Mahalingaswami, Thyagasamudram, Thanjavur

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:MahalingaswamiAmbal / Thayar:Brihatsundaragujambal
Deity:SivaHistorical name:

Age (years):

Timing:7.30 to 10.30 & 4.30 to 8Parikaram:

Temple group:
Sung by:

Temple set:



City / town:ThyagasamudramDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Kumbakonam (11 km)Thanjavur (33 km)

Ariyalur (41 km)Mayiladuthurai (48 km)


Sthala puranam and temple information

Located on the Kumbakonam-Tiruvaiyaru road is this ancient but little-known temple for Siva as Mahalingaswami.

There are two stories of how the the village of Thyagasamudram gets its name. One is from the puranam of the nearby Tirupullamboothangudi. In the Ramayanam, when Ravana abducted Sita, Jatayu the vulture fought with Ravana. After a fierce fight, Ravana clipped Jatayu’s wings, and the bird fell to the ground, awaiting mukti. Rama and Lakshmana came by Tirupullamboothangudi, in search of Sita, and Rama recognised Jatayu as a friend of Dasaratha. Jatayu is therefore regarded as an ocean of sacrifice – or thyaga-samudram – and so the place is named for him.

The other story, according to some literary records (specifically the Vikrama Chola Ula), is that a place called Vannakudi and was renamed as Thyaga Samudra Nallur, as Thyaga Samudram was one of the titular names of Vikrama Chola. The place was then given as a grant to the Tiruvidaimaruthur Mahalingaswami temple. Also correspondingly, the temple deity was named Mahalingaswami. This place is believed to be that Vannakudi, later Thyagasamudram.

There is no known sthala puranam for this temple.

The temple faces east, but the access path on that side is riddled with shrubs and undergrowth. Therefore, there is now a separate entrance from the south, which is directly off the main road.

Coming from the east, there is first a long corridor housing the dhwajasthambam, bali peetham and Nandi, which looks rather old and speaks to the age of this temple. The maha mandapam houses the garbhagriham and the Amman shrine. In the garbhagriham is a fairly large Lingam, and it is perhaps for this reason that Siva gets His name as Maha-Lingaswami here.

As we circumambulate the temple, there are very few aspects of architecture remaining, that speak to the temple’s history and age. Much of the structural temple seen today is brick and cement work from a far more recent period.

On the south, a small flight of steps leads us to the koshtam on the southern wall of the garbhagriham, which houses Nardhana Vinayakar and Dakshinamurti. On the west is Lingodhbhavar, while Brahma and Durga adorn the northern koshtams. In the prakaram are shrines for Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai, Murugan as Dandapani, Mahalakshmi, Ayyappan, Anjaneyar, Chandikeswarar and Bhairavar.

In addition to being an old one, the iconography of Chandikeswarar is also unusual, being depicted with four arms instead of two – the upper arms hold an axe and a staff, while the lower arms are in abhaya hastam and varada hastam. There is a separate Navagraham shrine.

Other information for your visit

Despite the official temple timings (7.30-10.30 am and 4.30-8.00 pm), the temple is usually opened only once in the morning for puja. The temple priest’s contact information is posted on the southern wall. However, it is best if visitors contact him in advance of their visit, to arrange to see the temple.


The temple’s caretakers are an aged couple who live in a thatched hut on the land between the temple and the road. They will be able to provide the priest’s contact number.

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