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

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

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

Ramaswami, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


This Nayak period temple was built at the start of the decline of the Vijayanagara dynasty. The irony of this is that worship of Rama gained popularity only during the Vijayanagara dynasty’s rule! The entire temple and its extensive and detailed architecture celebrates only one thing – the Ramayanam. The temple is also one of the five Perumal temples associated with the Mahamaham festival. But what is so interesting and absorbing about the depiction of deities in the garbhagriham?… Read More Ramaswami, 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

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

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

Baladandayuthapani, Kumaran Malai, Pudukkottai


This Murugan temple on a small hillock, located close to Pudukkottai, is where Murugan came to provide his devotee the opportunity to take his annual Kavadi worship, when the devotee could no longer make the pilgrimage due to old age. The temple was constructed by a Thondaiman king who had the same dream as the devotee, but with a different purpose. But why is the temple built in the overall style of the Palani Murugan temple?… Read More Baladandayuthapani, Kumaran Malai, Pudukkottai

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

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

Kailasanathar, Ilayathangudi, Sivaganga


The temple is the first of the 9 prominent Nagarathar temples in the region, and the community was gifted the village and the temple by the ruling Pandya king. In addition to being a prarthana sthalam for marriage, this is also famous in the region for celebrating milestone birthdays. But what is the interesting story behind the name of the place, which is also home to a famous branch of the Sankara Matham?… Read More Kailasanathar, Ilayathangudi, 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

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

Punugeswarar, Koranad, Mayiladuthurai


This is one of the 7 temples that comprise the Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam set of temples. The sthala puranam here concerns a civet (punugu or musk) cat which worshipped Siva here, and was blessed by the Lord. The temple is also seems to share a connection with the nearby Moovalur temple, with Brahma and Vishnu worshipping Siva. But why is this place called Koranad, and how is it connected to Nesa Nayanar?… Read More Punugeswarar, Koranad, Mayiladuthurai

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

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

சூக்ஷ்ம புரீஸ்வரர், செருகுடி, திருவாரூர்


காவேரி ஆற்றின் தெற்கே அமைந்துள்ள செருகுடி அல்லது சிறுகுடி பல பாடல் பெற்ற ஸ்தலங்கள் உட்பட பல்வேறு கோவில்களால் சூழப்பட்டுள்ளது. இந்தக் கோயிலும் கிராமமும் கோளாறு பதிகத்துடன் தொடர்புடையது, இதில் கோள்கள், நட்சத்திரங்கள், நோய்கள், தீயவர்கள், பேய்கள் மற்றும் பேய்கள், வனவிலங்குகள், பல்வேறு இன்னல்கள் எதுவும் சிவபெருமான் தன்னுடன் இருப்பதால் எந்த எதிர்மறையான அல்லது தீய சக்திகளோ இல்லை என்று சம்பந்தர் கூறுகிறார். ஆன்மீக ரீதியில் பார்க்கும்போது, இறைவன் மீது நம்பிக்கை இருக்கும் வரை எந்த ஒரு… Read More சூக்ஷ்ம புரீஸ்வரர், செருகுடி, திருவாரூர்

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

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

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

Srinivasa Perumal (Annan Koil), Tirunangur, Nagapattinam


This Divya Desam temple is closely connected with the story of Tirumangaiazhvar, and Tiruvellakulam (the ancient name of this place) is where his consort Kumudavalli Thayar was born. Another puranam here is about a young prince who was destined to die young, but lived long after worshipping here. For this reason, the temple is also a favoured place of worship for longevity and health. But how is this temple directly related to Srinivasa Perumal at Tirupati?… Read More Srinivasa Perumal (Annan Koil), Tirunangur, Nagapattinam

Kalyana Sundareswarar, Velvikudi, Nagapattinam


This is one of the temples connected with Siva’s marriage to Parvati, on earth. The temple’s sthala puranam is also connected to a prince and princess, whose wedding had to be cancelled as the princess suddenly died before the date fixed for the wedding. The prince prayed at this temple, upon which Lord Siva instructed his ganas to revive the princess and get her ready for the wedding. But what is unusual, indeed almost unique, about Ardhanareeswarar at this temple?… Read More Kalyana Sundareswarar, Velvikudi, Nagapattinam

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

அக்னிபுரீஸ்வரர், வன்னியூர் , திருவாரூர்


தாக்ஷாயணி தக்ஷனின் யாகத்தில் கலந்து கொண்டார், மேலும் சிவன் மீது அவளது தந்தை மற்றும் யாகத்தில் கலந்து கொண்டவர்கள் செய்த அவமதிப்பு காரணமாக, யாகத்தில் தன்னைத்தானே எரித்துக் கொண்டார். இந்த காரணத்திற்காக, சிவன் யாகத்தில் கலந்து கொண்டதற்காக அக்னியை தண்டித்தார், மேலும் இந்த சாபத்தால் அக்னி எந்த சடங்குகளிலும் பங்கேற்க முடியாது. இயற்கையாகவே, அக்னி இல்லாமல் எந்த யாகமும் செய்ய முடியாது என்பதால், இது பல சிக்கல்களை உருவாக்கியது. இதனால் மழை பொய்த்து, பரவலாக வறட்சி மற்றும்… Read More அக்னிபுரீஸ்வரர், வன்னியூர் , திருவாரூர்

எழுத்தறி நாதர், இன்னம்பூர், தஞ்சாவூர்


தீவிர சிவபக்தரான சுதாஸ்மன், சோழ மன்னனின் அரசவையில் கணக்காளராக இருந்தார். அவர் ஒரு குறிப்பிட்ட வேலைக்கான கணக்குகளை பராமரித்து வந்தார். பணி மிகவும் கடினமானதாக மாறியது. ஒரு நாள் அரசன் அவனிடம் கணக்குகளை சமர்ப்பிக்கச் சொன்னான், சுதாஸ்மன் அதைத் தாமதப்படுத்த முயன்றான், அதனால் மன்னனுக்கு சரியான தகவலைக் கொடுக்க முடியும். ஆனால் பலமுறை தாமதப்படுத்திய பிறகு, ராஜா கோபமடைந்தார். மறுநாள் கணக்குகள் சமர்ப்பிக்கப்படாவிட்டால், சுதாஸ்மனுக்கு மரண தண்டனை விதிக்கப்படும் என்று அவர் உத்தரவிட்டார். என்ன செய்வதென்று தெரியாமல்… Read More எழுத்தறி நாதர், இன்னம்பூர், தஞ்சாவூர்

கடைமுடி நாதர், கீழையூர், நாகப்பட்டினம்


பிரம்மா தனது பெருமை மற்றும் அகங்காரத்திற்காக சிவபெருமானால் சபிக்கப்பட்டார். அதனால் சாப விமோசனம் பெற பல்வேறு கோவில்களில் இறைவனை வழிபட்டார். அவர் இத்தலத்திற்கு வந்தபோது, ஒரு கிலுவை மரத்தடியில் சுயம்பு மூர்த்தி லிங்கம் இருப்பதைக் கண்டு, வணங்கத் தொடங்கினார். இங்கு குளம் ஒன்றை உருவாக்கி, லிங்கத்திற்கு தினமும் அபிஷேகம் செய்து வந்தார். பிரம்மா தனது குறைகளை வென்றுவிட்டதால் மகிழ்ந்த சிவபெருமான் அவருக்கு தரிசனம் அளித்தார். பிரம்மா சிவனிடம், கிலுவாய் மரத்தடியில் நிரந்தரமாக தங்கி, உலக முடிவு வரை… Read More கடைமுடி நாதர், கீழையூர், நாகப்பட்டினம்

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

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

Brahmapureeswarar, Karaveeram, Tiruvarur


When celestial women prayed to Parvati that they get married soon, She looked at Siva, who told them to come to this place on earth and worship him. The Lingam they were to worship was guarded by Sage Gautama, who sought to remain here after his mortal life, and so he merged into the sthala vriksham of this temple. But why is a donkey the reason for there being no tall structure between this temple and the sea at Nagore, 30km away?… Read More Brahmapureeswarar, Karaveeram, Tiruvarur

பிரம்மபுரீஸ்வரர், கரவீரம், திருவாரூர்


திருமணமாகாத தேவலோகப் பெண்கள் ஒருமுறை கைலாசத்தில் சிவனையும் பார்வதியையும் வணங்கி, விரைவில் திருமணம் செய்து கொள்ள வரம் தேடினார்கள். பார்வதி பதில் சொல்லாமல், இறைவனைப் பார்த்தார். காவேரி நதிக்கரையில் (இந்தக் கிளை இப்போது வெட்டாறு) லிங்கத்தை நிறுவி, பெண்களை அங்கே வழிபடும்படி அறிவுறுத்தினார். எனவே, இக்கோயில் பெண் குழந்தைகளுக்கு திருமணம் செய்து வைக்கும் பிரார்த்தனை ஸ்தலமாகும். அந்த பக்தர்கள் அமாவாசை நாளில் இங்கு வழிபட்டு ஸ்தல விருட்சத்திற்கு நீராடினர். கௌதம முனிவர் சிவபெருமான் கௌதம முனிவரை தான்… Read More பிரம்மபுரீஸ்வரர், கரவீரம், திருவாரூர்

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

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

Srinivasa Perumal, Tholaivillimangalam, Thoothukudi


Eighth in the series of Nava Tirupati temples between Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi, this is one of two twin-temples – called the Irattai Tirupati – in the village of Tholaivillimangalam, near Tirunelveli. This is a Rahu sthalam, associated with Nammazhvar, and part of the annual Garuda Sevai utsavam that covers all the Nava Tirupati temples. But what makes this temple inseparable from the other Vishnu temple for Perumal as Aravindalochanar, located just a few meters away? … Read More Srinivasa Perumal, Tholaivillimangalam, Thoothukudi