Kailasanathar, Thingalur, Thanjavur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:KailasanatharAmbal / Thayar:Periya Nayaki
Deity:SivaHistorical name:
Vriksham:Vilvam, VazhaiTeertham:Chandra Pushkarini
Agamam:

Age (years):

1000-2000

Timing:7 to 1 & 4 to 9Parikaram:

Temple group:Vaippu sthalam
Sung by:

Appar

Temple set:

Swamimalai parivara devata sthalam, Kumbakonam Navagraha Sthalam

Navagraham:

Chandran

Nakshatram:

City / town:ThingalurDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Thanjavur (16 km)Ariyalur (34 km)

Kumbakonam (36 km)Perambalur (58 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

Located close to Tiruvaiyaru, this is one of the Kumbakonam Navagraham temples, this one associated with Chandran.

The place gets is name from the Tamil word Thingal, meaning the moon. There are two legends as to why the moon wanes and waxes in 15-day cycles.

One is that Chandran married the 27 daughters of Daksha, but favoured Rohini. The other daughters complained to their father, who cursed Chandran to wane in his lustre. As a protection, Chandran surrendered himself to Siva, who blessed him that the waning would only be for half a month, while he would wax and grow in lustre during the other half. As a gesture of his gratitude, Chandran – in the form of a crescent moon – adorned the locks on Siva’s head.

The other is about an episode that took place during the churning of the ocean. When Mohini was distributing the nectar, one of the asuras quietly slipped into the line of devas, to receive the amritam. Suryan and Chandran noticed this, and upon pointing it out, the asura’s head was cut off, and he fell into Bhulokam. Here, the asura’s head was joined to the body of a snake, and became Rahu, and was bent upon revenge, by consuming Chandran. Afraid of the consequences, Chandran sought succour with Siva.

Thingalur is the avatara sthalam of Appoodhi Adigal, one of the 63 Nayanmars in Saivism. Adigal was unique, in the sense that he wasn’t as much a Siva devotee performing penances, as much as being a follower of Appar. He had heard much about the life of Appar (Tirunavukkarasar), who lived around the same time. Much impressed by Appar’s devotion, Adigal set up various social service activities, such as water stations, food donation camps, etc, in the name of Tirunavukkarasar. He even named his two sons Tirunavukkarasu – the elder and the younger!

One day, Appar came by this side and was quite taken aback by the presence of all of these activities in his name. Upon inquiry, he came to know about Appoodhi Adigal, and visited the latter, who was elated at Appar’s visit. Adigal also asked Appar to have a meal, and the latter agreed. Adigal then sent out his son to cut the plantain leaves on which food is served. As the boy was engaged in this activity, a snake bit him and he died. Not wanting to upset an otherwise joyous occasion, and to ensure that Appar did not refuse a meal there, Adigal did not inform Appar about this, and laid out the boy in a sleeping position. When the meal was served, Appar asked for the boy to join them. Left with no choice, Adigal informed Appar about the boy’s death. Immediately, Appar sang the pathigam “Ondru Kolam”, upon which the boy got up – as one would from a deep sleep – and joined them!

An interesting etymological connection: Thingal is also the name for Monday, which is a shortening of Moon-day (the planets involved in naming of days are largely similar between the western and Indic theories). Similarly, the words Thingal and moon are also used to indicate days (eg, many moons ago).

Chandran is believed to have worshipped Siva at this temple. As this is a Chandran sthalam, it is a parikara sthalam for those with Chandra dosham.

The temple is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, finding mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. In fact, there is an entire pathigam about the place, but there is no mention of the moolavar. Therefore, this is not a Paadal Petra Sthalam temple.

One of the water stations (thanneer pandal) set up by Appoodhi Adigal is still said to be functioning, and is located on the road from the temple to Villianallur to the north, near the Muniandavar temple.

The temple is from the early part of the medieval Chola period. The original temple here is dated to the 10th century, likely in the time of Parantaka Chola II (Sundara Chola), and continuing up to the time of Raja Raja Chola I. Later expansions were made in the time of Kulothunga Chola II, in the 12th century.

The walk of Siva is considered to be the path He took after appearing at Tiruvaiyaru, on the way to Swamimalai to receive instruction in the meaning of the Pranava Mantram, from Murugan. Following this path as a pilgrimage is considered highly sacred. As one has to receive such upadesam alone, Siva had to leave his parivara devatas and all His accoutrements on the way. Thingalur is said to be where He left behind the Crescent that resides on His head.

Chandikeswarar and Chandikeswari

The temple is east-facing but the newly built gopuram in that direction leads outside to the fields, with no access road. Hence, the entrance to the temple is from the south. The single ardha mandapam houses both the east-facing moolavar and south-facing Amman shrines. Inside the ardha mandapam is also a shrine for Appar, and a separate shrine for Appoodhi Adigal, with his wife and two sons – Tirunavukkarasu and Tirunavukkarasu! Interestingly, the vimanam over the garbhagriham is square shaped.

The construction and layout does not lend itself to several koshtams; however Dakshinamurti is present in the south, and Durga in the north. The other koshtams are empty. In the prakaram are Vinayakar, Murugan, Gajalakshmi, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar and a Navagraham shrine. There is also a separate shrine for Chandran, facing the moolavar, in the prakaram.

The Chandikeswarar shrine bears perhaps the most interesting depiction I have ever seen. Chandikeswarar is the protector of whatever belongs to Siva, and his placement just next to the pranali (where the abhishekam water is poured out from) is significant, in that not even the waste water is supposed to be taken away from the temple! This protector has a consort – Chandikeswari – who is seen in some temples where Amman has an independent temple (not shrine) of Her own. However, at this place, both Chandikeswarar and Chandikeswari are housed in the same shrine!

Other information for your visit

On Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, the temple opens at 6 am instead of 7 am.

Contact

Contact: 04362 262499; 9943843783
Mani Gurukkal: 04362 260936

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