Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kottai Muneeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirumayam||District:||Pudukkottai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Pudukkottai (19 km)||Karaikudi (24 km)|
|Tiruchirappalli (76 km)||Thanjavur (90 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Over the centuries, Tirumayam – a corruption of Tirumeyyam or the land of truth – has been ruled by various dynasties including the Pallavas, Mutharaiyars, Cholas, Pandyas, Vijayanagara dynasty, Hoysalas, Thondaiman and Sethupatis. As a result, one finds all sorts of interesting elements in the Tirumayam fort as well as the temples in and around it.
Tirumayam is famous for the Satya Gireeswarar Siva temple, which is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, and also the Satya Murti Perumal temple for Vishnu, which is Divya Desam temple. Both temples are located on the southern side of the fort, share a common wall, and both temple’s rear “wall” is the hillock itself. The two temples are from the Pallava time, built in this specific manner to promote inter-community unity between Saivites and Vaishnavites.
As a result of various clans and dynasties ruling this region, other temples developed around the hillock, the most prominent of which are the Kottai Bhairavar and Kottai Muneeswarar temples. The Tirumayam fort was built by the Sethupatis, and has three entrances – one each in the north, south and east. Bhairavar and Muneeswarar are regarded as guardian deities of the northern and southern entrances. The fort itself occupies an area of about 40 acres, and was originally built with seven concentric walls, of which only three remain now. The fort was also, at one time, called Oomayan Kottai after Oomai Thurai, brother of Veerapandya Kattabomman, the who fought the British.
The Muneeswarar temple is of much recent origin, but the fort itself has several hidden gems. The Muneeswarar temple is chiefly used as a landmark, in addition to being a place of worship for locals.
Various antique cannons and such surround the area in which the temple is located. There are also pillared corridors, with some great architecture, and clearly, these architectural elements are several centuries older – perhaps dating back even to the Pallava times of the Tirumayam Vishnu and Siva temple noted earlier.
The most interesting aspects of this area are in the enclosures beyond the Muneeswarar temple (on the inner side, ie, towards the main fort). The quadrangle here is surrounded by a pillared corridor on all sides, except for two entry points (one to the Muneeswarar temple and one to the north, towards the fort).
Here are two separate shrines – one for Anjaneyar and another for Vinayakar. The Vinayakar shrine is of particular interest, as Vinayakar here is said to be with 18 arms (Ashta-dasa-bhuja Vinayakar). This was not very clear during our visit, which was quite late in the evening.