Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Jagadeeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Jagatrakshambigai, Jagatrakshaki|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4.30 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Manamelkudi||District:||Pudukkottai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (61 km)||Pudukkottai (74 km)|
|Thanjavur (103 km)||Ramanathapuram (107 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This temple is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam that finds a passing reference in one of Sambandar’s pathigams. The reason for this reference is connected to the temple’s history, of being the avatara sthalam (birthplace) of Kulachirai Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars, and who was hailed as Peru Nambi by Sambandar.
Kulachiraiyaar (to use the honorific) was a chieftain who was born in this place – Manamelkudi – and was a steadfast devotee of Siva, ever ready to serve Siva and any devotee of the Lord. He was the chief minister of Koon Pandyan, who had taken to Jainism. At the request of the queen Mangayarkarasi (another Saivite devotee who is also counted amongst the 63 Nayanmars), Kulachirayiaar went to Vedaranyam and was instrumental in getting Sundarar to come to Madurai to cure the king. Sundarar overcame various challenges from the Jains, to eventually cure the king who then reconverted to Saivism. In addition, the king suffered a hunched back (and hence his name Koon Pandyan) which was also cured, after which he was referred to as Nindra Seer Nedumaran (who later came to be regarded as a Nayanmar, for his devotion to Siva and services to Saivism). Kulachirayiaar is also said to have authored several bashyams (treatises) on various aspects of Saivism in his lifetime. Guru Puja for the Nayanar is conducted on Avani Anusham.
Because of the association with Kulachirai Nayanar, worshipping at this temple is believed to help with progress in one’s work, by way of promotions, transfers, etc.
Manamelkudi finds place in the Ramayanam as well. When Rama found out that Sita was in Lanka, he evaluated three places from where to cross the seas and reach the island. First was Vedaranyam, second was Manamelkudi, and the third was Rameswaram. On a map, it can be seen that all these three places have land jutting out into the sea, contrasted against an otherwise straight coastline. These three places also have Ramar Padam shrines located near the Siva temples there. (In the case of Manamelkudi, the Ramar Padam is at Idayanvayal, 29km away.)
The name Manamelkudi itself is a colloquialisation of Manal-Mel-Kudi (resting on the ground/sand), referring to the Siva Lingam here which rests directly on the earth, rather than on a peetham. More importantly, this place was virtually an island in ancient times, and that is also said to be the cause for this name.
In the maha mandapam is a separate shrine that houses vigrahams of Sambandar, along with Kulachirai Nayanar, Mangayarkarasi and Koon Pandiyan as Nindra Seer Nedumaran. This is the last place that the four of them worshipped together, and according to the sthala puranam, this is where Sambandar took leave of the other three, before proceeding back to the Chola kingdom.
The Vellar river runs about 2km north of this temple, which served as a notional border between what were traditionally called the Chola and Pandya domains.
The original temple here is regarded as extremely ancient. The structural temple is said to be from Pandya times, but has undergone several renovations since then. The temple is small, but very quiet and peaceful, and suitable for meditation.
The uncharacteristically long but narrow raja gopuram was built in the last 100 years or so. Outside the raja gopuram is a mandapam that serves as a rest area for devotees and travelers alike. Inside is a dhwajasthambam, followed by a Nandi. There is a small bali peetham behind Nandi. Straight ahead is the garbhagriham for Jagadeeswarar. To the left is the shrine for the four Nayanmars connected with this temple, and to the right is the Amman shrine.
In the koshtam, there are only Dakshinamurti and Durga. in the prakaram are Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Saraswati, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar and a separate Navagraham shrine.
Other information for your visit
Venkataraman Gurukkal: 98655 34240
Phone: 75020 64449
Sthala puranam by temple Sivacharyar: