Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Aghora Veerabhadrar||Ambal / Thayar:||Bhadrakali Amman|
|Agamam:||Age (years):||Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 9||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kumbakonam||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (1 km)||Mayiladuthurai (39 km)|
|Thanjavur (41 km)||Tiruvarur (41 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Located in the heart of Kumbakonam and very close to the Mahamaham tank, this temple is dedicated to the deity Veerabhadra, an aspect of Lord Siva. The temple is administered by the nearby Veera Saiva Matham.
The Nava Kannikas (the anthropomorphised form of the nine sacred rivers – Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna, Tungabhadra, Kaveri, and Sarayu) worshipped Lord Siva at Kailasam, with a request that they be relieved of the sins of devotees who bathed in them. The Lord asked them to bathe in the Mahamaham tank on the day of Masi Magham. Veerabhadrar was deputed by Lord Siva to protect the Nava Kannikas who came to bathe in the Mahamaham tank (the Kasi Viswanathar temple located adjacent to this temple also has a shrine for the Nava Kannikas). The temple is visited by Lord Kumbeswarar on the Masi Magam day, and it is believed that Veerabhadrar is represented by the priests during the Siva Pooja.
In a region called Udayagiri lived a sage named Nisasara. His son Dhumaketu (also a sage) was an exemplary teacher, and would take his students to Siva temples and explain to them the history of the temple, its architecture and approach to Siva worship. This temple is said to be one of such Siva temples he took his students to, and therefore there is a small shrine in this temple with a vigraham for him.
One may recall that Veerabhadrar – regarded as one of the Rudras – was invoked as a fierce aspect of Lord Siva, at the time of the Daksha Yagam, when Lord Siva was insulted. When Sati then immolated Herself on the sacrificial fire, Siva called upon Veerabhadrar who destroyed the yagam, and punished Daksha and all the other attendees. He also decapitated Daksha, whose missing head was later replaced with that of a goat (and is usually depicted so in most iconography). The decimation of Daksha’s yagam by Veerabhadrar is also the key theme of the Thakkayaga Parani by the Tamil poet Ottakoothar, which was staged for the first time, in front of Veerabhadrar’s shrine at this temple, in the 12th century CE.
Built in the early part of the medieval Chola period, sometime around the 9th or 10th century CE, the temple is renowned for its architecture and iconography is the depiction of Veerabhadrar, with sharp protruding teeth, and with four arms holding the bow, arrow, sword and mace. In contrast, Daksha is depicted with his head bowed, as though humiliated by Veerabhadrar.
As with Bhairavar, the iconography of Veerabhadrar is quite interesting. He is normally depicted with two protruding canine teeth (much like fangs), and bearing a sword, bow and arrow, and a mace. These display His outward ferocity. However, He is said to be cool and composed inside, as depicted by the garland of scorpions He wears (scorpions are said to live in cold places). Snakes and spiders are also usually depicted on His ornaments. The most identifiable motif is a Siva Lingam on His forehead. Like Vishnu, worship takes place with Tulasi leaves, and like Hanuman, anointing butter is another practice followed as regards Veerabhadrar.
The temple is believed to be connected with Murka Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars, who earned funds through gambling and used them for feeding Siva devotees. The saint gets his name Murka from his violent behaviour, which he would display when others tried to steal away his gambling winnings. The saint is said to have lived for some time at the nearby Mutt, and there is a shrine for him in this temple. His Guru puja is celebrated on the day of Moolam nakshatram in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November-December).
Other information for your visit
Contact: 99440 56002