Aadi Vaidyanathar, Veerasingampettai, Thanjavur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Aadi VaidyanatharAmbal / Thayar:Valambigai
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Nandipuram
Vriksham:VilvamTeertham:
Agamam:

Age (years):

1000-2000

Timing:6 to 11 & 4 to 7Parikaram:

Temple group:
Sung by:

Temple set:

Agastyar Vijayam temples

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

Ayilyam

City / town:VeerasingampettaiDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Thanjavur (12 km)Kumbakonam (37 km)

Ariyalur (38 km)Perambalur (61 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

Veerasingampettai is located about 1.5 km from both Tiruvedikkudi and Tiruchottruthurai. Barring a welcome arch on the road from Kandiyur to Tiruchotruthurai, it is easy to miss this place.

The number five is a recurring motif in Saivism. For instance, Siva has five heads – Sadyojatam, Vamadevam, Aghoram, Tatpurusham and Isanam. Siva is also the original doctor – Vaidyanathar – worshipping whom is said to cure all illnesses. (Of course, spiritually speaking, the illnesses are those obstructions that prevent one from realising Brahman.) Combining the two, there are also five temples for Siva as Vaidyanathar, in and around Vaitheeswaran Koil.

However, there is another set of five temples which are said to have been worshipped by the Sage Agastyar. Visiting these five temples in a single day is said to accrue untold benefits to the devotee, curing him/her of all manner of illnesses and diseases. It is regarded as even more special, if the day happens to be a Tuesday on which Ayilyam nakshatram falls. These five temples are:
Oushadhapureeswarar, Mathur, Thanjavur
Aadi Vaidyanathar, Veerasingampettai, Thanjavur
Rajarajeswarar, Kadakadapai, Thanjavur
Pujapateeswarar, Soraikkayur, Thanjavur
Vaidyanathar, Poomal, Thanjavur

This Adi Vaidyanathar temple, located at Veerasingampettai, is the chief amongst the five temples.

This temple is originally from the Pallava period, and the place was earlier called Nandipuram, as it was built in the time of Nandivarman II, somewhere in the middle of the 8th century CE. Evidence of the Pallava legacy in this temple is the Vinayakar at the entrance of the maha mandapam, in typical Pallava style.

Also, some years ago, a vigraham of Vageesar was found here. Vageesar was a leading light in Lakulisa Pasupatam, a sect of Saivism that flourished here and elsewhere during the Pallava period. The vigraham, which is about 5 feet tall and has four faces and four arms, is currently in the Thanjavur palace museum, and is another piece of evidence to support the Pallava heritage here.

This temple, built around 750 CE, has seen strong patronage from the Pallavas, Cholas and Pandyas, right up to the time of Maravarman Sundarapandyan, in the early 13th century. It is said that a palace existed near this temple during Pandya times, but was razed in the year 1311 during the invasion by the Mughals, led by Malik Kafur.

The temple is most famous for the 276 Lingams that are enshrined in a corridor in the western part of the temple. These are said to represent the 276 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples of Siva. Whether this is by design or coincidence is not known, as it is also believed that a total of 1000 Lingams were buried under the ground, and it is only these 276 that were eventually unearthed when the place was being dug, several centuries ago, when this temple was being constructed.

The temple has an entrance from the east, but it is rarely opened except on special occasions. Instead, an entry gate is located in the northern part of the temple. The simple maha mandapam – built in the vavvaal-nethi style of architecture – is guarded by the Pallava period Vinayakar, as well as two dwarapalakas. Inside are simple shrines for Siva and Parvati. The maha mandapam also has a small gate on the southern side, that leads straight to the Amman shrine – likely a Pandya influence.

All the koshtams are empty except for the separate Dakshinamurti mandapam. The shrine for Vishnu Durgai in the northern part of the outer koshtam, is clearly a later addition. In the prakaram are Vinayakar, Murugan, Gajalakshmi, Chandikeswarar, Kala Bhairavar, Suryan and Chandran, as well as a separate Navagraham shrine on a circular peetham, and another shrine next to it for Murugan as Bala Dandayuthapani.

On the west is a long corridor between the Vinayakar and Murugan shrines, housing 3 sets of Lingams. The first is a set of 12 Lingams representing the 12 rasis. Second is a single, large Lingam – presumably Viswanathar, and another set of 14 Lingams. This is separate from the other part of the western mandapam with the 276 Lingams.

Being a temple associated with medicine, there is a separate shrine next to Chandran, on the southeast, which houses Dhanvantri, Bogar Siddhar and sage Agastyar. All three are generally associated with herbs and/or medicine. Next to them is the temple’s sthala vriksham – a vilvam tree. But this is not just any vilvam tree; it is called the Maha Vilvam, which sprouts vilvam leaves in sets of 9, 13 or 16 leaves on a branch.

Other information for your visit

Being a remote temple, the priest is not always present, but the temple is kept open through most of the opening times. If it is closed, the locals are helpful in being able to obtain keys to open the temple for visitors.

Contact

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