Abatsahayeswarar, Sendamangalam, Viluppuram


The temple’s sthala puranam is from the Mahabharatam, but that may well be a later interpolation. However, Sendamangalam is of great importance in Tamil history, effectively being the location of the last battle that the Cholas fought, and 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

Sakalabuvaneswarar, Tirumeyachur, Tiruvarur


Basic information about the temple Moolavar: Sakalabuvaneswarar Ambal / Thayar: Minnum Mekalambikai Deity: Siva Historical name: Tirumeeyachchur Ilamkovil Vriksham: Vilvam Teertham: Surya Pushkarini Agamam: Age (years): Timing: 7 to 12.30 & 4.30 to 8.30 Parikaram: Temple group: Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai) – Sung by: , Appar Temple set: Navagraham: Nakshatram: City / town:… Read More Sakalabuvaneswarar, Tirumeyachur, Tiruvarur

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

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

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

Sundara Varadaraja Perumal, Uthiramerur, Kanchipuram


This Pancha Varada Kshetram, which finds mention in the Mahabharatam, is one of the temples the Pandavas visited during their period of exile, and they regained the wisdom they had lost when gambling with the Kauravas. The long list of dynasties who ruled the region, have each left their mark on the temple construction. But what is the connection between this temple and the celestial architect Takshaka, in the depiction of Vishnu on three levels at this temple? … Read More Sundara Varadaraja Perumal, Uthiramerur, Kanchipuram

Neelakanteswarar, Iluppaipattu, Nagapattinam


When Siva consumed the deadly halahala poison which emerged from the churning of the ocean, Parvati stopped the poison from doing further harm by holding Siva’s neck, which turned the Lord’s neck blue. For this reason, the temple is a prarthana sthalam for women worshipping for longevity of their husbands. This also gives both Siva and Parvati their names here. But why are there 4 more Siva Lingams here, and what is the Mahabharatam connection with the 2 Vinayakars, at this temple? … Read More Neelakanteswarar, Iluppaipattu, Nagapattinam