Vanmeekanathar, Tiruvetriyur, Ramanathapuram

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:VanmeekanatharAmbal / Thayar:Bagam Piriyaal
Deity:SivaHistorical name:
Vriksham:Teertham:Vasuki Teertham

Age (years):


Timing:6 to 11 & 4 to 8Parikaram:

Temple group:Vaippu sthalam
Sung by:

Sambandar, Sundarar

Temple set:



City / town:TiruvetriyurDistrict:Ramanathapuram
Maps from (click): Current location Ramanathapuram (50 km)Karaikudi (56 km)

Pudukkottai (94 km)Sivaganga (118 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

King Mahabali ruled the earth justly, excelling in both valour and munificence. The grateful people worshipped him as a god which, unfortunately, got to his head, and he started disrespecting the gods themselves. Learning of this, Sage Narada approached Siva to get Him to control Mahabali. But Siva replied, that He had allowed Mahabali to rule over the 56 regions of earth, because in an earlier birth, Mahabali in the form of a rat, had kept the lamp burning at one of the temples (this is the sthala puranam of the Vedaranyeswarar temple at Vedaranyam); and so it would be unjust to destroy Mahabali in this birth. Narada understood, but went to Vishnu instead, who decided to take the Vamana avataram. The rest of that story is well known, and will not be repeated.

However, Dharma – the earth goddess – felt that a just ruler of the land was unfairly punished; and so, at her appeal, Vishnu had to suffer a cancerous growth (the Tamil and Sanskrit translation of Valmiki or vanmikam could yield an anthill, elephantiasis, or a cancerous growth; it is up to us to interpret, since this has a bearing on Siva’s name here. Moreover, one can imagine all of them being outgrowths from a base.). Siva’s name here is therefore Vanmeekanathar (variant, Valmikanathar), and His name in Tamil is Pazham Putru (ancient anthill) Nathar.

Vishnu sought Siva’s assistance to obtain relief, and was told to bathe in 18 teerthams representing the river Ganga, and first worship Aadi Ratneswarar at Tiruvadanai and then here at Tiruvetriyur. Siva also had Ganga pacify the earth goddess Dharma. All of these took place, and Vishnu was cured of His disease.

Naturally, this has become a prarthana sthalam for those seeking relief from cancers and similar illnesses.

This temple is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, finding mention in pathigams of all three the Tevaram moovar saints – Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar.

Amman here is named Bagam Piriyaal, or the one who is not separated from Her Lord (Avirbhakta Nayaki), representing the oneness of Siva and Parvati, the primordial couple. For this reason, this temple is a favoured place of worship for those seeking to get married, or reunited with separated partners.

Sage Agastyar is said to have worshipped at this temple, and installed the Vinayakar here in the prakaram, who is therefore named Agastya Vinayakar.

The earliest structural temple here is likely to have been from the Pandya period, going by the architecture of the gopuram and its base. The core temple is rather small, but clearly has been expanded in recent decades, to accommodate the increasing number of devotees who worship here for cures from illnesses, and for getting married.

This east-facing temple has a large temple tank opposite the eastern gopuram, and therefore the main entrance is from the south. One then walks counter-clockwise to the eastern entrance, in order to enter the temple. At the entrance is a completely covered outer mandapam, and the water of the temple tank provides a cooling effect to the breeze here.

On entering the temple, there is a tall dhwajasthambam, followed by bali peetham and Nandi. Immediately after, is the ardha mandapam, leading straight to the garbhagriham and with Amman’s shrine on the right. In the koshtam are the usual deities – Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti, Lingodhbhavar, Brahma and Durga. The interesting iconographical depiction here is of Dakshinamurti – instead of the usual 4 Sanaka munis, He is seen surrounded by five of the great sages – Agastyar, Gautama, Kashyapa, Angirasa and Bharadwaja.

The sthala vriksham is in the outer prakaram along with vigrahams of Vinayakar and a Nagar. Those seeking to get married perform a prarthana here, which includes worshipping Vinayakar, bathing him in milk, and offering a mangalyam (thali / mangalsutra) to the Nagar vigraham.

Then there are separate shrines for the parivara devatas – Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar, Sani and Chandran. There is a separate Navagraham shrine.

In the western part of the prakaram are several mortar-pestles, which are used by devotees to churn lime and calcium into powder, to be used for decorations and as offerings to the deities in the temple.

Other information for your visit


Phone: 98655 34240
Contact: 04561-257201

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