Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Senthalai, Thanjavur
The temple is about a kilometer from Varagore temple. The temple is big one with, main Raja gopuram of five storeys and two prakaram.
Names of this Sthalam in Different Yugas:
In ancient period this place was called as Chathurvethimangalam. It is also called as Tirupperunturai. As the lord is worshiped by a Gandharva sthree named Chandralekhai this place came to known as Chandralekhai alias Senthalai. Twenty episode of lords fame has been said in Brahamakaivantham ancient book, in that it has been said that in Kritha Yuga this Temple stands in the name of Bhramaraniyam, in Thretha Yuga called as Jambukachivaram, in Dhawapara yuga called as Brikathkacham, in Kali Yuga called as Chandrarekai (Senthalai).
Hand Print appearing on Somachandra idols Head:
A unique factor in this temple is as evidence of Gandharva sthree worshiped lord; one can witness a hand print appears on the left side of Somachandra idols head this happens only on January Rathasapthami day. On that day the temple will be filled with devotees.
Story behind Cauvery called as Kudam Urutti:
As per legends, Bhrama Deva made a great yaga to the lord here, hence to please with his sin, he built this great temple and made kudamooluku which was contacted in great manner it is said that as River Cauvery came in fast to witness Bhrama Deva’s Pooja she tumbled the vessels all around so she is called as Kudam (vessels) uruti (tumbled) river.
Pandyan queen settling in Senthalai due to Pandyan King Conversion to Buddhism:
Once upon a time, Madurai Ruler was attracted by Buddhism, he converted into it as a result he stopped all poojas in Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple and locked it, dispersed queen left Madurai and settled at Senthalai. One day lord appeared in her dream an instructed her to renovate this temple, and also said has he also shifted with her, the lord will be called as Sundareswara and Ambikai is called as Meenakshi.
Gandharva Lady Penance to get rid of Sage Kanivar’s Curse:
Senthalai was considered as Gandharva woman in Thalapuranam. The sage Kanivar’s penance was disturbed by Senthalai so was cursed by the sage to be born as a beautiful woman. She did penance in this place to get relieved from the curse. Lord Shiva appeared as Ardhanareeswara before her. Senthalai asked this place to be called in her name and on the day of Sukalabathcha, Sambdhami Thidhi in Feb month if we take holy dip in the river Cauvery and worship this God, we attain greatness. Since Brahma worshipped this God and attained greatness, this place is called as Pirmaranyam.
This temple’s God is formed of its own and so called as Swayambumurthy. The Lord Dakshinamurthi is regarded as the most powerful. In the northern courtyard, Padmanabha Perumal and Mahalakshmi deities are there. This temple’s well is called as Anandha Theertham which was believed to be created by Adisesha to quell the thirst of the Lord Perumal. If we sprinkle this theertham on our head, it is believed that all our sins will be relieved.
It was written in Thalapuranam that the part of miracles done by Shiva in “Thiruvilayadal Puranam” was by this temple’s Lord Shiva. The name Brahmarayan was derived from the nickname of Manickavasagar, “Tennavan Brahmarayan”.
Inside the premise we can see separate shrines for lord Vishnu, Bhrama and Sapthakannis, Main deity is Swayambu Siva Lingam known as Sundareswarar and his consort known as Meenakshi Amman.
As we go around the prakaram, deities seen in the temple are Ganesha in a small sanctum, Dakshina Moorthy as koshta Moorthy, Subramanyar, Lakshmi, Chandikeswarar. Stone inscriptions are seen in the temple.
Sthala Theertham is Chandra Theertham and Sthala Vriksham is Vagai Maram Temple is open from 7 am to 12 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm. The temple is about a kilometer from Varagore temple.