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

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

Nootriettu Pillaiyar, Karaikudi, Sivaganga


This small temple outside the Karaikudi Sundareswarar temple, houses Vinayakar in 108 forms and names. Of these, the eight in the middle are larger, and have a specific aspect that people worship Vinayakar for. Each of these 108 murtis are beautifully crafted – both in terms of appearance as well as their iconographic depiction and association with the respective Vinayakar’s name and powers. Read more about this must-visit temple, here.… Read More Nootriettu Pillaiyar, Karaikudi, Sivaganga

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

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

Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Madurai, Madurai


Tucked away in a bylane near the Madurai Meenaksi Amman and Koodal Azhagar temples, is this fascinating temple run by Saurashtrans, dedicated to both Venkatesa Perumal and Navaneeta Krishnan. In addition to beautiful sculptures and architecture, the temple also has shrines for notable saints and others associated with it, as well as artefacts connected with Thyagaraja Swami of the Carnatic music trinity. But what is so unique about the Maatru Tirukkola Sevai that takes place during the temple’s annual festival in the Tamil month of Aadi? … Read More Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, Madurai, Madurai

Seshapureeswarar, Tirupampuram, Tiruvarur


This is one of 4 temples where Nagaraja, lord of the Nagas, is said to have worshipped Lord Siva on Mahasivaratri. Being associated with nagas, nobody in this village is recorded to have died of snakebite! Rahu and Ketu are enshrined together, and depicted as worshipping Lord Siva here. But what is the story due to which devotees worship at this temple to recover lost valuables? … Read More Seshapureeswarar, Tirupampuram, Tiruvarur

Sarngapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam and Pancha Ranga Kshetram (similar to Koviladi), this is also a Vaishnava Navagraha Sthalam dedicated to Suryan. Lakshmi was born as Sage Brighu’s daughter here, and married Vishnu who came to the venue on a chariot, with his bow called Sarngam. The temple itself is shaped like a chariot, and boasts of some very intricate and magnificent architecture. But why is the vigraham of Lakshmi as Komalavalli Thayar, never taken out of the temple in procession?… Read More Sarngapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Oppiliappan, Tirunageswaram, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam and the Vaishnava Navagraham temple for Sani is where Tirumangaiazhvar was able to view Perumal in 5 forms, and so the Lord here is worshipped in each of those forms. The temple’s sthala puranam is the reason for the Tulasi leaves being used as the customary form of offering for Vishnu. It is also generally known that the temple prasadam is prepared without salt, but why is that so? … Read More Oppiliappan, Tirunageswaram, Thanjavur

Veeratteswarar, Keelaparasalur, Nagapattinam


This is one of the 8 Ashta-Veerattanam temples – places where Siva is said to have danced a valorous dance celebrating victory over a different evil force at each of the places. At Daksha’s yagam, due to the insults meted out to Her husband Lord Siva, Dakshayini immolated Herself on the sacrificial fire. A furious Siva deputed Veerabhadrar, who sliced off Daksha’s head. This, as well as another related story, are also considered as the reason for the name of the place. But what is the very close connection this temple has with the Chamakam, the mantram that follows the Sri Rudram? … Read More Veeratteswarar, Keelaparasalur, Nagapattinam

Vaaimoornaathar, Tiruvaaimoor, Nagapattinam


One of the 7 sapta-vitangam temples, this temple was established by Muchukunda Chakravarti after his victory over Indra, and is considered to be the site of the original Maragatha Lingam. A Paadal Petra Sthalam with various unusual facets, there are 8 Kala Bhairavars (just like at Kasi), a standing Rishabha in front of Thyagarajar, and in a unique arrangement, all Navagrahams face the same direction. But what is absolutely unique about the iconographic depiction of Dakshinamurti at this temple? … Read More Vaaimoornaathar, Tiruvaaimoor, Nagapattinam

Vishwaroopa Lakshmi Narasimhar, Kattavakkam, Kanchipuram


Consecrated as recently as in 2007, this beautiful temple near Wallajabad on the way to Kanchipuram features a 16-foot tall murti of Vishnu as Viswaroopa Lakshmi Narasimhar. The depiction of Perumal is said to be exactly as described in the Brahma Stuti of the Lakshmi Narasimha Dhyana Slokam. What other unusual features do this temple’s architecture and iconography boast of?… Read More Vishwaroopa Lakshmi Narasimhar, Kattavakkam, Kanchipuram

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

அகஸ்தியன் பள்ளி அகஸ்தீஸ்வரர், நாகப்பட்டினம்


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

Kundala Karneswarar, Tirukurakkaa, Nagapattinam


This temple and the nearby Kutram Porutha Nathar temple at Thalaignayiru are both connected to the Ramayanam. At Thalaignayiru, Siva pardoned Anjaneyar after the latter attempted (unsuccessfully) to move with his tail, the Lingam that Sita had made out of sand. As penance, Anjaneyar was told to install a Lingam here at Tirukurakka and worship it. This temple is one of the 5 pancha-kaa kshetrams. But what is extremely interesting about the location of the Navagraham shrine of this temple? … Read More Kundala Karneswarar, Tirukurakkaa, Nagapattinam

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

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

Vyaghrapureeswarar, Perumpuliyur, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam near Tiruvaiyaru is considered to be one of the 5 places where Sage Vyaghrapada worshipped Siva. The temple has some unusual depictions and iconography, including Ardhanareeswarar in the rear koshtam of the grabhagriham, and a rather unique Navagraham depiction. But how did the sage Vyaghrapada come to have tiger’s feet? … Read More Vyaghrapureeswarar, Perumpuliyur, Thanjavur

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

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

Pasupatheeswarar, Pandanallur, Thanjavur


Once a forest of kondrai trees (whose flowers are highly suitable for Siva worship), Chola period temple was built before, but significantly renovated, in the time of Raja Raja Chola I. The sthala puranam here is about Parvati’s desire to play and Siva fulfilling that desire by providing Her with four balls, made of the four Vedas! But what came of this, and its implications on various things in the puranams, concluding with Siva’s earthly marriage to Parvati, is the rest of the sthala puranam here. But why is the place called Pandanallur?… Read More Pasupatheeswarar, Pandanallur, Thanjavur