Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Sundareswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Meenakshi|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Pattamangalam||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (24 km)||Pudukkottai (52 km)|
|Madurai (70 km)||Sivaganga (74 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Once, in Kailasam, Siva and Parvati were instructing sage Bringhi about the greatness of Murugan and his knowledge of the ashtama-siddhis at a very young age. At the time, the six Kruttikas – Amba, Aparakendi, Dekhanthi, Nidardani, Vardhayendhi, and Thula – approached the Lord and requested him to instruct them on the ashtama-siddhis. While initially Siva was hesitant, at the urging of Parvati, He agreed and began his instruction. But the maidens were distracted, and lost focus. Siva cursed them to come to this place and remain in penance for a thousand years, in the form of rocks. After that period, Siva Himself came here from Madurai in the form of Dakshinamurti, accepted the Kruttikas’ penance, and completed His instruction.
There are eight siddhis or aspects of knowledge, collectively known as the ashtama-siddhi, the knowledge of which gives one the power of certain aspects of nature. The eight siddhis are: Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Isitva and Vasitva.
Because it was Parvati who recommended the Kruttikas to Siva, She too had to perform penance as Kali, under the naaval tree here. She was also redeemed when Siva came here as Dakshinamurti.
This story is also regarded as the 33rd of the 64 Tiruvilaiyadals (or divine plays) of Siva. Also because of this sthala puranam, this place is popularly known as the Pattamangalam Dakshinamurti temple.
Since Siva’s feet touched (patta, in Tamil) this place, and the Kruttikas were maidens (mangai in Tamil), the place got the name Patta-mangai. Over time, this has come to be known as Pattamangalam. Taking the cue from here, there are several other places in Tamil Nadu that are named Pattamangalam.
In Siva temples, Dakshinamurti is normally seen in the koshtam of the garbhagriham, facing south. However here, in addition to the koshtam, Dakshinamurti is present in a separate east-facing shrine, making this perhaps the only such representation of Dakshinamurti in Tamilakam, despite there being other temples where Dakshinamurti is the more popular deity in worship. This temple is a Guru sthalam, and also a Guru parihara sthalam.
The separate Dakshinamurti abuts the Sundareswarar temple on the north, and behind the shrine is a massive banyan tree, under which are murtis of the six Kruttikas. In the shrine, Dakshinamurti is represented wearing a crown of kondrai flowers, and with four arms displaying the agni, gnana-mudra and the serpent, with His lower left hand resting on His thigh.
This place used to also be called Kadamba vanam, as it was a forest of Kadamba trees. Kadamba Maharishi is also said to have had his ashram here. The sage is also associated with the puranam of the Tirukoshtiyur Soumya Narayana Perumal temple, a Divya Desam temple located about 6km from this temple.
Once, Hiranyakashipu disturbed Kadamba rishi’s penance, and was cursed that his fall would start when he visited here, which it did (interestingly, the puranam of the Iraniyur temple, located about 20km from here, is connected with Vishnu as Narasimhar slaying Hiranyakashipu). Very close to the temple is an Ayyanar temple for Adaikkalam Kaatha Ayyanar, who is believed to be the manifestation of Kadamba rishi.
While the core temple is regarded as extremely ancient, the original temple here is from the Pandya times. The structural temple we see today is about 200 years old, with several renovations, by a particular family from the Nagarathar community, who have successfully fought legal battles to keep this as a private temple. It is generally believed that the first temple here was the Dakshinamurti shrine, and only much later were built, the shrines of Sundareswarar, Meenakshi Amman and the other deities.
Much of the core temple is built of black granite. The temple features exceptional architecture depicting various scenes from the puranams.
There are also a few connections between this temple and Madurai. Because Siva came here from Madurai – regarded as the home of the Tiruvilaiyadal puranam – the moolavar at this temple as well as Amman, are named Sundareswarar and Meenakshi. There is fairly large temple tank to the west of the temple, with a separate mandapam in the middle. It is said that just as in Madurai, there was a golden lotus (por-tamarai) in this tank in the distant past.
Murugan is present at the entrance of the temple, as Ashtama-Siddhi Subrahmanyar.
Manikkavasagar has sung about this temple in his Tiruvasagam.
Other information for your visit
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.
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