Chidambareswarar, Kotalambakkam, Cuddalore


Located near what used to be Siddha Vata Matham in the past, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finds mention in pathigams of both Appar and Sundarar. The matham is itself referred to as this temple, in Sekkizhar’s Periya Puranam. Sundarar sang his Tevaram pathigam on Tiruvadhigai from here, not wishing to step into that town out of respect for Appar. Sundarar also received the ultimate grace by touch from the Lord’s holy feet. But what interesting story is behind that benediction? … Read More Chidambareswarar, Kotalambakkam, Cuddalore

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

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

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

Nageswarar, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


Located in the heart of Kumbakonam, this Paadal Petra Sthalam is referred to as Kudanthai Keezhkottam, with fort-like outer walls. One sthala puranam of this temple is about Adiseshan worshipping at this temple on Maha Sivaratri day. The horse-drawn chariot representation of the Nataraja Mandapam – called the Perabalam – is one of several splendid architectural elements of this temple. But how is this temple connected to the Mahamaham festival that Kumbakonam is famous for, and why is Siva at this temple also called Vilvaranyeswarar? … Read More Nageswarar, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

நாகேஸ்வரர், கும்பகோணம், தஞ்சாவூர்


Located in the heart of Kumbakonam, this Paadal Petra Sthalam is referred to as Kudanthai Keezhkottam, with fort-like outer walls. One sthala puranam of this temple is about Adiseshan worshipping at this temple on Maha Sivaratri day. The horse-drawn chariot representation of the Nataraja Mandapam – called the Perabalam – is one of several splendid architectural elements of this temple. But how is this temple connected to the Mahamaham festival that Kumbakonam is famous for, and why is Siva at this temple also called Vilvaranyeswarar? … Read More நாகேஸ்வரர், கும்பகோணம், தஞ்சாவூர்

Kalyana Sundareswarar, Nallur, Thanjavur


One of the 70 maadakoil temples built by Kochchenga Chola, this temple has a Mahabharatam connection, whereby Kunti worshipped here and bathed in the temple tank as it had the power of the seven seas. The Siva Lingam here is believed to change colour five times every day, and even sweats on the day of the Mahamaham festival in nearby Kumbakonam! But what tradition – virtually unique for Siva temples, though the norm at Vishnu temples – is practiced here, and why? … Read More Kalyana Sundareswarar, Nallur, Thanjavur