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

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

அரசலீஸ்வரர், ஒழிந்தியம்பட்டு, விழுப்புரம்


Sage Vamadeva sat Arasu tree here, hoping Siva would appear and bless him. Understanding his plight, the Lord appeared to him as a Swayambhu murti. Siva here gets His name from the connection with the arasu tree. King Satyavardhan, observing no fresh flowers in his garden, set out to find the thief when he stumbled on the Lingam here. But what is different about Dakshinamurti at this temple? … Read More அரசலீஸ்வரர், ஒழிந்தியம்பட்டு, விழுப்புரம்

Arasaleeswarar, Ozhindhiampattu, Viluppuram


Sage Vamadeva sat Arasu tree here, hoping Siva would appear and bless him. Understanding his plight, the Lord appeared to him as a Swayambhu murti. Siva here gets His name from the connection with the arasu tree. King Satyavardhan, observing no fresh flowers in his garden, set out to find the thief when he stumbled on the Lingam here. But what is different about Dakshinamurti at this temple? … Read More Arasaleeswarar, Ozhindhiampattu, Viluppuram

மகா காளேஸ்வரர், இரும்பை, விழுப்புரம்


Located near Pondicherry, this is one of 3 Makalam temples of Siva (the others being at Ujjain and Ampal/Tirumakalam). Two demons, armed with a boon from Siva himself, sought to marry Parvati. She killed them and was relieved of her sins here. The temple’s legend is associated with Kaduveli Siddhar whose curse resulted in this becoming an arid land. But why is the lingam here missing a piece, and how is the relief from the Siddhar’s curse related to the inhabitants of the region today? … Read More மகா காளேஸ்வரர், இரும்பை, விழுப்புரம்

Maha Kaleswarar, Irumbai, Viluppuram


Located near Pondicherry, this is one of 3 Makalam temples of Siva (the others being at Ujjain and Ampal/Tirumakalam). Two demons, armed with a boon from Siva himself, sought to marry Parvati. She killed them and was relieved of her sins here. The temple’s legend is associated with Kaduveli Siddhar whose curse resulted in this becoming an arid land. But why is the lingam here missing a piece, and how is the relief from the Siddhar’s curse related to the inhabitants of the region today? … Read More Maha Kaleswarar, Irumbai, Viluppuram

Vacheeswarar, Tirupachur, Tiruvallur


This ancient temple, originally built during the time of Karikala Chola, has a Lingam with a scar – the mark made by an axe that was used to dig up the place; this also gives the moolavar His name. Nandi, at the Lord’s instructions, defeated Kali who is in a separate shrine, with her legs bound by chains! Another puranam says Vishnu installed 11 Vinayakars here to overcome a curse. Yet another puranam is about Amman here also being known as Thankadali Amman. What interesting story is behind this name? … Read More Vacheeswarar, Tirupachur, Tiruvallur

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