Sivalokanathar, Mangudi, Mayiladuthurai


This Chola period temple is dated as being over 1000 years old, and is located in the village of Mangudi, which itself has some very interesting stories with regard to its etymology. What would have been an imposing temple in the late Chola period is, today, in a pathetic state of repair and structural failing. But what does this temple have to do with the two nearby temples for Siva as Bhulokanathar and Naganathar?… Read More Sivalokanathar, Mangudi, Mayiladuthurai

Azhagiyanathar, Sholampettai, Mayiladuthurai


One of seven temples that form part of the Mayiladuthurai Sapta Sthanam festival, this brick temple lies in shambles today. Interestingly, given the presence of two vigrahams of Sambandar, this temple is often regarded as possibly being a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam. Suryan worshipped Amman here to be rid of his rheumatism. But what is the Mahabharatam connection here, and how is it depicted in sculptures at this temple?… Read More Azhagiyanathar, Sholampettai, Mayiladuthurai

Chitrambala Naadeeswarar, Sitharkadu, Nagapattinam


This 14th century late medieval Chola temple is actually a jeeva samadhi of the renowned saint Kazhi Sitrambala Nadigal. On top of the saint’s final resting place, a Siva Lingam was consecrated and this came to be a temple proper in its own right. But what is the fascinating story of the saint, how he came to rest here, and why there are 63 Siva Lingams carved in bas relief around the garbhagriham’s outer wall (and has nothing to do with the 63 Nayanmars)?… Read More Chitrambala Naadeeswarar, Sitharkadu, Nagapattinam

Tirumoolanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore


The place and the name of the moolavar here get their names from the fact that Tirumoolar – the Saivite saint and composer of the Tirumandiram – stayed here on his way from Chidammbaram to Tiruvidaimaruthur. This ancient temple, which was built in the 10th century – is in poor state, but in active worship, and features some exceptional architecture and sculptures. But why are there 3 representations of Sani at this temple?… Read More Tirumoolanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore

Kailasanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore


This is one of the many temples where sage Agastyar visited and consecrated a Lingam, after being presented with the divine vision of Siva and Parvati’s wedding at Kailasam. This is also where the Goddess trio of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati have worshipped. Despite its heavily dilapidated situation today, the temple offers some insights into temple building styles from before the Chola period. What are some of these indications, and to what time period does this temple belong?… Read More Kailasanathar, Tirumoolasthanam, Cuddalore

Viswanathar, Devankudi, Thanjavur


This is one of the temples connected to Siva’s walk from Tiruvaiyaru to Swamimalai, which journey He undertook to receive upadesam from His son Murugan, on the meaning of the Pranava Mantram. The temple is also a Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam, having been sung upon by both Appar and Sambandar. This small village temple is also unusual in its arrangement of shrines.… Read More Viswanathar, Devankudi, Thanjavur

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

Agasteeswarar, Vidangalur, Nagapattinam


This small temple in a nondescript village is actually a Vaippu Sthalam that features in the Tevaram, mentioned by the Saivite saint Sundarar in one of his pathigams. Sages Agastyar and Vitangar worshipped here. But despite the fine examples of Chola architecture, the temple lies uncared for, except by the residents of the village. This is one of several such temples that needs our collective support.… Read More Agasteeswarar, Vidangalur, Nagapattinam

Munivasagaswami, Neithavasal, Nagapattinam


This Tevaram Vaippu Sthalam does not have a sthala puranam of its own that has been identified for this temple. However, the temple is located in what appears to be the remnants of the lost city of Kaveripoompattinam, which is mentioned in Sangam literature. This simple temple has behind it, a history of the lost city of Neithalankaanal. What is this history?… Read More Munivasagaswami, Neithavasal, 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

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

Brahma Nandeeswarar, Patteeswaram, Thanjavur


This small, dilapidated temple has recently found prominence amongst followers of Chola history and Chola temples. Mostly made of brick, this temple today is a shadow of what would likely have been an imposing temple in Chola times. Brahma and the naga kannikas are said to have worshipped here. But why is the location of this temple important in Chola history?… Read More Brahma Nandeeswarar, Patteeswaram, Thanjavur

Abhimukteeswarar, Kodaganallur, Tirunelveli


This small but beautiful, unique west-facing Siva temple in Kodaganallur, near one of the Nava Kailasam temples, is regarded as highly powerful, owing to it being a west-facing Siva temple. The village of Kodaganallur gets its name from the fact that Karkotaka, the snake, attained liberation here. However, the most interesting part of this temple is the placement of various deities, despite this being a west-facing temple. How so?… Read More Abhimukteeswarar, Kodaganallur, Tirunelveli

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