This 1300+ years old Shiva temple is well known for its beautiful Rajagopurams (Temple tower) and sculptures. This is the place where Brahma worshipped Lord Shiva and get his curse absolved. The theertham of this temple is said to be produced by Gowri devi and so, this place is also known as Gowripuram; Vishnupuram and Margabandheeswaram are also the other names of the place.
- Appar, Gnanasambandar and Sundarar have sung in praise of this temple. But the corresponding Pathigam (Thevaram Song) is not available, probably one among the many songs that have been lost. Hence this temple does not appear under the current list of Thevara Paadal Petra Sthalams.
- Lord Muruga in this temple has been sung by Arunagirinathar.
- This temple figures in Arunachala puranam, Kanchipuranam and in Brahmandapuranam.
- Oldest temple in the Vellore district
- Gowri Devi, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Sriharan had worshipped here
- This temple is one among the Baskara Kshetram where the Sun God is said to have worshipped the lord.
- This is the birth place of Sri Appayya Dikshithar who composed the Margabandhu stotram on this Margabandheeswarar for the protection of people while on journey.
This temple is located in Virinjipuram about 18 kms from Vellore bus stand. In the Chennai-Bangalore highway, after Vellore bypass, proceed for another 15 Km till a place called Sedhuvalai and turn right for Virinchipuram. The temple is about a km from the Sedhuvalai junction.
As per the legend, Brahma and Vishnu set out to find the head and foot of Lord Shiva respectively when He appeared before them in the lingodhbhava form of a long column of light extending vertically. Vishnu took the form of a boar and kept digging down the earth but could not find the feet of the Lord which he had acknowledged. However, Brahma while he was searching for the head of the Lord chose to say a lie that he found the Lord’s head whereas he could not. Infuriated by this, Lord Shiva cursed Brahma.
Because of this curse, Lord Brahma was born in Virinjipuram as Shivasarma in a priest family. Unfortunately, Shivasarma’s father passed away suddenly and therefore the little boy was forced to take the temple Pooja responsibilities which his father earlier was taking care. If the boy is unable to take up this responsibility they will lose their property and their livelihood. Deeply worried by this state, Shivasarma’s mother prayer to Lord Shiva and He appeared in her dream instructing her to come to the temple tank along with Shivasarma the next day. As guided by the Lord, she went to the temple tank and Lord Shiva in the form of an old man came there and initiated the boy to conduct Pooja and all the necessary knowledge was transferred to him. To everybody’s great astonishment, the little boy Shivasarma conducted the Pooja in a great manner, during the Pooja the little boy could not reach the top of the Shiva lingam to adorn them with flowers. Hence, the Lord Himself has tilted to accommodate the height of the boy. With this, Brahma’s curse got absolved. Even now, we could see that the Lingam in the temple is slightly inclined to the right.
As per another legend, Dhanabalan, a pepper merchant lost his goods to thieves. He prayed to Lord Shiva and He came as a soldier on a horse and not only retrieved the pepper loads but also accompanied Dhanabalan till Kanchipuram. Due to this He is called ‘Vazhi Thunai Nathar’ in Tamil and Margabandu in Sanskrit (Marga meaning way and Bandhu meaning company)
Open from 6 am to 11 am and from 4 pm to 8 pm every day.
Lord Siva: Margabandheeswarar.
Ambal (Goddess): Maragathambikai
Sthala Vriksham : Palm Tree
Theertham : Simha Theertham, Sooli Theertham and Brahma Theertham
The main shrine of the temple is said to have been built by Raja Raja Chola, Sambara Rayan, the viceroy of Klothunga Chola. Nandhi Vikrama Pallava, Rajendra Chola, Paranthaha Chola, Kobarakesari Varman and Vijayanagara kings – Narayana Sambuvarayar, Achutharayar, Devarayar have all contributed significantly to this temple