Dayanidheeswarar, Vadakurangaduthurai, Thanjavur


The history of this Paadal Petra Sthalam is embellished with three different sthala puranams – all equally engaging, and all demonstrating Lord Siva as Daya Nidhi – the font of all grace! This includes a little-known story associated with, but not found in, the Ramayanam. The place gets its name from the fact that Siva was worshipped by a monkey here, just as He was at Then Kurangaduthurai near Kumbakonam. But what are some of the unique iconographical aspects at this temple?… Read More Dayanidheeswarar, Vadakurangaduthurai, Thanjavur

Viswanathar, Devankudi, Thanjavur


This is one of the temples connected to Siva’s walk from Tiruvaiyaru to Swamimalai, which journey He undertook to receive upadesam from His son Murugan, on the meaning of the Pranava Mantram. The temple is also a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, having been sung upon by both Appar and Sambandar. This small village temple is also unusual in its arrangement of shrines.… Read More Viswanathar, Devankudi, Thanjavur

Keerthivaageeswarar, Soolamangai, Thanjavur


One of the seven Chakrapalli Saptam Sthanam temples, this is where Kaumari – the sakti of Murugan (Kumaran) – worshipped Siva’s trident, the Trisulam, before joining Chamundi in battle. Astra Devar – the celestial deity who is also the devas’ weapons maker – is worshipped here to remove the fear of enemies and to help devotees resolve disputes. But how is this temple connected with Vishnu and also with two other important Siva temples?… Read More Keerthivaageeswarar, Soolamangai, 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

Kailasanathar, Thingalur, Thanjavur


This temple is one of the nine Kumbakonam Navagraham temples, and specifically connected to Chandran (the moon), because he worshipped Siva here. Thingalur – which gets is name from the Tamil word for Chandran – is the birthplace of Appoodhi Adigal, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars, and a great devotee of Appar (Tirunavukkarasar). The story of the two Nayanmars’ interaction is fascinating! But how is this temple also connected to Siva’s journey from Tiruvaiyaru to Swamimalai, to receive upadesam from Murugan? … Read More Kailasanathar, Thingalur, Thanjavur

Magizhavaneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai


Located on the fringes of Pudukkottai town, Tirukokaranam is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. The temple actually houses two sets of deities, but is most popular by the name Brahadambal koil. The sthala puranam here is connected to that of the nearby Tiruvengaivasal Vyaghrapureeswarar temple, and involves Kamadhenu’s penance on earth. But why is Brahadambal Amman considered a talking goddess?… Read More Magizhavaneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai

Gokarneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai


Located on the fringes of Pudukkottai town, Tirukokaranam is a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. The temple actually houses two sets of deities, but is most popular by the name Brahadambal koil. The sthala puranam here is connected to that of the nearby Tiruvengaivasal Vyaghrapureeswarar temple, and involves Kamadhenu’s penance on earth. But why is Brahadambal Amman considered a talking goddess?… Read More Gokarneswarar, Tirukokaranam, Pudukkottai

Sandeeswarar, Velangudi, Sivaganga


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is also the smallest of the 9 Nagarathar temples that the region is famous for. The place gets its name from being a forest of Vela trees in ancient times. The story behind the finding of Amman’s murti here is the core sthala puranam of the place. But what are the two other local legends about this temple, that are equally fascinating?… Read More Sandeeswarar, Velangudi, Sivaganga

Sundareswarar, Athangudi, Sivaganga


These days, Athangudi is more popular for the Athangudi tiles that several craftsmen in the village are involved in. This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam for Siva as Sundareswarar has a pathigam by the Nayanmar Appar, referring to it. The architecture would have been Pandya, but the temple today is completely dominated by Nagarathar style architecture. But what is unusual about the temple’s sthala vriksham?… Read More Sundareswarar, Athangudi, Sivaganga

Kailasanathar, Vadakkur, Pudukkottai


Avudaiyar Koil / Tiruperunthurai is associated almost exclusively with the Saivite saint Manikkavasagar. But this temple is said to have been in existence even before the time of Manikkavasagar, and being a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, finds mention in one of Appar’s pathigams. Some elements of the original Pandya-period temple remain. But how did Paramaswami, an old man, help the 300 villagers of the time regain their lands from a corrupt minister?… Read More Kailasanathar, Vadakkur, Pudukkottai

Ekambareswarar, Sundara Pandiya Pattinam, Pudukkottai


This very interesting temple on the coastal route from Vedaranyam to Rameswaram, features Siva as Ekambareswarar, who self-emanated as a Lingam under a mango tree, much like He did at Kanchipuram. The temple is connected to the Pandya king Sundara Pandyan and the saint Sambandar. But what makes this temple special are an interesting sculpture on the outer wall, and the separate mandapam to the immediate south of the temple. Why are these special?… Read More Ekambareswarar, Sundara Pandiya Pattinam, 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

Tirumeninathar, Anandur, Ramanathapuram


This temple for Siva in Anandur – also called Valanai or Valavai – near Tiruvadanai, does not have a sthala puranam that is known, but is referred to in one of Appar’s Tevaram pathigams in passing, making it a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam. The temple’s renovation began in 2004 and was stalled for over 15 years, before resuming in 2021. But why does the king who built this temple, have a rather unusual set of titles?… Read More Tirumeninathar, Anandur, Ramanathapuram

Ekambareswarar, Tiruvegampattu, Ramanathapuram


Also referred to as Dakshina Kanchipuram, this is one of the rare Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam temples in the Chettinadu region. Built in the Pandya period about 800 years ago, this temple features splendid architecture from that period, particularly of karanas (dance poses from the Bharatanatyam) and several bas-relief images of Vinayakar. But what is the Ramayanam connection to this temple, where the moolavar is an aasura-Lingam?… Read More Ekambareswarar, Tiruvegampattu, Ramanathapuram

Mummudinathar, Iraguseri, Sivaganga


A rare Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam in the heart of the Chettinadu region is a pleasant find. Iraguseri – the name of the place today – is a modern corruption of Iragu Sari, Iravu Seri or Iravaan Serim – is linked to the Ramayanam, as is the nearby temple at Kandadevi. The original Pandya temple was significantly restored in the early 20th century by the Nagarathar community. But what is the reason for Siva’s name at this temple?… Read More Mummudinathar, Iraguseri, Sivaganga

Tribhuvana Chakravartheeswarar, Unjanai, Sivaganga


Hidden away near Karaikudi is this beautiful temple for Siva as Tribhuvana Chakravarteeswarar, the ruler of the three worlds. The temple is a refreshing change from the usual Nagarathar temples of the region, and may even be one of the rare Chola temples in what is otherwise Pandya country. The architecture is simple yet mind-blowing, in this little-known Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam! Read more about this temple here.… Read More Tribhuvana Chakravartheeswarar, Unjanai, Sivaganga

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

Chokkanathar, Muraiyur, Sivaganga


This rare Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam in this part of Tamilakam, ie the Chettinad region, houses one of the 8 Lingams that Nagarajar, the king of serpents, installed and worshipped. The sthala puranam here is about a king who built this temple after he had a dream, and then spent the rest of his life here. But what connects this temple with the Madurai Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple?… Read More Chokkanathar, Muraiyur, 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

Idamkondeeswarar, Kalyanapuram, Thanjavur


Sage Kashyapa wanted to see Siva and Parvati in their wedding attire, and was looking for the ideal place to worship. Guided by a celestial voice, he came here, and after performing penance, he was rewarded with the divine vision of the celestial wedding. This temple is a Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Appar’s Tevaram pathigams. But why is Siva here regarded as the elder brother of Siva at nearby Tiruvidaimaruthur?… Read More Idamkondeeswarar, Kalyanapuram, 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sukshma Pureeswarar, Cherugudi, Tiruvarur


This temple and village are connected with Sambandar’s Kolaru Pathigam, inspiring the idea that malevolent forces have no effect on those who have placed their faith in Lord Siva. The sthala puranam here is about Siva and Parvati playing chokkattan, and Siva suddenly disappearing. But why is the Linga Swaroopam of Lord Siva here called a Santosha Lingam, and how is that connected to the sthala puranam a happy marriage? … Read More Sukshma Pureeswarar, Cherugudi, Tiruvarur

பிரணவ வியாக்ரபுரீஸ்வர், ஓமாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்


There are 5 places with the suffix “puliyur” where Sage Vyaghrapada was able to witness Siva’s cosmic dance, and this Paadal Petra Sthalam is one of them. The temple is a Guru sthalam, partly the result of Parvati’s inattentiveness, and hence there are 2 Dakshinamurti shrines present here. How did this all come about? … Read More பிரணவ வியாக்ரபுரீஸ்வர், ஓமாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்

Pranava Vyaghrapureeswar, Omampuliyur, Cuddalore


There are 5 places with the suffix “puliyur” where Sage Vyaghrapada was able to witness Siva’s cosmic dance, and this Paadal Petra Sthalam is one of them. The temple is a Guru sthalam, partly the result of Parvati’s inattentiveness, and hence there are 2 Dakshinamurti shrines present here. How did this all come about? … Read More Pranava Vyaghrapureeswar, Omampuliyur, Cuddalore

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

Vaaimoornaathar, Tiruvaaimoor, Nagapattinam


One of the 7 sapta-vitangam temples, this temple was established by Muchukunda Chakravarti after his victory over Indra, and is considered to be the site of the original Maragatha Lingam. A Paadal Petra Sthalam with various unusual facets, there are 8 Kala Bhairavars (just like at Kasi), a standing Rishabha in front of Thyagarajar, and in a unique arrangement, all Navagrahams face the same direction. But what is absolutely unique about the iconographic depiction of Dakshinamurti at this temple? … Read More Vaaimoornaathar, Tiruvaaimoor, Nagapattinam

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

Pasupateeswarar, Tiruvetkalam, Cuddalore


Located inside the Annamalai University campus at Chidambaram, this Paadal Petra Sthalam’s puranam is connected to the Mahabharatam. After Arjuna was defeated by a hunter (Siva in disguise), this is where he received the Lord’s blessings and also the Pasupatastram. The depiction of Parvati – with Her hair unbound – is stunning! But how are the some of the places nearby connected with the Mahabharatam story? … Read More Pasupateeswarar, Tiruvetkalam, Cuddalore

Jagadeeswarar, Ogai Perayur, Tiruvarur


Despite its prominence as Perayil, the location of a massive fort during the Chola period, very little is known about the sthala puranam of this Paadal Petra Sthalam located near Tiruvarur. Siva gets His name here, for having blessed all the Devas at this place. The temple is also famed for its architecture, particularly that of Sabhapati Natarajar. But how is this temple and the place connected with Sangam literature? … Read More Jagadeeswarar, Ogai Perayur, Tiruvarur

ஜெகதீஸ்வரர், ஓகை பேரையூர், திருவாரூர்


Despite its prominence as Perayil, the location of a massive fort during the Chola period, very little is known about the sthala puranam of this Paadal Petra Sthalam located near Tiruvarur. Siva gets His name here, for having blessed all the Devas at this place. The temple is also famed for its architecture, particularly that of Sabhapati Natarajar. But how is this temple and the place connected with Sangam literature? … Read More ஜெகதீஸ்வரர், ஓகை பேரையூர், திருவாரூர்

Thanthondreeswarar, Aakkoor, Nagapattinam


When he was unwell, Kochchenga Chola was advised to worship Siva at a place that had three sthala vrikshams, and was aided by Vinayakar in being cured here. The temple is one of the maadakoils built by the king. Aakkoor – which has its own story of how the name came about – is also the birthplace of Sirappuli Nayanar. The Tamil phrase “Aayirathil Oruvan”, meaning one in a thousand, signifies something very rare. But how is that phrase quite literally connected to the sthala puranam of this temple?… Read More Thanthondreeswarar, Aakkoor, Nagapattinam

Ratnagireeswarar, Marugal, Nagapattinam


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is one where Siva gets his name for showering precious stones to help people at a time of famine. This is one of the 78 maadakoils built by Kochchenga Chola. Here, a boy died of snakebite, leaving his bride-to-be helpless. Sambandar, the child saint, revived the boy through his pathigam. But what larger story is this part of, and how is it connected to the Tiruvilaiyadal puranam?… Read More Ratnagireeswarar, Marugal, 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

Paaluganthanathar, Tiruvaaippaadi, Thanjavur


Located close to Senganur (which itself is famous for several religious and spiritual reasons), this Paadal Petra Sthalam’s puranam is virtually a continuation of the one at Senganur. This is also regarded as the mukti sthalam of Chandesa Nayanar. But what are some of the very interesting aspects relating to the Nayanar – both in terms of installation and worship – who is enshrined at this temple as Chandikeswarar, the guardian of Lord Siva’s property? … Read More Paaluganthanathar, Tiruvaaippaadi, Thanjavur

Kundala Karneswarar, Tirukurakkaa, Nagapattinam


This temple and the nearby Kutram Porutha Nathar temple at Thalaignayiru are both connected to the Ramayanam. At Thalaignayiru, Siva pardoned Anjaneyar after the latter attempted (unsuccessfully) to move with his tail, the Lingam that Sita had made out of sand. As penance, Anjaneyar was told to install a Lingam here at Tirukurakka and worship it. This temple is one of the 5 pancha-kaa kshetrams. But what is extremely interesting about the location of the Navagraham shrine of this temple? … Read More Kundala Karneswarar, Tirukurakkaa, Nagapattinam

Satchinathar, Avalivanallur, Tiruvarur


Being One of the 5 Pancha-Aranya kshetrams (temples located in forests) in this region, there is a specific order to worship these temples; this temple should ideally be visited in the mid-morning. The sthala puranam here is about a temple priest who could not recognise his wife after her illness when he was at Kasi, and so refused to accept her as his wife, and how Siva stood as witness (hence the Lord’s name here) to the wife’s testimony. But how is this temple connected to Vishnu and the nearby Haridwaramangalam temple? … Read More Satchinathar, Avalivanallur, Tiruvarur

சாட்சிநாதர், அவளிவநல்லூர் , திருவாரூர்


Being One of the 5 Pancha-Aranya kshetrams (temples located in forests) in this region, there is a specific order to worship these temples; this temple should ideally be visited in the mid-morning. The sthala puranam here is about a temple priest who could not recognise his wife after her illness when he was at Kasi, and so refused to accept her as his wife, and how Siva stood as witness (hence the Lord’s name here) to the wife’s testimony. But how is this temple connected to Vishnu and the nearby Haridwaramangalam temple? … Read More சாட்சிநாதர், அவளிவநல்லூர் , திருவாரூர்

Swarnapureeswarar, Andankoil, Tiruvarur


Kandadeva – a minister of Muchukunda Chakravarti – was such a staunch devotee of Siva that he would not eat before performing Siva Puja. This practice of his led to him building this temple without the king’s knowledge, after the Lord appeared in his dream. But how he built the temple, and what was the king’s response, is what the puranam of this temple is all about. But why is Siva here called Swarnapureeswarar? … Read More Swarnapureeswarar, Andankoil, Tiruvarur

Udhvaganathar, Tirumanancheri, Nagapattinam


Of the many temples in the region, this is regarded as the place where Siva and Parvati were married, on earth. As a nitya kalyana kshetram, Tirukalyanam is performed every day here, and there are so many interesting aspects to the murtis of Siva and Parvati. There are also other stories connected to Kama dahanam, and how a boy born with the head of a tortoise got married after worshipping at this temple. But why is there no Navagraham shrine at this temple?… Read More Udhvaganathar, Tirumanancheri, 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

Nardana Pureeswarar, Thalayalangadu, Tiruvarur


Of all the located in Alangadu (banyan forests), this place is regarded as the foremost. But in addition, this place was the location of a turning point in the political history of Tamil Nadu, where a Pandya king defeated the Chola and Chera kings. Sage Kapilar walked on his head to reach this place, in order to obtain the Chintamani gem. But how is this temple closely connected to the story of Siva as Bhikshatanar? … Read More Nardana Pureeswarar, Thalayalangadu, Tiruvarur

Prananatheswarar, Tirumangalakudi, Thanjavur


An auspicious temple (or “mangala” sthalam) in many aspects, this temple’s puranam is connected to the resurrection of Kulothunga Chola’s minister, after he had been decapitated. A Paadal Petra Sthalam, this temple also has a story of Brahma cursing the Navagrahams for obliging Sage Galva, and how Siva helped the 9 celestial deities. But despite their close involvement in the sthala puranam, why is there no Navagraham shrine at this temple? … Read More Prananatheswarar, Tirumangalakudi, Thanjavur

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

Pasupatheeswarar, Pandanallur, Thanjavur


Once a forest of kondrai trees (whose flowers are highly suitable for Siva worship), Chola period temple was built before, but significantly renovated, in the time of Raja Raja Chola I. The sthala puranam here is about Parvati’s desire to play and Siva fulfilling that desire by providing Her with four balls, made of the four Vedas! But what came of this, and its implications on various things in the puranams, concluding with Siva’s earthly marriage to Parvati, is the rest of the sthala puranam here. But why is the place called Pandanallur?… Read More Pasupatheeswarar, Pandanallur, Thanjavur

Sivakozhundeeswarar, Tirusakthi Muttram, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is located very close to Patteeswaram near Kumbakonam, and is where Appar was told by Siva Himself, to go to nearby Nallur to receive deeksha from the Lord. The puranam here is about Parvati standing on one leg and worshipping Siva here, and the Lord arriving in the form of a powerful beam of effulgence. But What is the iconographic significance of the Uchishtha Ganapati shrine outside the main gopuram?… Read More Sivakozhundeeswarar, Tirusakthi Muttram, Thanjavur

Sivagurunathaswami, Sivapuram, Thanjavur


Deepavali is associated with various stories. In the north, it celebrates the return of Rama to Ayodhya, while in the south, it is the overcoming of Narakasura by Krishna. However, there is a third story, which celebrates Deepavali as a day of worship for wealth, and that happens here at Sivapuram near Kumbakonam, where the entire ground is said to be full of Siva Lingams. In addition to the unique icongraphic depictions, the story here is about Kubera being cursed by Nandi for having spoken favourably of his brother Ravana. Kubera’s penitent worship here and the special Kubera puja on Deepavali day what this temple is about.… Read More Sivagurunathaswami, Sivapuram, Thanjavur

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

Chaturanga Vallabha Nathar, Poovanur, Tiruvarur


The childless King Vasudevan was worshipping at Tirunelveli, when Siva took pity on him and asked Parvati to be born as his daughter, promising to reunite with Her in due course. Over time, the girl became very talented in the game of chess, and insisted on marrying only the person who could defeat Her at the game. The rest of the sthala puranam is about how Siva defeated her at the sport, which also earns Him His name here! … Read More Chaturanga Vallabha Nathar, Poovanur, Tiruvarur

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

Pushpavaneswarar, Mela Tirupoonthuruthi, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam near Thanjavur is one of the 7 temples forming part of the Tiruvaiyaru Sapta Sthanam, and flowers go from here for the Tiruvaiyaru annual Nandi Kalyanam festival. The temple is said to have been created by Indra, and is also the place where the elderly saint Appar carried the child saint Sambandar on the latter’s palanquin. But despite this, why did Sambandar not enter this temple, but only sing from outside? … Read More Pushpavaneswarar, Mela Tirupoonthuruthi, 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