Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Swayam Pratheeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Dharmasamvarthini|
|Timing:||7 to 12 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Sivapuripatti||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (49 km)||Pudukkottai (56 km)|
|Madurai (58 km)||Sivaganga (65 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
During the later Chola period, the key seaports on the eastern and western coasts were at Thondi and Muziris (which finds mention in several places in Sangam literature). This temple is located on the land route connecting these two ports, facilitating import/export as well as international trade, since the Chinese traders used the Thondi port, while the Romans landed at Muziris.
The Lingam at this temple is said to have self-manifested, and so Siva here is named Swayam Pratheeswarar or Swayambhu Lingeswarar. The garbhagriham is on a raised pedestal flanked by two dwarapalakas, and further by Vinayakar and the four Tevaram saints on the left; and Murugan on the right.
During the Chola period, this place was called Nrupasekara Chaturvedi Mangalam and Chola Marthanda Chaturvedi Mangalam. Sivapuripatti is also of great importance in the dynastic history of Tamilakam. In the Sangam period, there is said to have been a king named Paari (or Vel Paari, as he hailed from the lineage of Velirs), who is reckoned as a contemporary of sage Kapilar. The popular use of the term “Paari Vallal” derives from Paari’s nature of granting whatever was asked for. The location of today’s Sivapuripatti is regarded by some as being part of Paari’s kingdom.
The temple is later-Chola from the 11th century, built in the time of Kulothunga Chola I. The king is also said to have built several Saivite mutts, but sadly none of them seem to be in existence today. Later improvements and additions have also been made from the time of the medieval Pandyas.
The principal temple is for Siva, and there is a separate temple for Amman (which was closed during our visit) immediately to the north of the Siva temple. The boundary walls for these temples are separate, but there is no overall perimeter wall for the two temples together, between which is a small temple for Muneeswaran / Karuppar. Right outside the Siva temple is an enclosure containing a massive Nandi.
The temple houses some unusual murtis. These include Vaduga Bhairavar and Sarabeswarar in the Siva temple (these are quite common in this region, though not generally across Tamilakam), and Jyeshta Devi and Agni in the Amman temple. It is said that a panchaloha murti of Natarajar was consecrated here, but it is not to be found now.
The temple also has some other aspects which are characteristic of Pandya temples. Jyeshta Devi being worshipped here is one of them, since she symbolised fertility, and was the patron deity of the Pandyas. The other is a separate entrance (from the south) to the maha mandapam, that faces Amman (many Pandya temples even have a separate Nandi at this entrance), and this is a motif that easily helps us recognise Pandya temples.
There are over 60 inscriptions in the temple, spanning over 7 centuries – primarily from the 11th to the 17th – indicating the continuous habitation of this place. These inscriptions refer to Kulothunga Chola I as well as several Pandya kings, King Achyutaraya of the Vijayanagara dynasty, the later Polygars (feudatories of the Nayaks), and even the Marudhu brothers who were native to this region (the last of these were from the 18th century). The inscriptions deal with several aspects, including installation of murtis of deities, grants given including to families of martyrs, and even the existence of 10 temple dancers and a nattuvangar (beat-keeper) as also a peace treaty signed between two communities here. The inscriptions also describe this place as a large city, having wide roads
There are no koshtams in the outer prakaram; however there are separate shrines for several parivara and other deities, including satpa matrikas, Yoga Narasimhar, Vinayakar, Murugan and his consorts, Chandikeswarar, Vaduga Bhairavar, Sarabeswarar, Suryan and Chandran.