly 5 acres. The temple today has two prakarams, and there is a large mandapam to the right of the dhwajasthambam as we enter the temple. Then comes the mukha mandapam, where Amman’s shrine is located on the right.
The kosthams around the garbhagriham have the usual deities. In the prakaram on the other side, on the left is a long mandapam housing vigrahams of the 63 Nayanmars, along with vegetable dye paintings of each of them, on the wall. Then there are shrines for parivara devatas including Vinayakar, Murugan, Perumal, Gajalakshmi, Saraswati, Meenakshi Amman, and Chandikeswarar; and a shrine for Kasi Viswanathar and Visalakshi Amman.
Various small bali peethams are strewn around on the perimeter of the garbhagriham, likely older ones belonging to the temple. In the northeast portion of the prakaram are shrines for Natarajar, Navagraham and Bhairavar.
The temple is constructed in such a way that on the 11th, 12th and 13th days of the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April), the sun’s rays fall directly on the moolavar Lingam, worshipping Siva. This temple also celebrates Masi Magham with great pomp.