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

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

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

Kadambanathar, Kadambar, Kanchipuram


The demons Malayan and Makaran were harassing Sage Kashyapa, amongst others, and so the sage worshipped Siva, who deputed Murugan to deal with the demons. After they were decimated, Murugan came here to worship Siva. Though not a Tevaram temple, the child-saint Sambandar has sung here. But what is the reason for this place being regarded as holier than Kasi? … Read More Kadambanathar, Kadambar, Kanchipuram

பிரணவ வியாக்ரபுரீஸ்வர், ஓமாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்


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 பிரணவ வியாக்ரபுரீஸ்வர், ஓமாம்புலியூர், கடலூர்

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

Vanduthurainathar, Tiruvanduthurai, Tiruvarur


The sthala puranam here is about Sage Bringhi who wanted to worship Siva, to the exclusion of all other gods…even Parvati. To this end, he took the form of a bee to bore through the fused form of Siva and Parvati – Ardhanareeswarar – and that gives Siva here His name. The architecture and sculptures here bring this whole story to life. But why does Nandi face north at this temple? … Read More Vanduthurainathar, Tiruvanduthurai, Tiruvarur

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

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

Sundareswarar, Tiruvettakudi, Karaikal


This temple is connected to the Mahabharatam episode where Arjuna fought a hunter over an argument as to who killed the wild boar. Later, it transpired that the hunter was Siva in disguise. This incident is said to have taken place at this location, and the Tamil word “Vettai” refers to hunting. Murugan depicted with a bow instead of a vel (spear) at this temple, as he accompanied the hunter that was Siva! But why does the annual temple procession involve Siva taking a ritual bath in the sea nearby, dressed as a hunter? … Read More Sundareswarar, Tiruvettakudi, Karaikal

Valampura Nathar, Melaperumpallam, Nagapattinam


This temple shares a part of its puranam with the Tiruvalanchuzhi Kapardeeswarar temple, where Sage Herandar entered the earth, and emerged from this temple, to bring the Kaveri river back to earth. This place is regarded in puranams as the birthplace of Dakshayani, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, and Vishnu received some of His accoutrements here. One of the maadakoils built by Kochchenga Chola, the temple’s main puranam is about Pattinathar who came here seeking food, which helped a king be cured of his curse. How did this come about?… Read More Valampura Nathar, Melaperumpallam, Nagapattinam

Neelakanteswarar, Iluppaipattu, Nagapattinam


When Siva consumed the deadly halahala poison which emerged from the churning of the ocean, Parvati stopped the poison from doing further harm by holding Siva’s neck, which turned the Lord’s neck blue. For this reason, the temple is a prarthana sthalam for women worshipping for longevity of their husbands. This also gives both Siva and Parvati their names here. But why are there 4 more Siva Lingams here, and what is the Mahabharatam connection with the 2 Vinayakars, at this temple? … Read More Neelakanteswarar, Iluppaipattu, Nagapattinam

நீலகண்டேஸ்வரர், இலுப்பைப்பட்டு , நாகப்பட்டினம்


When Siva consumed the deadly halahala poison which emerged from the churning of the ocean, Parvati stopped the poison from doing further harm by holding Siva’s neck, which turned the Lord’s neck blue. For this reason, the temple is a prarthana sthalam for women worshipping for longevity of their husbands. This also gives both Siva and Parvati their names here. But why are there 4 more Siva Lingams here, and what is the Mahabharatam connection with the 2 Vinayakars, at this temple? … Read More நீலகண்டேஸ்வரர், இலுப்பைப்பட்டு , நாகப்பட்டினம்

Pathaaleeswarar, Haridwaramangalam, Tiruvarur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam and Pancha Aranya Kshetram (a set of five temples located in what used to be forests) is located near Kumbakonam, and has two very interesting sthala puranams connected with it. One is about Siva emerging as a pillar of fire, with Vishnu and Brahma taking the form of a boar and a swan, to find the ends of the pillar. The other has to do with Siva’s marriage to Parvati, but it wasn’t so simple! What was this all about?… Read More Pathaaleeswarar, Haridwaramangalam, Tiruvarur

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

Pasupateeswarar, Avoor, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam (and also a maadakoil) is connected with Kamadhenu and her daughter Patti (after whom Patteeswaram is named for). The temple is one of the pancha krosham temples associated with Pazhaiyarai, the old Chola capital. The temple also has an important Ramayanam connection. But why is Siva here also known as Kapardeeswarar, and what is unique about Murugan at this temple?… Read More Pasupateeswarar, Avoor, Thanjavur

ஆவூர் பசுபதீஸ்வரர், தஞ்சாவூர்


This Paadal Petra Sthalam (and also a maadakoil) is connected with Kamadhenu and her daughter Patti (after whom Patteeswaram is named for). The temple is one of the pancha krosham temples associated with Pazhaiyarai, the old Chola capital. The temple also has an important Ramayanam connection. But why is Siva here also known as Kapardeeswarar, and what is unique about Murugan at this temple?… Read More ஆவூர் பசுபதீஸ்வரர், தஞ்சாவூர்

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

Sivakozhundeeswarar, Tirusakthi Muttram, Thanjavur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is located very close to Patteeswaram near Kumbakonam, and is where Appar was told by Siva Himself, to go to nearby Nallur to receive deeksha from the Lord. The puranam here is about Parvati standing on one leg and worshipping Siva here, and the Lord arriving in the form of a powerful beam of effulgence. But What is the iconographic significance of the Uchishtha Ganapati shrine outside the main gopuram?… Read More Sivakozhundeeswarar, Tirusakthi Muttram, Thanjavur

Vaithamanidhi Perumal, Tirukolur, Thoothukudi


This Divya Desam temple in the Thoothukudi district is one of the Nava Tirupati temples of Vishnu that are associated with the Navagraham; this temple is associated with Sevvaai (Mars). Since Vishnu Himself depicts the planetary deities, this temple (as with the other Nava Tirupati temples) does not have a separate Navagraham shrine. The temple’s sthala puranam is about Kubera losing his wealth after being cursed by Parvati, and worshipping Vishnu to retrieve it, which also gives the Lord His name at this temple. … Read More Vaithamanidhi Perumal, Tirukolur, Thoothukudi