Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Rudrakoteeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Atma Nayaki|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Chaturveda Mangalam||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (44 km)||Pudukkottai (52 km)|
|Madurai (61 km)||Sivaganga (67 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Once, Brahma had a disagreement with sage Durvasa about the correct procedure for a particular yagam. Feeling insulted, the sage – who was prone to short tempered outbursts – cursed Brahma, who began a pilgrimage on earth to be relieved of the curse. On this pilgrimage, he came across sage Angirasa worshipping Siva, and sought suggestions. At the advise of the sage, Brahma installed a Lingam here and was blessed by Siva and relieved of his curse. According to the sthala puranam of this place, Saraswati is Siva’s sister, who was then married off to Brahma with Siva Himself as witness.
A celestial wedding needs to be witnessed by 1 crore people, and so Siva called upon his Rudra aspect – all 1 crore (koti in Sanskrit and Tamil) of them – to attend the wedding. For this reason, Siva is named Rudra Koteeswarar here. These Rudras were then assigned to assist Brahma with the task of creation.
Very close to this temple is a place called Aravan Malai, where Brahma is said to reside even today, worshipping Siva at this temple forever.
The name Chaturveda Mangalam is common to several places, but only in ancient times, when kings gifted those lands for use by those learned in the four Vedas. These days, it is rare to find a place with this name.
In the Tamil retelling of the Ramayanam, this is regarded as the place from which Rama began his Ashwamedha Yagam, after returning from Lanka. It is at this yagam that his sons Lava and Kusa sang the story of the Ramanayam as taught to them by sage Valmiki.
The temple’s architecture appears to be a mix of late Chola and early Pandya, and could therefore be sometime between the 12th and 14th centuries. The tall and narrow raja gopuram here (and in general, in this region) is different from what one normally sees in the Chola kingdom, or even in Tondai Nadu. Similarly the dhwajasthambam is also quite tall compared to other temples, followed by the bali peetham and Nandi mandapam, and then the maha mandapam. To the right is Amman’s shrine facing south.
The other main interesting shrine here is that of Sarabeswarar. The Sarabha murti is the 30th of the 64 forms of Siva listed in the Saiva agamams. The Sarabeswarar here is believed to be a combination of four deities – Siva, Vishnu, Kali (or Pratyankara Devi) and Durga (Shoolini Durga) – and so is depicted with Pratyankara Devi and Shoolini Durga.
In Vishnu’s Narasimhavataram, Narasimhar killed Hiranyakashipu and drank his blood. As a result, Narasimhar imbibed asuraic qualities and became uncontrollable in his rage. The gods requested Siva to pacify Narasimhar, and so Siva took on the form of Sarabha – a strange mythical creature, which the Sarabha Upanishad (which forms part of the Atharva Veda) describes as a creature with two heads, two wings, eight legs of the lion (including two which faced upwards) with sharp claws, and a long tail. Sarabha took hold of Narasimhar and took him into space (because if even a drop of blood fell to earth, it would create many asuras), and made all the bad quality blood ooze out, and Narasimhar became normal again. There is a separate shrine for Siva as Sarabeswarar at this temple. One can see Sarabeswarar in many temples – but typically only as a bas relief image on the pillars. This is the one of the rare places to have a separate shrine for Sarabeswarar, that too with active specific worship.
Dakshinamurti is the only deity in the koshtam, indicating a late-Chola construction. There are separate shrines of the usual parivara deities – Vinayakar, Murugan with consorts and Chandikeswarar, and the four saints of the Tevaram. The Navagraham shrine here is different, depicting the deities in a seated posture (as is the case in a few temples in the region, including at Tiruputtur).
Other information for your visit
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.
Phone: 04577 246170; 94431 91300