Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Ainootreeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Periyanayaki|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 7.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Mathur||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (7 km)||Pudukkottai (43 km)|
|Ramanathapuram (97 km)||Madurai (99 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is one of the 9 Nagarathar temples of the region, which are associated with separate clans (pirivu) of the Nagarathar community. The seven ut-pirivus / regions that this temple is associated with, are Uraiyur, Arumbakkur, Manalur, Mannur, Kannur, Karuppur, Kulathur.
In addition, this temple is regarded as one of the Vaippu Sthalams in the Tevaram, finding mention in one of Appar’s Tiruthandagams.
The temple’s sthala puranam is closely connected to the sthala puranam of the Thanthondreeswarar / Swayamprakaseswarar temple at nearby Iluppaikudi.
Kongana Siddhar wanted to master the art of alchemy, converting iron to gold, using a herbal mix. While Siva did not want the siddhar to be involved in worldly matters, He decided to make the siddhar realise it for himself. So He allowed the Siddhar – instructed, in fact – to worship Bhairavar at Iluppaikudi, and thereby be able to convert iron into gold. After this, the siddhar came back here and with a lot of effort, converted some iron into 500 gold tablets. Feeling thirsty, he paused for a drink of water, when Siva appeared as an ordinary man to hand water, and kicked away the herbal preparations, which instantly vanished. Realising the Lord’s will, the siddhar immediately gave up his alchemy dreams and ideas, and started to meditate.
Because Lord Siva appeared here when the siddhar had reached 500 (ainooru in Tamil) gold tablets, He is called Ainootreswarar. The Tamil word for change / conversion is Maatram, and since that was what the siddhar was attempting to do here, the place got the name Maatrur, which over time has corrupted into Mathur. In earlier times, this place was called Veerapandiapuram, likely named after Veera Pandyan, the Pandya king.
In the 9 Nagarathar temples, no deity other than the parivara devatas are installed inside the temple, except at Ilayathangudi and Mathur, where Ananda Muneeswarar – a guardian deity – is present.
The structural temple we see today is from the 12th century CE, although the core temple existed at least 5-6 centuries prior to that, since this is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam. Temple was significantly renovated about 150 years ago, by the Nagarathar community, which is evident in much of the architecture in the temple today.
There is no external gopuram, but instead a flat mandapam with a stucco entrance welcomes us. This mandapam is a relatively recent construction, since the temple’s original gopuram is at the end of this mandapam. To the left is an enclosure containing 27 trees – each representing the 27 nakshatrams – and straight on is the maha mandapam followed by a long, pillared corridor, that leads to the ardha mandapam. There is a tall dhwajasthambam, followed by a bali peetham and Nandi mandapam.
The pillared mandapam ends at the ardha mandapam, whose outer wall is exquisitely crafted, as is the mandapam itself. Two dwarapalakas guard the entrance to the ardha mandapam, who are also flanked by Vinayakar and Murugan on either side. To the right is the shrine for Periya Nayaki Amman, which is also flanked by two Dwara Saktis.
The garbhagriham faces east, and in the koshtam are the usual vigrahams of Vinayakar, Dakshinamurti, Annamalaiyar, Brahma and Durga. The entire prakaram looks spectacular, with pillars lining the entire perimeter on both sides. In the prakaram are Vinayakar, Bhikshatanar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Sivas as Kasi Viswanathar together with Visalakshi Amman, Somaskandar, Gajalakshmi, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar, Chandran and Suryan. There is a separate Navagraham shrine. In the southern part of the prakaram, the 63 Nayanmars’ vigrahams are lined up, led by Pattinathar.
Of particular note is the bas relief representation of Sarabha in the prakaram.
There is a preponderance of leonine presence in the temple’s architecture. Several aspects involve the representation of lions. In particular is the Nandi who is seated on a pedestal that rests on lions. In addition, the temple is noted for its excellent architecture, including the stone yali near the Dakshinamurti mandapam, inside whose mouth is a stone ball that one can rotate – this is a clear demonstration of the skills of the sculptors and craftsmen who worked on this temple.
Other information for your visit
Please do read this Overview on Nagarathar heritage and temples, in connection with temples in the Chettinadu region.
Phone: 04565 231862
Sthala puranam by temple Sivacharyar: