Sivayoginathar Temple, Thiruvisainallur, Thanjavur
Sivayoginathar Temple is located in Thiruvisainallur in Thanjavur district, Tamilnadu, India. The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Thevaram and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The temple is considered 43rd of the Tevara Stalams in Chola Nadu located north of the river Cauvery. This temple is under the administration of Palace Devasthanam.
Relief from curse of women:
As per Hindu legend, a king belonging to present day Kerala had illicit relation with lot of women. He also tortured and cheated many of them. At one stage, the king wanted to restore to a decent life and found a yogi who advised him to visit Thiruvisainallur. The king reached the place, had a dip in river Cauvery and worshipped Sivayoginathar to get rid of his curse. The legend leads to the belief that whoever incurs curse of women, get curative visiting the temple.
Lord Brahma, the God of Creation was born as a son to one Vishnu Sharma. Along with him were born six yogis and he with them performed tapasya to Lord Siva. On the Sivarathri day, Lord Siva appeared before them, made them as seven lights and merged them with him. Hence, the deity of this place became ‘Sivayogi Naathar’. By way of explicating this legend, we can see even today in the body of the Sivalingam seven hair-locks.
Story behind Nandi turned posture:
Once a person, who had committed numerous sins exhorted the Lord of this place in his last moments. Lord Siva, then asked Nandhi: “who calls me?” and Nandhi turned to find out. (In this sacred place the Nandhi image is in the turned posture). It was a ‘Pradosha Day’ when the person called the Lord. All his sins vanished with Nandhi’s seeing him. His life had to end at that moment.
Lord Yama came there and Nandhi stopped him. There arose a fierce quarrel between them. Nandhi won Yama and sent him out, away from the flag-post. Usually in the temples Nandhi will be seen inside the flag-post. But, we can see Nandhi in this holy place outside the flag-post. This legend leads to the belief that a visit to the place is a curative to death related fears.
The Prime Deity of this place appears as Swayambu Lingam facing east. On Chithirai 1, 2, and 3, the Sunrays fall on the Lingam.
Thiruvisainallur History can be traced to the time of the Medieval Cholas having 97 inscriptions dating back to Parantaka I, Rajaraja Chola I and Rajendra Chola II.
Greatness of Temple
The legend says that this sacred place has seen all the four yugas. The deity is worshipped as Puraathaneswarar in the Kritha Yuga, Vilvaaranyeswarar in the Thretha Yuga, Yoganandeswarar in the Dvapara Yuga and Sivayoginathar in the Kali Yuga. Uyyavantha Devanaayanaar, the author of the Siddhanta Sastra work Thiruvunthiyaar was born in this holy place.
The tradition is that Sage Agasthya worships this deity on the Sivarathri days. In some of the Siva temples Perumal is seen alone; but, here he appears as Lakshmi-Narayanan, along with his spouse Lakshmi. It is said that during the Ramayana days, Jatayu’s feather fell in this place, where now is the ‘Jatayu Theertham’.
Bhairavar in this place is called ‘Chaturkaala Bhairavar’. In each of the Yuga, he manifests as one Bhairava and graces us. Dakshinamoorthy is near Jnanakaala Bhairavar, Mahalakshmi is near Swarnakarshana Bhairavar, and Baalasani is in the proximity of Unmaththa Bhairavar. Uththara Kailaaya Lingam is close to Yoga Bhairavar. It is significant to worship them in the ashtami day.
About 300 years ago, one Sridhara Ayyaavaal was performing the yearly parental offering (divasam). At that time, a person begged alms because of hunger. Tradition is that alms should not be given at that time. But, he gave food to that hungry man. So, the village people ostracized him from the village. They said that to absolve this sin, he should take bath in the Ganga. Sridhara Ayyaavaal prayed to the Deity of this place and Ganga flowed in his house well.
The Sivayoginathar Temple is believed to be built at the spot where eight Siva yogis attained salvation and merged with the lingam. The shrine is dedicated to Chatur Kala Bhairava, one of the four Bhairava. The temple has a 5 tier Rajagopuram with a large temple complex. The temple was erected during the Parantaka I reign 907-955 A.D. The sanctum is akin to Vaprabandha type with Arthapadma, a feature not mentioned in Vastu Shastra texts. The beautiful large vyalas in the prathimukha are among the most powerfully conceived of their kind. It is of modest proportions and consists of the sanctuary and its attached mandapam (hall).
The two cover a total length of 15.3m, with its vimana measuring about 15.3m. The mandapam is a hall of 4 central pillars, and a vestibule provided at its back, leading to the sanctum, which is a square chamber of 3.7m. The lion motif is absent in the pillars though it reappeared in friezes where ever suited. The pillars in the interior are typical of Chola art. The usual deities are enshrined in the central niches outside the wall of the sanctum. The toranas over the south and west niches are of good workmanship, especially that on the west, which is perhaps the finest in South India.
Interestingly, the temple has many a religious significance. The presiding deity Sivayoginathar does not sit with his consort Soundaryanayaki in the sanctum sanctorum as is the case in many temples. The Ambal's Sannidhi (shrine) is separately situated facing the South where the Sun Clock is mounted. The legend has it that eight Siva Yogis merged with the lingam here after attaining salvation. Hence Lord Siva got the name Sivayoginathar. As Siva is in deep meditation inside, Ambal waits outside for him looking at the Sun Clock.
Prior to the entry of HR&CE to regularize the temple operations and conduct of poojas, the temple had been managed by ARM ALA Trust in which Aru Ramanathan is one of the seven members, and his elder brother A R Lakshmanan, a retire Supreme Court judge, the chairman. According to Aru Ramanathan, Nattukkottai Chettiyars are known as "Mannar Pinnor" (Second only to the Kings), and the member-brothers served under the Senior Prince Babaji Raja Bhonsle of the Thanjavur Palace Devasthanam.
It is to be noted that you can see the idol of Nandi with its head turning to a side. It is believed that those who pray to him here during the Pradosham (Twilight period in the evening on the 13th day of every lunar fortnight) will be absolved of all their past sins.
There is also a Sannadhi for Lakshmi and Narayanan which is a rare. Vishnu and Lakshmi are supposed to have got the blessing of Shiva here for their marriage. Worshipping Lakshmi Narayanan on shravan nakshatra, Ekadasi and Saturdays is considered special. Devotees who light 6 oil lamps and offer Tulasi garland to this deity for six consecutive weeks are blessed with progeny, peaceful family life, removal of obstacles in marriage and general prosperity.
This is the temple for Rishabha Rasi. People born under Rishabha rasi are recommended to visit and pray at this temple regularly. Sridhara Ayyaval’s ashram is in this village. There are few miracles about his life. Devas and Pithrus are believed to have partaken in a meal when he conducted Shraddham for his father, although the local Brahmins refused to attend.
Once on a New Moon day, he brought Ganges to the well in his house for purification. He is also credited with restoring life to a young man, out of compassion for his parents. Sridhara Ayyaval is reported to have vanished after entering the Sanctum Sanctorum of Madhyarjuna Siva temple at Tiruvidaimaruthur. The Prime Deity of this place appears as Swayambu Lingam facing east. On Chithirai 1, 2, and 3, the Sunrays fall on the Lingam.
Chatur Kala Bhairavar is famous here. The four Bhairavars with Saneeswara Bhagawan and Sivalingam on their sides denote different periods of life and praying here will solve our problems for our entire lifespan.
The four Bhairavars, (Chatur Kala Bhairavars) each representing the four phases or four Ashramas in the lifespan of a human being are as follows:
The Brahmacharya phase of the human life is dominated by his quest for knowledge. Gnana Bhairavar bestows good education and good employment on his devotees.
Swarna Akarshana Bhairavar:
In the Grahasta phase, Swarna Akarshana Bhairavar blesses his devotees with excellent growth in career and material gains.
In the Vanaprastha phase, His devotees are blessed with good health, financial stability and good luck.
In the Sanyasa stage of life, a man is supposed to be totally devoted to God. By praying to Yoga Bhairavar and the Kailash Lingam beside the Yoga Bhairavar, man attains salvation. The objective of existence is to try to merge the jivatma (individual self) with the Paramatma (God). This is known as moksham or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. The four ashrams prepare a person to undertake the process in a controlled but directed manner.
Devotees who worship Chatur Kala Bhairavar during the 8th day of the waxing period (ashtami of Sukla paksham or valarpirai) gain in prosperity and advancement in business and career. Devotees worship during the 8th day of the waning period (ashtami of Krishna paksham or theipirai) to get cured of their diseases, peaceful family life, protection from evil spirits and envy.
Lighting oil lamps with black pepper on eight consecutive Sundays during Rahu kalam 4.30PM to 6.00 PM at Bhairavar’s Sannidhi results in getting back lost property and wealth.
Scientific based Sun-dial:
Kingdoms and kings are history, but certain devices bequeathed by them tells the story of their times. One such historical instrument is the 1,400-year-old sun clock mounted on the 35-feet-high inner wall of Sivayoginathar temple at Thiruvisainallur, some 12 km from Kumbakonam, Thanjavur district. It is the only 'wall clock' in Tamil Nadu in the real sense of the term.
The temple authorities have decided to refurbish the historic legacy which stands testimony to the infinite wisdom and scientific temper of the Chola kings.
The wall clock built during Parantaka Cholan's rule does not require battery or electricity. Near the southern temple wall is seen the Sun-Dial fixed some 700 years ago. This clock is constructed in such a way to measure the route of the sun from the sunrise in the morning till the sunset in the evening. A semi-circle is made and the numbers from morning 6.00 to evening 6.00 are carved around. In the center, a brass nail is fixed. When the sunlight falls on this nail and on the number where its shadow falls, is that time at that moment. This is an excellent instance to show that the Tamils were experts in the Astronomical Science.
The people, mostly the devotees coming to the temple, deciphered the time of the day by watching the silhouette cast by the needle of the sun clock from six am to six pm, and perhaps planned their day accordingly. Expectedly, time has taken its toll on the sun clock at the sixth-century temple. The clock will work as long as the sun shines because of its unique working principle. But due to brass discoloration, the needle is getting blurred on the granite surface.
The clock will get is facelift when the temple managed by the Thanjavur Palace Devasthanam undergoes renovation at an estimated cost of Rs 46 lakh. "The time that the sun clock shows may not be expedient today, but its history is," said Aru Ramanathan, the grandson of Devakottai ARM ALA Arunachala Chettiyar who did the first renovation after a long gap in time in 1931.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 am to 12.30 pm and from 3.00 pm to 8.30 pm
The Sunlight Pooja on Chithirai 1, 2, and 3 is a significant one. On the last day of the Aipasi month, the Pancha Moorthis goes on procession – Theerthavari at Kaveri. Aarudhra Darshan on the Maha Sivarathri Day is celebrated with much fanfare. Other celebrations are on Pradosham, Thirukarthigai and on the Karthigai Somavaram (Mondays).
Here the Nandhi safeguards as Rishaba Vahanam. So, this is the place that alleviates the doshas of the people belonging to Rishaba zodiac sign (Krithigai, Rohini and Mrasir-sham). Worshipping this deity on Pradosham, Sivarathri and Somavara days is very good. Devotees can offer clothes to Swami and Ambal and donate to the Temple Renovation fund.
Arulmigu Yoganandeswarar Tirukkovil,
Tiruvisainallur – 612 105,
Phone: +91- 435-200 0679, 94447 47142
Tiruvisainallur is on the way to Suriyanar Koil in the Veppathur route from Kumbakonam (8 kms).
Nearest Railway Station is located at Tiruvidaimaruthur & Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.