Village temples – introduction


A background note on village temples, which is essential to understanding the state of several temples in Tamil Nadu today, and what you can do about them.… Read More Village temples – introduction

Siva Surya Perumal, Keezhkudi, Ramanathapuram


In this temple, located in a small village that lies back of beyond nowhere, is a rather unique representation of Siva and Vishnu – both separately and together. The temple is said to celebrate the unity and oneness of Siva and Vishnu, despite what the sthala puranam of the Tiruvetriyur temple says, and re-emphasises the primacy of pillar worship. So what makes this temple fascinating, despite a total lack of any history or information available about it?… Read More Siva Surya Perumal, Keezhkudi, Ramanathapuram

Maruthanandeeswarar, Pennakonam, Cuddalore


Located south of the Vellar river, this Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam has no known sthala puranam as we know it. The few devotees who worship here, seek knowledge, wealth and relief from illnesses. Sambandar, one of the 63 Saiva Nayanmars, has sung about this temple in another pathigam. But the most interesting aspect of this late Chola temple is the unusual Murugan shrine here. Why is this so different?… Read More Maruthanandeeswarar, Pennakonam, Cuddalore

Kasi Viswanathar, Cholapuram, Thanjavur


Here is yet another temple virtually in ruins, thanks to the lax attitude of authorities who do not permit even willing sponsors to help renovate and rebuild this temple. Their blind eye has resulted in there being virtually nothing other than a Siva Lingam and a few assorted vigrahams. But this temple is really old, as evidenced by the unique depiction of Murugan here. How so, and how is that connected with Airavata, the celestial elephant? … Read More Kasi Viswanathar, Cholapuram, Thanjavur

Idamkondeeswarar, Kalyanapuram, Thanjavur


Sage Kashyapa wanted to see Siva and Parvati in their wedding attire, and was looking for the ideal place to worship. Guided by a celestial voice, he came here, and after performing penance, he was rewarded with the divine vision of the celestial wedding. This temple is a Vaippu Sthalam that finds mention in one of Appar’s Tevaram pathigams. But why is Siva here regarded as the elder brother of Siva at nearby Tiruvidaimaruthur?… Read More Idamkondeeswarar, Kalyanapuram, Thanjavur

Vedapureeswarar, Tirukazhithattai, Thanjavur


Said to have been built by Kodumbalur Velir, the army general of Sundara Chola, during the 10th century, this temple has several inscriptions about him, and various other important members of Chola royalty of the time. Suryan worships Siva here with his rays, twice a year, for 10 days at a time. But what is the etymology of the names of Siva and Parvati at this place?… Read More Vedapureeswarar, Tirukazhithattai, Thanjavur

Sundareswarar, Chattiram Karuppur, Thanjavur


Once known as Pathirivanam due to being a forest of pathiri trees, this Chola period temple is one of the Kumbakonam Pancha Krosha Sthalam temples, and is possibly adjunct to the Koranattu Karuppur temple, also for Siva as Sundareswarar. The local belief is that Yama does not bother those those who have seen Sundareswarar here. But why was this small and non-descript temple, and indeed this whole place, important to the celestials? … Read More Sundareswarar, Chattiram Karuppur, Thanjavur

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

Veerabhadrar, Darasuram, Thanjavur


This temple is presided over by Veerabhadrar, the fierce aspect of Siva, who also destroyed Daksha’s yagam, after Sati immolated herself at the sacrificial fire for her father’s disrespect towards her husband Siva. The temple also has a significant connection to the poet Ottakoothar, the author of Thakkayaga Parani, who was gifted the village of Koothanur (famous for the Saraswati temple there). But how did the Parani work come to be written?… Read More Veerabhadrar, Darasuram, Thanjavur

Sundareswarar, Ariyathidal, Thanjavur


Located just south of the Mahamaham tank in Kumbakonam, his temple for Siva and Parvati as Sundareswarar and Meenakshi is believed to have existed for almost 2000 years, but was rebuilt in the early 20th century, after it was found in ruins. The temple is connected to one Sri Ramaswamy of Thepperumanallur (also near Kumbakonam), but is also locally known as the Annadana Sivan temple. What’s the connection?… Read More Sundareswarar, Ariyathidal, Thanjavur

Brahmapureeswarar, Pozhakudi, Tiruvarur


This village temple is located very close to the Paadal Petra Sthalam and naga dosham nivritti sthalam at Tirupampuram. Brahma worshipped here, and was relieved of the curse he had suffered for having forgotten his duties of creation. The temple needs more visitors to help it regain its lost prominence, and to support the locals who offer their services to the temple. But why is there a vigraham of a snake next to the Nandi?… Read More Brahmapureeswarar, Pozhakudi, Tiruvarur

Pippilakadeeswarar, Alathur, Nagapattinam


This early 13th century Chola temple from the time of Kulothunga Chola III is a village temple in need of funds for construction of a raja gopuram. After centuries, the last kumbhabhishekam was performed in 2014 at this Vata-Aranya-Kshetram, where celestials worshipped here, to be rid of the curses and harassment of the demons Kara and Dooshana. But why is Siva here called Pippilakadeeswarar? … Read More Pippilakadeeswarar, Alathur, Nagapattinam

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

Veerabhadrar, Vazhuvur, Nagapattinam


Vazhuvur is regarded as the birthplace of Ayyappan. This village temple for Veerabhadrar – often regarded as an aspect of Siva Himself – is closely connected with the Vazhuvur Veeratteswarar temple located nearby, and also to Ayyappan. The temple stands in ruins, but has two very unusual aspects to it, on the depiction of the presiding deity. What are these?… Read More Veerabhadrar, Vazhuvur, Nagapattinam

Pasupateeswarar, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore


Tiruvamur is the avatara sthalam of Appar (Tirunavukkarasar), probably the most prominent of the Saivite bhakti saints. This temple for Pasupateeswarar is where the saint, and his parents, had worshipped. Built in the late 11th or early 12th century in the time of Kulothunga Chola III, this temple’s sthala puranam is about a cow that offered its milk as reparation for an injury it unknowingly caused, to a buried Siva Lingam. The etymology of Tiruvamur is also connected to this puranam. But why is this temple regarded as a possible Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam?… Read More Pasupateeswarar, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore

Tirunavukkarasar Koil, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore


This temple is built at the very place where the Tamil bhakti saint Appar was born, and is closely connected to the Pasupateeswarar temple in the same village. Appar is the author of the Tevaram, which represents volumes 4-6 of the Tirumurai, in the Tamil bhakti literary tradition. Read about the shrine, and also the very engrossing life history of Appar, here.… Read More Tirunavukkarasar Koil, Tiruvamur, Cuddalore

Vaitheeswaran, Chintamani Nallur, Viluppuram


This 900-year-old temple was built by Vikrama Chola, and the presiding deity named Kulothunga Chozheeswaramudaiya Mahadevar, in honour of Vikrama’s father Kulothunga Chola I. Vikrama Chola’s mother’s names are also the basis for the name of this place and the well-known nearby town of Madhurantakam. But what is unusual about the deities in the koshtam, at this temple?… Read More Vaitheeswaran, Chintamani Nallur, Viluppuram

Veda Narayana Perumal, Kodikulam, Madurai


Brahma’s carelessness led to the demons Madhu & Kaitabha stealing the Vedas from him, which led to all creation coming to a sudden halt. Vishnu had to fight the demons to get back the Vedas. As penitence, Brahma performed penance here in human form, and so is depicted with only one head, instead of his usual four. But how is this temple connected to Srirangam, the Mughal invasion of the south, and the Vaishnavite saint-philosopher Pillai Lokacharyar?… Read More Veda Narayana Perumal, Kodikulam, Madurai

Kailasanathar, Tirumetrali, Thanjavur


When the Cholas had their capital at Pazhaiyarai near Kumbakonam, there were four main temples in the four cardinal directions. Of these, this temple is the one on the western side, and hence also called Metrali. This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam’s puranam is about Sabali – one of the daughters of the celestial cow Patti (after whom Patteeswaram is named) – who worshipped here. The temple would have been much larger in the Chola period, but lies uncared for today. … Read More Kailasanathar, Tirumetrali, Thanjavur

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

Krishnan, Vanathirajapuram, Nagapattinam


Basic information about the temple Moolavar: Krishnan Ambal / Thayar: x Deity: Perumal Historical name: Vriksham: Teertham: Agamam: Age (years): Timing: to & to Parikaram: Temple group: – Sung by: Temple set: Navagraham: Nakshatram: City / town: Kshetrapalapuram District: Nagapattinam Maps from (click): Current location Mayiladuthurai (5 km) Kumbakonam (34 km) Thiruvarur (44 km) Nagapattinam… Read More Krishnan, Vanathirajapuram, Nagapattinam

Yogeswarar, Putheri, Kanyakumari


Basic information about the temple Moolavar: Yogeswarar Ambal / Thayar: x Deity: Aiyanar/Sastha Historical name: Vriksham: Teertham: Agamam: Age (years): Timing: 6.30 to 7.30 & 6.30 to 8.30 Parikaram: Temple group: – Sung by: Temple set: Navagraham: Nakshatram: City / town: Putheri District: Kanyakumari Maps from (click): Current location Nagercoil (6 km) Kanyakumari (23 km)… Read More Yogeswarar, Putheri, Kanyakumari