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

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.… Read More Swayam Pratheeswarar, Sivapuripatti, Sivaganga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kailasanathar, Tirumetrali, Thanjavur


When the Cholas had their capital at Pazhaiyarai near Kumbakonam, there were four main temples in the four cardinal directions. Of these, this temple is the one on the western side, and hence also called Metrali. This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam’s puranam is about Sabali – one of the daughters of the celestial cow Patti (after whom Patteeswaram is named) – who worshipped here. The temple would have been much larger in the Chola period, but lies uncared for today. … Read More Kailasanathar, Tirumetrali, Thanjavur

Marundeeswarar, Tiruvanmiyur, Chennai


This is one of 3 Paadal Petra Sthalams on the coastal side of Chennai, one of whose sthala puranams give the nearby locality of Valmiki Nagar, its name. This is where Siva is said to have imparted the science of herbal medicine to Sage Agastyar, and the five Teerthams of the temple are believed to have descended from Siva’s matted locks. The many Lingams in the temple each have their own sthala puranam. The moolavar at this temple used to face east, but why did He turn west (and remain so)? … Read More Marundeeswarar, Tiruvanmiyur, Chennai