Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Nootriettu Pillaiyar||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Timing:||8 to 12 & 4 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Karaikudi||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (2 km)||Pudukkottai (43 km)|
|Madurai (92 km)||Sivaganga (96 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
There are only a few places in Tamil Nadu where one can find a temple or shrine for 108 Vinayakars. Of these, perhaps the best known one is this temple in the heart of Karaikudi, located just outside the Sundareswarar temple in Karaikudi.
Although not an ancient temple, this is perhaps one of Karaikudi’s best kept secrets, inasmuch as many people have probably heard of this temple, but only a handful of those actually visit here.
There is a story here, that the queen of Sivaganga was once instructed to visit 108 Vinayakar temples in order for one of her prayers to be fulfilled. As it would take time to go to locate and visit each of them, where Vinayakar was the chief deity, the queen asked that a single temple be built housing 108 Vinayakars, where she could worship.
This entire temple is more of a long corridor housing 108 Vinayakar murtis in 2 rows of 54 each. The 54 Vinayakars on the top row are all idampuri Vinayakars (meaning their trunks face to the left), while the 54 Vinayakars on the bottom row are valampuri Vinayakars (trunks turned to the right).
Right in the middle of the arrangement are 8 Vinayakars (4 each in the top and bottom row), who are a bit different from the other murtis in the temple. These are:
Vidya Ganapati – the one who is propitiated before all auspicious beginnings, be it art, education, work or any other initiative. This is depiction of Vinayakar seen in most places, for this very purpose. However, the usual depiction of this Vinayakar is in a seated posture. Here, He is shown standing on a lotus flower.
Vallabha Ganapati – of the several Sanskrit meanings of the word “Vallabha”, one refers to desires. This is the Vinayakar who blesses the devotee with the fulfilment of all their desires.
Maha Ganapati – who is depicted on His vehicle the mouse, has a modakam in one hand, ears like large fans used for fanning royalty, wearing the sacred thread, and is the short-statured son of Siva. If not already evident, the above is taken from the following sloka used to worship Him:
चामरकर्ण विलम्बितसूत्र ।
विघ्नविनायक पाद नमस्ते ॥
Caamara-Karnna Vilambita-Suutra |
Vighna-Vinaayaka Paada Namaste ||
Another interpretation of the phrase “vilambita sutra” is said to be one who is adept at writing. This Vinayakar can rewrite the fates of the devotee who worships Him.
Nardhana Ganapati – this Vinayakar in dancing form is usually seen as a koshtam murti facing south, in the first koshtam around the garbhagriham, in Siva temples. Here He faces east.
Siddhi-Buddhi Ganapati – Siddhi and Buddhi are the saktis or powers associated with this Vinayakar (sometimes regarded as Parvati and Santoshi Mata), who are seated on either side of Vinayakar. Siddhi refers to both spiritual strength and the power of sankalpam to get things done. Buddhi refers to both intellect, and the happiness (and knowledge) obtained when something is accomplished successfully.
Herambha Ganapati or Pancha mukha Ganapati – He is seated on the lion, usually associated as the vehicle of Amman. The five faces of Vinayakar represent the five boothas or elements – air, water, earth, fire and ether, meaning that these elements are, eventually, Vinayakar Himself.
Lakshmi Ganapati or Raja Ganapati – depicted like Vishnu with the sangu and chakram, and seated on a lotus flower, worshipping this Vinayakar is believed to help one gain material prosperity.
Uchishta Ganapati – while generally Vinayakar is considered as a peaceful, this depiction includes an axe and sword, in addition to the pot of nectar and a spoon to dole it out. Uchishta Ganapati (watch video) is also sometimes regarded as a tantric representation.
There is said to be a reason for 108 being a recurring motif in Hinduism. There are 12 rasis and 9 Navagrahams, which when multiplied gives 108. The word Ganapati – representing the primary and foremost deity – has four syllables, which when used to divide 108, yields 27 – the number of nakshatrams. This interpretation is used to reinforce that irrespective of the rasi, thithi, nakshtram, etc, Vinayakar can be and is worshipped at all times.
All the Vinayakars here have names following the Ashtotra Namavali of Ganapati. These 108 names are:
Gajanana, Ganadhyaksha, Vighnaraja, Vinayaka, Dvaimatura, Dwimukha, Pramukha, Sumukha, Kriti, Supradipa, Sukhanidhi, Suradhyaksha, Surarighna, Mahaganapati, Manya, Mahakala, Mahabala, Heramba, Lambajathara, Haswagriva, Mahodara, Madotkata, Mahavira, Mantrine, Mangala Swara, Pramadha, Prathama, Prajna, Vighnakarta, Vignaharta, Vishwanetra, Viratpati, Shripati, Vakpati, Shringarin, Ashritavatsala, Shivapriya, Shighrakarina, Shashwata, Bala, Balotthitaya, Bhavatmajaya, Purana Purusha, Pushne, Pushkarotshipta Varina, Agraganyaya, Agrapujyaya, Agragamina, Mantrakrita, Chamikaraprabhaya, Sarvaya, Sarvopasyaya, Sarvakartra, Sarvanetre, Sarvasiddhipradaya, Siddhaya, Panchahastaya, Parvatinadanaya, Prabhave, Kumaragurava, Akshobhyaya, Kunjarasura Bhanjanaya, Pramodaya, Modakapriyaya, Kantimata, Dhritimata, Kamina, Kapitthapanasapriyaya, Brahmacharina, Brahmarupina, Brahmavidyadi Danabhuva, Jishnava, Vishnupriyaya, Bhakta Jivitaya, Jitamanmadhaya, Aishwaryakaranaya, Jyayasa, Yaksha Kinnerasevitaya, Ganga Sutaya, Ganadhishaya, Gambhira Ninadaya, Vatava, Abhishtavaradaya, Jyotisha, Bhktanidhaya, Bhavagamyaya, Mangalapradaya, Avyaktaya, Aprakrita Parakramaya, Satyadharmina, Sakhaya, Sarasambunidhaya, Maheshaya, Divyangaya, Manikinkini Mekhalaya, Samasta Devata Murti, Sahishnava, Satatotthitaya, Vighatakarina, Vishwagdrisha, Vishwarakshakrita, Kalyanagurava, Unmattaveshaya, Aparajita, Samsta Jagadadharaya, Sarwaishwaryapradaya, Akranta Chida Chitprabhave, Vighneshwaraya
Also watch the video below, of the devoted priest of the temple providing an explanation.
Other information for your visit
The temple priest, Sri Meenakshi Sundaram, lives in the house opposite the temple.