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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vaidyanathar, Tirumazhapadi, Ariyalur


At this Paadal Petra Sthalam, Sundaramurti Nayanar didn’t realise there was a temple here, and so he walked past without stopping to worship. At that point, Siva commented that perhaps the Nayanar had forgotten Him! Overcome by the events, Sundarar composed his famous “Ponnar Meniyane” pathigam. Mazhapadi – where four Vedas visited and are depicted in stone – is also the birthplace of Nandi, but did you know that he has a story similar to that of Markandeya’s? … Read More Vaidyanathar, Tirumazhapadi, Ariyalur

Sivakozhundeeswarar, Teerthanagari, Cuddalore


At this Paadal Petra Sthalam, the sthala puranam is about an couple who would feed at least one devotee every day, feeding an old man millets, and he helping the couple cultivate their land in exchange. The temple also has a Ramayanam connection, associated with Jambavan! Among other interesting stories here is one as to why the Apasmara Purusha is not at Dakshinamurti’s feet. But why is this place called Teerthanagari? … Read More Sivakozhundeeswarar, Teerthanagari, Cuddalore

Kutram Poruttha Naathar, Thalaignaayiru, Nagapattinam


This puranam of this Kulothunga Chola III era temple is closely linked to that of the nearby Kundala Karneswarar temple, and also a Ramayanam connection. As it is at Sirkazhi, there is a separate shrine for Siva as Sattanathar here. Siva here is believed to have forgiven Indra, but what bad deed (kutram / aparatham) did Hanuman commit, for him to be forgiven here by Aparatha-Kshameswarar? … Read More Kutram Poruttha Naathar, Thalaignaayiru, Nagapattinam

Valampura Nathar, Melaperumpallam, Nagapattinam


This temple shares a part of its puranam with the Tiruvalanchuzhi Kapardeeswarar temple, where Sage Herandar entered the earth, and emerged from this temple, to bring the Kaveri river back to earth. This place is regarded in puranams as the birthplace of Dakshayani, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, and Vishnu received some of His accoutrements here. One of the maadakoils built by Kochchenga Chola, the temple’s main puranam is about Pattinathar who came here seeking food, which helped a king be cured of his curse. How did this come about?… Read More Valampura Nathar, Melaperumpallam, Nagapattinam

நீலகண்டேஸ்வரர், இலுப்பைப்பட்டு , நாகப்பட்டினம்


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 நீலகண்டேஸ்வரர், இலுப்பைப்பட்டு , நாகப்பட்டினம்

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

Kalyana Sundareswarar, Velvikudi, Nagapattinam


This is one of the temples connected with Siva’s marriage to Parvati, on earth. The temple’s sthala puranam is also connected to a prince and princess, whose wedding had to be cancelled as the princess suddenly died before the date fixed for the wedding. The prince prayed at this temple, upon which Lord Siva instructed his ganas to revive the princess and get her ready for the wedding. But what is unusual, indeed almost unique, about Ardhanareeswarar at this temple?… Read More Kalyana Sundareswarar, Velvikudi, Nagapattinam

Uktavedeeswarar, Kuttalam, Nagapattinam


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is one of the many Chola period temples near Kumbakonam, connected with the celestial wedding of Siva and Parvati. It is also a pancha-krosha sthalam, and is the centre point of the temples belonging to this group. The sthala puranam here is about a devotee who wanted to visit Kasi, but Lord Siva showed him that this place was equal to Kasi in every way. But why is the sthala vriksham (sacred tree) of this temple so important in Saiva lore? … Read More Uktavedeeswarar, Kuttalam, Nagapattinam

Siddha Natheswarar, Tirunaraiyur, Thanjavur


The sthala puranam of this temple is about Gorakka Siddhar skin disease – itself the result of a curse – being cured by applying the oil used for the deity’s abhishekam at this temple. The place is also called Narapuram, after Naran who was cursed by Sage Durvasa, came and worshipped here. But why is there a shrine for Lakshmi in this Siva temple, and how is this temple very interestingly connected to the nearby Nachiyar Koil Srinivasa Perumal temple?… Read More Siddha Natheswarar, Tirunaraiyur, Thanjavur

Vataranyeswarar, Tiruvalangadu, Tiruvallur


This is one of the Pancha Sabhai – the five dance halls –where Lord Siva danced different Tandavams. In a dance-off, He danced the Urdhva Tandavam here to defeat Kali (Parvati). The temple is closely connected with Karaikal Ammaiyar – one of only two women Nayanmars – who walked on her head to reach this place…and for that reason, Sambandar refused to step on such hallowed ground. But why did 70 elders of the village commit ritual suicide at the nearby Sakshi Bootheswarar temple, and how is that part of this temple’s puranam?… Read More Vataranyeswarar, Tiruvalangadu, Tiruvallur

Darbaranyeswarar, Tirunallar, Karaikal


One of the Kumbakonam Navagraham temples, this Paadal Petra Siva Sthalam is dedicated to Sani, and is therefore also a Sani-dosha parikara sthalam. The temple is also connected to the legend of Muchukunda Chakravarti and is a Sapta Vitanga Sthalam. Tirunallaru is also connected with the story of King Nala, and his separation from and reunion with his wife Damayanti. But how is Sambandar’s pathigam on this temple connected with the saint’s spiritual exploits at Madurai? … Read More Darbaranyeswarar, Tirunallar, Karaikal

Odhanavaneswarar, Tiruchottruthurai, Thanjavur


Located on the banks of the Kudamurutti river, this is one of the 7 temples that form part of the Tiruvaiyaru Sapta Sthanam festival, which is connected to Nandi’s wedding. The puranam of this Paadal Petra Sthalam near Tiruvaiyaru resonates with the saying சோழ வளநாடு சோறுடைத்து (Cholavalanadu Sorudaiththu). But does the word சோறு (soru) here refer to just food and grains, or something much more than that? … Read More Odhanavaneswarar, Tiruchottruthurai, Thanjavur

Magudeswarar, Kodumudi, Erode


Vayu and Adiseshan contested a show of strength, using Mount Meru as a pillar. In this struggle the top of Mount Meru broke in to five pieces (some say seven) and fell in various places as gems, including at Tiruvannamalai, Ratnagiri (Tiruvatpokki), Eengoimalai, and Pothigaimalai. A diamond fell here, and became a swayambhu lingam. Given Adiseshan’s connection, this temple is also well known for clearing nagadosham, and since snakes are tamed with a magudi, Siva here is called Magudeswarar. But what is unique about Vinayakar’s depiction at this temple? … Read More Magudeswarar, Kodumudi, Erode

அவிநாசியப்பர், அவிநாசி, திருப்பூர்


அவிநாசி கோவைக்கு வடகிழக்கில் ஈரோடு செல்லும் சாலையில் அமைந்துள்ளது. வினாசம் என்றால் அழிவு, அ-வினாசம் என்றால் அழியாதது. சில ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பு ஒரு சிறுவன் முதலையால் விழுங்கப்பட்டு, சுந்தரர் பதிகம் பாடியவுடன் உயிர்ப்பிக்கப்பட்ட கதையிலிருந்து டவுன் அதன் பெயரைப் பெற்றது.“காசியில் வாசி அவிநாசி” என்று ஒரு பழமொழி உண்டு, இந்த ஸ்தலம் காசிக்குச் சமமானது என்பதைக் குறிக்கிறது. இங்கும் சிவபெருமானை வழிபடும் பக்தன் இதே போன்ற ஆசீர்வாதங்களைப் பெறுகிறான். இக்கோயிலில் உள்ள அவிநாசியப்பர் மற்றும் பைரவர், காசி… Read More அவிநாசியப்பர், அவிநாசி, திருப்பூர்