Hari Mukteeswarar, Ariyamangai, Thanjavur


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is one of the Chakrapalli Sapta Sthanam temples, this one being connected to Maheswari, who worshipped the River Ganga on Siva’s head. The place gets its name from the sthala puranam, in which Lakshmi worshipped Siva here, in order to be with Her husband Vishnu forever. The temple today is a shadow of its former self. But what is very different and unique about some of the other deities in this temple?… Read More Hari Mukteeswarar, Ariyamangai, 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

Veetrirundha Varadaraja Perumal, Tirukodiyalur, Tiruvarur


This village temple located near Tirumeyachur, close to the Meghanathar-Lalithambigai temple, is poorly visited, but decently maintained. The sthala puranam here is about Vishnu waiting for Lakshmi, while She was worshipping at the Tirumeyachur temple. But what important aspects of Saivism are celebrated at this Perumal temple?… Read More Veetrirundha Varadaraja Perumal, Tirukodiyalur, Tiruvarur

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

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

Tirumarainathar, Tiruvathavur, Madurai


This is where Vishnu worshipped after visiting Madurai for the Meenakshi-Sundareswarar wedding, and Siva explained the meaning of the Vedas to Him. The temple is also connected to another son of the soil, and one of the most influential of the Saivite bhakti saints – Manikkavasagar – who was born here and received Siva’s deeksha as well. This beautiful Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam has stunning Pandya architecture, but how is it connected with a Tamil retelling of the Mahabharatam?… Read More Tirumarainathar, Tiruvathavur, Madurai

Vellimalai Nathar, Tiruthengur, Tiruvarur


At this Paadal Petra Sthalam, Sukracharya worshipped to regain the sight he had lost in one eye as a result of the events of Vamana Avataram. The name of the place comes from the story that Lakshmi came here to worship Lord Siva, as this place was dry during the deluge / pralayam. But how are the Navagrahams represented twice at this temple?… Read More Vellimalai Nathar, Tiruthengur, Tiruvarur

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

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

Siddha Natheswarar, Tirunaraiyur, Thanjavur


The sthala puranam of this temple is about Gorakka Siddhar skin disease – itself the result of a curse – being cured by applying the oil used for the deity’s abhishekam at this temple. The place is also called Narapuram, after Naran who was cursed by Sage Durvasa, came and worshipped here. But why is there a shrine for Lakshmi in this Siva temple, and how is this temple very interestingly connected to the nearby Nachiyar Koil Srinivasa Perumal temple?… Read More Siddha Natheswarar, Tirunaraiyur, Thanjavur

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

Yoganandheeswarar, Tiruvisanallur, Thanjavur


This Tevaram Paadal Petra Sthalam, associated with Rohini Nakshatram and Rishabha Rasi, is believed to have existed in all four yugams. Devotees are blessed by Bhairavar, with knowledge, prosperity, health and eventual salvation. The sthala puranam of the temple also talks about a sinner who was given salvation by Siva, despite Nandi’s remonstrances! The temple and the village are also connected with the philosopher-saint Sridhara Ayyaval. But why are seven strands of hair said to be visible on the rear of the Siva Lingam of this temple? … Read More Yoganandheeswarar, Tiruvisanallur, 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