Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kailasanathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sarvalokajanani|
|Timing:||7 to 9 & 5 to 6||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Vaippu sthalam||–|
|City / town:||Thandangorai||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Thanjavur (13 km)||Kumbakonam (33 km)|
|Ariyalur (39 km)||Perambalur (63 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The original name of this village was Thandankurai, which has come to be known as Thandaangorai over a period of time.
The temple is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, finding mention in one of Sundarar’s pathigams.
While there is no traceable sthala puranam for the temple, in his pathigam, Sundarar describes five places which, in all of creation, are greatly suited for Siva’s tandavam. These are Thandanthottam, Thandalai, Alangadu (Tiruvallur district), Korkai Naattu Korkai, and this place Thandankurai. The “Thanda” in the name of the place must therefore refer to Siva’s tandavam.
Thandangorai may well be regarded as the land of yagams, learned brahmins and proficient vedic pundits. The village used to be (and to some extent continues to be) inhabited by a number of vedic scholars.
One of these was a local person called Appadurai Deekshitar (also called Appayya Dikshitar, due to his proficiency with conducting yagams), an exponent in performing yagams, who is best known for having performed three Garuda Sayana Yagnas (which are reckoned to be among the most difficult ones to perform), for which he was honoured by Kanchi Maha Periyavaa.
The Garuda Sayana yagam is difficult for many reasons. Firstly, it involves using 365 stones – one for each day of the year – of the exact same thickness but different shapes, which are all specified. It needs to be done without any interruption; if even for a day there is any stoppage, what was done prior is invalidated and is of no benefit.
Appardurai Deekshitar was a local brahmin, from a poor family. Nonetheless his erudition and vedic prowess enabled him to conduct the yagam thrice, as if once was not sufficiently difficult. It is said that he would finish one day’s yagna and leave, and somehow, funds for the following day’s proceedings would invariably arrive from some source or the other.
Since the temple finds mention in Sundarar’s pathigam, the core temple should have been in existence at least in the saint’s time, of the late 7th and early 8th century.
The temple is located in the middle of the Agraharam street, with a Perumal temple for Kodandaramar at the other end. But according to local records, this was not the case always. This used to be a full-fledged Agraharam with the Siva temple (located further away from its current location) in the middle, and four “mada” streets in the four cardinal directions. Also, although a Perumal temple existed where it does today, it was not for Kodandaramar.
The village is also noted for the Mummurti Vinayakar temple nearby (read here), as well as a Pidari Amman temple for Ooradachi Amman. Interestingly, this Pidari Amman is the kula deivam (family deity) for most of the brahmins in this village. Opposite the Vinayakar temple is also a jiva samadhi for Sri Sachidananda Swami, a saint and mystic who made this place his home and eventually attained mukti here.
This is also one of the very few villages that has, or is able to identify, a nakshatram (birth star) for the village itself! In the case of Thandangorai, its grama nakshatram is Swati. For this reason, it is possible that the Perumal temple that once existed here, could have been a Lakshmi Narasimhar temple (since Narasimhar’s janma nakshatram is also Swati).
While the temple is east-facing, the entrance is from the south. As the east is blocked, there is no raja gopuram, and hence no dhwajasthambam. From the gate on the south, a short pathway which also has the entrance to the Sundaravanam (temple garden) on the left, leads us to a welcome arch with stucco images of Vinayakar, Rishabharoodar and Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai. Past the welcome arch, we cross the prakaram and into the maha mandapam, directly facing the shrine of the divinely named Sarvaloka Janani (mother of the entire world!) Amman.
The maha mandapam houses both the moolavar and Amman shrine, as also vigrahams of Bhairavar, Naagar and Suryan. Going by the architecture of the maha mandapam, the original structural temple here would have been built in the time of the later Cholas, ie between 1100 and 1350 CE. The architecture of the rest of the temple is more recent and modern.
The koshtams are empty. Both Dakshinamurti and Durga (who happens to be the eight-armed Ashtabuja Durga) are in separate shrines in their respective places around the garbhagriham, which leads one to believe that these are likely to be later additions. In the prakaram are Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Gajalakshmi, Chandikeswarar, and Chandran.
There is a separate Navagraham shrine on a beautiful lotus-shaped peetham. Interestinglyh, the Navagraham deities are arranged in a very unusual way – Suryan faces west, at the moolavar, while the other eight, in while still in their respective relative locations, are all facing inwards, ie looking at Suryan. The eight are also arranged in a circular fashion, rather than as points on a square. Finally there is a beautiful Nandi mandapam on the east. In the prakaram are also some of the older vigrahams of the temple, including two Siva Lingams and a Nandi.
Other information for your visit
The temple does not have a full-time Gurukkal, so the timings are limited. However, Ravi Gurukkal, whose family has been associated with this temple for decades, lives nearby.
Ravi Gurukkal: 96008 54155