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

Atmanathar, Avudaiyar Kovil, Pudukkottai


Said to have been built by Manikkavasagar, this temple is very closely connected to the life of the saint. The sthala puranam here is from the life of the saint, who used the king’s treasury to build this temple instead of buying horses as ordered by the king. This temple shares several commonalities with the Chidambaram Natarajar temple, and is famous for its unique and arresting architecture! But why is there no Lingam or murti of Amman in the temple? … Read More Atmanathar, Avudaiyar Kovil, Pudukkottai

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

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

Varadaraja Perumal, Tirunangur, Nagapattinam


One of the 11 Nangur Ekadasa Divya Desam temples, Vishnu at this temple is said to have come here from Kanchipuram, and hence shares the same name as Perumal there. The temple’s sthala puranam is connected to the nearby Tirutetriambalam temple, and the churning of the ocean by the devas and asuras. But what does that have to do with the occurrence of eclipses?… Read More Varadaraja Perumal, Tirunangur, Nagapattinam

Vedarajan, Tirunagari, Nagapattinam


This is one of two temples that are reckoned as one Divya Desam together, and is associated with Uparicharavasu, who took births in each of the yugams to finally arrive here as Neelan (later, Tirumangaiazhvar) in Kali Yugam. But what is the beautiful story of Lakshmi leaving Vishnu, and He locating her at this temple, due to which this place is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married?… Read More Vedarajan, Tirunagari, 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

Nellivananathar, Tirunellikkaa, Tiruvarur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is also one of the 5 Pancha-ka kshetrams (temples in forests, and therefore whose names end with -ka or -kavu) in Tamil Nadu. The temple has a quaint connection with the Ramayanam, and also a close connection with the Cholas, as part of its sthala puranams. But possibly the most important aspect of this place is that the forever-angry sage Durvasa was blessed to overcome his anger, here! How did this happen? … Read More Nellivananathar, Tirunellikkaa, Tiruvarur

Naanmadhia Perumal, Thalachangadu, Nagapattinam


This Divya Desam temple’s sthala puranam is connected with the moon’s waning, caused by his fondness for Rohini amongst the 27 sisters he married. Chandran prayed to Vishnu at Srirangam, Indalur and here at Thalachangadu, to have his brightness restored. The place takes its name from the sthala puranam of the nearby Siva temple (also a Paadal Petra Sthalam). But what unusual depiction of Vishnu is found here, which is normally reserved for Lord Siva? … Read More Naanmadhia Perumal, Thalachangadu, Nagapattinam

Karkadeswarar, Tirundudevankudi, Thanjavur


At this Paadal Petra Sthalam near Kumbakonam, a gash on the lingam has to do with the legend of a crab stealing one lotus out of 1008 that Indra had collected for worship, every single day! A favoured place of worship for those under the Kataka rasi, this temple located close to Tiruvisanallur (another Paadal Petra Sthalam) which is special for those under the Rishabha rasi. But what is the story behind there being two Ammans at this temple? … Read More Karkadeswarar, Tirundudevankudi, Thanjavur

Vijayasanar, Natham, Thoothukudi


Also known as Varagunamangai (after Varagunamavalli Thayar here), this Nava Tirupati Divya Desam temple located near Tirunelveli is dedicated to Chandran. The temple is devoid of a Navagraham shrine since Vishnu here represents all the planets. But what lesson did sage Romaharshana give his disciple, after seeing a locally despised fisherman die and his soul ascend to heaven? … Read More Vijayasanar, Natham, Thoothukudi

Mukteeswarar, Sethalapathy, Tiruvarur


The sthala puranam of this temple is connected to the Ramayanam, and involves Rama – upon His return from Lanka – performing the last rites for Dasaratha, who had passed away during Rama’s exile. But the offerings turned into snakes, until Rama worshipped Siva. Even today, this temple is preferred for pitru pujas. The temple also abuts the Nara Mukha Vinayakar temple that is right outside. But what is fascinating about the depiction of Vishnu at this temple? … Read More Mukteeswarar, Sethalapathy, Tiruvarur