Abhi Mukheswarar, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


One of the 12 temples connected with the story of Kumbakonam, the Mahamaham tank and the nava-kannikas… Read More Abhi Mukheswarar, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Aadi Vaidyanathar, Veerasingampettai, Thanjavur


This is one of the five temples associated with the Agastyar Vijayam, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saranatha Perumal, Tirucherai, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam temple and Vaishnava Navagraha Sthalam (for Sani’s son Mandi) near Kumbakonam, is connected with the Story of how Kumbakonam came into existence. The temple is also known as the pancha sara kshetram, as it covers 5 essences (or Sarams) at one go. The Kaveri river was upset at not being regarded as the holiest of rivers, and so performed penance upon Vishnu, who granted her three wishes. What unique iconographic representation is there at this temple, as a result of this event?… Read More Saranatha Perumal, Tirucherai, Thanjavur