Tirukandeeswarar, Chokkanathapuram, Sivaganga

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:TirukandeeswararAmbal / Thayar:Siru Thenmozhiyaal
Deity:SivaHistorical name:

Age (years):


Timing:6.30 to 12 & 4 to 7Parikaram:

Temple group:
Sung by:

Temple set:



City / town:ChokkanathapuramDistrict:Sivaganga
Maps from (click): Current location Karaikudi (28 km)Pudukkottai (58 km)

Madurai (66 km)Sivaganga (69 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

This interesting but rather obscure temple is located on the road from Madagupatti to Kallal, in Sivaganga district. The obscurity is partly because virtually nobody there, including the temple gurukkal, seemed to be aware of the sthala puranams here in detail.

One of the sthala puranams of the temple is similar to the one that we come across reasonably often. Kamadhenu, the celestial cow, would come to Bhulokam to graze in the fields. The locals noticed her pouring her own milk at a particular spot in the fields, every day. Upon digging there, they found a Siva Lingam and began worshipping it, and that is the Lingam that continues to be worshipped at this temple even today.

The sage Agastyar is said to have worshipped at this temple and perhaps even received

The term kandi refers to an ornament, like a bracelet, that is typically worn on the wrists or the ankles. Siva’s name here as Kandeeswarar derives from this, though it was not possible to get more information on the link between the ornament and the name. It may be, that given the temple’s location – near Madurai, the Velli Sabhai amongst the pancha sabhai temples – this is associated with Siva’s Sandhya Tandavam.

Amman’s name – Siru Thenmozhiyal – is also extremely intriguing, but again, nobody seemed to have information on why She was named so.

The temple faces west – worshipping at such Siva temples is regarded a thousand-fold as powerful as east-facing ones.

The original masonry structure, comprising the outer walls, inner walls and the pillars in the maha mandapam, is from the later Pandya period – around the 13th or 14th century. The garbhagriham and the shrines for parivara devatas are much newer, and the overall architecture of these is contemporary Chettinadu style. The temple used to be maintained by some members of the Nagarathar community, though now it is administered by the Sivaganga Samasthanam Devasthanam.

The temple’s layout, architecture and iconography are, however, quite interesting. The temple’s entire premises itself is raised about a foot or two from the surroundings. A short pathway leads us to a few more steps, to the outer mandapam. A couple of more steps takes us into the maha mandapam.

There is a dhwajasthambam and bali peetham, and then a large Nandi that is on a raised pedestal that is about 3 feet tall. The entire antarala and garbhagriham are also at a raised platform of a similar height, such that Nandi and the Siva Lingam are at the same level. There is also a separate Nandi made of brass, on this elevated platform.

All of the sub-shrines for parivara devatas are also at a slight elevation of a couple of steps, including the one for Siru Thenmozhiyal Amman which is to our left, facing south. When circumambulating the temple, one finds a separate entrance from the outer prakaram, leading straight to the Amman shrine.

Inside the temple is a sculpture depicting Kamadhenu pouring her milk over a Siva Lingam. Next to this is a murti of Agastyar.

The koshtams have the usual deities, but in reverse order (as this is a west-facing temple) of Durga, Brahma, Lingodhbhavar, Dakshinamurti and Nardhana Vinayakar. In the inner prakaram are shrines for the Tevaram four (Appar, Sambandar, Sundarar and Manikkavasagar), a Siva Lingam for Kailasanathar, Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar, Suryan and Chandran, as well as a separate Navagraham shrine.

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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