Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Easwara Vasal, Vaipur and Thirumarugal

Thirumarugal Temple
Assurances are meant to be honoured.Long term assurances were made in manuscripts. Endowments were even recorded on stone walls of the Temples.   Failing to keep up the word was considered as a sin in those days. Nayanmars like Iyarpagayar, Thirukuriputhondar,  Thiruneelakandar, Amarneedhiyar were very particular in keeping up the verbal assurances made. At the same time there were some people who failed to keep their words. Perhaps such violations are more at present!

Marriage under Vanni tree-Thirumarugal.  Pic Courtesy: Unknown
There lived a Vaisya called Daman in Vaipur, a village  in Chola Kingdom. He had seven daughters. He assured his sister's son that he would give him the eldest daughter for getting married. When a better alliance came he failed to keep his promise and gave his eldest daughter to a wealthy bridegroom. He continued to break his promise in the case of other five daughters also  and disappointed his nephew. The youngest daughter wanted to save the face of her family by deciding to marry the very person at whom the promise was made by her father. She left Vaipur with him and proceeded to the groom's place to get married. When they approached Thirumarugal, the boy was bitten by a snake and it proved fatal. The helpless girl cried by looking at the Temple of Rathnapureeswara Swami of Thirumarugal. Saivite Saint Thirugnanasambandhar who was on a pilgrimage to Thirumarugal heard her cries and came to console her. He instantly sang a Padhigam on the Lord of the Temple by describing her plight. Once the Padhigam was over, the boy got up and worshipped Sambandhar. Their marriage was conducted under a Vanni tree in the temple in the presence of Sambandhar. This incident is narrated in Periayapuranam by Sekkizhar.

Easwara Vasal
While Thirumarugal Temple is well maintained, people have almost forgotten the temple at Vaipur. Those who take Mayiladuthurai- Thiruvarur road  should take diversion at a place called Gangalancheri. This road leads to Nagore and Vaipur is about 10 km from Gangalancheri. We come across another temple at Eswara Vasal amidst a beautiful surrounding. A tributary of Cauvery flows North- South in front of the temple. There is no concrete bridge to cross the river. The present bridge is made of bamboo sticks only. When Lord Sani was on his way to Thirunallar, he stayed overnight at this place and worshipped Lord Shiva . Sani has a separate shrine here and people visit the temple on saturdays in good numbers. The Temple seems to have been rebuilt with bricks some  300 years ago by retaining the ancient Murthis .

Swami Vimanam-Eswara Vasal
 People guess that the Kumbabishekam might have been performed a century ago. The Lord is called Sankara Narayanar and Devi as Sankara Narayani. It appears that the original names might have been some thing else and the Deities are renamed. There is a small shrine for Vishnu behind the Sanctum. The Goddess is housed in ardhamandapam of Swami Sannadhi.

Ambal Vimanam-Easwara Vasal
A small Temple,though, it needs immediate repairs to the roof and Vimanams. Initiative was made to start the renovation work to complete it by mid June so that the villagers can aim to perform the Kumbabishekam before July 15th. The one positive aspect here is that the Sivacharyar lives close to the Temple with his family .

Vaipur
It was nearing sun set when we reached Vaipur. We were shocked to see that the Temple was in an abandoned state.Even one Kala puja is not conducted at the moment. It is not known why the locals have failed to preserve the Shrine which has got more than 1400 years History behind it. With bushes and thorns all around the prakaram is misused by some bad elements as open toilet. The small Temple lacks a compound wall and a gate. Renovation work in Swami and Ambal Vimanams has been discontinued in the middle for reasons not known. God willing, work should resume by July end and efforts for the same will be made by us.

Thirumarugal
Thirumarugal can easily be reached by road if one takes the Nagoor road near Sannanallur( on Mayiladuthurai- Thiruvarur road) and proceed to some 10 Km. Marugal is a type of Banana tree which is the Sthala Vrukasham of Thirumarugal temple. The temple tank is in the front and Rajagopuram is there at the entrance. One can see the Vanni tree in the prakaram under which Sambandar held the marriage. Rathnapureeswara Swami sannadhi is located on an elevated place. The annual festival is conducted here during which  the marriage of Vaisya girl is enacted.
The situation has come to such a bad state as there is no revenue from any source to preserve the village temples. People normally visit only those temples which are attracting large number of devotees. Lack of interest shown by the locals and the HR & CE dept is the major  cause which makes the age old temples sink further.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ganapatheeswaram

Thiruchenkattangudi should occupy a special place for the devotees of both Shiva and Ganapathi. It can be accessed from Karaikal,Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam. As very few buses go near the Temple, it is better to get down at Thirumarugal by taking buses from the above places and then proceed to Thiruchenkattangudi which is about 2 km from that point.

The name Thiruchengattangudi is derived from an interesting legend associated to this important pilgrimage centre. A demon called Gajamukasura (with elephant head) harassed Devas and Rishis and forced them to worship him. Unable to face the atrocities of the demon,the Devas and  Rishis went to Mount Kailash and sought asylum with Lord Shiva. The Lord took pity of their plight and sent Ganapathi to destroy the demon. The war went on for several days and the demon was finally killed by Ganapathi.

Gajamukasura's blood started flowing all across the place and made the soil red. Hence the place attained the name-- SEM (Red) Kaadu(Forest). As a result of killing the demon, Ganapathi was affected by Brahmahathi Dhosha. To get rid of the Dhosha, Ganapathi worshipped Lord Shiva in the Tamil month of Margazhi ( Dhanur Masa) when the star and Thithi were Sathayam (sathapishak) and Sashti respectively.This day is being celebrated as an one day festival even now. The Linga Murthi in the Sanctum of this Temple is called Ganapatheeswara. The 7th century Saiva Saint Gnanasambandhar in his Thevaram Hymns has referred the Temple based on the above sthala puranam as  Ganapatheeswaram.

Ganapatheeswaram
The 5 tier Rajagopuram at the entrance welcomes the devotees. The first tier has terracota figures pertaining to the sthala puranam. It includes the Shiva Puja conducted by Ganapathi and unparalleled devotion of Siruthonda Nayanar,one of the 63 devotees mentioned in Thevaram Padhigam by Sundaramurthi Nayanar.

While  working as Senapathi under the Pallava King, Paranjothi who belonged to Thiruchengattangudi went to Vathapi and won the war against Pulikesin, He relinquished the post and returned to his native place and installed the  idol of Ganapathy he brought from Vathapi. Therefore the  name of Ganesa in the small shrine of the outer prakaram is called Vathapi Ganapathi. As Paranjothi was a great devotee of Lord Shiva he humbly called himself as Siruthondan. It was his routine to feed the devotees of Shiva every day.

On one day Siruthondar could not find a single devotee even upto mid day. But he continued his search throughout the village . Meanwhile The Lord took the form of a Bhairava and went to Siruthondar's house where he was welcomed by Thiruvenkattunangai,Siruthondar's wife and her servant maid, Santhanathathi. But the Lord was reluctant to enter into the house as there was no male member present at that time. He told them that he would be waiting under the Aathi tree until the arrival of Siruthondar.

Unable to find a Shiva devotee for lunch, Siruthondar as a disappointed man returned home .  His wife narrated the entire episode that happened short while ago. He rushed to the temple immediately and found the Lord under the Aathi tree who identified Himself as Uthrapathi.

On reaching Siruthondar's house, The Lord said that he could take food made of  the only son of the family who would be cut and offered willingly by his parents. Siruthondar and his wife readily agreed to the condition and offered their only son Seeralan to Uthrapatheesa. When the food was offered in a plantain leaf, The Lord asked the couple to call the boy by name . When they obeyed accordingly, Seerala came running towards them as if he was returning from school. But they could not see Uthrapatheesa anywhere. Instead they saw Parvathi and Parameshwara seated on a bull, appearing in the sky. The Lord blessed them and granted salvation.

Apart from the one day festival on Margazhi Sadhayam which marks the Siva Puja peformed by Ganapathi, the festival in the Tamil month of Chithirai (April)is conducted on a Bharani day when the above incident is recalled. It draws good crowd from many parts of the state. There is a separate sannadhi for Utharapatheeswarara on the right of The Sanctum. It faces the age old aathi tree. The idols of Siruthondar,his wife,son and the servant maid face the sannadhi in worshipping posture. Surya theertham is on the southern side of the Temple.

Devotees should also visit Ramanadheeswaram, Thirumarugal,Thiru Sathamangai (Seeyathamangai) and Thirupugalur which are located nearby.  

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Divine Journey from Thiruvanjaikkalam

Historians are of the view that '" Cheraman'" was a title held by  Kings of Chera Dynasty. According to them, Raja Sekara Varman,also known as Cheraman Perumal Nayanar, the ruler of the later Chera Dynasty became the close friend of Sundara Murthi Nayanar, one of the four great Acharyars of Saiva Tradition. during his reign in 800- 840 A.D.  He was such a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva  that he could hear the sound of the cosmic dance at the end of his daily Puja to Lord Nataraja. Readers need not get confused with Cheraman Perumal of 620A.D. because of the resemblance in their names. Later Cheras ruled from Magothai ( also known as Magothayapattinam or magothayapuram) between 8th and 12 th centuries. The city was constructed around the famous Temple of Anjaikkalaththappan. and was protected by high fortress on all the sides.

Cheraman Perumal Nayanar is said to be aware of what is said around him, both by living and non living things. Hence he was known as '" Kazharitru Arivaar". He was also known for his generocity and this quality was compared to that of clouds that gift abundant rain to the world. It was for this reason he was mentioned as '" kaar konda kodai Kazharitru arivaar" by Sundaramurthi Nayanar in his Thevaram Hymn. Once he went round the city and saw a washerman with white marks all around his body. The King got it as the marks of Vibhuthi and fell on his feet as he held such people as devotees of Lord Shiva. Cheraman told him that he reminded him of the devotees of Shiva.

It was on a day when Cheraman finished his Puja, he could not hear the sound of the Cosmic Dance. He heard the Divine voice saying that it was due to the presence of Sundara Murthi Nayanar who was singing Thevaram Hymns in front of Nataraja at Chidambaram. The Chera King wondered how great a Devotee Sundarar would be to make the Lord Himself so fond of hearing his Hymns. He wanted to meet the Great Devotee and went all the way from his place to Chidambaram. He recited his own work '" Pon Vannaththu Andhadhi " (which is included in 11th Thiumurai) in front of  Lord Nataraja.

Then he went to Thiruvarur to meet Sundarar who had just returned from Nagapattinam after receiving lot of gifts from the Lord. Sundarar welcomed the King and the later stayed as a guest in his house,'"Paravaiyar Maligai'. The King accompanied Sundarar and visited various shrines of Shiva. As requested by Cheraman, Sundarar went to Thiuvanjaikalam and stayed in the palace. He returned to Thiruvarur and continued his pilgrimage. He made another visit to Thiruvanjaikalam and had Dharshan at the Temple. He prayed to Anjaikalaththu appan to free him from worldly bondage. The Lord sent the white elephant to bring Sundarar to Kailash. Sudarar sang a Thevaram Padhigam on Kailasanatha on his way to Kailash. It was sent back to Thiruvanjaikalam through Varuna. Cheraman also joined him on his horseback and reached Kailash. He recited his own work "" Thiruk Kayilaya Gnana Ula'' ( also in 11th Thirumurai) and both of them were blessed in this way without any parallel in History. Peria Puranam, a 11th century Tamil work describes the incident that took place in Adi Swathi ( July- August).

Thiruvanjaikalam,now known as Thiruvanjikulam is located about 6 km from Kodungalur, in Thrusoor District of Kerala.Thrussur is well connected by road and rail routes and good hotels to stay. The distance between Thrussur and Kodungalur is about 35 km. The western entrance is near the Kodungalur- Ernakulam Highway. It is understood that the Temple was attacked and looted by the forces of Tipu Sultan. Tipu's army fled the scene on the arrival of  Travancore Army of Dalawa Keshavdas Pillai. The Temple was rebuilt by Paliath Achan of Kochi.

As we enter the Temple, we find a Namaskara Mandapam with 16 pilliars  We come to know that the Temple was renovated in 1801. Unlike the pyramidal roofs of Kerala Temples, we find a dwithala Vimanam over the Namaskara Mandapam. Inscriptions are found in the west Prakaram. Konrai tree,the sthala Vruksham is seen in the outer prakaam. Unlike the presence of a separate shine for Goddess Parvathi, this Temple has Shiva sannadhi only wherein the Goddess takes a part of the Supreme Lord and therefore the murthi is known as Uma Maheswara.  Images of nataraja, Sundarar and Cheraman are seen in a separate sannadhi.  Murals portraying Ramayana characters are seen in five panels.

Gopuram thevar,Dhakshinamuthi,Pasupathi, Nattakal Sivan,Sandhyavela sivan, Palliyara Sivan, Unni Thevar, Konnakal Sivan are the Murthis housed in separate shrines.

The annual festival is conducted in Feb-March for eight days. It concludes with aarattu in the nearby sea. on new-moon day. Aanaiyottam is also a part of the festival. Mahashivarathri at this Temple is very famous in this region which attracts lage number of people.
     
Keezhthali Sivan Temple at Thiru Kulasekarapuram and  Sringapuram Siva Temple(installed by Sage Rishyasringa), are some important temples located close to Kodungalur.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nanjangud Nanjundeswara

Sri Srikanteswara/Nanjundeswara Temple at Nanjangud is one of the sacred shrines of Karnataka state. It is 25 km away from Mysore on Ooty road that goes through Bandipur Wildlife sanctuary. It is well connected by buses from Mysore that ply frequently.

Gaja Samhara Murthi
This Temple is on the banks of the river Kapila/ Kabini which is considered as sacred as Ganga. Hence the town is regarded on par with Kasi to be known as Dhakshina Kasi. Similarly we have Dhakshina Kasis in Tamilnadu at Vridhachalam and Srivanchiyam(Where the river,Manimuthar  and the Temple Tank,Guptha Gangai respectively are considered as River Ganga)

When the Devas and Asuras churned the milky ocean, Halahala,the deadly poison which could ruin the entire Universe came out. The frightened Devas took asylum at Kailash and prayed Lord Shiva to protect them. The Lord consumed the poison and it stayed at His neck, hence the name Neelakanta  He is worshipped as a remover of all diseases who also liberates the devotees from rebirth. Therefore He is known as '" Bhava roga Vaidyanatha'". The YajurVeda calls Him as The Supreme Physician in Sri Rudram (" Prathamo dhaivyo Bhishak") Gowthama Rishi and Parasurama have worshipped Lord Neelakanta here and were blessed. Parasurama performed "Thapas'' to get himself freed from the sin of beheading his mother Renuka Devi as per the instruction of his father, Jamadhagni Rishi.

This Temple is perhaps one of the largest shrines of karnataka as it measures about 50000 sq.feet . A beautiful 7 tier Gopuram is at the entrance with the outer walls of about 12 feet high. The outer wall presents a row of carefully carved images. 32 forms of Ganapathi are also seen in the Temple as described in the Puranas.

 Emperors of Chola,Hoysyala and Vijayanagara had constructed different parts of the Temple during their regime. The Shrine enjoyed a special status under the rule of Mysore King, Krishna Raja Wodeyar .A big Nandi is at the front Mandapam.

The inner Prakaram offers a gallery of 63 Nayanmars and the different forms of Lord Shiva, Kiratharjuna Murthi, Chandikeswara Anugraha Murthi,Kiratha Murthi,SankaraNarayana Murthi,GirijaKalyana Murthi,  Nataraja Murthi to name a few.

Apart from the daily Pujas, the Temple attracts thousands of pilgrims during Maha Shivarathri in Februay/March, Girija Kalyana in July, Chikka Jathra ( Three exquisitely carved wooden chariots drawn by devotees) in November and Pancha Maharathothsava in April. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gokarna, The Dhakshin Kasi

According to the Legend, even a glimpse of Gokarna , one of the holiest shrines of Lord Shiva ,  bestows immense blessings to the Devotees. It is considered as Dhakshina Kasi, as Holy as Varanasi and the Temple Tank, Koti Theertham ,as Holy as River Ganga.

Gokarna is located in the Uthara Kannada district of Karnataka state. It is on the Karvar coast of Arabian Sea.It is about 60 Km from Karvar, 250 Km from Mangalore,160 km from Hubli and 450 km from Bangalore. This Temple town is close to Mangalore- Mumbai National Highway. Pilgrims fom Chennai can take the direct train to Hubli and then go to Gokarna by bus which takes around 4 hours. There are many choultries , Lodges and resorts in this town to suit various segments of pilgrims. Many foreigners visit this town as it is hardly 150 km from Goa, the Tourist destination. The nearest railway station, Gokarna Road is 6 km away from the town.The ocean with the roaring waves coupled with the sand bed and Camel rides attract them. The town,  overlooking both the Western Ghats and the Ocean presents a breathtaking picture to the visitors.

 The long journey by bus from Hubli can be less cumbersome by breaking it in the middle. We broke the journey at a choultry where the pilgrims were offered breakfast. Karnataka is known for its hospitality as most of the famous Temples feed the pilgrims twice everyday.

The Legend of this place traces back to the Ramayana period when the Demon King Ravana went to Mount Kailash and performed severe penance. His aim was to get back the Atmalinga stolen from him and thrown into the sea by Devendra. It was originally worshipped by Ravana' s mother for the prosperity of her son. Angered by the act of Indra, Ravana promised his mother that he would get back the Atmalinga from none other than Lord Shiva Himself. He praised the Lord with Shiva Thandava Sthothram and started offering his organs into the Homa Kundam. The Lord appeared in font of him and gave the Atma Linga to him and bestowed many boons with the condition that the Atma Lingam should not be placed anywhere in the middle until his return to Lanka.

On his way back Home, Ravana, on reaching the shores of Gokarna wanted to perform his evening prayers ( Sandhya Vandhanam ). There appeared Lord Ganesha in the form of a brahmin boy. Ravana requested Ganapathi to hold the Atma Linga in His hands until he came back after finishing the prayers. Ganapathi accepted his request with one condition that He would call Ravana by his name thrice and it was upto him to collect the Lingam before that  time. Otherwise he would place the Lingam on the ground.

Ravana could not return before the specified time and Ganesha called Ravana thrice quickly and placed the Lingam on the ground . Ravana chased the boy and gave a blow on His head. Lord Ganesha vanished from the scene and Ravana tried his best to lift the Atma Lingam but in vain. The Linga Murthi was deeply rooted by that time and Ravana could only feel the top of the Lingam and felt it as the ear of the Cow. Hence He named Him as Go karneshwara and Mahabaleshwara.
The west facing Temple was constructed during the period of    Mayuravarman ( 345- 365 CE) The Vimanam above the Sanctum is in Dravidian style. There is a prakaram aound the sanctum and a separate shrine for Goddess Parvathi ( Thambra Gowri). The Temple was visited by Vijayanagar Kings and Chatrapati Shivaji.

Koti Theertham
 The devotees take bath in the ocean and then in the Temple Tank, Koti Theertham and worship Sidhi Ganapathi at the Temple close to Gokarneshwara' s Shrine.Ganesa Muthi of this type is unique with two hands and in standing posture. Then they proceed to Gokarneswara Shrine where Pujas are held thrice in a day. The pilgrims are allowed to touch the Lingam inside the square pedastal and offer abhishekam.

As the place is regarded as pious as Kasi, devotees pay their respects to their ancestors by performing '" Pithru Karmas'" on the banks of Koti Theertham.

Maha Shivarathri festival in Feb-March draws very large number of devotees . The Chariot festival is held with the images of Shiva and Parvathi kept on the decorated wooden chariot.People pull the chariot with lot of enthusiasm accompanied with drum music.

The Main deity of the Temple is sung in Thevaram Hymns that date back to 6-7th century. Tamil Saint Gnanasambandhar sang a ' Padhigam'  for this place during his visit to Kalahasthi. It was Saint Appar (Thirunavukkarasar) who walked all the way to Gokarna and sang a Padhikam in praise of Lord Gokarna. He made reference to the sea shore on which the Temple stood. The Temple authorities should include this Historic incident in their publications and inscribe the Hymns on the wall of the Temple to preserve the ancient History related to it.

Among the Pancha Linga kshethrams of this region, the other four Temples are at Dhareshvar, Gunavantheshwar, Mrudeshwar and Shedjeshwar. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sarabeswara Sannadhis

Fear is the key at various stages of life. It may be due to illness, enmity or anything that can cause worry to the mind. Many of us stand clueless once our attempts become unsuccessful. The agony caused is too much for anyone to bear. Mythology shows the way to come out of such a challenging situation. It tells us how God is merciful if we seek asylum in Him. Yes, it is our good fortune which alone can direct us in that direction.

When Lord Vishnu came out of a Pillar to show he was present everywhere, it was not just to destroy the Demon King Hianyaksha but also to bless His devotee, Prahaladha. He did not control His anger even after killing the Demon. Devas feared that the killing spree would continue. Then they went to Kailash and reported the matter to Lord Shiva and prayed Him to save the World from the fear of destruction. The Lord took the form of Sarabha Pakshi, as a combination of Lion and a bird with large wings and held Narasimha in His hands On seeing Lord Shiva appeared before Him, Vishnu with folded hands pleaded mercy for His act What we see in sculptures pertaining to Sarabeswara depicts the very moment in which Shiva controlled the angry Narasimha to remove the fear of Devas and others.

There are many shrines where Sarabeswara sannadhi is prominent. We can name a few of them which are housed in Temples where the main shrine is that of Shiva Linga Murthi. In general, the Sarabeswara sannadhi faces south. As South is the direction meant for Yama, The Lord faces that direction and protects His devotees from the clutches of Yama.

Abath Sahayeswara Temple at Dugachi,near Nachiar Koil has a small sannadhi for Sarabeswara. The idol faces south and attracts devotees and the Temple is undergoing renovation though at a very slow pace. This Temple was built by Vikrama Chola.

The biggest sannadhi for Sarabeswara is at Thirubhuvanam, about 7 km east of Kumbakonam. The Sanctum is located at at a height similar to the Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikonda Cholapuram & Darasuram where the Vimanam above the sanctum is higher than that of the Raja Gopuram. Since the Lord removed the fear of Devas , He is known as Kambahareswara. The Chola Temple has a south facing sannadhi for Sarabeswara where people from different places come to worship Him with the prayer to remove the obstacles faced in their lives. It attracts good crowd on Sundays during Rahukala ( 4.30 – 6.00 p.m) when special pujas are performed to Sarabeswara.

People are generally not aware of an important Temple related to Sarabeswara at Narasingan pettai which is near Aduthurai on Kumbakonam – Mayiladuthurai road. The Temple is located about 1 km off the main road. The legend says that Narasimha , after realising His mistake worshipped Shiva here. The Temple , not very big though, has a beautiful vimanam above the Sanctum. The Linga Murthi is big and one can see the sculpture showing Narasimha’s worship of Lord Shiva.


It is interesting to see the Sculpture of Sarabeswara in the Pillars of various Temples. The one at Koyambedu, Chennai attracts hundreds of devotees on Sunday evenings. But the strange aspect is that we find Sarabeswara with two heads, holding Narasimha in His hands. It is not clear why He is shown with two heads. This sculpture is in a Temple at Thirisoolam, on the out skirts of Chennai.              

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pradosham at Erukathampuliyur

We come across many places which are named after an event or person. We also find the names related to trees which are considered as sacred to that place. Vanniyoor is named after the sthala vruksham of the place,namely, Vanni.Thillai tree is related to Chidambaram. Thirumullaivaayil gets the name after the shrub called "Mullai ". Similarly, the plant ,"Erukku " , being the sthala vruksham , forms the first part of the name of a place and the second part is atributed to a Rishi known as Vyagra patha. Both put together, the place is called as "Ërukkaththam puliyoor." It is now called as Rajendira Pattinam. It is located 12 km south of Vruthachalam on Jayamkodam road. The east facing Temple is sung by Thirugnana sambandhar in the 7th century.

The Temple has two prakarams. It has got 40 ft high Raja gopuram. Vel eruku is the sthala vruksham which can be seen in the prakaram.Sidhi ganapathi, Nardhan ganapathi, Subramanya are the Murthis we worship in the Prakaram. When Shiva was explaining the meaning of Vedas, Parvathi did not show rapt attention to it. Angered Shiva cursed her to take birth in fisher man''s community. On seeing this, Subramanya threw the Vedic manuscripts into the sea. It made Shiva to curse Subramanya to take birth as a dumb Subramanya, as dumb, named as Rudra sarma worshipped and got rid of his dumbness. Rudrasarma's figure is also seen in this Temple. When Devaganas prayed Vruthachaleswara to tell a place which could easily grant salvation, The Lord asked them to go to Erukathampuliyur. Hence the place is also known as Ganeswaram.

Erukku- Sthala Vruksham
When a hunter saved a brahmin from a Tiger,he was blessed to take birth as Vyagrapatha and worship Shiva. Therefore the place is called as Puliyur. The legend also says that a King of Madhurapuri visited the Temple and prayed. His prayer was answered and he was blessed with a child.He named his son as Rajendran and the place got the name, Rajendrapattinam.Naimicharanya rishis took the form of the plant "Ërukku"  and worshipped the Lord. It is for this reason the place is known as "Erukkathampuliyur" This is also a place which removed the disease of a King from Ujjain. Arunagirinatha has sung Thirupugazh in praise of Subramanya of this Temple.Sivaprakasa has authored the Sthala Puranam of this Temple.


Erukkaththampuliyoor is also the birth place of  Thiruneeelakanda Yaazhpaanar, one of the sixtythree Nayanmaars. Being a great player of the instrument "Yaazh" , he accompanied Thirugnana Sambandhar wherever the Acharya went. His wife , Madanga Choolamani also joined him in this Pilgrimage to several Shiva Shrines. They entered "Siva Jothi " at Nalloor Perumanam ,now known as Achalpuram along with hundreds of devotees. The girl of  Yaazhpanar's legacy, set tunes to Thevaram Hymns. The idols of  Yaazh panar's family are installed along with those of the four Saiva acharyas in the prakaram.

In contrast with crowded Temples of major Towns on Pradosham days, Erukathampuliyur presents a serene look on this day. The Nandi Mandapam, located between the Rajagopuram and the Temple Tank makes the atmosphere more Divine. Not many people join the occasion except some visitors from outside and very few persons of the village.

However, the Pujas started with Abhishekam to Lord Neelakandeswara followed by Deeparadhana. Abhishekam is then performed to the Nandi with Milk,curd, Honey, Vibhoothi, Coconut water ,vibhuthi and sandal paste. If anyone want to visit a Shiva Temple on Pradosham where one can have dharshan easily, this is one of those places free from crowds.

The Temple is undergoing renovation and lot of work remains to be done. The work has to be speeded up with the support of Philanthropists to perform the consecration at an early date.