Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Mummudinathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Soundara Nayaki|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||Iragu Sari, Eraiyancheri, Iravaan Seri|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Iraguseri||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (19 km)||Pudukkottai (59 km)|
|Ramanathapuram (81 km)||Madurai (99 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
It is quite rare to find temples in this region, which are referred to in the Tevaram. This is one such temple, which finds mention in one of Appar’s pathigams as Iravu-Seri.
At one time, this place was a forest, in which Jatayu, the king of vultures in the Ramayanam, lived. When Sita was abducted by Ravana, Jayatu tried to stop their progress and valiantly fought Ravana, but after his wings were cut, he fell at nearby Kandadevi, holding his breath until such time Rama passed this way. When Rama came here searching for Sita, Jayatu informed Rama that he had seen Sita. This place – Iraguseri – is where Jatayu’s wings fell after Ravana cut them off.
It is believed that the original name of the place could have been Iravaan Seri. Iraguseri could also be a corruption of Iragu-Sari – where the wings (iragu / irakkai) fell (sari) – referring to Jatayu’s wings being cut off. There are several stories from the Ramayanam that are connected with the region from Vaitheeswaran Koil near Mayiladuthurai (where, incidentally, there is also a Jatayu Teertham, where Siva is said to have performed the last rites of Jatayu), nearby Kandadevi, several places on the coastline such as Vedaranyam, Marungur and Teerthandathanam, going all the way south up to Rameswaram.
This temple is regarded as the first Siva temple in Devakottai, of which Iraguseri is a suburb.
The temple has a shrine for Dattatreya Muneeswarar inside the premises, and is regarded as only the third such temple with a dedicated shrine for Dattatreya Muneeswarar, after the ones in Maharashtra and in Namakkal.
The original structural temple here is itself quite old – from the Pandya period – and was originally built of red sandstone. It is said that kings from the Chola, Pandya and Chera dynasties have worshipped here. Siva therefore gets His name as the one who was worshipped by the three great kings (Mu-mudi). The Sanskrit name of Siva here is Tri-Makuteswarar.
The temple underwent extensive renovation in the early 20th century, undertaken by the Nagarathar community, when this was largely converted to a stone and granite temple. Right after this, kumbhabhishekam was conducted here in 1922.
The temple is itself at a slight elevation, and features a standout 7-tier raja gopuram, followed by a corridor containing the dhwajasthambam, which leads to the maha mandapam. To the right is Amman’s shrine as well as the Natarajar sabhai, and straight ahead is a brass Nandi and darpanam, followed by the garbhagriham.
In the koshtam are the usual deities – Nardhana Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti, Lingodhbhavar, Brahma and Durga. In the prakaram, are Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Gajalakshmi, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar, Sani, Chandran and Suryan. There is a separate Navagraham shrine.
The temple features contemporary Nagarathar architecture in granite, attesting to the 20th century renovation that was undertaken here (refer above). The Dakshinamurti vigraham in the koshtam appears particularly ancient, and is likely to be much older than the renovation during the 1900s. the depiction of the banyan tree behind Dakshinamurti is also quite different here. In the outer prakarams, the upper levels of the mandapams have been built resembling Chettinadu residences / palaces.
During the time of our visit in December 2021, the temple was undergoing preparations for kumbhabhishekam.
Other information for your visit
Lakshmana Chettiar Trust: 94438 60141