Rajagopala Perumal, Nallicheri, Thanjavur


The ruling Nayak king was unable to proceed to Mannargudi for his daily worship of Rajagopalaswami there, due to cyclonic storms. So he spent the night here, and through various voices and signs, was informed that he needed to build a temple for Krishna as Rajagopalar, here. The place gets its name from one of the 64 varieties of trees, plants, herbs, etc, that Shakhambari Devi created for a special visit here. Whose visit was this, and why did it take place?… Read More Rajagopala Perumal, Nallicheri, Thanjavur

Sarvateertheswarar, Theerthandathanam, Ramanathapuram


This west-facing temple is a pitru sthalam, and Siva and Amman here receive completely fresh clothes every day. In the Ramayanam, Rama was on his way to Rameswaram and Lanka, to defeat Ravana and bring Sita back, and quenched His thirst here. Agastyar advised Him to take the grace of Siva, since Ravana – a great Siva devotee himself – was otherwise under Siva’s protection. But what aspect of Saivism did Rama embrace, to show His devotion to Siva?… Read More Sarvateertheswarar, Theerthandathanam, Ramanathapuram

Thillaivaneswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram


Despite no known sthala puranam, this beautiful Chola-period temple is said to have been built in honour of Siva as Natarajar at Chidambaram (or Thillai). This temple may be a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, but it is not clear as of now, as the place shares its name with another in the Thanjavur district. But what is the unique reason why the locals are happy because of the daily fights that take place at this village?… Read More Thillaivaneswarar, Radhanur, Ramanathapuram

Pariya Marundeeswarar, Periya Maruthupatti, Sivaganga


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam is where Vishnu got relief from Brahmahathi dosham, after having slain Hiranyakashipu in the Narasimha avataram. The temple’s sthala puranam has several stories associated with the curative powers of Siva here, including a Mahabharatam connection as well, which contribute to the name of the moolavar. The two Ammans at this temple represent the shuddha and para brahmmam aspects. But why is Nandi here perpetually covered in ghee?… Read More Pariya Marundeeswarar, Periya Maruthupatti, Sivaganga

Kachabeswarar, Eachangudi, Thanjavur


Prior to the churning of the ocean, Siva asked Vishnu to take on the Kurma Avataram. The tortoise is called Kachabam in Sanskrit, which gives Siva His name here. The temple also has a Mahabharatam connection, which is one of four stories of how the place gets is name. But what is the fascinating story of how this temple, as it stands today, came into existence?… Read More Kachabeswarar, Eachangudi, Thanjavur

Parthasarathy Perumal, Tirunangur (Parthanpalli), Nagapattinam


Parthanpalli is one of the 11 in the list of Nangur Divya Desam temples. Vishnu here is said to have come from Kurukshetra, and the temple has some really unusual idols – 4-armed Vishnu as Parthasarathy, with a dagger; Dasaratha witnessing Vishnu come out of the sacrificial fire, and even Kolavilli Ramar in the sanctum. But Partha means Arjuna. So what does this place have to do with him? … Read More Parthasarathy Perumal, Tirunangur (Parthanpalli), 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

Kannayira Nathar, Tirukaravasal, Tiruvarur


This Paadal Petra Sthalam is connected with the legend of Muchukunda Chakravarti and the maragatha Lingam that he was given by Indra. Despite the popular name of Siva as Kailasanathar in several temples, Amman’s name – Kailasa Nayaki – is rather unique here.but this place also has a story featuring Vinayakar, which has a familiar ring to all of us – fear of the tax man! What is this story? … Read More Kannayira Nathar, Tirukaravasal, Tiruvarur

Kolavilli Ramar, Tiruvelliyangudi, Thanjavur


Located near Kumbakonam, this Divya Desam is believed to have existed in all 4 yugams, and is said to have been built by Mayan, the architect of the asuras. We may remember the story from Vamana Avataram, of Sukracharya entering Mahabali’s kamandalam as an insect to block the flow of water, and how Vamana blinded him. What happened to Sukracharya after that? And why does Garuda hold Vishnu’s conch and discus?… Read More Kolavilli Ramar, Tiruvelliyangudi, Thanjavur

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

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

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

Maha Kaleswarar, Irumbai, Viluppuram


Located near Pondicherry, this is one of 3 Makalam temples of Siva (the others being at Ujjain and Ampal/Tirumakalam). Two demons, armed with a boon from Siva himself, sought to marry Parvati. She killed them and was relieved of her sins here. The temple’s legend is associated with Kaduveli Siddhar whose curse resulted in this becoming an arid land. But why is the lingam here missing a piece, and how is the relief from the Siddhar’s curse related to the inhabitants of the region today? … Read More Maha Kaleswarar, Irumbai, Viluppuram

Kaisinivendhan Perumal, Tirupuliangudi, Tirunelveli


This Nava Tirupati temple is associated with Budhan, is where Indra was relieved of a curse, and Vishnu gave appeared to Varuna and Yama. Vishnu Himself represents the Navagraham here, and so there is no separate Navagraham shrine. This is where Sage Vasishta’s curse on Yagnasarma was relieved. But what is different about devotees having Lord Vishnu’s pada darsanam at this temple? … Read More Kaisinivendhan Perumal, Tirupuliangudi, Tirunelveli

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

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

Thothadri Nathan, Nanguneri, Tirunelveli


Bhoomadevi lost her purity after Madhu and Kaitabha’s slaying by Vishnu caused a world-pervading odour. She worshipped Vishnu here, who blessed her to be cleaned of the impurities. This is a swayam-vyakta kshetram, and eleven of the murtis here are considered to be swayambhu murtis. But how is this temple unique, as regards the Vaishnavite philosophy of Saranagati? … Read More Thothadri Nathan, Nanguneri, Tirunelveli