Posts Tagged ‘Pandyan Dynasty’

Semmeninathar temple at Thirukkanur near Vishnampettai is one of the 275 padal petra sthalams. This is on the banks of River Coleroon or more commonly known as Kollidam River. Vishnampettai is special to me because it is the village of my maternal ancestors. I have spent the summer holidays in this small village with my brother, sister and cousins. My Great grandfather started the school at this village about 125 years ago, around the year 1885. His father had earlier started the School at Thirukattupalli which later became the Sir Siva Swamy Ayyar Higher Secondary school.

Karumbeswarar Temple, Thirukkanur

Karumbeswarar Temple, Thirukkanur

The Shiva lingam here is one of the 64 Suyambhu lingams. The Lord’s concert at this temple is Soundarya Nayaki and She is also known as Sivayoganayaki. The ambal here has not got a crown but is seen to be having Jadamudi (long braided hair). The theertham here is veda theertham. This temple is believed to be over 2000 years old. This temple was actually submerged in the sands on the banks of Kollidam. It was accidentally discovered by a shepherd. There was a single sugarcane tree at the spot where the temple was unearthed. Hence He is also known as Karumbeswarar; Karumbu meaning sugarcane in tamil. This temple was originally built by the Pandyas and was later renovated several times by the Cholas.

The Great Chola King Karikala Cholan was hiding in exile here. Karikala Cholan’s father died when Karikala was very young. His mother raised him in this village to protect him from enemies. When political normalcy returned, the Chola courtiers sent the royal elephant in search of the young Prince. The elephant found him here. Karikala Cholan went on to become one of the most renowned of the Chola rulers. He built the Kallanai or Grand Anicut on Cauvery. This dam is the oldest in the world and is more than 2000 years old. It is a nice little picnic spot about 20 kms from this village. Grand Anicut is just about 17 kms from Trichy or Srirangam. Wonder why this place is not as famous as it should be.

Lord Naraiyur nambi and nachiyar thayar preside here in a wedding posture. Special importance is given to thayar in this temple and always the first privilege to given to nachiyar. The prasadam is also first offered to the goddess only and nachiyar leads the procession in hamsa vahanam. There is a statue of garuda here in a separate sannadhi. During Garuda sevai, the number of people required to carry garuda through each of the five prakarams of the temple keeps doubling from 4 to 128 people. Again while coming inside the temple, the weight keeps decreasing and the number of persons carrying keeps reducing by half to final 4 who carry it into the sannadhi. Worshipping Kal Garuda is said to free devotees from naga dosha and bless childless couples. It is the only temple among the 108 divyadesams of srivaishnavas where God Naraiyur nambi has the conch and charka in front of his face. Also, only in this temple, there are idols of the presiding deities of the 108 divyadesams of Srivaishnavas. Another specialty of the temple is only in this divyadesam, there is brahma in standing posture inside the temple. How to reach The nearest town is Kumbakonam, 10 kms away. Buses from kumbakonam to tiruvarur stop at nachiyar koil. Since there are three more divyadesams on this route, it would be ideal to hire a private car or auto. Nearest railway station: Kumbakonam Sannadhis Naraiyur Nambi Vanjulavalli thayar (same sannadhi as the lord) Kal Garuda Yoga Narasimha Hanuman Sri Ram Chakrapani Pushkarni and Vimanam The temple tank I known as Mani mukthi nadhi theertham while the vimanam is named after the lord as “Srinivasa Vimaanam” Temple timings and Contact Details The temple is open from 6.30 am to 12.30 pm in the mornings and from 4.30 pm to 8.30pm in the evenings. Contact person is Sri Gopinathan Bhattar (9443597388).

A view of the Grand Anicut

Getting back to the story of the temple, Paravathi was once separated from Shiva and had come to the earth to perform Her penance to unite with Him. She found this village at Thirukkanur suitable for the same. Pleased with Her devotion, the Lord appeared before Her as a column of fire. Due to the heat He was red in colour and hence He came to be known as Semmeninathar; sem meaning red and meni meaning body in tamil. There is a belief that visiting this temple as a couple will clear all misunderstandings and result in a happy marital life. Reuniting with estranged spouse is also one of the benefits of praying at this temple.

This temple faces east and the sun’s rays fall on the lingam on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th of April. These days are special days at this temple when Lord Surya is believed to come here and worship the Lord.

Inside the Temple, Thirukkanaur

Inside the Temple, Thirukkanaur

The nandi at this temple is seen in a very unique posture. It can be seen with its front left leg planted on the ground and ready to get into a standing position. It is in a posture ready to execute instructions from Lord Shiva. Praying at this temple is said to improve career prospects and result in job for the unemployed.

Nandi at Thirukkanur

Nandi at Thirukkanur

Those who are afflicted with chronic illness can do puja to the Lord here with the Vilva leaves and get cured. People (especially women) who are facing hurdles in getting married can overcome these hurdles by offering garland of red arali (oleander) to Soundaryanayaki and then lighting a ghee lamp in her sanctum sanctorum. The childless couple are blessed with progeny by doing abhishegam to Shiva and Ambal and offering garland of erukkam flowers (Crown flower). Generally sweets are also offered to the God and Goddess. The Ambal at this temple is made out of Salagram stone.

Parasurama had pledged to wipe out 21 generation of Kshatriyas and did so. The slaying of the Kshatriyas by him resulted in him being afflicted with Kshatriya Hatti Dosham. He had prayed at 21 Shiva temples to get rid of the affliction. This was the eighth of those 21 Shiva temples.

Painting on the Ceiling, Thirukkanur

Painting on the Ceiling, Thirukkanur

This place was once ruled by the Pandyas. The Pandyas ruled though local Chieftains who ruled on behalf of the Pandyas. The local Chieftain here was very just and had taken good care of his subjects. The Cholas waged a war on the Pandyas and reclaimed some of the lost kingdom. During this time, the local Chieftain here was captured, while his wife was let off because she was pregnant. However, the Chola rulers also said that those who helped the woman would be banished from the Kingdom. The lady who was in the advanced stage of pregnancy was not helped by anyone at Thirukkanur due to the fear of being thrown out of the kingdom. She was heartbroken and angered by the conduct of the very same people for whom they had done a lot. She cursed that the whole village be submerged by sand, and so it did happen. The villagers then moved a little further away to Vishnampettai and settled there. An ancient name for Thirukkanur is Manalmedu (mound of sand).

Click here to listen to the temple priest narrating the sthala puranam in tamil

When you visit the temple, do not miss the bath in the Kollidam. You will find locals there on the banks of the river. Be sure to enquire with the locals before entering the river as Kollidam is notorious for quicksand. It is safe provided you know the areas to avoid.

Venugopala Vidyalaya, Vishnampettai, Started by my Great Grandfather - Kittu Sir.

Venugopala Vidyalaya, Vishnampettai, Started by my Great Grandfather - Kittu Sir.




Thirukkanur is about 4 Kms from Thirukattupalli and 30 Kms from Tanjore. From Trichy/Srirangam it is 35 kms.

Click here for the location of the temple.

Other Temples Nearby:

Thiruvaneswarar Temple for Pooratadhi Birth Star

Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi Perumal Temple, Anbil

Agneeswarar Temple at Thirukattupalli

Temple Timings: 10 AM to 11.30 AM & 3.30 PM to 5 PM

This temple is not known and there are not many visitors excepting those tracing their roots to Vishnampettai. The timings given are only indicative and the priest who goes to a couple of other temples also nearby may tweak it to suit his convenience. Hence, it is advisable to call the temple priest and inquire before proceeding to the temple.

Temple Address:

Arulmigu Semmeninathar Thirukovil

Thirukkanur, Vishnampettai Post

613 105

Via Thirukattupalli

Thiruvaiyaru Taluk

Tanjore District

Temple Priest:

Sri Vivek +91-4362-320 067, +91- 93450 09344


Mahalingaswamy Temple at Thiruvidaimarudhur near Kumbakonam is one of the three Shiva temples having Marudha tree as its sthala vruksham.  The other two are Sri Sailam (Andhra) and Thiruppudaimarudur, Ambasamudram.  As this is located between the two it is known as Thiruvidaimarudhur (Thiru + Idai + marudhur); thiru, Idai and Marudhur meaning Sacred, middle and place where Marudha tree is the sthala vruksham.  The presiding deity in this temple is Mahalingeswarar.  His consort is Brihathsundarakujambigai or Nanmulainayaki.  Some consider this temple equivalent to Kasi.  The pooja is first performed to Mahalingaswamy in this temple and only then to Vinayakar.  This is a huge temple with three praharams (circumambulatory paths).  They are ashvamedha praharam, kodumudi praharam and pranava praharam.  Ashvamedha praharam is the outermost praharam and circumambulation of this Praharam equals the benefit of performing an Ashvamedha Yagnam.  Benefits include; relief from illness caused due to seivinai (evil spirits). Kodumudi Praharam is the middle one, and circumambulation of this Praharam is equivalent to circumambulation of Mount Kailash which is the primary abode of Lord Shiva.  The innermost praharam is the Pranava Praharam or Omkara Praharam. Circumambulation of this Praharam will result in Moksham (liberation from all sufferings and pain).

Paintings depicting the story of the temple, thiruvidaimarudhur


Paintings depicting the story of the temple, thiruvidaimarudhur


Mahalingeswarar here is the main deity of the Parivara sthalams.  Parivara Sthalams are a group of temples which together form a much larger temple.  The Presiding deity of such a huge temple is Mahalingeswarar at Thiruvidamarudhur.  The Group of temples which form this large temple is as follows:

  1. Mahalingeswarar at Thiruvidaimarudhur
  2. Vinayakar at Thiruvalanchuzhi
  3. Murugan at Swamimalai
  4. Ambal at Thirukkadaiyur
  5. Dakshinamurthy at Alangudi
  6. Navagraha Sannidhi at Suryanar Koil
  7. Saneeswaran at Thirunallar
  8. Durgai at Patteeswaram
  9. Chandikeswarar at Sengalur
  10. Bhairavar at Sirkali
  11. Natarajar at Chidambaram
  12. Somaskandar at Tiruvarur
  13. Nandikeswarar at Tiruvavaduturai

There are four other main Lingams viz Viswanathar, Rishipureeswarar, Aatmanathar and Chokkanathar around the Presiding Deity.  Since there are five Lingams, this place is a Panchalinga sthalam. Apart from these five Lingams there are also Lingams dedicated to each of the 27 nakshatrams (Birth Stars).  All these 27 birth stars installed a Lingam each and worshipped Lord Shiva here.  This is the temple for performing parihara pooja (remedial pooja) for the malefic effects of the Birth stars.

Story of Chandran and the 27 Nakshatram, Thiruvidaimarudhur


This temple is closely connected to the life of a Pandya King by name Varaguna Pandyan.  Once when Varaguna Pandyan was returning from a hunting expedition, his horse accidentally trampled upon and killed a Brahmin.  Since he was the cause of the death of a Brahmin he was afflicted with Brahmahatti Dosham (Sin due to murder of Brahmin).  As a result, he was constantly haunted by the Brahmin’s ghost. The King prayed to Somasundarar at Madurai seeking relief from this sin.  Lord Somasundarar appeared in the King’s dream and directed him to pray Him at Thiruvidaimarudhur for relief.  Thiruvidaimarudhur was under Chola rule and they were bitter enemies of the Pandyas.  There was a war between the two in which the Cholas were defeated.  The King then visited the temple at Thiruvidaimarudhur as per the Divine guidance and prayed to Lord Mahalingeswarar.  He entered the temple through the Eastern entrance and the Brahmahatti and the ghost could not enter the temple and waited outside the temple for the King to return.  As advised by Mahalingaswamy, the King left by the Western Gopuram (Tower) and hence got rid of the Brahmatti dosham and the Brahmin’s ghost.  Even today, devotees use different gopurams to enter and exit the temple premises.

Method of worship, Thiruvidaimarudhur



The Shiva Lingam here is a swayambhu (self manifested) Lingam.  In the process of teaching and demonstrating the Worship procedures to the Seven Great Sages, Lord Shiva is believed to have worshipped himself here.  Lord Shiva blessed Markandeyan by appearing before him in the form of Ardhanareeswarar.  There is a shrine for Mookambiga in this temple which is to the south of the Goddess’ shrine.  Apart from Thiruvidaimarudhur the only other place in India to have a shrine for Mookambiga is Kollur in Karnataka.


Click here for Map

Thiruvidaimarudhur is 8 kms from Kumbakonam on Kumbakonam Mayiladuthurai Road.  There are frequent buses from Kumbakonam.

Temple Timings: 6 AM to 12 Noon 4 PM to 9 PM

Other Temples nearby:

Thirumangalakudi and Suryanar Koil

Sivayoginathar temple at Thiruvisanallur

Karkadeswarar temple at Thirundudevankudi

Rahu temple at Thirunageswaram

Uppiliappan Koil

Thirubuvanam Kambahareswarar Temple

Neelakandeswarar Temple, Thiruneelakudi



Temple Address

Arulmigu Mahalingaswamy Temple

Thiruvidaimarudhur 612104

Tanjavur District

Temple Phone Number: 0435 – 2461946, 2460660