Madhunadagaswami Temple, Elathur, Thirunelveli
Madhunadagaswami Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva located at Elathur Village in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Sthala Vriksham is Tamarind tree. Theertham of this Temple is Hanuman River.
The Name Elaithur:
On the Great Wedding Ceremony day of Lord Shiva with Mother Parvathi at Mount Kailash, North went far below due to the weight of a large number of rishis gathering in Mount Kailash. As planet Earth lost its balance, Lord Shiva sent Sage Agasthya (a dwarf in stature) to South to balance the level with his single weight. The Hanuman River was on his way while the Sage came to South.
He bathed in the river, made a Shivalinga with sand and worshipped it under a tamarind tree. The sage saw honey dropping from the tree. The Shivalinga became hard and solid mixing with the honey. Sage Agasthya called the Linga Madhunatha (Madhu means honey). This is how the temple came into being. The Honey fell through the leaves of the tree (leaves means Ilai in Tamil). Hence, the place came to be known as Elaithur and shrunk as Elathur later.
The ancient river that once flowed through place was called Hanuman River, as it was created by Hanuman with his strong blow on a rock chanting the name of Lord Sri Rama to quench his and the thirst of the Monkey army when they passed through this place with Lord Rama and Lakshmana. Akash Ganga sprang up from the rock and came to be known as Hanuman River. There is a tank before the temple that doesn’t dry even during hot summer, even now. Elathur Shiva temple is one among those in Tamilnadu with a tank.
Presiding Deity is called as Madhunadagaswami and believed to be created by Sage Agasthya. Lord Dakshinamurthy and Sani Baghwan occupy greater importance in the temple. Generally, Sri Dakshinamurthy shrine is southward in all Shiva temples. But the shrine in this temple is below the Vimana. It appears that such a pattern is not followed in any other Shiva temple in the state. Sri Dakshinamurthy appears on the towers in the temples. It is only in this temple, there is a special shrine below the Vimana.
Sri Sani Baghwan occupies a place of supremacy in this temple. It is only in this temple that the deity appears in an abhayahastha (right hand assuring the devotee) form. Though there are shrines separately for Sani Bhagwan (Planet Saturn) in all Shiva Temples, He is installed close to the wall in the corridor-prakara, making it not possible to go round the shrine. This is how the shrine is designed even in Tirunallar, a special temple devoted to Sani worship. But, the shrine for him in the Elathur temple is such that the devotee can go round for the worship in clockwise way. While many are afraid of this planet, he is so graceful in this temple. Hence, there is a belief that all problems due to Sani aspects are solved here.
There is also a facility to do Pradikshina (going around the shrine clockwise) for Agni Bhairava. Shri Dharma Sastha graces in the temple in the form of a Linga. The idol is with a bow and arrow on an elephant hanging down his two legs. There is also a temple here for Lord Vishnu – Sundarajan Perumal – as the Kalazhagar temple in Madurai. The Lord graces with his consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi. Only Sri Garudazhvar and Vishwaksenar grace along with Perumal. The temple is in a calm environment, quite suitable for meditation.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Navarathri in Purattasi (September-October), Kumarasashti, Thiruvadirai in Margazhi (December-January), a festival for Mother Aram Valartha Nayaki (Mother who fostered Dharma) on the Uthiram star day in Thai (January-February) are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
People pray here for any problem arising due to Saturn aspects. Special poojas are performed to Sani Bhagwan on Saturdays.
All buses running from Tenkasi in Thirunelveli district to Sambavar Vada Karai village pass through Elathur. The place is 4 km from Tenkasi. Nearest Railway Station is located at Tenkasi and Nearest Airport is located at Madurai & Thiruvananthapuram.