Adhi Rathneswarar Temple, Thiruvadanai, Ramanathapuram
Adhi Rathneswarar Temple is a major Hindu temple with Shiva as the presiding deity, located in the town of Thiruvadanai in the state of Tamilnadu, India. The Adhi Rathneswarar Temple situated in Thiruvadanai, is one of the 14 temples in South India praised in the Thevaram hymns. Sages Agasthya, Markandeya and the holy cow Kamadenu were believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva at this temple. The temple is also mentioned in the Thirupugal and Thevara Pathigam works of Tamil poets Arunagirinathar and Sambandar respectively.
Story behind the name “Thiruvadanai”:
Legend has it that Vaaruni, the son of Varuna, the God of rain. Once he stayed in the Ashram of Sage Durvasa who was in deep meditation. Vaaruni’s friends played there using the fruits and flowers in the ashram and disturbed the penance of the sage. The angry sage cursed Vaaruni for his deed to become a strange creature with the head of a goat (Aadu) and body of an elephant (Yanai). Hence this place got the name Thiru Aadu Aanai – Thiruvadanai.
Vaaruni realized his folly. Sages nearby suggested that he should go to this temple in the Pandya kingdom, pray to Lord Shiva for his remedy. Vaaruni followed the advice. Lord appeared before him and enquired of his wish. Vaaruni in his Aja Gaja (Aadu-Yanai) form begged the Lord that his life should be a lesson to those behaving badly towards respectful elders and that this place should be known as Thiruvadanai till the end of Kaliyuga. Lord granting his wish, the place came to be known with the suffix Thiru Aadu Aanai – Thiruvadanai.
He regained his normal form after worshiping Shiva at this temple. The name of the town is believed to have been derived from this mythological incident (Thiru- sacred; Adu- goat; Aanai- elephant; Thiru Adanai- the sacred place, where the goat-headed-elephant regained his original form).
Surya worshipping Adhi Rathneswarar:
Sun was very proud of his radiating power. When the brightness on Lord rose up, Nandhi the bull vehicle of the Lord drew it, the Sun losing his brightness. Sun begged Nandhi to show him the solution. Nandi advised Sun to worship Lord of Thiruvadanai installing him on a seat made of sapphire gems for remedy. Sun being the Adhi-first among the nine planets worshipped Lord Shiva Adhi Rathneswarar as suggested. When abishek is performed on the Lord, He turns blue. Sage Brighu (Brighu Munivar) is also said to have worshiped the Lord here.
Arjuna getting knowledge of using Pasupatha Asthra:
Another popular belief is that during the exile of Pandavas, Arjuna got the Pasupatha missile from Lord Shiva. He was asked by the Lord to come to Thiruvadanai to know how to use the weapon. As a mark of his devotion (Bhakti), Arjuna installed the shrine (Somaskanda) in the temple.
The Tower (Gopuram) of this temple is a specimen of Dravidian art presented in the upper stories. It was recently renovated by the benign patronage of some film actors of the state. The surface of the Gopuram depicts various lifelike arts from the different anecdotes of the Hindu mythology. The pictures are painted in oil and exhibit vivid descriptions of the incidents depicted. The tower can be seen from a colossal distance of about 10 miles from the temple's premises.
The presiding deity here is Lord Siva in known as Aadhi Rathneswarar (Swayambhu Lingam) and his consort is Snehavalli Amman. The temple is estimated to about 1000-2000 years old. The temple has amazing number of Bas Reliefs on stone pillars. Mother Snehavalli is the deity for planet Shukra-Venus. The temple is famous for Shukra worship.
Three yard sticks are used to decide the reputation of great temples, viz. Murthy, Sthala and Theertha. Temples are famous for one or two of these aspects and some have all the three attributes. Thiruvadanai Adhi Rathneswarar temple has all the three attributes. Lord Shiva is a swayambu. He is also praised as Aadanai Nathar and Aja Gajeswarar. The sacred springs are Surya Pushkarani, Varuna, Vaaruni, Markandeya, Agasthya and Kamadenu Theerthams.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Devotees pray to Lord Adhi Rathneswarar for relief from the evil effects of past deeds. Special Shukra (Venus planet) Homas are performed on Mother for child boon. Those under planet Shukra’s main or sub-periods are advised to pray to Mother in this temple. Those consulting Nadi astrology in Thiruvannamalai and Vaitheeswaran Koil come to this temple to perform the remedial pujas.
This is one of the Shiva temples offering pujas to the Sun God. It is believed that the Sun worshiped Lord Shiva placing him on a stage made of sapphire gems, hence came the name of the Lord, Adhi Rathneswarar. When the Abhishekams are performed during mid-day, the Lord appears blue.
The temple is praised by Saint Tirugnanasambandar in his Thevaram hymns. This is the 9th temple in Pandya region praised in Thevaram hymns. Sages Agasthya, Markandeya and divine cow Kamadenu had worshipped Lord of this temple. Lord Muruga in the temple is praised in the Thirupugazh hymns of saint Arunagirinathar.
· 10-day Vaikasi Visaka Vasantha Utsavam (summer festival) in May–June
· 15-day Aadi Pooram in July–August
· Navarathri in September–October
· Shiva-Pradoshams the 13th day of both full moon and new moon fortnights in all months)
· Karthikai in November–December
· Chathurthi in the month of Avani(August–September)
Sri Adhi Rathneswarar Temple,
Phone: +91- 4561 - 254 533
Thiruvadanai is 100 km far from Madurai on the Thondi route. It is situated about 70 km away from Ramanathapuram & can be reached from Karaikudi via Devakottai or Madurai via Sivagangai. The town is well connected by means of road. The nearest railway station is situated at the Devakottai Road train station and the nearest airport is at Madurai.