Kumbhabhishekam appeal – Maruthuvakudi Kasi Viswanathar temple


Visalakshi Amman Sametha Kasi Viswanathar temple at Maruthuvakudi (near Aduthurai, Kumbakonam) is undergoing work in preparation for kumbhabhishekam scheduled for 20 November 2022. Details below: I visited this temple a few months back (we are yet to write about it on the site, but below are some pictures of the temple) and I understand from… Read More Kumbhabhishekam appeal – Maruthuvakudi Kasi Viswanathar temple

Naganathar, Manalmedu, Nagapattinam


Once a forest of Punnai trees, this is where Adiseshan – who bore the weight of the earth – worshipped Siva, because of which the Lord gets His name here. This small but beautiful temple is perhaps from the 12th century CE, and has a rare shrine for Idumban. Why is this the case, and what is the other reason related to nagas, because of which this is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married?… Read More Naganathar, Manalmedu, Nagapattinam

Aadi Vaidyanathar, Radhanallur, Nagapattinam


Regarded as the foremost of the five temples for Siva as Vaidyanathar – the panacea and the physician to resolve all problems and illnesses – this temple is believed to have been constructed in the time of Rajendra Chola I. The sthala puranam here is from the Mahabharatam, where the the Pandavas worshipped at this temple for cure from some ailments. But what is the specialty of Surya Puja at this temple, for seven days in a year?… Read More Aadi Vaidyanathar, Radhanallur, Nagapattinam

Aadi Vaidyanathar, Mannipallam, Nagapattinam


Regarded as the foremost of the five temples for Siva as Vaidyanathar – the panacea and the physician to resolve all problems and illnesses – this temple from the Pallava period stands today thanks to two individuals supported by an entire village. The name of the place is connected to the nearby Pandanallur and the temple itself, to Vaitheeswaran Koil. But there is a part of this temple in the other four Pancha Vaidyanathar sthalams. How so?… Read More Aadi Vaidyanathar, Mannipallam, Nagapattinam

Chakrapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


Vishnu manifests in this temple as the Sudarshana Chakram itself. The main sthala puranam here is about Suryan’s ego and pride being overcome by the effulgence of the Chakram. Built originally by the Cholas and significantly expanded by the Nayaks, this temple is famed for its pillars that overflow with exquisite Nayak craftsmanship. But what are some of the aspects of this temple that are virtually identical to Siva and Siva worship, and how does this connect to the Veeratteswarar temple at Tiruvirkudi?… Read More Chakrapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Ramaswami, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


This Nayak period temple was built at the start of the decline of the Vijayanagara dynasty. The irony of this is that worship of Rama gained popularity only during the Vijayanagara dynasty’s rule! The entire temple and its extensive and detailed architecture celebrates only one thing – the Ramayanam. The temple is also one of the five Perumal temples associated with the Mahamaham festival. But what is so interesting and absorbing about the depiction of deities in the garbhagriham?… Read More Ramaswami, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Sundararaja Perumal, Sundaraperumal Koil, Thanjavur


The handsome Vishnu – Sundararajar – gives the temple and, in turn the place, their names. This temple is regarded as the Abhimana Perumal for three other temples. The sthala puranam here is about a test of will and penance that Indra, the chief of the devas, had to undergo, and how Vishnu helped him so that Indra could get rid of an illness. But who is the guardian deity of this temple and what is unusual about him?… Read More Sundararaja Perumal, Sundaraperumal Koil, Thanjavur

Vaiyam Katha Perumal, Tirukudalur, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam located between Kumbakonam and Tiruvaiyaru is known for many interesting stories that serve as its sthala puranam. The temple is virtually the starting point for Vishnu’s Varaha avataram, which ends in Srimushnam. There are also at least 3 stories as to how the place gets is name. But how did Vishnu protect his devotee – king Ambarisha – from the mercurial sage Durvasa, and how does that connect with this temple?… Read More Vaiyam Katha Perumal, Tirukudalur, Thanjavur

Dayanidheeswarar, Vadakurangaduthurai, Thanjavur


The history of this Paadal Petra Sthalam is embellished with three different sthala puranams – all equally engaging, and all demonstrating Lord Siva as Daya Nidhi – the font of all grace! This includes a little-known story associated with, but not found in, the Ramayanam. The place gets its name from the fact that Siva was worshipped by a monkey here, just as He was at Then Kurangaduthurai near Kumbakonam. But what are some of the unique iconographical aspects at this temple?… Read More Dayanidheeswarar, Vadakurangaduthurai, Thanjavur

Maha Ganapathi, Ganapathi Agraharam, Thanjavur


This temple dedicated to Vinayakar is unique in several ways. The sthala puranams here are both very interesting, and connected to the famine in this region that was overcome in one way or another, by worshipping Vinayakar. The temple is also one of the Swamimalai Parivara devata sthalams. But what unique customs are followed by the temple and the village when it comes to Vinayakar worship, for both daily and annual festivals?… Read More Maha Ganapathi, Ganapathi Agraharam, Thanjavur

Viswanathar, Devankudi, Thanjavur


This is one of the temples connected to Siva’s walk from Tiruvaiyaru to Swamimalai, which journey He undertook to receive upadesam from His son Murugan, on the meaning of the Pranava Mantram. The temple is also a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, having been sung upon by both Appar and Sambandar. This small village temple is also unusual in its arrangement of shrines.… Read More Viswanathar, Devankudi, Thanjavur

Vajrakandeeswarar, Veeramangudi, Thanjavur


The sthala puranam here is about Vijarasura, a demon, who harassed the devas and sages, but eventually sought mercy from Siva, right before he was overcome. Heeding the asura’s request, Siva is present here as Vajrakandeswarar. Worshipping Amman here is said to help the unmarried get married soon. But why is the Navagraham shrine here unique ,and what spiritual story is it connected to?… Read More Vajrakandeeswarar, Veeramangudi, Thanjavur

Keerthivaageeswarar, Soolamangai, Thanjavur


One of the seven Chakrapalli Saptam Sthanam temples, this is where Kaumari – the sakti of Murugan (Kumaran) – worshipped Siva’s trident, the Trisulam, before joining Chamundi in battle. Astra Devar – the celestial deity who is also the devas’ weapons maker – is worshipped here to remove the fear of enemies and to help devotees resolve disputes. But how is this temple connected with Vishnu and also with two other important Siva temples?… Read More Keerthivaageeswarar, Soolamangai, Thanjavur

Hari Mukteeswarar, Ariyamangai, Thanjavur


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is one of the Chakrapalli Sapta Sthanam temples, this one being connected to Maheswari, who worshipped the River Ganga on Siva’s head. The place gets its name from the sthala puranam, in which Lakshmi worshipped Siva here, in order to be with Her husband Vishnu forever. The temple today is a shadow of its former self. But what is very different and unique about some of the other deities in this temple?… Read More Hari Mukteeswarar, Ariyamangai, Thanjavur

Chakravakeeswarar, Chakrapalli, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is one of the Chakrapalli Sapta Sthanam temples, this one being connected to Brahmi, who worshipped Siva’s third eye. The etymology of the place and the deity are quite interesting, with two different sthala puranams converging to the same conclusion. Being from the early Chola period, this temple does not have the detailed architecture of some of the later ones. But what interesting inscription here brings out the evolved nature of of Chola governance?… Read More Chakravakeeswarar, Chakrapalli, Thanjavur

Alanthurainathar, Tiruppullamangai, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is one of the Chakrapalli Sapta Sthanam temples, this one being connected to Chamundi, who worshipped the snake around Siva’s neck. The etymology of the place and the deity are quite interesting. This temple is a hidden treasure trove of superlative Chola period architecture, and is therefore often quoted as the high-point of the skill of that period. But what is special about both the Dakshinamurti and the Durga depictions in the koshtam at this temple?… Read More Alanthurainathar, Tiruppullamangai, Thanjavur

Jambunathar, Nallicheri, Thanjavur


One of the seven Chakrapalli Saptam Sthanam temples, this is where Vaishnavi – the sakti of Vishnu – worshipped Siva’s feet and anklets, before joining Chamundi in battle. The name Nallicheri is said to derive from the place’s earlier name, Nandicheri, and indeed, the place is known as Nandi Mangai, amongst the 7 temples of the Sapta Sthanam. But what did Nandi accomplish here, which he could not do at even as holy a place as Tiruvaiyaru?… Read More Jambunathar, Nallicheri, Thanjavur

Rajagopala Perumal, Nallicheri, Thanjavur


The ruling Nayak king of the time was unable to proceed to Mannargudi for his daily worship of Rajagopalaswami there, due to cyclonic storms. So he spent the night here, and through various voices and signs, was informed that he needed to build a temple for Krishna as Rajagopalar, here. The place gets its name from one of the 64 varieties of trees, plants, herbs, etc, that Shakhambari Devi created for a special visit here. Whose visit was this, and why did it take place?… Read More Rajagopala Perumal, Nallicheri, Thanjavur

Kailasanathar, Thandangorai, Thanjavur


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is mentioned in one of Sundarar’s pathigams, as one of the few places most fit for Siva’s tandavams. This may itself explain the etymology of “Thandangorai”. Once a village full of vedic pundits and learned men, the village also claims its fame as the birthplace and residence of Appadurai Dikshitar, who was also given the name Appayya Dikshitar. But why was he honoured by Maha Periyavaa, and what is this village’s connection with astrology?… Read More Kailasanathar, Thandangorai, Thanjavur

Oushadhapureeswarar, Mathur, Thanjavur


This is one of the five temples associated with Agastyar, which are to be worshipped on a single day, to be cured of all sorts of illnesses. This classic Chola temple dates back possibly to the 10th century CE, and is said to have its origins in the holy waters of the River Ganga. But what’s special about some of the parivara devatas of this temple, specifically Bhairavar, Chandikeswarar and Suryan?… Read More Oushadhapureeswarar, Mathur, Thanjavur

Aadi Vaidyanathar, Veerasingampettai, Thanjavur


This is one of the five temples associated with the Agastyar, which are to be worshipped on a single day, to be cured of all sorts of illnesses. The temple, which is originally from the Pallava period, is most well known locally for the 276 Lingams that were unearthed during the construction of the original temple. The temple’s sthala vriksham is the Vilvam, but what is special about this vilvam tree?… Read More Aadi Vaidyanathar, Veerasingampettai, Thanjavur

Thanjapureeswarar, Thanjavur, Thanjavur


Located in the vicinity of the Thanjai Mamani Koil set of 3 temples, on the outskirts of Thanjavur, this moolavar here is also known as Kubera Pureeswarar, as He aided Kubera in getting back wealth that the latter had lost. The temple is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finding mention in one of Sambandar’s Tirumurai pathigams. But how are the moolavar’s name, and indeed that of the town, connected to the sthala puranam of the temple?… Read More Thanjapureeswarar, Thanjavur, Thanjavur

Kailasanathar, Thingalur, Thanjavur


This temple is one of the nine Kumbakonam Navagraham temples, and specifically connected to Chandran (the moon), because he worshipped Siva here. Thingalur – which gets is name from the Tamil word for Chandran – is the birthplace of Appoodhi Adigal, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars, and a great devotee of Appar (Tirunavukkarasar). The story of the two Nayanmars’ interaction is fascinating! But how is this temple also connected to Siva’s journey from Tiruvaiyaru to Swamimalai, to receive upadesam from Murugan? … Read More Kailasanathar, Thingalur, Thanjavur

Baladandayuthapani, Kumaran Malai, Pudukkottai


This Murugan temple on a small hillock, located close to Pudukkottai, is where Murugan came to provide his devotee the opportunity to take his annual Kavadi worship, when the devotee could no longer make the pilgrimage due to old age. The temple was constructed by a Thondaiman king who had the same dream as the devotee, but with a different purpose. But why is the temple built in the overall style of the Palani Murugan temple?… Read More Baladandayuthapani, Kumaran Malai, Pudukkottai

Gokarneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai


Located on the fringes of Pudukkottai town, Tirukokaranam is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. The temple actually houses two sets of deities, but is most popular by the name Brahadambal koil. The sthala puranam here is connected to that of the nearby Tiruvengaivasal Vyaghrapureeswarar temple, and involves Kamadhenu’s penance on earth. But why is Brahadambal Amman considered a talking goddess?… Read More Gokarneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai

Magizhavaneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai


Located on the fringes of Pudukkottai town, Tirukokaranam is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. The temple actually houses two sets of deities, but is most popular by the name Brahadambal koil. The sthala puranam here is connected to that of the nearby Tiruvengaivasal Vyaghrapureeswarar temple, and involves Kamadhenu’s penance on earth. But why is Brahadambal Amman considered a talking goddess?… Read More Magizhavaneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai

Nagareeswarar, Kadambar Malai, Pudukkottai


Part of the Narthamalai temples, this place – Kadambar Malai – is in fact home to three separate shrines – two for Siva (one of them a full-fledged temple) and one for Amman; in addition, there is a massive 20×6 foot rock cut inscription from the Chola period. The contributors to this temple come from the Pallavas, Cholas and Pandyas, as also the Mutharaiyars. But what is one of the sthala puranams here that is said to give the place its name?… Read More Nagareeswarar, Kadambar Malai, Pudukkottai

Vijayalaya Chozheeswaram, Narthamalai, Pudukkottai


Possibly a corruption of Nagarathar Malai, Narthamalai is part of a series of hillocks to the north and north-west of Pudukkottai. The temple for Siva as Vijayalaya Chozheeswarar is an architectural masterpiece, and often regarded as the starting point for the now-famed Chola style of architecture, and the place itself is named for the Vijayalaya Chola, who kickstarted the line of imperial Cholas in the mid-9th century. But would it surprise you to know that the origins of this place are not Chola at all? … Read More Vijayalaya Chozheeswaram, Narthamalai, Pudukkottai

Desikanathar, Nagara Surakkudi, Sivaganga


One of the famous 9 Nagarathar temples of the Chettinadu region, this temple is also a Bhairavar sthalam. The sthala puranam here is connected with Daksha’s yagam, and so the name of the place was taken from the fact that Suryan gets first worship at this temple. The temple’s architecture is classic Nagarathar style, but the iconography of deities as well as some worship customs here are quite unique. In what way are these unusual?… Read More Desikanathar, Nagara Surakkudi, Sivaganga

Sundareswarar, V. Surakudi, Sivaganga


One of two villages named Surakkudi in the outskirts of Karaikudi, this place is Vanniya Surakkudi. A Pandya king who could not keep up with his weekly visit schedule to Madurai owing to old age, was advised by a celestial voice to build this temple for Sundareswarar and Meenakshi Amman, his favourite deities. This Pandya period temple has seen several renovations, and this is evident in the temple’s mixed but stunning architecture. But why is this place called a Pancha-Linga Kshetram?… Read More Sundareswarar, V. Surakudi, Sivaganga

Sandeeswarar, Velangudi, Sivaganga


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is also the smallest of the 9 Nagarathar temples that the region is famous for. The place gets its name from being a forest of Vela trees in ancient times. The story behind the finding of Amman’s murti here is the core sthala puranam of the place. But what are the two other local legends about this temple, that are equally fascinating?… Read More Sandeeswarar, Velangudi, Sivaganga

Sundareswarar, Athangudi, Sivaganga


These days, Athangudi is more popular for the Athangudi tiles that several craftsmen in the village are involved in. This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam for Siva as Sundareswarar has a pathigam by the Nayanmar Appar, referring to it. The architecture would have been Pandya, but the temple today is completely dominated by Nagarathar style architecture. But what is unusual about the temple’s sthala vriksham?… Read More Sundareswarar, Athangudi, Sivaganga

Thanthondreeswarar, Iluppaikudi, Sivaganga


One of the 9 famous Nagarathar temples in the Chettinadu region, this temple’s sthala puranam concerns Kongana Siddhar’s desire to become an alchemist, turning iron into gold, and is also connected with the sthala puranam of the Ainootreeswarar temple at nearby Mathur. The temple is famous for Bhairavar, but what are some of the architectural masterpieces depicted here, that this temple is famous for? … Read More Thanthondreeswarar, Iluppaikudi, Sivaganga

Tiruvengadamudaiyan, Ariyakudi, Sivaganga


Regarded as the southern Tirupati, this is a place where one can fulfil any prarthanas or prayers meant for Srinivasa Perumal at Tirupati. The prarthana sthalam here is about Sevukan Chettiar, a staunch Vishnu devotee despite being born in a Saivite Nagarathar family, who could not undertake his annual pilgrimage to Tirupati in one year. But what is special about the Garuda and the Aadi Swati nakshatram festival at this temple?… Read More Tiruvengadamudaiyan, Ariyakudi, Sivaganga

Naganathar, Tiruthangur, Sivaganga


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam and late-Pandya temple was rebuilt in the last 200 years or so, and completely transformed into a Chettinadu temple with proper Nagarathar style architecture. Tiruthangur – the name of the place – is likely to have come from a sthala puranam involving Lakshmi staying here, but sadly, no records of any puranam are available for this temple.… Read More Naganathar, Tiruthangur, Sivaganga

Atmanathar, Avudaiyar Kovil, Pudukkottai


Said to have been built by Manikkavasagar, this temple is very closely connected to the life of the saint. The sthala puranam here is from the life of the saint, who used the king’s treasury to build this temple instead of buying horses as ordered by the king. This temple shares several commonalities with the Chidambaram Natarajar temple, and is famous for its unique and arresting architecture! But why is there no Lingam or murti of Amman in the temple? … Read More Atmanathar, Avudaiyar Kovil, Pudukkottai

Kubera Lingam, Avudaiyar Kovil, Pudukkottai


Basic information about the temple Moolavar: Kubera Lingam Ambal / Thayar: – Deity: Siva Historical name: Vriksham: Teertham: Agamam: Age (years): Timing: to & to Parikaram: Temple group: – Sung by: Temple set: Navagraham: Nakshatram: City / town: Avudaiyar Kovil District: Pudukkottai Maps from (click): Current location Karaikudi (35 km) Pudukkottai (52 km) Thanjavur (98… Read More Kubera Lingam, Avudaiyar Kovil, Pudukkottai

Kailasanathar, Vadakkur, Pudukkottai


Avudaiyar Koil / Tiruperunthurai is associated almost exclusively with the Saivite saint Manikkavasagar. But this temple is said to have been in existence even before the time of Manikkavasagar, and being a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, finds mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. Some elements of the original Pandya-period temple remain. But how did Paramaswami, an old man, help the 300 villagers of the time regain their lands from a corrupt minister?… Read More Kailasanathar, Vadakkur, Pudukkottai

Jagadeeswarar, Manamelkudi, Pudukkottai


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is also the birthplace of Kulachirai Nayanar, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars, and minister of Koon Pandyan of Madurai. The place finds mention in the Ramayanam, and gets its name from how the Siva Lingam was originally found here. The temple is located close to the border of what used to traditionally be the Chola and Pandya country. But why is this of significance to the temple’s history?… Read More Jagadeeswarar, Manamelkudi, Pudukkottai

Vriddhapureeswarar, Tirupunavasal, Pudukkottai


One of 14 Paadal Petra Sthalams in the Pandya region, this temple has existed in all four yugams., and worshipping the 14 Lingams here is regarded as equal to having visited all 14 such temples. The multitude of stories about this temple speaks to its age and hoary past, chiefly about Brahma repenting for his lack of knowledge about the Pranava Mantram. But why is Kali here not viewed directly, but only through the reflection in a mirror?… Read More Vriddhapureeswarar, Tirupunavasal, Pudukkottai

Ekambareswarar, Sundara Pandiya Pattinam, Pudukkottai


This very interesting temple on the coastal route from Vedaranyam to Rameswaram, features Siva as Ekambareswarar, who self-emanated as a Lingam under a mango tree, much like He did at Kanchipuram. The temple is connected to the Pandya king Sundara Pandyan and the saint Sambandar. But what makes this temple special are an interesting sculpture on the outer wall, and the separate mandapam to the immediate south of the temple. Why are these special?… Read More Ekambareswarar, Sundara Pandiya Pattinam, Pudukkottai

Ramar Padam, Idayanvayal, Pudukkottai


Located on the coastal path from Vedaranyam to Rameswaram are several sites connected with the Ramayanam. This is one of them, and happens to also be one of only three places in Tamil Nadu where the footprints of Rama are said to exist (the other two being a small shrine between Vedaranyam and Kodiakkarai, and at Rameswaram). Also nearby is a dilapidated temple from what appears to be the Chola period.… Read More Ramar Padam, Idayanvayal, Pudukkottai

Sarvateertheswarar, Theerthandathanam, Ramanathapuram


This west-facing temple is a pitru sthalam, and Siva and Amman here receive completely fresh clothes every day. In the Ramayanam, Rama was on his way to Rameswaram and Lanka, to defeat Ravana and bring Sita back, and quenched His thirst here. Agastyar advised Him to take the grace of Siva, since Ravana – a great Siva devotee himself – was otherwise under Siva’s protection. But what aspect of Saivism did Rama embrace, to show His devotion to Siva?… Read More Sarvateertheswarar, Theerthandathanam, Ramanathapuram

Aadi Ratneswarar, Tiruvadanai, Ramanathapuram


Having existed in all four yugams, the temple also has a Mahabharatam connection. The place is today a prarthana sthalam for those seeking relief from the ill effects of their misdeeds committed both knowingly and otherwise. In turn, these are connected to Suryan’s pride and Vaaruni’s playfulness. What are these fascinating stories, which also explain the cover image, about this place with 12 names, and where Siva has 4 names of His own, and is both a Paadal Petra Sthalam and a Tiruppugazh temple?… Read More Aadi Ratneswarar, Tiruvadanai, Ramanathapuram

Siva Surya Perumal, Keezhkudi, Ramanathapuram


In this temple, located in a small village that lies back of beyond nowhere, is a rather unique representation of Siva and Vishnu – both separately and together. The temple is said to celebrate the unity and oneness of Siva and Vishnu, despite what the sthala puranam of the Tiruvetriyur temple says, and re-emphasises the primacy of pillar worship. So what makes this temple fascinating, despite a total lack of any history or information available about it?… Read More Siva Surya Perumal, Keezhkudi, Ramanathapuram

Vanmeekanathar, Tiruvetriyur, Ramanathapuram


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finds mention in the pathigams of all three Tevaram saints – Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar, and is a sthala puranam for those seeking to get married, and those seeking relief from illnesses – particularly cancer. The latter is because of the sthala puranam here, which starts with a rat at Vedaranyam, connects with the Vamana Avataram, and ends with the river Ganga pacifying the earth Goddess Dharma. But how is Vishnu’s relief from illness connected with this temple?… Read More Vanmeekanathar, Tiruvetriyur, Ramanathapuram

Veyil Ugantha Vinayakar, Uppur, Ramanathapuram


After being punished at Daksha’s yagam by Veerabhadrar, Suryan lost his effulgence, and worshipped Siva at various places, to no avail. Realising that Vinayakar would be better placed to plead his case to Siva, Suryan came here and worshipped Vinayakar, who helped the former regain his lost powers. The temple also has a strong Ramayanam connection as well. But why does this place have names including Lavanapuram, Suryapuri, Tavasiddhipuri, and Pavavimochana Puram?… Read More Veyil Ugantha Vinayakar, Uppur, Ramanathapuram

Tirumeninathar, Anandur, Ramanathapuram


This temple for Siva in Anandur – also called Valanai or Valavai – near Tiruvadanai, does not have a sthala puranam that is known, but is referred to in one of Appar’s Tevaram pathigams in passing, making it a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam. The temple’s renovation began in 2004 and was stalled for over 15 years, before resuming in 2021. But why does the king who built this temple, have a rather unusual set of titles?… Read More Tirumeninathar, Anandur, Ramanathapuram

Tiruvirundeeswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram


An unusual early-Chola temple in the heart of the Pandya country, this temple lies in ruins today. But going by the architecture and detailed inscriptions at this temple, this would have possibly been a large and important temple in its day. Those who are able to support the refurbishment of this dilapidated temple may please reach out in person, to the temple priest.… Read More Tiruvirundeeswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram

Thillaivaneswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram


Despite no known sthala puranam, this beautiful Chola-period temple is said to have been built in honour of Siva as Natarajar at Chidambaram (or Thillai). This temple may be a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, but it is not clear as of now, as the place shares its name with another in the Thanjavur district. But what is the unique reason why the locals are happy because of the daily fights that take place at this village?… Read More Thillaivaneswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram

Ekambareswarar, Tiruvegampattu, Ramanathapuram


Also referred to as Dakshina Kanchipuram, this is one of the rare Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam temples in the Chettinadu region. Built in the Pandya period about 800 years ago, this temple features splendid architecture from that period, particularly of karanas (dance poses from the Bharatanatyam) and several bas-relief images of Vinayakar. But what is the Ramayanam connection to this temple, where the moolavar is an aasura-Lingam?… Read More Ekambareswarar, Tiruvegampattu, Ramanathapuram

Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Devakottai, Sivaganga


This temple – built in the last 150 years or so – is a classic representation of Nagarathar architecture. Popular as the Nagara Sivan Koil of Devakottai, the temple presents Sundareswarar and Meenakshi Amman in their wedding posture (kalyana kolam). But the most interesting aspect of the temple, is that it is not Siva who is the utsava murti of this temple. Who is it then, and why?… Read More Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Devakottai, Sivaganga

Mummudinathar, Iraguseri, Sivaganga


A rare Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam in the heart of the Chettinadu region is a pleasant find. Iraguseri – the name of the place today – is a modern corruption of Iragu Sari, Iravu Seri or Iravaan Serim – is linked to the Ramayanam, as is the nearby temple at Kandadevi. The original Pandya temple was significantly restored in the early 20th century by the Nagarathar community. But what is the reason for Siva’s name at this temple?… Read More Mummudinathar, Iraguseri, Sivaganga

Swarnamurtheeswarar, Kandadevi, Sivaganga


Originally, Siva here was called Siragilinathar. A Pandya king in poor financial state sought to rebuild the temple, and quite literally stumbled at this place. Taking this to be a sign, he dug here to find gold and precious stones, as well as a Lingam which was enshrined by him at the temple built with the new-found wealth, leading to a change in Siva’s name here. But what is the deep Ramayanam connection hat this temple, the place, as well as nearby Iraguseri, share?… Read More Swarnamurtheeswarar, Kandadevi, Sivaganga

Tribhuvana Chakravartheeswarar, Unjanai, Sivaganga


Hidden away near Karaikudi is this beautiful temple for Siva as Tribhuvana Chakravarteeswarar, the ruler of the three worlds. The temple is a refreshing change from the usual Nagarathar temples of the region, and may even be one of the rare Chola temples in what is otherwise Pandya country. The architecture is simple yet mind-blowing, in this little-known Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam! Read more about this temple here.… Read More Tribhuvana Chakravartheeswarar, Unjanai, Sivaganga

Kotravaleeswarar, Kovilur, Sivaganga


Said to have been originally constructed nearly 2000 years ago, this temple’s puranam is about a great sword – the Kotraval – of the king, which Siva made disappear, and then tested the king’s commitment to his subjects. This Nagarathar temple is filled with stunning architecture and carvings, all done in granite, making it even more spectacular. But why is the Amman here named Tiru Nellai Amman, and why is She a guardian deity of all women?… Read More Kotravaleeswarar, Kovilur, Sivaganga

Sundareswarar, Karaikudi, Sivaganga


The largest temple in Karaikudi, this Nagara Siva temple (which is how it is popularly known), is steeped in history. While the temple we see today was built in 1872 by the Nagarathar community, who continue to maintain it spotlessly, the original temple dates to as early as the late 13th / early 14th century. This temple is also special for its worship of Sarabeswarar, a mythical form of Siva. But what is quite different about the temple’s annual festival? … Read More Sundareswarar, Karaikudi, Sivaganga

Nootriettu Pillaiyar, Karaikudi, Sivaganga


This small temple outside the Karaikudi Sundareswarar temple, houses Vinayakar in 108 forms and names. Of these, the eight in the middle are larger, and have a specific aspect that people worship Vinayakar for. Each of these 108 murtis are beautifully crafted – both in terms of appearance as well as their iconographic depiction and association with the respective Vinayakar’s name and powers. Read more about this must-visit temple, here.… Read More Nootriettu Pillaiyar, Karaikudi, Sivaganga

Sundareswarar, Kambanur, Sivaganga


This Nagarathar temple near Karaikudi and Pillaiyarpatti celebrates Siva and Parvati as Sundareswarar and Meenakshi, as they are in Madurai. Also for this reason, this temple is a favoured venue for both fixing and conducting marriages. Dated to the 14th century, this temple is best known for Kottai Vinayakar, built by a feudatory of the Pandyas. But why is Vinayakar named so, and how is this relevant to other places in the region? … Read More Sundareswarar, Kambanur, Sivaganga

Kailasanathar, Veliyathur, Sivaganga


Sage Vasishta and Kailaya Parvatha Maharishi wished to witness Siva’s tandavam, but instead of appearing from the Lingam, Siva performed His cosmic dance from the skies, possibly giving this place its name. This is regarded as one of the very few places to survive the great floods – pralayam. But what is the reason for Vinayakar here to be covered in vibhuti at all times, and how is that essential to the sthala puranam of this temple?… Read More Kailasanathar, Veliyathur, Sivaganga

Sugandha Vaneswarar, Perichi Koil, Sivaganga


When a newly-wed bride had to face the wrath of her husband’s first wife, who did not believe that the couple was married, she called upon three witnesses – the vanni tree, the temple tank and the Siva Lingam, all belonging to this temple – in front of whom the saint Sambandar had conducted their wedding. Sani faces his Guru, Bhairavar, which is unlike the depiction in any other temple. But what is the strange reason that the abhishekam water and neivedyam vada-malai for Bhairavar are not distributed to devotees?… Read More Sugandha Vaneswarar, Perichi Koil, Sivaganga

Tirukandeeswarar, Chokkanathapuram, Sivaganga


It is disappointing to find a temple with great architecture and fantastic names of the deities, but very little information on the temple’s puranam and history. This is one such temple, though we do know that the sthala puranam here is connected with Kamadhenu, and sage Agastyar has worshipped here. Fortunately, this temple has not met the neglect that several others seem to face. But what makes this temple quite interesting is the internal layout and iconography.… Read More Tirukandeeswarar, Chokkanathapuram, Sivaganga

Sundareswarar, Pattamangalam, Sivaganga


Anima, Mahima, Garima, Laghima, Prapti, Prakamya, Isitva and Vasitva are considered the eight great siddhis. The sthala puranam here is about how the Kruttikas sought to learn these siddhis, were cursed for their lack of focus, and finally redeemed. The temple is one of those referred to in the Tiruvilaiyadal puranam. But what makes the Dakshinamurti so special here, that the temple is known more for Dakshinamurti than Siva as Sundareswarar?… Read More Sundareswarar, Pattamangalam, Sivaganga

Aatkondanathar, Iraniyur, Sivaganga


One of the 9 main Nagarathar temples of the Chettinadu region, this temple’s sthala puranam could perhaps explain the reason for the popularity of Sarabeswarar worship in this region. The temple is popularly referred to as the temple of sculpture (sirpa koil), for obvious reasons as can be seen in the pictures of the temple interiors. But how is this temple, and indeed the name of the place, connected to one of Vishnu’s avatarams? … Read More Aatkondanathar, Iraniyur, Sivaganga

Valarolinathar, Vairavanpatti, Sivaganga


The third largest of the 9 Nagarathar temples, this temple filled with exemplary architecture is perhaps the origin of the primacy of Bhairavar worship in the region. Siva deputed Bhairavar to overcome an asura, after which Bhairavar merged back into Siva as a growing light of knowledge, giving Siva the name Tirumeignana Pureeswarar. But how is this temple connected to ridding Brahma of his ego, as well as the Ramayanam?… Read More Valarolinathar, Vairavanpatti, Sivaganga

Sankara Mutt, Ilayathangudi, Sivaganga


This small outpost of the Sankara Matham / Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham is located at the adishthanam and siddhi sthalam of the 65th peetadhipati of the Matham, Sri Sudarsana Mahadevendra Saraswati. The Siva temple here is built on the saint’s samadhi. But what are some of the interesting aspects of his life, and how is he connected to Kanchi Maha Periyavaa?… Read More Sankara Mutt, Ilayathangudi, Sivaganga

Kailasanathar, Ilayathangudi, Sivaganga


The temple is the first of the 9 prominent Nagarathar temples in the region, and the community was gifted the village and the temple by the ruling Pandya king. In addition to being a prarthana sthalam for marriage, this is also famous in the region for celebrating milestone birthdays. But what is the interesting story behind the name of the place, which is also home to a famous branch of the Sankara Matham?… Read More Kailasanathar, Ilayathangudi, Sivaganga

Jayamkonda Chozheeswarar, Nemam, Sivaganga


One of the 9 important Nagarathar temples in the Chettinad region, the sthala puranam here is similar to the one at Korukkai, and involves Siva burning Kama to ashes. This is conjectured to be a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam which Appar has referred to in one of his pathigams, and today, is replete with spectacular architecture. But despite being located in the Pandya heartland, what are the various indications that this is a Chola temple?… Read More Jayamkonda Chozheeswarar, Nemam, Sivaganga

Thenatrunathar, Kunnakudi, Sivaganga


Missed by most visitors to the Kunnakudi Murugan temple, is this cave temple for Siva as Thenatrunathar, located on the west of the Kunnakudi hillock. The temple, which is not in active use and is today an ASI maintained site, features three shrines for Siva, in addition to excellent specimens of early Pandya architecture. But what is so special about the dwarapalakas at this temple?… Read More Thenatrunathar, Kunnakudi, Sivaganga

Shanmuganathar, Kunnakudi, Sivaganga


This early-Pandya temple from around the 8th century is a classic example of a hill temple for Murugan. Stories of the curative power of this temple range from the time of epics, to as recent as the 18th century. Interestingly, the temple has seen contributions from the Cholas as well, despite its location. But what connection does Murugan’s vehicle, the peacock, have with this temple?… Read More Shanmuganathar, Kunnakudi, Sivaganga

Marutheeswarar, Pillaiyarpatti, Sivaganga


One of the 9 Nagarathar temples, the Pillaiyarpatti temple is more famous for the Karpaga Vinayakar rock-cut temple. This temple for Siva is in the same complex, and is perhaps as old as the Vinayakar shrine. The temple – regarded as one of the marudhu sthalams – features brilliant examples of Nagarathar architecture and art. But why is there virtually no sthala puranam to speak of, available about this temple? … Read More Marutheeswarar, Pillaiyarpatti, Sivaganga

Pariya Marundeeswarar, Periya Maruthupatti, Sivaganga


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is where Vishnu got relief from Brahmahathi dosham, after having slain Hiranyakashipu in the Narasimha avataram. The temple’s sthala puranam has several stories associated with the curative powers of Siva here, including a Mahabharatam connection as well, which contribute to the name of the moolavar. The two Ammans at this temple represent the shuddha and para brahmmam aspects. But why is Nandi here perpetually covered in ghee?… Read More Pariya Marundeeswarar, Periya Maruthupatti, Sivaganga

Chokkanathar, Muraiyur, Sivaganga


This rare Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam in this part of Tamilakam, ie the Chettinad region, houses one of the 8 Lingams that Nagarajar, the king of serpents, installed and worshipped. The sthala puranam here is about a king who built this temple after he had a dream, and then spent the rest of his life here. But what connects this temple with the Madurai Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple?… Read More Chokkanathar, Muraiyur, Sivaganga

Rudrakoteeswarar, Chaturveda Mangalam, Sivaganga


When Brahma undertook a pilgrimage to rid himself of a curse by Sage Durvasa, he installed a temple for Siva here, and is said to worship Siva even today, from the nearby Aravan Malai. Siva is also worshipped as Sarabeswara here, and the temple has a Ramayanam connection as well. But why is Siva named Rudra Koteeswarar here, and what interesting aspect of Siva’s family is part of this temple’s sthala puranam?… Read More Rudrakoteeswarar, Chaturveda Mangalam, Sivaganga

Swayam Pratheeswarar, Sivapuripatti, Sivaganga


Filled with over 60 inscriptions spanning more than 7 centuries, this temple lies on what was once the land route connecting the eastern seaport of Thondi with its western counterpart at Muziris. Originally built in the time of Kulothunga Chola I, this temple features a combination of Chola and Pandya architecture, and some unusual aspects of temple building and iconography. But this place is also important in the history of Tamilakam. How so?… Read More Swayam Pratheeswarar, Sivapuripatti, Sivaganga

Idankazhi Nayanar Koil, Kodumbalur, Tiruchirappalli


To readers of Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan, Kodumbalur may ring a bell as the hometown of Vanathi, who later became Raja Raja Chola I’s wife. It is also the avatara sthalam of Idankazhi Nayanar, a chieftain and a feudatory of the Cholas, who is variously said to have descended from the Yadavas, or from the Kalabhras. The temple today is an upgrade of a smaller temple built only 300 years ago – a long overdue temple for the Nayanar. But what is his life story, and why did he refuse to punish the man who stole from the royal granary? … Read More Idankazhi Nayanar Koil, Kodumbalur, Tiruchirappalli

Kutram Poruthavar, S. Aduthurai, Perambalur


This beautiful temple with its imposing raja gopuram stands out in this otherwise flat land on the banks of the Vellar river. One sthala puranam here is connected to the Daksha Yagam, and how the sapta-rishis got back their status. But the other (and main) sthala puranam of this temple is also the reason for some of the etymology of the name of this place. What is so interesting about this, which has a Ramayanam connection?… Read More Kutram Poruthavar, S. Aduthurai, Perambalur

Maruthanandeeswarar, Pennakonam, Cuddalore


Located south of the Vellar river, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam has no known sthala puranam as we know it. The few devotees who worship here, seek knowledge, wealth and relief from illnesses. Sambandar, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars, has sung about this temple in another pathigam. But the most interesting aspect of this late Chola temple is the unusual Murugan shrine here. Why is this so different?… Read More Maruthanandeeswarar, Pennakonam, Cuddalore

Abatsahayeswarar, Sendamangalam, Viluppuram


This vast temple managed by the ASI, is currently undergoing renovation, which is heartening! The temple’s sthala puranam is from the Mahabharatam, but that may well be a later interpolation. However, Sendamangalam is of great importance in the history of Tamil Nadu, effectively being the location of the last battle that the Cholas fought, which they lost. But that location has defined the temple and its brilliant architecture as it stands today. How so? … Read More Abatsahayeswarar, Sendamangalam, Viluppuram

Sundaramurti Swami, Tirunavalur, Viluppuram


While Tirunavalur is better known for the Bhaktajaneswarar Paadal Petra Sthalam temple, very close to that temple is this place which was once the house in which Sundaramurti Nayanar (Sundarar) was born. The place has been totally transformed into a beautiful temple, with exquisitely carved bas-relief sculptures, depicting various events from the saint’s life. Read about the temple and also a short version of his very interesting life story, here.… Read More Sundaramurti Swami, Tirunavalur, Viluppuram

Kasi Viswanathar, Cholapuram, Thanjavur


Here is yet another temple virtually in ruins, thanks to the lax attitude of authorities who do not permit even willing sponsors to help renovate and rebuild this temple. Their blind eye has resulted in there being virtually nothing other than a Siva Lingam and a few assorted vigrahams. But this temple is really old, as evidenced by the unique depiction of Murugan here. How so, and how is that connected with Airavata, the celestial elephant? … Read More Kasi Viswanathar, Cholapuram, Thanjavur

Govindaraja Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur


Located in the northern part of Veppathur, this temple is today just a gopuram, with the deities being housed in a separate one-room building. The sthala puranam here is connected to two tales from the Ramayanam. But despite its Pallava origins, what makes this nearly 2000-year old (or older) temple fascinating across layers of history and the rule of several dynasties?… Read More Govindaraja Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur

Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur


Considered to be over 2000 years old, this temple is located in the heart of Veppathur – once called Ghatika Sthanam and Chaturvedi Mangalam. The all-wish-fulfilling Perumal is attended to by Anjaneyar depicted as a child. Krishna gave mantropadesam to Agastyar here. But how is this temple connected to the Ramayanam, that too in a rather unusual way?… Read More Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur

Aatheeswarar, Veppathur, Thanjavur


This roadside shrine today was originally a much larger temple, and is said to be as old as 1000 years or more. Despite its small size, it features Siva in two forms – as a Lingam and as Dakshinamurti. The temple is also a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to have children, and is said to be powerful enough to completely turn around one’s horoscope in this regard, when they participate in a particular festival. What is this? … Read More Aatheeswarar, Veppathur, Thanjavur

Idamkondeeswarar, Kalyanapuram, Thanjavur


Sage Kashyapa wanted to see Siva and Parvati in their wedding attire, and was looking for the ideal place to worship. Guided by a celestial voice, he came here, and after performing penance, he was rewarded with the divine vision of the celestial wedding. This temple is a Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Appar’s Tevaram pathigams. But why is Siva here regarded as the elder brother of Siva at nearby Tiruvidaimaruthur?… Read More Idamkondeeswarar, Kalyanapuram, Thanjavur

Vedapureeswarar, Tirukazhithattai, Thanjavur


Said to have been built by Kodumbalur Velir, the army general of Sundara Chola, during the 10th century, this temple has several inscriptions about him, and various other important members of Chola royalty of the time. Suryan worships Siva here with his rays, twice a year, for 10 days at a time. But what is the etymology of the names of Siva and Parvati at this place?… Read More Vedapureeswarar, Tirukazhithattai, Thanjavur

Saptarisheeswarar, Ammachatram, Thanjavur


Everyone needs sages and priests to conduct weddings, and the gods are no exception to this! This is where the seven sages of yore are said to have met, to plan the wedding of Siva and Parvati on earth! The temple – which is located close to several other temples connected with the Siva-Parvati wedding – is however more famous for the powerful Kala Bhairavar, who is regarded as equivalent to the one at Kasi. But what is the Ramayanam connection of this temple?… Read More Saptarisheeswarar, Ammachatram, Thanjavur

Sundareswarar, Chattiram Karuppur, Thanjavur


Once known as Pathirivanam due to being a forest of pathiri trees, this Chola period temple is one of the Kumbakonam Pancha Krosha Sthalam temples, and is possibly adjunct to the Koranattu Karuppur temple, also for Siva as Sundareswarar. The local belief is that Yama does not bother those those who have seen Sundareswarar here. But why was this small and non-descript temple, and indeed this whole place, important to the celestials? … Read More Sundareswarar, Chattiram Karuppur, Thanjavur

Sundareswarar, Koranattu Karuppur, Thanjavur


This temple for Siva as the handsome Sundareswarar is located very close to Kumbakonam. Several celestials are said to have to worshipped here and received many boons and blessings. This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finds mention in one of Sundarar’s pathigams. But why is this place called Koranattu Karuppur, and why is this temple more famous as the Petti Kali Amman temple?… Read More Sundareswarar, Koranattu Karuppur, Thanjavur

Kachabeswarar, Eachangudi, Thanjavur


Prior to the churning of the ocean, Siva asked Vishnu to take on the Kurma Avataram. The tortoise is called Kachabam in Sanskrit, which gives Siva His name here. The temple also has a Mahabharatam connection, which is one of four stories of how the place gets is name. But what is the fascinating story of how this temple, as it stands today, came into existence?… Read More Kachabeswarar, Eachangudi, Thanjavur

Dharmapureeswarar, Pazhayarai, Thanjavur


Often confused with the Someswarar temple (also located in Pazhaiyarai), this temple is popularly referred to as the Pazhaiyarai Vada Thali, Muzhaiyur temple and Vallalar Koil. Pazhaiyarai was once the centre-point of the Chola empire, and one of its capitals, as also the birthplace of two of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars. One can see several important and exquisite Chola temples in the immediate vicinity. Amman is named for Vimali – one of Kamadhenu’s 4 daughters – who worshipped here. But how did Appar find this temple, and how was it brought out of oblivion? … Read More Dharmapureeswarar, Pazhayarai, Thanjavur

Veerabhadrar, Darasuram, Thanjavur


This temple is presided over by Veerabhadrar, the fierce aspect of Siva, who also destroyed Daksha’s yagam, after Sati immolated herself at the sacrificial fire for her father’s disrespect towards her husband Siva. The temple also has a significant connection to the poet Ottakoothar, the author of Thakkayaga Parani, who was gifted the village of Koothanur (famous for the Saraswati temple there). But how did the Parani work come to be written?… Read More Veerabhadrar, Darasuram, Thanjavur

Kailasanathar, Udaiyalur, Thanjavur


Murugan was punished for having intruded on a private conversation between Siva and Parvati, and performed penance here. Later, a king affected by leprosy bathed in the tank created by Murugan, and after it was filled with milk by Kamadhenu, his disease was cured. But the most interesting aspects of this place are almost entirely attributable to Rajaraja Chola, who also built this temple. What are these fascinating aspects, including a heavily disputed theory about the great king’s end?… Read More Kailasanathar, Udaiyalur, Thanjavur

Brahma Gnana Pureeswarar, Keezha Korkkai, Thanjavur


The sthala puranam of this temple is about Brahma losing the Vedas to the demons Madhu and Kaitabha, and regaining them with Vishnu’s help, and also regaining his wisdom after worshipping Siva here. This Chola temple from the time of Kulothunga Chola III has some excellent examples of Chola sculptures, including Adhikara Nandi and Siva as Kirata Murti. But how is this temple connected to the annual ritual of Avani Avittam?… Read More Brahma Gnana Pureeswarar, Keezha Korkkai, Thanjavur

Sundareswarar, Ariyathidal, Thanjavur


Located just south of the Mahamaham tank in Kumbakonam, his temple for Siva and Parvati as Sundareswarar and Meenakshi is believed to have existed for almost 2000 years, but was rebuilt in the early 20th century, after it was found in ruins. The temple is connected to one Sri Ramaswamy of Thepperumanallur (also near Kumbakonam), but is also locally known as the Annadana Sivan temple. What’s the connection?… Read More Sundareswarar, Ariyathidal, Thanjavur

Brahmapureeswarar, Pozhakudi, Tiruvarur


This village temple is located very close to the Paadal Petra Sthalam and naga dosham nivritti sthalam at Tirupampuram. Brahma worshipped here, and was relieved of the curse he had suffered for having forgotten his duties of creation. The temple needs more visitors to help it regain its lost prominence, and to support the locals who offer their services to the temple. But why is there a vigraham of a snake next to the Nandi?… Read More Brahmapureeswarar, Pozhakudi, Tiruvarur

Pippilakadeeswarar, Alathur, Nagapattinam


This early 13th century Chola temple from the time of Kulothunga Chola III is a village temple in need of funds for construction of a raja gopuram. After centuries, the last kumbhabhishekam was performed in 2014 at this Vata-Aranya-Kshetram, where celestials worshipped here, to be rid of the curses and harassment of the demons Kara and Dooshana. But why is Siva here called Pippilakadeeswarar? … Read More Pippilakadeeswarar, Alathur, Nagapattinam

Agasteeswarar, Tirukodiyalur, Tiruvarur


After the Tirumeyachur temple, this is possibly the most popular temple in the region, as it is regarded as the birthplace of both Sani and Yama. Worshipping here is considered as good as, or better than, worshipping at any other Sani sthalam, including Tirunallaru. But both Sani and Yama are worshipped here as benevolent deities (anugraha murtis). How and why is this so?… Read More Agasteeswarar, Tirukodiyalur, Tiruvarur

Veetrirundha Varadaraja Perumal, Tirukodiyalur, Tiruvarur


This village temple located near Tirumeyachur, close to the Meghanathar-Lalithambigai temple, is poorly visited, but decently maintained. The sthala puranam here is about Vishnu waiting for Lakshmi, while She was worshipping at the Tirumeyachur temple. But what important aspects of Saivism are celebrated at this Perumal temple?… Read More Veetrirundha Varadaraja Perumal, Tirukodiyalur, Tiruvarur

Sakalabuvaneswarar, Tirumeyachur, Tiruvarur


Even the celestial world is filled with complex stories of intrigue, desire and passions. This temple shares its sthala puranam with that of the Tirumeyachur Meghanathar (Lalithambigai) temple, and is about how all of these led to the birth of Vali and Sugreeva, and Surya then being forgiven by Siva. This Paadal Petra Sthalam was built as a balalayam (Ilankoil in Tamil) and so is older than the Meghanathar temple that it is part of. But why was this temple retained, which is unusual for balalayams? … Read More Sakalabuvaneswarar, Tirumeyachur, Tiruvarur

Sivalokanathar, Keeranur, Tiruvarur


When the king’s horse trod on an object which started bleeding, the shocked king and his entourage saw a cow come over and pour its milk on the wounded object, which later turned out to be a Siva Lingam. Parvati had Herself come in the form of a cow, and because of her action, She is called Ksheerambigai here. But how is this temple’s other sthala puranam connected to one of ashta Veerattanam temples?… Read More Sivalokanathar, Keeranur, Tiruvarur

Veerabhadrar, Vazhuvur, Nagapattinam


Vazhuvur is regarded as the birthplace of Ayyappan. This village temple for Veerabhadrar – often regarded as an aspect of Siva Himself – is closely connected with the Vazhuvur Veeratteswarar temple located nearby, and also to Ayyappan. The temple stands in ruins, but has two very unusual aspects to it, on the depiction of the presiding deity. What are these?… Read More Veerabhadrar, Vazhuvur, Nagapattinam

Punugeswarar, Koranad, Mayiladuthurai


This is one of the 7 temples that comprise the Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam set of temples. The sthala puranam here concerns a civet (punugu or musk) cat which worshipped Siva here, and was blessed by the Lord. The temple is also seems to share a connection with the nearby Moovalur temple, with Brahma and Vishnu worshipping Siva. But why is this place called Koranad, and how is it connected to Nesa Nayanar?… Read More Punugeswarar, Koranad, Mayiladuthurai

Pasupateeswarar, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore


Tiruvamur is the avatara sthalam of Appar (Tirunavukkarasar), probably the most prominent of the Saivite bhakti saints. This temple for Pasupateeswarar is where the saint, and his parents, had worshipped. Built in the late 11th or early 12th century in the time of Kulothunga Chola III, this temple’s sthala puranam is about a cow that offered its milk as reparation for an injury it unknowingly caused, to a buried Siva Lingam. The etymology of Tiruvamur is also connected to this puranam. But why is this temple regarded as a possible Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam?… Read More Pasupateeswarar, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore

Tirunavukkarasar Koil, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore


This temple is built at the very place where the Tamil bhakti saint Appar was born, and is closely connected to the Pasupateeswarar temple in the same village. Appar is the author of the Tevaram, which represents volumes 4-6 of the Tirumurai, in the Tamil bhakti literary tradition. Read about the shrine, and also the very engrossing life history of Appar, here.… Read More Tirunavukkarasar Koil, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore

Vyaghrapureeswarar, Veeraperumal Nallur, Cuddalore


This small, yet serene village temple from the 14th century Pandya period has been maintained well despite the challenges it faces. As part of his visits to various Siva temples, Sage Vyaghrapada came and worshipped Siva here. This temple is also replete with architectural and sculptural masterpieces, including Bhikshatanar, Chandikeswarar, and the Nandi mandapam. The village of Veeraperumal Nallur itself has an interesting history, connected with the Perumal temple nearby. … Read More Vyaghrapureeswarar, Veeraperumal Nallur, Cuddalore

Vaitheeswaran, Chintamani Nallur, Viluppuram


This 900-year-old temple was built by Vikrama Chola, and the presiding deity named Kulothunga Chozheeswaramudaiya Mahadevar, in honour of Vikrama’s father Kulothunga Chola I. Vikrama Chola’s mother’s names are also the basis for the name of this place and the well-known nearby town of Madhurantakam. But what is unusual about the deities in the koshtam, at this temple?… Read More Vaitheeswaran, Chintamani Nallur, Viluppuram

Ardhanareeswarar, Egmore, Chennai


This little known and even less visited Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam referenced by Appar, holds the key to the etymology of Egmore as a locality in Chennai. Located in a non-descript cul-de-sac just off the main road, this temple’s large Lingam is over 3 feet tall and 3.5 feet in circumference. The temple also houses both celestial couples – Siva-Parvati as Ardhanareeswarar, and Vishnu-Lakshmi as Lakshmi Narayana Perumal – in adjacent shrines. But why is Siva here also called Jalakandeswarar? … Read More Ardhanareeswarar, Egmore, Chennai

Gangadheeswarar, Purasaiwakkam, Chennai


This rare Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finds mention in one of Sundarar’s pathigams, and has beautiful stucco images of various puranams and also stories from the Tiruvilaiyadal. It is last of the 1008 temples installed by king Bhageeratha, and is one of the five Pancha Bootha Sthalams around Chennai. The forest of palasa trees here at one time, gives the place its present-day name as well! But why is the Ganga river also called the Bhageerathi, and what is its connection with this temple?… Read More Gangadheeswarar, Purasaiwakkam, Chennai

Agasteeswarar, Villivakkam, Chennai


When Agastyar had to come down south to balance the world during the Siva-Parvati wedding, this is where he received a vision of the celestial spectacle, and also overcame the demons Vatapi and Ilvala. This temple has a combination of both Chola and Pallava influences and architecture. The name of the place is also associated with this story. But why is Amman here named Swarnambigai? … Read More Agasteeswarar, Villivakkam, Chennai

Adipureeswarar, Tiruvottriyur, Chennai


More popular as the Thyagarajar temple, this temple for Siva as Adi Pureeswarar has several puranams associated with it. Siva came to Brahma’s aid to keep the pralayam waters away, during the creation of the earth. Vattaparai Amman’s shrine here is connected to Kannagi from the Silappathikaram. The temple is also famously associated with Sundarar’s marriage to Sangili Nachiyar. But what are the various dualities at this temple, and the multiple connections it has with the Thyagarajar temple at Tiruvarur?… Read More Adipureeswarar, Tiruvottriyur, Chennai

Tiruvetteeswarar, Triplicane, Chennai


Possibly a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, the Lingam here is believed to have been worshipped by Arjuna (from the Mahabharatam) when the gash on the Lingam reminded him of his fight with Siva as a hunter; this is also how Siva here gets His name. Lakshmi worshipped Siva here, to fulfil Her wish of marrying Vishnu. But how are the Nawab of Arcot in particular, and the local Islamic community in general, connected with this temple?… Read More Tiruvetteeswarar, Triplicane, Chennai

Parthasarathy Perumal, Triplicane, Chennai


With various puranams associated with it, this Divya Desam temple in Chennai is dedicated to Vishnu as Parthasarathy – Arjuna’s charioteer in the Mahabharatam, and also features Vishnu in four other forms. The iconography of the moolavar and utsavar murtis are highly nuanced, embedding instances from the life of Krishna as told in the epic. But what interesting reasons are is behind this temple’s chariot/car running twice during the temple’s annual festival, and differing neivedyams offered to Parthasarathy Perumal and Yoga Narasimhar?… Read More Parthasarathy Perumal, Triplicane, Chennai

Naganathar, Peraiyur, Pudukkottai


With many interesting sthala puranams, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is a prarthana sthalam for relief from naga dosham, for obtaining clarity of thought and purging one’s negative energies. In the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April), at the time of Meena Lagnam, sounds of celestial instruments are believed to emanate from the temple tank, as Siva is said to go down to Nagaloka at that time to perform his dance for a devotee-king. How did this come about?… Read More Naganathar, Peraiyur, Pudukkottai

Arangulanathar, Tiruvarangulam, Pudukkottai


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam located very near Pudukottai, is home to several interesting sthala puranams. One of these involves a cache of 3000 golden palm fruit that are believed to be hidden in a cache near the temple, and this also gives the nearby area of Porpanai Kottai its name. Arangulam itself is named for the image of a Siva Lingam (Hara) seen in the temple’s tank (kulam). But what is the fascinating reason behind devotees gifting their children to Brhadambal Amman at this temple?… Read More Arangulanathar, Tiruvarangulam, Pudukkottai

Vyaghrapureeswarar, Tiruvengaivasal, Pudukkottai


When Kamadhenu was delayed in reaching the celestial court, Indra cursed her to be born on Bhulokam. Once here, she started worshipping Siva by bringing water in her ears. On one occasion, a tiger accosted her but she wanted to finish her worship and begged the tiger for permission. She was allowed, and when she came back to offer herself to the tiger, it turned out to be Siva and Parvati, who were testing her! The temple has several sculptural masterpieces, but what is so unique and fascinating about Dakshinamurti at this temple?… Read More Vyaghrapureeswarar, Tiruvengaivasal, Pudukkottai

Vriddhapureeswarar, Annavasal, Pudukkottai


Originally said to have been built by Siva’s ganas, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finds mention in two pathigams by Appar. When the temple priest’s wedding was cancelled due to a demise in the family, he worshipped here, and the child was miraculously revived. This early Pandya temple features some very interesting architecture. But why are children given up in adoption to Vriddhapureeswarar and Dharmasamvarthini Amman?… Read More Vriddhapureeswarar, Annavasal, Pudukkottai

Sokkanathar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai


Tiruparankundram is famous first and foremost, for one of the 6 Arupadai Veedu temples of Murugan. Lesser known is the fact that that temple is actually a Paadal Petra Sthalam for Siva as Satya Gireeswarar. However, just 100 meters from that temple is another Pandya temple, for Meenakshi Amman and Siva as Sokkanathar, featuring some unique and rare depictions of various deities. But what is the very interesting story of how and why Murugan and His Parents came to this place? … Read More Sokkanathar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai

Subrahmanyar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai


This rock-cut temple is one of the 6 Arupadai Veedu temples dedicated to Murugan, and is located inside the Satya Gireeswarar temple at Tiruparankundram just outside Madurai. In different epics, the temple has a different story associated with it – either as the site of Murugan’s slaying of Soorapadman, or the venue of Murugan’s wedding to Indra’s daughter Devasena. But what is the story of the nine aides of Murugan, who are also enshrined as deities in this temple? … Read More Subrahmanyar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai

Satya Gireeswarar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai


Murugan overheard Lord Siva teaching the Pranava mantram to Parvati. Murugan sought pardon from his father for learning the Pranavam mantram by deceit, and so Lord Siva appeared to him on the day of Thai poosam and formally taught him the meaning of Pranava mantram, removing Murugan’s guilt. But how does is the garbhagriham of this temple also accommodate one of the six Arupadai Veedu temples of Murugan? … Read More Satya Gireeswarar, Tiruparankundram, Madurai

Murugan, Alagar Koil, Madurai


One of the six Arupadai Veedu temples of Murugan (and the second near Madurai, the other being at Tiruparankundram), this temple was constructed in the time of the Madurai Nayaks. The handsome Murugan lords over the hills here, where one can find a Divya Desam temple for Vishnu at the base, and one for Rakkayi Amman further up the hill. The place is associated with the episode involving Avvaiyar – the Tamil poet saint – and Murugan.… Read More Murugan, Alagar Koil, Madurai

Tirumarainathar, Tiruvathavur, Madurai


This is where Vishnu worshipped after visiting Madurai for the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar wedding, and Siva explained the meaning of the Vedas to Him. The temple is also connected to another son of the soil, and one of the most influential of the Saivite bhakti saints – Manikkavasagar – who was born here and received Siva’s deeksha as well. This beautiful Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam has stunning Pandya architecture, but how is it connected with a Tamil retelling of the Mahabharatam?… Read More Tirumarainathar, Tiruvathavur, Madurai

Mukteeswarar, Theppakulam, Madurai


This Pancha bootha sthalam in Madurai is associated with the celestial elephant Airavata being relieved of the curse he received from Sage Durvasa. This Nayak period temple features beautiful architecture and iconographic depiction of various deities. But what is the interesting reason that this temple, and the adjacent Theppakulam Mariamman temple, do not have gopurams? … Read More Mukteeswarar, Theppakulam, Madurai

Then Tiruaalavaai Sokkanthar, Madurai, Madurai


This temple finds mention in Paranjothi Munivar’s Tiruvilaiyadal puranam, and is one of the pancha bootha sthalams in Madurai, and also one of the 4 inner garland (ull-avaranam) temples of the famous Meenakshi Amman temple. The child-saint Sambandar is believed to have sung the famous _Mandiramaavadhu Neeru_ (மந்திரமாவது நீறு) pathigam here, which provided relief to the king Koon Pandiyan (who later himself became a Nayanmar). But how did Madurai get the name Aalavaai, and how is that connected to this temple?… Read More Then Tiruaalavaai Sokkanthar, Madurai, Madurai

Aadi Chokkanathar, Simmakkal, Madurai


Regarded as older than the Meenakshi Amman temple, this Kubera-sthalam is said to have been established by Kubera. It is one of the 4 temples making up the Ull-Aavaranam (the inner jewels) to the Meenakshi Amman temple, and also one of the 5 Pancha Bootha Sthalams around Madurai. But how is the story of Kuchela Pandyan and the poet-saint Idaikkar Siddhar, connected to the overnight disappearance of the moolavar of the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple? Read here: … Read More Aadi Chokkanathar, Simmakkal, Madurai

Immayilum Nanmai Tharuvar, Madurai, Madurai


As against the norm of sins being pardoned only in subsequent births, this is a place where Siva forgives one’s sins in their current birth itself, and hence the name of the moolavar here. Surprisingly, Chandikeswarar is given equal prominence as Siva, as he is said to recommend devotees’ prayers to the Lord. One of the Pancha Bootha Sthalams in and around Madurai, this temple has a fascinating sthala puranam, which involves Siva worshipping Himself as a Siva Lingam that He installed! How is this possible?… Read More Immayilum Nanmai Tharuvar, Madurai, Madurai

Madanagopala Swami, Madurai, Madurai


At Siva’s coronation as the ruler of Madurai, the celestials in attendance found the heat and effulgence unbearable, and requested Vishnu for help. In turn, Vishnu took the form of the cowherd Gopala, and played the flute, mesmerising everyone present and cooling them down. Periyazhvar and his daughter Andal visited here, on their way from Srivilliputhur to Srirangam, for Andal’s marriage to Ranganathar there. The temple has some very unusual architectural aspects, as far as Perumal temples go. But in what infuriating way is this temple in Madurai connected to the Philadelphia Museum of Art?… Read More Madanagopala Swami, Madurai, Madurai

Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Madurai, Madurai


Tucked away in a bylane near the Madurai Meenaksi Amman and Koodal Azhagar temples, is this fascinating temple run by Saurashtrans, dedicated to both Venkatesa Perumal and Navaneeta Krishnan. In addition to beautiful sculptures and architecture, the temple also has shrines for notable saints and others associated with it, as well as artefacts connected with Thyagaraja Swami of the Carnatic music trinity. But what is so unique about the Maatru Tirukkola Sevai that takes place during the temple’s annual festival in the Tamil month of Aadi? … Read More Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Madurai, Madurai

Veda Narayana Perumal, Kodikulam, Madurai


Brahma’s carelessness led to the demons Madhu & Kaitabha stealing the Vedas from him, which led to all creation coming to a sudden halt. Vishnu had to fight the demons to get back the Vedas. As penitence, Brahma performed penance here in human form, and so is depicted with only one head, instead of his usual four. But how is this temple connected to Srirangam, the Mughal invasion of the south, and the Vaishnavite saint-philosopher Pillai Lokacharyar?… Read More Veda Narayana Perumal, Kodikulam, Madurai