Thursday, October 20, 2011

Temples near Thiruvarur - Part I

A girl from a Saivaite family got married to a Vaishnavaite and settled at a place near Thiruvarur. She could not resist worshipping Lord Shiva much against the wishes of her husband. However, she continued her worship in a cattle shed behind her house by assuming the place where the calf was tied as a symbol of Lord Shiva. The Vaishnavaite husband got angry on seeing this and went on to cut the axis to which the calf was meant to be tied  with an axe The Lord appeared from "Kanru Aappu"  to prove that He is omnipresent much to the delight of the girl. The Murthi is therefore called as "Naduthari nathar" ( Vathsa Sthamba Natha in Sanskrit - Vathsa means calf )and Saint Appar who visited the place sang Thevaram Hymns in which he referred the Lord as Kanraappur Naduthari".It is said that the deep cut made by axe is still found on top of the Linga murthi.The Murthi is also worshipped by Parvathi Devi, Idumbaasuran and Dharma sarma, a deciple of Medhaavi maharishi.

 As we enter through the three tier Raja Gopuram we find the Nandi Mandapam facing the sanctum. Beautifully carved Ganapathi and Subramanya are found on both sides of the entrance. The outer prakaram is spacious which houses a platform ("Thirumaaligaippaththi" ) where we find many shivalingas. Dhakshinamurthi in the Deva Goshtam is awesome. He is flanked on both sides by Chanakaathi Rishis as seen everywhere. But the unusual additions here are the deities of Saints Sambandar in dancing position and Appar on one side and Adhikaara Nandikeswara with folded hands standing along with his wife.  Swami Vimaanam is tall and majestic.One can see Saiva Acharyas, Surya and Bhairava on the western platform of the prakaram. Maadhumaiyaal , as mentioned in Thevaram of this place , is the name of the Goddess ( Sri Valliyaambika in Sanskrit) whose shrine faces south. All the ten songs of Appar's Padigam are carved in a stone slab and installed in the Mahamandapam. Naattukottai Nagarathaar have renovated the Temple in granite few decades ago. Siva Theertham, the Temple Tank is in front of the Temple. " Kal Panai " is said to be the Holy Tree of the Temple. The Temple is so neat that it presents a divine atmosphere to the devotees, thanks to the young Sivacharyar who has to come from a neighbouring village to do the Pujas.A three day festival is being conducted every year in connection with Vaikasi Visakam.

There is a deviation at Mavur road on Thiruvarur - Thiruthuraipundi road from where Koil Kanraapur is at a distance of about 5 km.Town buses are available from Tiruvarur but not frequently.A journey by car can also cover many important temples situated around this place. On the East is Saattiyakudi ( 3 km)  Naattiyathaankudi is on the west ( 5km) and Valivalam is in the southern direction ( 3 km ) Nearest Railway station is 6 km from here.

Sri Vedapureeswarar Temple at Saattiyakkudi is sung by Karuvur Thevar in Thiruvisaippa ( 9th Thirumurai). Vedha Theertham , the Temple Tank is considered Holy as it cures many diseases People take bath on auspicious occasions like Pournami days of the Tamil months, Maasi and Vaikaasi as Jwara Devathai took bath here and worshipped Rigvedha Natha Swami. A king called Devathatha was cursed by Saattiyayana Maha Rishi as a result of which he suffered from Leprosy. The Rishi pardoned him later and asked him to take bath in Vedha Theertham of Saatiyakudi Temple and worship the Vedha Nayaka.  On reaching Sattiyakudi, he came to know that the place was worshipped by Saandilya Maharishi. The dip in the Tank cured the disease and he returned to his place after receiving the blessings of The Lord.

The West facing Temple has a three tier Rajagopuram in the front. Kamala Vinayaka sannadhi is on our right when we enter the outer Prakaram. Saandilya Rishi had worshipped this Ganapathy with Lotus that blossomed in Vedha Theertham.  Hence he is also known as Kamala Vinayaka. This Temple is mentioned as "Ezh Irukkai" in Thiruvisaippa. It means that The Lord is seated on seven aasanaas namely, Ananthaasana, Simhaasana, Yogaasana, Vimalaasana, Padmaasana, Veeraasana, Vimalaasana Urdhwam. Deities of Karuvur Thevar and saandilya Rishi are seen in the Prakara.  Special worship is conducted to Karuvur Thevar on Pournami days. Kubera, known as Vaisravana in his previous birth became the King of Alagapuri as he lighted deepams in many Siva Temples,. Later he was blessed by Shiva to become His friend. Kubera has worshipped Vedhapureeswara at Saatiyakudi  Karuvur Thevar refers Kubera as " Sivapuran Thozhan" . Vanni, the Holy Tree ,on the south east is very old and making rounds around the Tree is said to remove sickness and bring peace.

The shrine of Vedha Nayaki is on the right of Vedhapureeswara Sannadhi. The Goddess is tall and faces west. The Sivacharya stays close by and very much devoted like his ancestors. More details about the Temple can be had from the Archaka on 094424 46077.  

Hrudayakamala Natha Swami Temple in Valivalam can be reached from Sattiyakudi .It is 8 km away from Thirunellikaval, the nearest Railway station on Thiruvarur - Thiruthuraipundi section. It is located between Kachanam and Keezhvelur on the bus route. Town buses are available from Thiruvarur. This shrine is sung by all the three Acharyas in Thevaram Hymns. According to the legend, a bird got the wisdom to worship the Lord of this place and made circles around the sanctum. Since the bird "karikuruvi" was so devoted , it received compassion from the Lord and became stronger than ever to protect itself from stronger birds."Karikuruvi" thus became "Valian" and continued to make circles around the Temple. Lord Shiva was so pleased and offered the bird  salvation and the place was therefore known as "Valivalam" The Temple pond, "Kaarana Theertham", created by Kaarana Rishi is on the East. An " aghazhi" encircles the shrine as a garland. The Main entrance is without a Raja Gopuram but well carved PanchaMurthis adorn it. Ambal Sannadhi is on the outer Prakaram which also houses the Holy Tree, "Punnai". Swami Sannadhi is on a raised platform. Such Temples ( "Maadak Koil") were built by Ko Sengat Chozha Nayanar .Sun God had created a pond here with the wheel of his chariot and named it as Chakkara Theertham. Surya Puja is conducted for three days in the Tamil month of Purattasi. Inscriptions of Chola and Pandiya period show how religiously the Kings took care in maintaining the Temple and its property.

Kachchanam is located at 25 km south of Thiruvarur and 11 km north of Thiruthuraipundi. Buses are available from Thiruvarur, Thiruthuraipundi and Nagapattinam. The main Deity is worshipped by Indra, Agasthya Rishi, Drunabindu Rishi,Viduman and Mithrasakan. When Indra tried to remove his hand after making a Lingam out of sand, his finger prints got embossed over it. That is why the place is called "Kai Chinnam" which got changed colloquially into Kachanam. Devendra dug a tank near the Temple with "Vajrayudha" , his weapon. Hence the Tank is called "Vajra Theertham". The Lord gave Dharshan to Indra as "Thyagaraja".This Temple is also a "Maadak koil" built by Ko Sengat Chozha Nayanar. A three tier Raja gopuram greets the visitors and among the Deva Goshtams, Dhakshinamurthi's dharshan makes us unmoved from the place.
"Kongilavam" , the Holy tree is near the Ambal sannadhi.The Goddess is known as "Vel Valai Nayaki" as Indra offered white bangles made out of tusk of Airavadha, his White Elephant.  Temples at Thirukuvalai, Ettikudi, Thirunellikkaval, Thirukkaaaravasal can easily be reached from Kachanam by road. In a nutshell, the whole region presents a spiritual fragrance and treat to the devotees.


  1. Sir, Excellent narration about Sattiyakudi Temple&Deities, thanks a lot,Both Swami &Ambal facing west!!!!!Oh! i have never heard sofar that both deities are facing west!very rare!
    thanking you once again,

  2. I am from that place.. Thanks for writing and visitng us.

  3. thanks for sharing this post. Just curious to know who is sculpted in the bottom row - female figure in the photo Kanraapur5/


  4. Please mention the route to the temples from any near places