Sunday, 24 July 2016

Abirameswarar Shiva Temple – Thiruvamathur (near Villupuram)

This temple signifies Lord Shiva offering protection to Cows as a mother. This paadal petra sthalam has been praised by Thirugnanasambandar, Appar and Sundarar as well. The very existence of cows were in great peril because of the attacks from wild animals, Lord Shiva offered protection to them by providing horns to them. To commemorate this, there is a hoof like mark on the Shiv linga in the main sanctum.

There are two separate temples on either side of the road, one for Shiva and the other one for his consort.  Rama worshipped the Shiva here on his way to Lanka and hence the Lord is called as Abirameswarar. This is also the shrine where sage Bhringi got absolved of his curse. Bhringi used to worship only Lord Shiva and completely ignored Shakti because of which she cursed him to become a Vanni tree.

In the amman temple just opposite to the main temple, there is a circular stone, as per the legend Rama made a pact with king Sugriva in this place before going to Sri Lanka. Hence this stone is referred as stone of oath and it is believed that those who make false statements in the presence of the stone will face bad consequences. Another story which is being told supports this belief – once there were two brothers in a nearby village and the elder one due to his greediness, retained their ancestral property completely for himself without giving anything for his younger brother. Aggrieved by this injustice, the younger brother made a complaint to the village elders and they asked the elder brother to come and make a promise before the circular stone. Aware that this oath taking will be compelled on him, prior to making the promise, the elder brother transformed the plundered wealth into gold and hid them in a walking stick kind of arrangement. Just before making the promise, he momentarily transferred his walking stick to his younger brother, made the promise that he does not have the wealth with him right now and immediately got the stick from his younger brother.  Villagers did not have an option other than accepting the promise and let him go. The elder brother was feeling happy that he had smartly deceived everybody including the Lord. But his happiness was short lived, he was bitten by a highly venomous snake and killed at about 10 kms from this temple. Integrity is always the best policy, promptly reinforced by Devi Herself.

Lord Siva: Abirameswarar , Azhagiya nathar
Ambal (Goddess): Muthambigai, Azhagiya nayagi

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Shiva Temple – Ammankurichy

This beautiful Shiva temple is located in Ammankurichy, a small and serene hamlet near Pudukottai. This is one among the proud monuments of India belonging to Madurai Nayak Dynasty period (1529 to 1736 AD) and has been enlisted under protected monuments of Archeological Survey of India.

There are two separate shrines for Chokkanathar, the presiding deity and for Meenakshi, His consort. Both these deities resemble the Madurai Chokkanathar and Meenakshi, hence a devotional feel of having Darshan at Madurai could be felt.  On the intersection of these shrines, beautifully carved stone statues of Nayak kings and their queens worshipping the Lord could be seen. The king responsible for construction of this temple is Poochi Nayakar. On each pillar of the temple we could see the lifelike sculptures of Ganesha, Shiva in dancing pose, Kali and other deities. On the back side of the temple premise (inner praharam), there is a small shrine for Lord Subramanya. On the left side of the entrance to the temple, there is a stone slab containing inscriptions that talks about Poochi Nayakar king and the endowments he offered to the temple. The outer praharam of the temple is styled in the pattern of Thanjavur temple, a big banyan tree at the main entrance to the temple adds to the elegance of the temple.

Either Tiruchirapalli or Pudukottai can be the base for visiting this temple. From Tircuhirapalli, buses plying to Ponnamaravathi can be boarded to reach Ammankurichy. Pudukottai district in total contains 58 monuments enlisted in ASI ( and is a great haven for anyone interested in Archeology and historical studies. This list contains an interesting mix of Siva, Vishnu and Jain temples.