Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Pariya Marundheeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Paranjothi, Parvati|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Periyamaruthupatti||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Pudukkottai (39 km)||Karaikudi (39 km)|
|Madurai (74 km)||Tiruchirappalli (78 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
In the Narasimha Avataram, Hiranyakashipu gained magical powers by worshipping Brahma, to avenge the slaying of his brother Hiranyaksha by Vishnu in the Varaha avataram. To quell this dangerous force, Vishnu took on the form of Narasimha, and slayed Hiranyakashipu, as a result of which Brahmahathi dosham attached to Vishnu.
In order to get rid of the dosham, Vishnu took birth as a hunter and sought out Siva. Understanding Vishnu’s plight, Siva presented Himself at this place along with his rishabham, in the Tamil month of margazhi (December-January). Vishnu worshipped Siva with ponnanganni keerai (dwarf copperleaf spinach) and received relief from the dosham. Even today, ponnanganni keerai is what is offered to Siva here for tiruppalli ezhuchi in the month of margazhi. Due to the prominence of Vishnu in the temple’s sthala puranam, He is installed in the prakaram to the west of the moolavar, opposite the koshtam where the Lingodhbhavar normally is (there is no Lingodhbhavar in this temple). Vishnu is depicted as a hunter, bearing a bow and arrow.
Due to the sthala puranam as above, this place used to be called Tirukkannampathi and Kannan Nagaram in ancient times.
மருந்து மருந்து அறியா மருந்து அறியா வினை தீர்த்த பறியா மருந்து
This saying is signposted in the temple, and means that despite all the medicines that are available, Siva worship is the cure-all for all illnesses – known and unknown.
A variant of the above is that Krishna worshipped Siva here before proceeding to the Mahabharatam war, and this story is used to explain Vishnu’s depiction here, as well as the ancient name of the place. It is also said that after the war, the Pandavas came here and anointed themselves with sand from this temple, which immediately cured their wounds.
At one time, this place was filled with medicinal herbs and plants. As a sign of this, during the third phase puja on the day of Sivaratri, abhishekam to the Lingam is performed with a concoction of 108 herbs.
There is another sthala puranam here, also following from the Narasimha Avataram. It is generally said that Narasimhar had imbibed the asuraic qualities of Hiranyakashipu, and became violent and aggressive. To quell this, Siva is said to have taken the form of Sarabha (the sthala puranam here says that this form was taken at Tribhuvanam, near Tiruvidaimaruthur in Thanjavur district), and subdued Narasimha. Thereafter, Sarabha came here to intentionally let go of his own ferocity. So the moolavar Lingam here is also called Sarabha Lingam.
There is also a story of a Pandya king Kulasekara Koon Vazhuthi, who was cured of his epilepsy after worshipping here.
Most medicines can be plucked (பறித்தல் in Tamil) from trees and plants. Siva is the physician – Bheshaji, as the Sri Rudram says – who cures everyone from all sorts of illnesses, physical and spiritual. The medicine called Siva is beyond those that can be plucked, and so He is Pariya (what cannot be plucked) Marundheeswarar.
The moolavar’s name is often misstated as Periya instead of Pariya. However, because this used to be a forest of marudham trees, He is also known as Marudeeswarar or Marudhavaneswarar, and being associated with medicine, Oushadapureeswarar as well.
While the core temple is said to have existed here for eons, the structural temple is clearly from the Pandya period, as evidenced by the presence of a separate Nandi for Parvati Amman. There are two Ammans in this temple – Paranjothi Amman representing shuddha brahmmam, and Parvati representing para brahmmam. Paranjothi Amman is seated in the garbhagriham next to the Siva Lingam, which is quite rare. Parvati Amman has a separate shrine. This is regarded as one of the 51 sakti Peethams, and the place where Sati’s eye fell. Parvati Amman’s shrine has a srichakram and maha meru embellished inside.
The swayambhu murti of Siva here is said to have existed in all four yugams – as Sella Nayanar in Krita Yugam, Nalla Nayanar in Treta Yugam, Paramthalai Andavar in Dwapara Yugam, and now Pariya Marundeeswarar in Kali Yugam.
Despite its location in the heartland of the Chettinad region, this temple is a bit unusual, given the relatively limited Nagarathar architecture here. That is not to say that there is no Nagarathar influence here – in fact, virtually all of the pillars, and outer portion of several of the shrines, are clearly Nagarathar influenced, after a significant rebuilding in 1892.
Nandi here is special, as it is also a swayambhu murti. Just looking at the murti of Nandi, one can see that it is unusual, particularly the pose and the hump behind the shoulders. He also does not have a tail, at this temple. It is believed that physical illnesses in smaller children are cured, and all prayers come true, if one prays to Nandi and anoints the murti with ghee. Because of this belief, Nandi here is forever covered in a thick coating of ghee. He is colloquially called Nei Nandi (ghee Nandi). On the day of mattu Pongal in January, special abhishekam is performed for Nandi.
The inner prakaram has separate shrines for parivara deities including Vinayakar, Vishnu (as a hunter, see above), Gajalakshmi, Murugan with his consorts, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar and Veerabhadrar. There is a separate Navagraham shrine.
In the outer prakaram, on the left, is he sthala vriksham of the temple – the marudha maram – a which is also associated with medicine. Devotees crush the fallen leaves of the tree, and drink it mixed with water, to cure various diseases. Under the tree is a murti of Marudha Vinayakar, who is worshipped first, before proceeding inside. One may notice some distinctive differences between normal depictions of Vinayakar, and the Marudha Vinayakar and kannimoolai Vinayakar (located in the southeast part of the inner prakaram) in this temple. That is because these two murtis are said to have been brought from Vatapi (which may indicate a Pallava influence here).
During the renovation of this temple several centuries ago, the sthala vriksham that was originally here was sought to be cut down in order to build the outer walls. It is said that the tree started bleeding, and so the work was stopped. Later, the tree fell on its own, which permitted the wall construction. Once that was complete, the tree sprung up again on its own, within the temple complex.
In addition to being a shrine for worship to be relieved of illnesses, this temple is also famous as a naga dosham nivritti sthalam, and a place of Rahu and Ketu parikarams (since snakes are often seen circumambulating the sthala vriksham and Marudha Vinayakar).
Other information for your visit
Kailasa Gurukkal: 96599 76881
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.
Sthala puranam by temple Sivacharyar: