Naganathar, Pozhakudi, Mayiladuthurai


This beautiful late-Chola period temple with Pandya influence, is marked by the long vavvaal-nethi mandapam that takes up the majority of the structural temple’s area. This is reckoned to have been a much larger temple in its heyday, and is a shadow of its former self today. The temple is also part of the Tirumangalam Sivaratri set of 3 temples. How and why is this spiritually important?… Read More Naganathar, Pozhakudi, Mayiladuthurai

Sivalokanathar, Mangudi, Mayiladuthurai


This Chola period temple is dated as being over 1000 years old, and is located in the village of Mangudi, which itself has some very interesting stories with regard to its etymology. What would have been an imposing temple in the late Chola period is, today, in a pathetic state of repair and structural failing. But what does this temple have to do with the two nearby temples for Siva as Bhulokanathar and Naganathar?… Read More Sivalokanathar, Mangudi, Mayiladuthurai

Azhagiyanathar, Sholampettai, Mayiladuthurai


One of seven temples that form part of the Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam festival, this brick temple lies in shambles today. Interestingly, given the presence of two vigrahams of Sambandar, this temple is often regarded as possibly being a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam. Suryan worshipped Amman here to be rid of his rheumatism. But what is the Mahabharatam connection here, and how is it depicted in sculptures at this temple?… Read More Azhagiyanathar, Sholampettai, Mayiladuthurai

Tirumeniazhagar, Mappadugai, Nagapattinam


This nondescript temple in a small village of Mappadugai / Pandaravadai is said to be quite old, given that it is constructed entirely of bricks. The temple is noted in the region for its unique Navagraham arrangement, causing it to be a preferred place of worship during eclipse times, and also to ward of Chandra dosham. However, what is the interesting Ramayanam story that may have given this village its name?… Read More Tirumeniazhagar, Mappadugai, Nagapattinam

Chitrambala Naadeeswarar, Sitharkadu, Nagapattinam


This 14th century late medieval Chola temple is actually a jeeva samadhi of the renowned saint Kazhi Sitrambala Nadigal. On top of the saint’s final resting place, a Siva Lingam was consecrated and this came to be a temple proper in its own right. But what is the fascinating story of the saint, how he came to rest here, and why there are 63 Siva Lingams carved in bas relief around the garbhagriham’s outer wall (and has nothing to do with the 63 Nayanmars)?… Read More Chitrambala Naadeeswarar, Sitharkadu, Nagapattinam

Tirumoolanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore


The place and the name of the moolavar here get their names from the fact that Tirumoolar – the Saivite saint and composer of the Tirumandiram – stayed here on his way from Chidammbaram to Tiruvidaimaruthur. This ancient temple, which was built in the 10th century – is in poor state, but in active worship, and features some exceptional architecture and sculptures. But why are there 3 representations of Sani at this temple?… Read More Tirumoolanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore

Kailasanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore


This is one of the many temples where sage Agastyar visited and consecrated a Lingam, after being presented with the divine vision of Siva and Parvati’s wedding at Kailasam. This is also where the Goddess trio of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati have worshipped. Despite its heavily dilapidated situation today, the temple offers some insights into temple building styles from before the Chola period. What are some of these indications, and to what time period does this temple belong?… Read More Kailasanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore

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

Ilamaiyaakinaar, Chidambaram, Cuddalore


Thillai or Chidambaram is most famous for the Natarajar temple, but this temple has an equally old puranam, involving sage Vyaghrapadar – in fact, this is perhaps where the sage got his physical attribute that gives him his name as well. Originally a Chola temple from the 12th century, the temple is now largely in the Nagarathar style. But who are the two 63 Nayanmars and what are their absolutely fascinating stories, which are connected with this temple?… Read More Ilamaiyaakinaar, Chidambaram, Cuddalore

Uchinathar, Sivapuri, Cuddalore


This is also one of the places that Siva and Parvati provided sage Agastyar with the divine sight of their wedding in Kailasam. At Sirkazhi, Parvati nursed the infant Sambandar with milk; here, Lord Siva fed the saint, his family and followers, who were on their way to the saint’s wedding. The timing of this incident gives the Lord His name here. But what custom practiced by devotees in modern times, has this sthala puranam led to?… Read More Uchinathar, Sivapuri, Cuddalore

Sivaloka Thyagar, Achalpuram, Nagapattinam


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is of great significance since it is the last temple at which Sambandar sang a Tevaram pathigam. The child saint’s marriage was conducted here, and immediately after that, he, his new bride, their families and all those who attended the wedding, merged into the effulgence that is Siva. But why is no kumkumam prasadam given at this temple – even at the Amman shrine?… Read More Sivaloka Thyagar, Achalpuram, Nagapattinam

Tirumeni Azhagar, Mahendrapalli, Nagapattinam


Indra was cursed to have painful sores all over him, for having lusted after Sage Gautama’s wife Ahalya. He worshipped here, and the place gets its name from him. Several gods and celestials, including Brahma and Surya, have worshipped here, and others have witnessed Siva’s tandavam here. The place also finds mention in the regional retelling of the Mahabharatam. But what is rather unusual about Lord Siva’s name here, and how is that connected to the main reason this temple has become a prarthana sthalam?… Read More Tirumeni Azhagar, Mahendrapalli, Nagapattinam

Naganathar, Manalmedu, Nagapattinam


Once a forest of Punnai trees, this is where Adiseshan – who bore the weight of the earth – worshipped Siva, because of which the Lord gets His name here. This small but beautiful temple is perhaps from the 12th century CE, and has a rare shrine for Idumban. Why is this the case, and what is the other reason related to nagas, because of which this is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married?… Read More Naganathar, Manalmedu, Nagapattinam

Aadi Vaidyanathar, Radhanallur, Nagapattinam


Regarded as the foremost of the five temples for Siva as Vaidyanathar – the panacea and the physician to resolve all problems and illnesses – this temple is believed to have been constructed in the time of Rajendra Chola I. The sthala puranam here is from the Mahabharatam, where the the Pandavas worshipped at this temple for cure from some ailments. But what is the specialty of Surya Puja at this temple, for seven days in a year?… Read More Aadi Vaidyanathar, Radhanallur, Nagapattinam

Chakrapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


Vishnu manifests in this temple as the Sudarshana Chakram itself. The main sthala puranam here is about Suryan’s ego and pride being overcome by the effulgence of the Chakram. Built originally by the Cholas and significantly expanded by the Nayaks, this temple is famed for its pillars that overflow with exquisite Nayak craftsmanship. But what are some of the aspects of this temple that are virtually identical to Siva and Siva worship, and how does this connect to the Veeratteswarar temple at Tiruvirkudi?… Read More Chakrapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Sundararaja Perumal, Sundaraperumal Koil, Thanjavur


The handsome Vishnu – Sundararajar – gives the temple and, in turn the place, their names. This temple is regarded as the Abhimana Perumal for three other temples. The sthala puranam here is about a test of will and penance that Indra, the chief of the devas, had to undergo, and how Vishnu helped him so that Indra could get rid of an illness. But who is the guardian deity of this temple and what is unusual about him?… Read More Sundararaja Perumal, Sundaraperumal Koil, Thanjavur

Vaiyam Katha Perumal, Tirukudalur, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam located between Kumbakonam and Tiruvaiyaru is known for many interesting stories that serve as its sthala puranam. The temple is virtually the starting point for Vishnu’s Varaha avataram, which ends in Srimushnam. There are also at least 3 stories as to how the place gets is name. But how did Vishnu protect his devotee – king Ambarisha – from the mercurial sage Durvasa, and how does that connect with this temple?… Read More Vaiyam Katha Perumal, Tirukudalur, Thanjavur

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

Maha Ganapathi, Ganapathi Agraharam, Thanjavur


This temple dedicated to Vinayakar is unique in several ways. The sthala puranams here are both very interesting, and connected to the famine in this region that was overcome in one way or another, by worshipping Vinayakar. The temple is also one of the Swamimalai Parivara devata sthalams. But what unique customs are followed by the temple and the village when it comes to Vinayakar worship, for both daily and annual festivals?… Read More Maha Ganapathi, Ganapathi Agraharam, 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

Vajrakandeeswarar, Veeramangudi, Thanjavur


The sthala puranam here is about Vijarasura, a demon, who harassed the devas and sages, but eventually sought mercy from Siva, right before he was overcome. Heeding the asura’s request, Siva is present here as Vajrakandeswarar. Worshipping Amman here is said to help the unmarried get married soon. But why is the Navagraham shrine here unique ,and what spiritual story is it connected to?… Read More Vajrakandeeswarar, Veeramangudi, 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

Chakravakeeswarar, Chakrapalli, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is one of the Chakrapalli Sapta Sthanam temples, this one being connected to Brahmi, who worshipped Siva’s third eye. The etymology of the place and the deity are quite interesting, with two different sthala puranams converging to the same conclusion. Being from the early Chola period, this temple does not have the detailed architecture of some of the later ones. But what interesting inscription here brings out the evolved nature of of Chola governance?… Read More Chakravakeeswarar, Chakrapalli, Thanjavur

Alanthurainathar, Tiruppullamangai, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is one of the Chakrapalli Sapta Sthanam temples, this one being connected to Chamundi, who worshipped the snake around Siva’s neck. The etymology of the place and the deity are quite interesting. This temple is a hidden treasure trove of superlative Chola period architecture, and is therefore often quoted as the high-point of the skill of that period. But what is special about both the Dakshinamurti and the Durga depictions in the koshtam at this temple?… Read More Alanthurainathar, Tiruppullamangai, Thanjavur

Jambunathar, Nallicheri, Thanjavur


One of the seven Chakrapalli Saptam Sthanam temples, this is where Vaishnavi – the sakti of Vishnu – worshipped Siva’s feet and anklets, before joining Chamundi in battle. The name Nallicheri is said to derive from the place’s earlier name, Nandicheri, and indeed, the place is known as Nandi Mangai, amongst the 7 temples of the Sapta Sthanam. But what did Nandi accomplish here, which he could not do at even as holy a place as Tiruvaiyaru?… Read More Jambunathar, Nallicheri, Thanjavur

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

Aadi Vaidyanathar, Veerasingampettai, Thanjavur


This is one of the five temples associated with the Agastyar, which are to be worshipped on a single day, to be cured of all sorts of illnesses. The temple, which is originally from the Pallava period, is most well known locally for the 276 Lingams that were unearthed during the construction of the original temple. The temple’s sthala vriksham is the Vilvam, but what is special about this vilvam tree?… Read More Aadi Vaidyanathar, Veerasingampettai, 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

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

Nagareeswarar, Kadambar Malai, Pudukkottai


Part of the Narthamalai temples, this place – Kadambar Malai – is in fact home to three separate shrines – two for Siva (one of them a full-fledged temple) and one for Amman; in addition, there is a massive 20×6 foot rock cut inscription from the Chola period. The contributors to this temple come from the Pallavas, Cholas and Pandyas, as also the Mutharaiyars. But what is one of the sthala puranams here that is said to give the place its name?… Read More Nagareeswarar, Kadambar Malai, Pudukkottai

Vijayalaya Chozheeswaram, Narthamalai, Pudukkottai


Possibly a corruption of Nagarathar Malai, Narthamalai is part of a series of hillocks to the north and north-west of Pudukkottai. The temple for Siva as Vijayalaya Chozheeswarar is an architectural masterpiece, and often regarded as the starting point for the now-famed Chola style of architecture, and the place itself is named for the Vijayalaya Chola, who kickstarted the line of imperial Cholas in the mid-9th century. But would it surprise you to know that the origins of this place are not Chola at all? … Read More Vijayalaya Chozheeswaram, Narthamalai, Pudukkottai

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

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

Sarvateertheswarar, Theerthandathanam, Ramanathapuram


This west-facing temple is a pitru sthalam, and Siva and Amman here receive completely fresh clothes every day. In the Ramayanam, Rama was on his way to Rameswaram and Lanka, to defeat Ravana and bring Sita back, and quenched His thirst here. Agastyar advised Him to take the grace of Siva, since Ravana – a great Siva devotee himself – was otherwise under Siva’s protection. But what aspect of Saivism did Rama embrace, to show His devotion to Siva?… Read More Sarvateertheswarar, Theerthandathanam, Ramanathapuram

Tiruvirundeeswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram


An unusual early-Chola temple in the heart of the Pandya country, this temple lies in ruins today. But going by the architecture and detailed inscriptions at this temple, this would have possibly been a large and important temple in its day. Those who are able to support the refurbishment of this dilapidated temple may please reach out in person, to the temple priest.… Read More Tiruvirundeeswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram

Thillaivaneswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram


Despite no known sthala puranam, this beautiful Chola-period temple is said to have been built in honour of Siva as Natarajar at Chidambaram (or Thillai). This temple may be a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, but it is not clear as of now, as the place shares its name with another in the Thanjavur district. But what is the unique reason why the locals are happy because of the daily fights that take place at this village?… Read More Thillaivaneswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram

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

Shanmuganathar, Kunnakudi, Sivaganga


This early-Pandya temple from around the 8th century is a classic example of a hill temple for Murugan. Stories of the curative power of this temple range from the time of epics, to as recent as the 18th century. Interestingly, the temple has seen contributions from the Cholas as well, despite its location. But what connection does Murugan’s vehicle, the peacock, have with this temple?… Read More Shanmuganathar, Kunnakudi, Sivaganga

Rudrakoteeswarar, Chaturveda Mangalam, Sivaganga


When Brahma undertook a pilgrimage to rid himself of a curse by Sage Durvasa, he installed a temple for Siva here, and is said to worship Siva even today, from the nearby Aravan Malai. Siva is also worshipped as Sarabeswara here, and the temple has a Ramayanam connection as well. But why is Siva named Rudra Koteeswarar here, and what interesting aspect of Siva’s family is part of this temple’s sthala puranam?… Read More Rudrakoteeswarar, Chaturveda Mangalam, Sivaganga

Swayam Pratheeswarar, Sivapuripatti, Sivaganga


Filled with over 60 inscriptions spanning more than 7 centuries, this temple lies on what was once the land route connecting the eastern seaport of Thondi with its western counterpart at Muziris. Originally built in the time of Kulothunga Chola I, this temple features a combination of Chola and Pandya architecture, and some unusual aspects of temple building and iconography. But this place is also important in the history of Tamilakam. How so?… Read More Swayam Pratheeswarar, Sivapuripatti, Sivaganga

Kutram Poruthavar, S. Aduthurai, Perambalur


This beautiful temple with its imposing raja gopuram stands out in this otherwise flat land on the banks of the Vellar river. One sthala puranam here is connected to the Daksha Yagam, and how the sapta-rishis got back their status. But the other (and main) sthala puranam of this temple is also the reason for some of the etymology of the name of this place. What is so interesting about this, which has a Ramayanam connection?… Read More Kutram Poruthavar, S. Aduthurai, Perambalur

Maruthanandeeswarar, Pennakonam, Cuddalore


Located south of the Vellar river, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam has no known sthala puranam as we know it. The few devotees who worship here, seek knowledge, wealth and relief from illnesses. Sambandar, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars, has sung about this temple in another pathigam. But the most interesting aspect of this late Chola temple is the unusual Murugan shrine here. Why is this so different?… Read More Maruthanandeeswarar, Pennakonam, Cuddalore

Kasi Viswanathar, Cholapuram, Thanjavur


Here is yet another temple virtually in ruins, thanks to the lax attitude of authorities who do not permit even willing sponsors to help renovate and rebuild this temple. Their blind eye has resulted in there being virtually nothing other than a Siva Lingam and a few assorted vigrahams. But this temple is really old, as evidenced by the unique depiction of Murugan here. How so, and how is that connected with Airavata, the celestial elephant? … Read More Kasi Viswanathar, Cholapuram, Thanjavur

Govindaraja Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur


Located in the northern part of Veppathur, this temple is today just a gopuram, with the deities being housed in a separate one-room building. The sthala puranam here is connected to two tales from the Ramayanam. But despite its Pallava origins, what makes this nearly 2000-year old (or older) temple fascinating across layers of history and the rule of several dynasties?… Read More Govindaraja Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur

Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur


Considered to be over 2000 years old, this temple is located in the heart of Veppathur – once called Ghatika Sthanam and Chaturvedi Mangalam. The all-wish-fulfilling Perumal is attended to by Anjaneyar depicted as a child. Krishna gave mantropadesam to Agastyar here. But how is this temple connected to the Ramayanam, that too in a rather unusual way?… Read More Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Veppathur, Thanjavur

Aatheeswarar, Veppathur, Thanjavur


This roadside shrine today was originally a much larger temple, and is said to be as old as 1000 years or more. Despite its small size, it features Siva in two forms – as a Lingam and as Dakshinamurti. The temple is also a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to have children, and is said to be powerful enough to completely turn around one’s horoscope in this regard, when they participate in a particular festival. What is this? … Read More Aatheeswarar, Veppathur, Thanjavur

Saptarisheeswarar, Ammachatram, Thanjavur


Everyone needs sages and priests to conduct weddings, and the gods are no exception to this! This is where the seven sages of yore are said to have met, to plan the wedding of Siva and Parvati on earth! The temple – which is located close to several other temples connected with the Siva-Parvati wedding – is however more famous for the powerful Kala Bhairavar, who is regarded as equivalent to the one at Kasi. But what is the Ramayanam connection of this temple?… Read More Saptarisheeswarar, Ammachatram, Thanjavur

Sundareswarar, Chattiram Karuppur, Thanjavur


Once known as Pathirivanam due to being a forest of pathiri trees, this Chola period temple is one of the Kumbakonam Pancha Krosha Sthalam temples, and is possibly adjunct to the Koranattu Karuppur temple, also for Siva as Sundareswarar. The local belief is that Yama does not bother those those who have seen Sundareswarar here. But why was this small and non-descript temple, and indeed this whole place, important to the celestials? … Read More Sundareswarar, Chattiram Karuppur, Thanjavur

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

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

Kailasanathar, Udaiyalur, Thanjavur


Murugan was punished for having intruded on a private conversation between Siva and Parvati, and performed penance here. Later, a king affected by leprosy bathed in the tank created by Murugan, and after it was filled with milk by Kamadhenu, his disease was cured. But the most interesting aspects of this place are almost entirely attributable to Rajaraja Chola, who also built this temple. What are these fascinating aspects, including a heavily disputed theory about the great king’s end?… Read More Kailasanathar, Udaiyalur, Thanjavur

Brahma Gnana Pureeswarar, Keezha Korkkai, Thanjavur


The sthala puranam of this temple is about Brahma losing the Vedas to the demons Madhu and Kaitabha, and regaining them with Vishnu’s help, and also regaining his wisdom after worshipping Siva here. This Chola temple from the time of Kulothunga Chola III has some excellent examples of Chola sculptures, including Adhikara Nandi and Siva as Kirata Murti. But how is this temple connected to the annual ritual of Avani Avittam?… Read More Brahma Gnana Pureeswarar, Keezha Korkkai, Thanjavur

Sundareswarar, Ariyathidal, Thanjavur


Located just south of the Mahamaham tank in Kumbakonam, his temple for Siva and Parvati as Sundareswarar and Meenakshi is believed to have existed for almost 2000 years, but was rebuilt in the early 20th century, after it was found in ruins. The temple is connected to one Sri Ramaswamy of Thepperumanallur (also near Kumbakonam), but is also locally known as the Annadana Sivan temple. What’s the connection?… Read More Sundareswarar, Ariyathidal, Thanjavur

Pippilakadeeswarar, Alathur, Nagapattinam


This early 13th century Chola temple from the time of Kulothunga Chola III is a village temple in need of funds for construction of a raja gopuram. After centuries, the last kumbhabhishekam was performed in 2014 at this Vata-Aranya-Kshetram, where celestials worshipped here, to be rid of the curses and harassment of the demons Kara and Dooshana. But why is Siva here called Pippilakadeeswarar? … Read More Pippilakadeeswarar, Alathur, Nagapattinam

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

Sivalokanathar, Keeranur, Tiruvarur


When the king’s horse trod on an object which started bleeding, the shocked king and his entourage saw a cow come over and pour its milk on the wounded object, which later turned out to be a Siva Lingam. Parvati had Herself come in the form of a cow, and because of her action, She is called Ksheerambigai here. But how is this temple’s other sthala puranam connected to one of ashta Veerattanam temples?… Read More Sivalokanathar, Keeranur, 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

Vaitheeswaran, Chintamani Nallur, Viluppuram


This 900-year-old temple was built by Vikrama Chola, and the presiding deity named Kulothunga Chozheeswaramudaiya Mahadevar, in honour of Vikrama’s father Kulothunga Chola I. Vikrama Chola’s mother’s names are also the basis for the name of this place and the well-known nearby town of Madhurantakam. But what is unusual about the deities in the koshtam, at this temple?… Read More Vaitheeswaran, Chintamani Nallur, Viluppuram

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

Agasteeswarar, Villivakkam, Chennai


When Agastyar had to come down south to balance the world during the Siva-Parvati wedding, this is where he received a vision of the celestial spectacle, and also overcame the demons Vatapi and Ilvala. This temple has a combination of both Chola and Pallava influences and architecture. The name of the place is also associated with this story. But why is Amman here named Swarnambigai? … Read More Agasteeswarar, Villivakkam, 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

Parthasarathy Perumal, Triplicane, Chennai


With various puranams associated with it, this Divya Desam temple in Chennai is dedicated to Vishnu as Parthasarathy – Arjuna’s charioteer in the Mahabharatam, and also features Vishnu in four other forms. The iconography of the moolavar and utsavar murtis are highly nuanced, embedding instances from the life of Krishna as told in the epic. But what interesting reasons are is behind this temple’s chariot/car running twice during the temple’s annual festival, and differing neivedyams offered to Parthasarathy Perumal and Yoga Narasimhar?… Read More Parthasarathy Perumal, Triplicane, Chennai

Naganathar, Peraiyur, Pudukkottai


With many interesting sthala puranams, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is a prarthana sthalam for relief from naga dosham, for obtaining clarity of thought and purging one’s negative energies. In the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April), at the time of Meena Lagnam, sounds of celestial instruments are believed to emanate from the temple tank, as Siva is said to go down to Nagaloka at that time to perform his dance for a devotee-king. How did this come about?… Read More Naganathar, Peraiyur, Pudukkottai

Arangulanathar, Tiruvarangulam, Pudukkottai


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam located very near Pudukottai, is home to several interesting sthala puranams. One of these involves a cache of 3000 golden palm fruit that are believed to be hidden in a cache near the temple, and this also gives the nearby area of Porpanai Kottai its name. Arangulam itself is named for the image of a Siva Lingam (Hara) seen in the temple’s tank (kulam). But what is the fascinating reason behind devotees gifting their children to Brhadambal Amman at this temple?… Read More Arangulanathar, Tiruvarangulam, Pudukkottai

Vyaghrapureeswarar, Tiruvengaivasal, Pudukkottai


When Kamadhenu was delayed in reaching the celestial court, Indra cursed her to be born on Bhulokam. Once here, she started worshipping Siva by bringing water in her ears. On one occasion, a tiger accosted her but she wanted to finish her worship and begged the tiger for permission. She was allowed, and when she came back to offer herself to the tiger, it turned out to be Siva and Parvati, who were testing her! The temple has several sculptural masterpieces, but what is so unique and fascinating about Dakshinamurti at this temple?… Read More Vyaghrapureeswarar, Tiruvengaivasal, Pudukkottai

Vriddhapureeswarar, Annavasal, Pudukkottai


Originally said to have been built by Siva’s ganas, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam finds mention in two pathigams by Appar. When the temple priest’s wedding was cancelled due to a demise in the family, he worshipped here, and the child was miraculously revived. This early Pandya temple features some very interesting architecture. But why are children given up in adoption to Vriddhapureeswarar and Dharmasamvarthini Amman?… Read More Vriddhapureeswarar, Annavasal, Pudukkottai

Sundara Varadaraja Perumal, Uthiramerur, Kanchipuram


This Pancha Varada Kshetram, which finds mention in the Mahabharatam, is one of the temples the Pandavas visited during their period of exile, and they regained the wisdom they had lost when gambling with the Kauravas. The long list of dynasties who ruled the region, have each left their mark on the temple construction. But what is the connection between this temple and the celestial architect Takshaka, in the depiction of Vishnu on three levels at this temple? … Read More Sundara Varadaraja Perumal, Uthiramerur, Kanchipuram

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

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

பிரணவ வியாக்ரபுரீஸ்வர், ஓமாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்


“புலியூர்” என்ற வார்த்தையுடன் பல்வேறு கிராமங்கள் மற்றும் நகரங்கள் உள்ளன. இது பொதுவாக புலி (புலி) தொடர்பான கதையைப் பரிந்துரைக்கும் அதே வேளையில், வியாக்ரபாத முனிவருடன் (புலி-கால்) தொடர்புள்ளதால் இவற்றில் பல பெயரிடப்பட்டுள்ளன. சிதம்பரத்தில் வியாக்ரபாத முனிவர் சிவனை வழிபட்ட ஐந்து தலங்களை பஞ்ச புலியூர் குறிக்கிறது – சிதம்பரம் (பெரும் பற்ற புலியூர்), பெரும்புலியூர், ஓமாம்புலியூர், திருப்பாதிரிப்புலியூர் மற்றும் எருக்கத்தம்புலியூர் – சிதம்பரத்தில் சிவனின் பிரபஞ்ச நடனத்தை தரிசனம் பெறுவதற்காக. இந்தக் கோயில்களில் வியாக்ரபாத முனிவர்… Read More பிரணவ வியாக்ரபுரீஸ்வர், ஓமாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்

பதஞ்சலீஸ்வரர், கானாட்டாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்


ஊரின் பெயருக்கு “புலியூர்” என்ற பின்னொட்டு கொடுக்கப்பட்டதால், அருகிலுள்ள ஓமாம்புலியூரில் உள்ள பிரணவ வியாக்ரபுரீஸ்வரர் கோயிலைப் போலவே, இந்த கோயிலையும் வியாக்ரபாத முனிவருடன் இணைக்க இயற்கையாகவே ஒரு தூண்டுதல் உள்ளது. இருப்பினும், பதஞ்சலி வழிபட்ட இக்கோவில், ஸ்தல புராணம் மற்றும் ஊரின் பெயரின் சொற்பிறப்பியல் பின்வருமாறு.: சிதம்பரத்தின் கதை ஆதிசேஷனுக்கு சிவனின் தாண்டவத்தை தரிசனம் செய்ய வேண்டும் என்பது பற்றியது.அதை அறிந்ததும் விஷ்ணுவும் அதைப் பார்த்து மகிழ்ச்சியில் ஆழ்ந்தார்.. அதனால் பதஞ்சலி முனிவர் அவதாரம் எடுத்தார். வியாக்ரபாத… Read More பதஞ்சலீஸ்வரர், கானாட்டாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்

Kailasanathar, Tirumetrali, Thanjavur


When the Cholas had their capital at Pazhaiyarai near Kumbakonam, there were four main temples in the four cardinal directions. Of these, this temple is the one on the western side, and hence also called Metrali. This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam’s puranam is about Sabali – one of the daughters of the celestial cow Patti (after whom Patteeswaram is named) – who worshipped here. The temple would have been much larger in the Chola period, but lies uncared for today. … Read More Kailasanathar, Tirumetrali, Thanjavur

ஆரண்யேஸ்வரர், கீழ திருக்காட்டுப்பள்ளி, நாகப்பட்டினம்


காவேரி ஆற்றங்கரையில் திருக்காட்டுப்பள்ளி என்று இரண்டு இடங்கள் உள்ளன. ஒன்று அக்னீஸ்வரர் கோயிலின் இருப்பிடமான திருச்சிக்கும் தஞ்சாவூருக்கும் இடையில் அமைந்துள்ள மேல திருக்காட்டுப்பள்ளி. மற்றொன்று, திருவெண்காடு ஸ்வேதாரண்யேஸ்வரர் கோவிலுக்கு மிக அருகில் அமைந்துள்ள கீழ் திருக்காட்டுப்பள்ளி. தேவர்களை பயமுறுத்தியதற்காக விஸ்வரூபன் என்ற அரக்கன் இந்திரனால் கொல்லப்பட்டான். எனவே அவனது தந்தை ஒரு யாகம் செய்து விஸ்வரூபனின் மரணத்திற்கு பழிவாங்க மற்றொரு அரக்கன் விருத்திராசுரனை உருவாக்கினார். இந்திரன் தாதீசி முனிவரின் முதுகுத்தண்டில் இருந்து வஜ்ராயுதத்தைப் பெற்று விருத்திராசுரனை அழித்தார்.… Read More ஆரண்யேஸ்வரர், கீழ திருக்காட்டுப்பள்ளி, நாகப்பட்டினம்

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

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

Agasteeswarar, Vidangalur, Nagapattinam


This small temple in a nondescript village is actually a Vaippu Sthalam that features in the Tevaram, mentioned by the Saivite saint Sundarar in one of his pathigams. Sages Agastyar and Vitangar worshipped here. But despite the fine examples of Chola architecture, the temple lies uncared for, except by the residents of the village. This is one of several such temples that needs our collective support.… Read More Agasteeswarar, Vidangalur, Nagapattinam

கெடிலியப்பர், கீழ் வேளூர், திருவாரூர்


சமுத்திரம் கலக்கும் போது, இரண்டு அமிர்தம் துளிகள் பாரத வர்ஷத்தின் மீது விழுந்தது – ஒன்று வடக்கில் மற்றும் ஒன்று தெற்கில் – அது பதரி (இலந்தை) மரங்களாக முளைத்தது. வடக்கில் அமிர்தம் விழுந்த இடம், இன்று பதரிகாஷ்ரமம் (பத்ரிநாத்) என்றும், இந்த இடம் தெற்கே உள்ள இடம் என்றும் அழைக்கப்படுகிறது. இரண்டு அரசர்கள் தனித்தனியாக முனிவர்களால் சபிக்கப்பட்டு கழுதைகளாக ஆனார்கள். ஒரு வியாபாரி தனது பொருட்களை எடுத்துச் செல்ல இந்தக் கழுதைகளைப் பயன்படுத்தினார். வியாபாரி இந்த… Read More கெடிலியப்பர், கீழ் வேளூர், திருவாரூர்

யாழ் முரீ நாதர், தருமபுரம், காரைக்கால்


திருக்கடையூரில், யமன் தனது கயிற்றை மார்கண்டேயரைச் சுற்றி வீசினான், ஆனால் பிந்தையவரின் பக்தியின் காரணமாக, தனது பக்தனைக் காக்க வந்த சிவனையும் அந்த கயிறு சூழ்ந்தது. இது யமனுக்கு ஒரு பாவத்தை ஏற்படுத்தியது மற்றும் பூமியில் சமநிலையை பராமரிக்கும் மற்றும் இறந்த ஆன்மாக்களுக்கு பொறுப்பான அவரது வேலையிலிருந்து வெளியேற்றப்பட்டது. தவமிருந்து, யமன் பல்வேறு கோயில்களில் சிவனை வழிபட்டார், இறுதியில் அவர் இந்த கோவிலில் வழிபாடு செய்தபோது, சிவன் தோன்றி, தகுந்த நேரத்தில் சாபம் நீங்கும் என்று யமனிடம்… Read More யாழ் முரீ நாதர், தருமபுரம், காரைக்கால்

நடுதறிஅப்பர், கோயில் கன்றாப்பூர், திருவாரூர்


கைலாசத்தில் வித்யாதரப் பெண்ணான சுதவல்லி சிவனையும் பார்வதியையும் நடனமாடி மகிழ்வித்துக் கொண்டிருந்தாள். இதன் ஒரு பகுதியாக, அவள் பார்வதியைப் போல நடந்து கொண்டாள், இது பிந்தையவர் கோபமடைந்தது, மேலும் சுதவல்லியை பூமியில் பிறக்கும்படி சபித்தார். கெஞ்சியதும், சுதவல்லி சிவனிடம் தொடர்ந்து பக்தி செலுத்தும் வகையில் சாபம் மாற்றப்பட்டது. இதன் விளைவாக, சுதவல்லி ஒரு சைவ வேளாளர் குடும்பத்தில் பிறந்தார், ஆனால் பின்னர், ஒரு வைணவ குடும்பத்தில் திருமணம் செய்து கொண்டார். இருந்தும் அவள் சிவ வழிபாட்டைத் தொடர்ந்தாள்.… Read More நடுதறிஅப்பர், கோயில் கன்றாப்பூர், திருவாரூர்

அக்னீஸ்வரர், கஞ்சனூர், தஞ்சாவூர்


கடலைக் கலக்கிய பிறகு, தேவர்கள், விஷ்ணுவின் மோகினியின் சில தந்திரங்களின் உதவியுடன், அமிர்தம் அனைத்தையும் தங்களிடம் வைத்துக் கொண்டனர். கோபமடைந்த அசுரர்கள் தங்கள் ஆசான் சுக்ராச்சாரியாரிடம் முறையிட்டனர், அவர் இப்போது அழியாத தேவர்களை பூலோகத்தில் பிறப்பார்கள் என்று சபித்தார். கவலையுற்ற தேவர்கள் வியாச முனிவரை அணுகி ஆலோசனை கேட்டனர். காவேரி ஆறு வடக்கே பாயும் கஞ்சனூரில் சிவனை வழிபட வேண்டும் என்று முனிவர் பரிந்துரைத்தார், எனவே இது மங்களகரமானதாக கருதப்படுகிறது. தேவர்கள் சிபாரிசு செய்தபடியே செய்தார்கள், சிவன்… Read More அக்னீஸ்வரர், கஞ்சனூர், தஞ்சாவூர்

Munivasagaswami, Neithavasal, Nagapattinam


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam does not have a sthala puranam of its own that has been identified for this temple. However, the temple is located in what appears to be the remnants of the lost city of Kaveripoompattinam, which is mentioned in Sangam literature. This simple temple has behind it, a history of the lost city of Neithalankaanal. What is this history?… Read More Munivasagaswami, Neithavasal, Nagapattinam

Masilamani Easwarar, Tirumullaivoyal, Tiruvallur


Located on the outskirts of Chennai, this beautiful Chola temple with a gaja-prishta vimanam (shaped like the back of an elephant) traces its origin to the war between King Tondaiman (after whom Tondai mandalam is named) and the Kurumbar clan. The Lingam is anointed with sandal paste to cure a wound, which is connected to the sthala puranam here. But why does Nandi face away from the moolavar at this temple?… Read More Masilamani Easwarar, Tirumullaivoyal, Tiruvallur

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

மங்களபுரீஸ்வரர், தியாகவல்லி, கடலூர்


சிவன் மற்றும் பார்வதி திருமணத்தின் போது, அகஸ்திய முனிவர் உலகத்தை சமநிலைப்படுத்த தெற்கு நோக்கி அனுப்பப்பட்டார். முனிவர், திருமணத்தை தரிசனம் செய்ய விரும்பி, பல இடங்களில் லிங்கத்தை நிறுவி வழிபட்டார். இங்குள்ள கடற்கரைக்கு வந்த அவருக்கு திடீரென வயிற்று வலி ஏற்பட்டது. கடல் மணலைப் பயன்படுத்தி ஒரு லிங்கத்தை உருவாக்க முயன்றார், ஆனால் அது வடிவத்தைத் தக்கவைக்கவில்லை. இது இறைவனின் நாடகம் என்பதை உணர்ந்த அவர், சில மூலிகைகளின் சாற்றை மணலுடன் கலந்து, லிங்கம் வடிவில் தங்கி,… Read More மங்களபுரீஸ்வரர், தியாகவல்லி, கடலூர்

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

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


இது மிகவும் பழமையான கோயிலாக இருப்பதால், இந்தக் கோயிலைப் பற்றிய புராணங்கள் மிகக் குறைவாகவே கிடைக்கின்றன – இது காலத்தின் மூடுபனியில் காணாமல் போய்விட்டது. இந்த இடம் – பேரேயில் – முற்கால சோழர் காலத்தில் திருவாரூர் பேரரசின் தலைநகராக இருந்த போது கோட்டையாக இருந்ததாக கூறப்படுகிறது. இங்குள்ள சிவலிங்கம் ஒரு சுயம்பு மூர்த்தியாகும், மேvலும் இந்த கோவில் மிகவும் பழமையானது – ஒருவேளை 2000 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு மேல் பழமையானது என்று கூறப்படுகிறது. அப்பர் தம் பாடல்… Read More ஜெகதீஸ்வரர், ஓகை பேரையூர், திருவாரூர்

அசலேஸ்வரர், ஆரூர் அரனேரி திருவாரூர்


மூன்று சிவாலய வளாகங்கள் உள்ளன, ஒவ்வொன்றிலும் இரண்டு தனித்தனி பாடல் பெற்ற ஸ்தலங்கள் உள்ளன – திருப்புகளூர் (அக்னீஸ்வரர் மற்றும் வர்த்தமானேஸ்வரர்), திருமேயச்சூர் (மேகந்தர் மற்றும் சகலாபுவனேஸ்வரர்), மற்றும் திருவாரூர் (தியாகராஜர் மற்றும் அச்சலேசுவரர்). இந்த சன்னதி தியாகராஜர் கோவில் வளாகத்தின் அக்னி மூலை (தென்கிழக்கு) பகுதியில் அமைந்துள்ளது (கிழக்கு வாசலில் இருந்து நுழையும் போது, சன்னதி உடனடியாக இடதுபுறம் உள்ளது). நமிநந்தி அடிகள் சிவபெருமானின் தீவிர பக்தர் மற்றும் 63 நாயன்மார்களில் ஒருவர். அவர் இக்கோயிலுக்குச்… Read More அசலேஸ்வரர், ஆரூர் அரனேரி 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

தான்தோன்றீஸ்வரர், ஆக்கூர், நாகப்பட்டினம்


உள்ளூர் சோழ மன்னனுக்கு ஒரு மர்ம நோய் இருந்தது, அதை மருத்துவர்களால் குணப்படுத்த முடியவில்லை. சிவபெருமான் அவர் கனவில் வந்து, 48 நாட்களுக்கு ஆயிரம் பேருக்கு உணவளிக்குமாறு கட்டளையிட்டார். ராஜா இந்த பணியை மேற்கொண்டார், ஆனால் காலத்தின் முடிவில், 1000 இருக்கைகள் அமைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தாலும், ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் 999 பேர் மட்டுமே வருவார்கள். தீர்வுக்காக சிவனிடம் வேண்டினார், கடைசி நாளில் 1000 இருக்கைகளும் எடுக்கப்பட்டன – சிவபெருமான் முதியவர் வடிவில் காட்சியளித்தார். ராஜா எங்கிருந்து வந்தார் என்று முதியவரிடம்… Read More தான்தோன்றீஸ்வரர், ஆக்கூர், நாகப்பட்டினம்

Sankaaranyeswarar, Thalachangadu, Nagapattinam


This is one of a collective of 5 temples called pancha-aranya kshetrams (temples built in five places that were forests), along with Sayavanam, Pallavaneswaram (Poompuhar), Tiruvenkadu, Keezh Tirukattupalli, all of which are in the vicinity. This Petra Sthalam is built as a Maadakoil, and arranged in the concept of Somaskandar, where the order of deities in the sanctum is Siva, Murugan and Parvati. But what is the connection between this this temple, the name of the place, and Vishnu? … Read More Sankaaranyeswarar, Thalachangadu, Nagapattinam

சங்காரண்யேஸ்வரர், தலைச்சங்காடு, நாகப்பட்டினம்


This is one of a collective of 5 temples called pancha-aranya kshetrams (temples built in five places that were forests), along with Sayavanam, Pallavaneswaram (Poompuhar), Tiruvenkadu, Keezh Tirukattupalli, all of which are in the vicinity. This Petra Sthalam is built as a Maadakoil, and arranged in the concept of Somaskandar, where the order of deities in the sanctum is Siva, Murugan and Parvati. But what is the connection between this this temple, the name of the place, and Vishnu? … Read More சங்காரண்யேஸ்வரர், தலைச்சங்காடு, நாகப்பட்டினம்

சாயவனேஸ்வரர், சாயாவனம், நாகப்பட்டினம்


திருவையாறு, மயிலாடுதுறை, சாயவனம், திருவிடைமருதூர், திருவெண்காடு, ஸ்ரீவாஞ்சியம் ஆகிய ஆறு சிவாலயங்கள் காவிரி ஆற்றங்கரையில் காசிக்குச் சமமாகக் கருதப்படுகின்றன. அதில் இதுவும் ஒன்று. இந்த இடம் தமிழில் கோரை (கோரை) என்று அழைக்கப்படும் சாயா புல் காடாக இருந்தது, மேலும் தெய்வத்தின் இடமும் பெயரும் இதிலிருந்து பெறப்பட்டது. இங்குள்ள சிவலிங்கம் சுயம்பு மூர்த்தியாகும். இந்திரனின் தாய் அதிதி சாயா வனேஸ்வரரை வழிபட விரும்பி, அதற்காகவே பூலோகம் வந்தாள். தேவலோகத்தில் அவள் காணாமல் போனதைக் கண்டு, இந்திரன் அவளைத்… Read More சாயவனேஸ்வரர், சாயாவனம், நாகப்பட்டினம்

மந்திரபுரீஸ்வரர், கோவிலூர், திருவாரூர்


இந்த கோவில் ராமாயணத்துடன் மிகவும் நெருங்கிய தொடர்புடையது. இத்தலத்தின் பண்டைய பெயர் திரு உசாதனம். தமிழில் உசவு அல்லது உசவுத்தல் என்பது எதையாவது விசாரிப்பது அல்லது கேட்பது. ராமர் இக்கோயிலுக்கு வந்து, சிவபெருமானிடம் இலங்கைக்கு பாலம் கட்ட ஆலோசனை கேட்டார், அதனால் அந்த இடத்திற்கு அந்த பெயர் வந்தது. பதிலுக்கு, சிவன் ராமருக்கு மந்திரோபதேசம் கொடுத்தார், அதனால் அவருக்கு மந்திரபுரீஸ்வரர் என்று பெயர் வந்தது. இங்கு ராமாயணத்துடன் வேறு பல தொடர்புகள் உள்ளன. சுந்தரரின் தேவாரம் ராமர்,… Read More மந்திரபுரீஸ்வரர், கோவிலூர், திருவாரூர்

Mandirapureeswarar, Kovilur, Tiruvarur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam temple has several Ramayanam connections, including Rama praying here, asking for guidance on building the bridge to Lanka. This puranam is also the source of the Tamil name of this place – Usathanam. Another sthala puranam here relates to Garuda, and why as a consequence, the Lingam here is said to be white in colour. But what is the very interesting reason for this place being called Kovilur, and even Aadi Chidambaram? … Read More Mandirapureeswarar, Kovilur, Tiruvarur

Sarguna Nathar, Idumbavanam, Tiruvarur


Originally called Vilvaranyam, this is where Brahma worshipped Siva in order to regain lost gunas and powers. This story also explains the etymology of Lord Siva here. The temple is also connected with the Ramayanam, and Rama is said to have worshipped here before proceeding to Lanka. But what is the unusual iconography inside the sanctum, which is also connected with Sage Agastyar?… Read More Sarguna Nathar, Idumbavanam, Tiruvarur

அகஸ்தீஸ்வரர், அகஸ்தியன் பள்ளி, நாகப்பட்டினம்


அகஸ்தியரால் பிரதிஷ்டை செய்யப்பட்ட பல கோவில்களில் ஒன்று. இங்கு, அவருக்கு சிவன் மற்றும் பார்வதியின் தெய்வீக திருமணத்தின் தரிசனம் வழங்கப்பட்டது… Read More அகஸ்தீஸ்வரர், அகஸ்தியன் பள்ளி, நாகப்பட்டினம்

சக்தி கிரீஸ்வரர், செங்கனூர், தஞ்சாவூர்


செங்கனூர் என்பது சண்டேச நாயனாரின் அவதார ஸ்தலமாகும், அவர் சண்டிகேஸ்வரராக உயர்ந்தார், அவர் சிவன் கோயில்களின் கர்ப்பக்கிரகத்தின் வடக்குப் பக்கத்தில் எப்போதும் காணப்படுகிறார். சண்டேசர் சிவனின் சொத்துக்களுக்கு பாதுகாவலரும் கூட, அதனால்தான் சண்டேசரின் முன் கைகளைத் துடைப்பது வழிபாட்டு முறை, நாங்கள் பக்தர்களாக இருப்பதைக் குறிக்க, கோயிலில் இருந்து எதையும் எடுத்துச் செல்லவில்லை! அருகிலுள்ள திருவாய்ப்பாடி சண்டேச நாயனாரின் முக்தி ஸ்தலமாகக் கருதப்படுகிறது. தீவிர சிவபக்தரான விசார சர்மா, எச்சா தத்தன் மற்றும் பவித்ரை என்ற பிராமண… Read More சக்தி கிரீஸ்வரர், செங்கனூர், தஞ்சாவூர்

Sundararaja Perumal, Anbil, Tiruchirappalli


Brahma’s ego about his powers of creation resulted in his being born on earth, and he prayed here to be relieved of this curse. Siva, as Bhikshatanar, is believed to have worshipped at this temple, on the way from Uttamar Koil to Kandiyur. The temple also has a Mahabharatam connection, and the Pandavas are said to have worshipped at this place. But what unique iconographic representation in the sanctum leads to this being a prarthana sthalam for women seeking to get married? … Read More Sundararaja Perumal, Anbil, Tiruchirappalli

Maatruraivaradeeswarar, Tiruvasi, Tiruchirappalli


One of the two puranams for Siva’s name here, is about Sundarar who asked Siva for gold in order to feed the local poor. Suspecting the purity of some gold he found, he had it inspected by two goldsmiths who happened to come that way…who, after certifying that the gold was high quality, revealed themselves to be Siva and Vishnu! But what is special about the iconography of Natarajar here, who is also called Sarpa Natarajar?… Read More Maatruraivaradeeswarar, Tiruvasi, Tiruchirappalli

Moovar Kovil, Kodumbalur, Tiruchirappalli


In its heyday, today’s non-descript hamlet of Kodumbalur was a city of temples, much like Kanchipuram or Kumbakonam. This ancient temple complex of 3 shrines for Siva is regarded as possibly the earliest surviving example of early medieval Chola temples. The art and architecture here are exemplary, serving as prototypes for several temples. But what is the connection between the builder of this temple and some important characters in Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan? … Read More Moovar Kovil, Kodumbalur, Tiruchirappalli