Thirupungur is a small village about 2 kms from Vaitheeswaran Koil. This place was once surrounded by Pungu trees and hence the name Thirupungur.
The Shiva lingam is one of the 64 Swayambhu (Self manifested) lingams and is supposed to have come from an anthill. The Nandi here is also a Swayambhu. The presiding deity at this temple is Shivalokanathar and His consort is Soundaryanayaki. Vinayakar is supposed to have dug a tank here for nandanar on Lord Shiva’s orders and is known as Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar. Devotees offering their prayers to Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar have all their wishes fulfilled.
Nandanar was a devout Shiva Bhaktha. He was born into a low caste family and as a result was denied entry into any temples. His ambition was to visit the temple at Chidambaram. He was working in the fields of a Brahmin Landlord. He would always put off Nandanar’s request to visit Chidambaram. Nandanar used to tell everyone that he will visit “Chidambaram tomorrow” (Thiru Nalai Poven). He was telling this over a period of time to everyone and he came to be known as “Thiru nali Povar”.
However, one fine day, he told Nandanar that he would be granted the wish if Nandanar were to achieve the impossible task of tilling all the forty acres of the paddy field overnight. A disappointed Nandanar prayed to Shiva to grant him the wish of visitng Chidambaram. Lo and Behold!! The next morning, the Landlord and Nandanar were both astonished to see that all the forty acres of the field had been ploughed!!! The Brahmin immediately realised his folly and prostrated before Nandanar and pleaded forgiveness. Nandanar set out to Chidambaram and on the way he stopped at Thirupungur to have a darshan of the Lord. Nandanar was not able to have the darshan as Nandi was blocking his view. He started singing in praise of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva wanted to know who the devotee was. The dwarapalakas informed Him that it was Nandanar. Immediately, Lord asked Nandi to move to a side to facilitate Him to have a clear view of Nandanar. You can see the Nandi at this temple is shifted to a side. Also the Nandi is not hanging out the tongue as is usually the case. You can also see the dwarapalaks craning their necks as if to see in the direction of the entrance.
Once, there was debate between Shiva and Parvathi as to who was more charming. They sought the opinion of Vishnu, who in turn asked Brahma to play the Judge. Brahma rolled a dharba grass and threw it. He said that an answer would be available wherever the grass fell. The grass fell at Thirupungaur and became Pancha Lingam. When Shiva and Parvathi came here, Shiva looked very handsome to Parvathi and Parvathi looked very beautiful to Shiva. Their dispute was thus amicably resolved. It is a belief that marital problems will be solved by worshipping at this temple. Separated spouses will be reunited after visiting the temple.
According to archaeological evidence, Rajaraja Cholan had gifted twelve velis (measures) to this temple. During his reign there was severe drought that resulted in famine and the king prayed to Lord Shiva to bring rain. Lord Shiva came in his dream and asked him to do special poojas for Sivaloganathar. Sundarar was present at the temple when the King came to offer his prayers. The King requested Sundarar to sing in praise of the Lord and bring rain. Sundarar agreed on the condition that the King would donate twelve velis (measures) of land to the temple. Sundarar sang in praise of the God and there was a heavy downpour threatening to cause heavy damage to the country. The King requested Sundarar to stop the rain. Sundarar again laid the same condition. The king gifted the land and immediately it stopped raining.
This place is just 3 kms away from Vaitheeswaran Koil. There are regular bus services from Mayiladuthurai, Vaitheeswaran Koil etc.
Other temples nearby:
Boarding & Lodging:
This is a very small village and you can’t expect any facility here. Vaitheeswaran Koil is the nearest place where you can find good hotels to eat and stay. If you have to rest a couple of hours before you visit the next temple, there are choultries at Vaitheeswaran Koil that allow you to use their facilities for a nominal payment of Rs 50/- or Rs. 100/-.
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