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

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

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

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

Parimala Ranganathar, Tiru Indalur, Mayiladuthurai


One of the 5 Pancha Ranga Kshetrams on the banks of the Kaveri river, this is where Chandran worshipped Vishnu to be somewhat rid of the curse of losing his lustre. Perumal’s name here references the fragrance that Vishnu imparted to the Vedas, after retrieving them from the demons Madhu and Kaitabha during the Matysa Avataram. The temple’s sthala puranam is also connected to the origin of Ekadasi Vratam. But how did Vishnu get Tirumangaiazhvar to sing a pasuram at this temple?… Read More Parimala Ranganathar, Tiru Indalur, Mayiladuthurai

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

Kadaimudi Nathar, Keelayur, Nagapattinam


Brahma appears to be the most penitent character in Hindu mythology, and this is yet another place he worshipped Siva…this time, to guard the world till its end – this gives the moolavar His name at this temple. This Paadal Petra Sthalam is a rather simple temple built in the time of Parantaka Chola, but features some very unique iconography and architecture. Read about those in detail, here.… Read More Kadaimudi Nathar, Keelayur, 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

Saranatha Perumal, Tirucherai, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam temple and Vaishnava Navagraha Sthalam (for Sani’s son Mandi) near Kumbakonam, is connected with the Story of how Kumbakonam came into existence. The temple is also known as the pancha sara kshetram, as it covers 5 essences (or Sarams) at one go. The Kaveri river was upset at not being regarded as the holiest of rivers, and so performed penance upon Vishnu, who granted her three wishes. What unique iconographic representation is there at this temple, as a result of this event?… Read More Saranatha Perumal, Tirucherai, Thanjavur

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

Sangameswarar, Bhavani, Erode


Located at the point where the Kaveri, Bhavani, and the mystic underground Aagaya Gangai rivers meet, this beautiful temple is one of 7 Tevaram Paadal Petra Sthalams in Kongu Nadu. Kubera was the first among celestials to know that this place had been visited by the Vedas, and was therefore peaceful for performing all types of rites. But what is the story of William Garrow, a collector during the British Raj times, and how he came to gift an ivory cradle to the temple? … Read More Sangameswarar, Bhavani, Erode