Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Naganathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Santhanayaki|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Pozhakudi||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (9 km)||Kumbakonam (35 km)|
|Tiruvarur (49 km)||Nagapattinam (63 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
The original name of this village is Poiyyakudi, but over time, it has corrupted to Pozhakudi.
In creation, it is generally regarded that there are three worlds – Bhulokam (earth, home to humans), patalam (or narakam, which is also called Naga lokam since the nagas / snakes are believed to live there, together with asuras, daityas, and danavas who were exiled from swarga by the devas), and Sivalokam (or swargam, where the devas / celestials reside). However, Lord Siva is regarded as the overlord of all three domains.
The three villages of Tirumangalam, Pozhakkudi and Mangudi are said to be the earthly representations of these three worlds. At these places, Lord Siva resides and blesses devotees as Bhoologanathar, Naganathar and Sivalokanathar. Interestingly, these three villages are located as three points of a triangle, just off the road from Kumbakonam to Mayiladuthurai, and quite close to Tirumananjeri. The three temples make up the Tirumangalam Sivaratri group of temples, where the first pada puja takes place in Tirumangalam, second at Mangudi, third at Pozhakkudi, and the fourth back at Tirumangalam. Worshipping at all three temples on the day of Sivaratri is said to be the path to realisation and mukti.
Going by the architecture and some of the iconographical elements, this appears to be a later Chola period temple, perhaps from the 12th century. However, there are also traces of Pandya influence – perhaps much later – notably the addition of a Nandi facing Amman (interestingly, this Nandi is in the outer prakaram, and not inside the maha mandapam).
In its heyday, the temple is said to have been much larger, with a tall raja gopuram. While the gopuram aspect cannot be established, the rest of the description is verifiable from the presence of the bali peetham and Nandi mandapam outside the current structural temple’s gopuram. Beyond this is a short gopuram with the entrance below it.
This leads to a rather long vavvaal-nethi mandapam, which ends at the garbhagriham. On the right of this is the Amman shrine, and also the entrance door from the outer prakaram back into the maha mandapam. The pillars in this mandapam are of later Chola period design. Vinayakar and Murugan are in place of dwarapalakas, at the entrance to the ardha mandapam and garbhagriham. There are also vigrahams here for Bhairavar, Sani and Suryan.
An exit door on the left leads to the enclosed outer prakaram, where one finds the Nandi for Amman. In the koshtam are Dakshinamurti (interestingly, with aa very old Nandi facing Him, but without the four sages), Vishnu and Durga, as well as some beautiful bas relief engravings on the outer wall of the ardha mandapam and garbhagriham.
In the prakaram are Vinayakar, Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivanai (whose shrine has some interesting dwarapalakas), a mandapam with vigrahams of Vinayakars, Rahu, Ketu, Vishnu, Appar, Manikkavasagar and Sundarar, and Gajalakshmi. Chandikeswarar is present in his shrine, but along with his consort Chandikeswari. In the north-eastern portion of the prakaram is the temple’s sthala vriksham.