Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Sivalokanathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Sivaloka Nayaki|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Mangudi||District:||Mayiladuthurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (8 km)||Kumbakonam (34 km)|
|Tiruvarur (48 km)||Nagapattinam (62 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
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.
There are two interesting stories as to why this place is called Mangudi. One is a Ramayanam connection (much like Mappadugai nearby), and the name Man-gudi is said to denote the place where Maricha took the form of a golden deer, to lure Rama away from Sita. The other story is that Mangudi is a corruption of Mal-gudi, indicating this is where Vishnu (Mal) resided when He came to attend the celestial wedding of Siva and Parvati at nearby Tirumananjeri.
Today, the temple is in an absolutely pathetic state of dilapidation, and continues to lie uncared for. A long cement path from the village road leads us to the gap between the walls that would have housed a majestic raja gopuram a thousand years ago. The base of this structure is stone – clearly indicating the Chola influence on this temple – while the rest of what’s left of the gopuram is made of thin bricks. This feature is seen throughout the temple (more on that below).
Unbelievably, the only complete structure in the temple today is the small Nandi mandapam that lies ahead, next to a bali peetham. There is no dhwajasthambam here, although the temple appears to be in active worship by locals (at least the monthly Sivaratri and pradosham days see devotees visit the temple). On the right is a lone Linga banam, without the base.
Ahead is a crumbling, roofless structure of what would have been a glorious maha mandapam, featuring a pillared corridor that leads to the ardha mandapam. The ardha mandapam similar features brick pillars on both sides, with some murtis placed near them (a half yali, Dakshinamurti and Chandikeswarar). The entrance to the garbhagriham is flanked by Vinayakar and Murugan. On either side are corridors, and a vigraham of Vishnu is on the left while on the right is a separate Siva Lingam with its own Nandi.
Because the temple is not structurally sound, even locals are not allowed to enter the garbhagriham. However, the priest who performs the pujas here (sometimes every day, and sometimes on alternate days) keeps the garbhagriham neat and clean. On the right of the ardha mandapam is the south-facing Amman shrine. As one comes around the temple, there is a Dakshinamurti shrine (with no vigraham inside). There are no koshtam deities or other sub-shrines in the prakaram, except the empty Chandikeswarar shrine.
The state of disrepair and lack of care is more than evident, with outgrowth of bushes and reeds on every conceivable surface of the temple – pillars, walls, mandapams, etc. Even the vimanam over the garbhagriham is not spared.
Several attempts to renovate this temple – at least clearing of the grounds and cleaning up the outer structures – have failed. We request devotees and others who have access to the relevant authorities, to please enable some form of repair to be conducted, so that visitors can once again flock to this Chola period temple.
Other information for your visit
Watch Sriram’s video here.