Sunday, July 30, 2023

Dakshinamurthy Temple, Pattamangalam – The Temple

Dakshinamurthy Temple, Pattamangalam – The Temple

This temple is facing towards east with five tiered rajagopuram. Dwaja Sthambam, Balipeedam and Nandi can be found immediately after the rajagopuram facing towards the sanctum. The sanctum sanctorum consists of sanctum, ardha mandapam, maha mandapam and mukha mandapam. Presiding deity is called as Sundareswarar and is facing east. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Lingam.

Vinayaga, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Durga are the koshta idols located around the sanctum walls. Chandikeswarar shrine can be seen in his usual location. Mother is called as Meenakshi. She is housed in a separate south facing shrine in maha mandapam. There is an east facing shrine for Shanmuga Nathar in the temple premises. He appears with five heads accompanied by his consorts Valli & Devasena.

He represents Shiva aspect in this temple as Lord Shiva has five faces. Shrines of Ganesha, Suryan, Chandran, Karthigai maidens, Maha Lakshmi, Bhairavar and Navagrahas in the temple premises. Generally, Lord Dakshinamoorthy can be seen in the koshta of the Shiva temples facing towards south. However, in this temple in addition to the koshta, he is present in a separate east facing shrine.

This is the only temple where Dakshinamoorthy is facing towards east. This shrine abuts the Sundareswarar shrine on the north. Lord Dakshinamurthy is shown sitting in a Veerasana posture. He is four armed. He holds Agni in the upper right hand, Gnana Mudra in the lower right hand, a serpent in the left upper hand and placing the lower left hand on his thigh.

Lord Vishnu is depicted as Varaha and Lord Brahma as a swan at the feet of the Dakshinamoorthy. He is shown wearing a crown of Kondrai flowers. There is a huge sacred banyan tree (Sthala Vriksham) at the back of this shrine. Idols of six Karthigai maidens can be seen below the tree. Theertham associated with this temple is Potramarai Kulam.

This temple tank is situated to the west of the temple with a mandapam in the middle. There is a shrine for Ashtama Siddhi Subramanya / Thayumanavar outside the main temple. Thiruvilaiyadal Garden and Pathinettam Padi (18 steps) Karuppar shrine can be found to the east of the temple. There is a separate shrine for Navayadi Kali at a few hundred meters from the main temple.

Dakshinamurthy Temple, Pattamangalam – Legends

Dakshinamurthy Temple, Pattamangalam – Legends


Once, Lord Shiva was teaching Ashtama Siddhi to Sage Bhringi, Nandi and Bhooda Ganas in Kailasa. Karthigai maidens (Nidardani, Aparakendi, Dekanthi, Vardhayendhi, Amba and Thula), who brought up Lord Murugan as a kid came and requested Lord Shiva to include them also. Lord Shiva was initially hesitant but at the recommendation of Mother Parvati, he agreed to teach the Karthigai maidens. But the maidens did not listen to the teaching sincerely and lost focus.

Thus, they lost an opportunity of learning this rare art. Lord Shiva got angry and cursed them to become stones.  The maidens fell at his feet and sought relief from the curse. Lord Shiva said that they would be stones for 1000 years and he would provide relief to them after 1000 years. The maidens came to Pattamangalam and performed penance on Lord Shiva in the form of stones for 1000 years.

Lord Shiva came in the form of Dakshinamoorthy from Madurai, gave back their original form of girls and preached Ashtama Siddhi under the banyan tree. As the feet of Lord Shiva touched (patta in Tamil) this place for providing relief to Karthigai maidens (Mangai in Tamil), the place came to be called as Pattamangai and later got corrupted to Pattamangalam. While cursing the Karthigai maidens, Lord Shiva also cursed Mother Parvati for her recommendation to the undeserved.

She also came here and performed penance as Kali under the Naval tree. When the Karthigai maidens were cleared off their sins, Kali was also cleared off her sin and got back to the Parvathi devi form. There is a separate temple of Navayadi Kali at a few hundred meters from the main temple. This story is regarded as the 33rd of the 64 Thiruvilayadals (or divine plays) of Lord Shiva.

Adaikalam Katha Ayyanar:

As per legend, Kadamba rishi had his ashram inside Kadambavanam (Kadamba forest) at Pattamangalam during ancient times. Once, the demon Hiranyakasipu disturbed the penance of Kadamba rishi. The sage cursed him that his fall would start if the demon comes to this place. The devas seek refuge at Kadamba rishi as they were driven away from heaven by Hiranyakasipu. On searching the devas, he reached this place without thinking about his curse.

As per the curse, Hiranyakasipu was annihilated by Lord Narasimha at nearby Iraniyur. As Kadamba rishi gave refuge to devas when they were suffering due to Hiranyakasipu, he came to be called as Adaikalam Katha Ayyanar. He is present here in a separate shrine with all his parivara deities under the Erazhinjil tree. Kadamba rishi is closely associated with the legend of Thirukoshtiyur Divya Desam nearby.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Thirunokkiya Azhagiyanathar Temple, Thiruppachethi – The Temple

Thirunokkiya Azhagiyanathar Temple, Thiruppachethi – The Temple

This temple is facing towards east with an entrance arch. The sanctum sanctorum consists of sanctum, ardha mandapam, maha mandapam and mukha mandapam. Dwaja Sthambam, Balipeedam and Nandi can be found immediately after the entrance arch in the mukha mandapam facing towards the sanctum. Presiding deity is called as Thirunokkiya Azhagiyanathar / Vanmeeganathar / Parijathavaneswarar / Chakravartheeswarar / Lakshmi Varada Sundareswarar and is facing east. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Shiva Lingam.

Lord is a Swayambhu Moorthy (self-manifested). Normally, Vilwa leaves are used in the poojas to Lord Shiva but here Tulsi leaves are used in the Somavara (Mondays) poojas of Lord Shiva. Vinayaga, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingodbhava, Vishnu Durga and Brahma are the koshta idols located around the sanctum walls. Chandikeswarar shrine can be seen in his usual location. Lord Nataraja is made of a musical stone in this temple. He is flanked by his consort Shivagami. Mother is called as Marunokkum Poonguzhali. She is housed in a separate south facing shrine in maha mandapam.

There are two Maragatha Lingams in the temple. Abhishekam is performed to these Maragatha Lingams during Uchi Kala Pooja. It is one of the unique feature in this temple to have darshan of these Lingams. There is a separate shrine for Kala Bhairavar in the temple premises. Here Bhairavar is shown with his dog mount on two sides. There are shrines for Valampuri Vinayagar, Murugan with his consorts Valli & Devasena and Navagrahas in the temple premises. Theertham associated with this temple is Lakshmi Theertham. Sthala Vriksham is Parijatham.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Thirunokkiya Azhagiyanathar Temple, Thiruppachethi – Legends

Thirunokkiya Azhagiyanathar Temple, Thiruppachethi – Legends

Thirunokkiya Azhagiyanathar:

When Indra and Brihaspati were going towards Mount Kailasha to meet Lord Shiva, their way was blocked by a naked yogi with matted hair and a radiant face. The yogi was Lord Shiva himself, who had taken the form to test the knowledge of Indra and Brihaspati. Indra did not recognize the yogi and was infuriated at the fact that the man was not moving out of their way. Indra asked him to move, but the man did not budge. Indra got furious and threatened him with his weapon thunderbolt.

The yogi made the arm of Indra paralyzed and neutralized his weapon thunderbolt. Lord Shiva got angry on the action of Indra and his eyes turned red, frightening Indra. The anger caused his third eye to open, nearly killing Indra. Brihaspati recognized Lord Shiva and prayed to him, requesting him to pardon Indra. To avoid killing Indra, Lord Shiva sent the fire from his eye towards the ocean and upon meeting with the ocean it assumed the form of a boy.

The boy cried terribly, which caused Brahma to descend from his abode. The ocean told Brahma that he did not know where the boy came from. Brahma then told him that the boy would one day become the emperor of the asuras, that he could only be killed by Lord Shiva and that after his death, he would return to third eye. Then, Brahma named him Jalandhara. Jalandhara grew up to be a handsome man and was made the emperor of asuras by Shukra, their guru.

Jalandhara was exceedingly powerful and was considered to be one of the mightiest asuras of all time. He married Vrinda, the daughter of the asura Kalanemi. Jalandhara ruled with justice and nobility. One day, the sage Bhargava (Shukra) came to meet Jalandhara. He narrated the tales of Hiranyakasipu and Virochana. He also told him how Vishnu had severed the head of Rahu during the episode of the Samudra Manthana. The asura came to believe that the devas had treacherously taken the treasures of his father Varuna.

He sent one of his messengers, Ghasmara, to Indra to ask him to return the treasures of his father. However, Indra refused to return the treasures. A fierce battle ensued between the devas and the asuras. Many warriors were killed on both sides. Shukra revived the asuras using his amritajeevini vidya. Brihaspati revived the dead devas by using the medicinal herbs from the Drona mountain. Shukra counselled Jalandhara to uproot the mountain so that Brihaspati would be unable to employ the medicinal herbs to revive the devas.

Jalandhara acquiesced and hurled the mountain Drona into the ocean. Demoralized, the devas requested Lord Vishnu for his aid. A fierce battle was fought between Jalandhara and Lord Vishnu, who rode upon Garuda and wielded his divine sword, Nandaka. Vishnu was impressed by the valiance of Jalandhara in battle and granted him a boon of his choice. Jalandhara requested Lord Vishnu to stay in his eponymous city, bringing with him his followers and his consort, Lakshmi.

Without the help of Lord Vishnu, the devas were defeated by asuras and Jalandhara became the lord of the three worlds (heaven, earth, and the underworld). He confiscated all the jewels that the devas and the gandharvas had hoarded during the Samudra Manthana and ruled virtuously, with nobody in his realm sick or lean. The devas were unhappy about their defeat, dejected at their being stripped of their authority. The divine sage, Narada, upon consulting with the devas, went to see Jalandhara.

On being asked the purpose of his visit by Jalandhara, he described the beauty of Kailasha where Shiva lived, and that he wondered if any other place matched its beauty. In response, Jalandhara showed off his riches to Narada, who commented that he did not have the most beautiful woman as his wife. Narada then continued to describe the residence of Lord Shiva and also described to him about the beauty of goddess Parvati.

Jalandhara sent his messenger Rahu to Shiva and accused him of hypocrisy, pointing out that Shiva claimed to be an ascetic but kept a wife, Parvati. He proposed that Shiva hand over Parvati to him. Upon hearing these insults, Lord Shiva became so angry that a fearsome creature (Kirtimukha) sprang from his brow and nearly killed Rahu, the messenger who had delivered the demand. War being determined, Jalandhara marched first to Kailasha; but finding that Shiva had forsaken it and taken up a position on a mountain near Lake Manasa, he surrounded the mountain with his troops. 

Nandi marched against them, and spread destruction; however, the army of the gods suffered many losses. Parvati then urged Lord Shiva to enter the war. Lord Shiva carefully warned Parvati to be on her guard during his absence, as it was possible asuras in some disguise might visit her; after this, accompanied by Virabhadra and Manibhadra, two forms of his anger, Lord Shiva went to the battlefield. Kartikeya came to fight with him but was defeated.

After his defeat, Ganesha tried to attack him but was badly defeated by him and was left unconscious on the battlefield. Upon seeing Lord Shiva and his avatars dominate the battlefield, Jalandhara created an illusion of beautiful apsaras singing and dancing. This illusion distracted his army, but not himself. Meanwhile, Jalandhara disguised himself as Lord Shiva and went to Parvati in order to trick her. Parvati recognized him and fled, growing beyond infuriated.

The goddess meditated on Vishnu, and when he appeared, she demanded that he deceive Vrinda, just like Jalandhara had tried to deceive her. Lord Vishnu caused Vrinda to dream that Jalandhara had been killed by Lord Shiva. Posing as an ascetic, he creates the illusion that Jalandhara is then restored to life by him. Delighted to see her husband restored to life, Vrinda sported with him for many days in the forest.

She recognized that it was Vishnu in disguise, and curses him that someday someone would trick his own wife (which becomes true when Sita is kidnapped by Ravana) just like how he had tricked her, that he would roam about in distress with Shesha (Lakshmana), and that he would seek the help of monkeys (Vanaras). Saying thus, she entered the fire to immolate herself. After her death, her soul left her form from the funeral pyre, joining Parvati.

Jalandhara, hearing of this deception and his wife's death, was enraged and left Mount Kailasha, returning to the battlefield. The illusion ending, Lord Shiva and his forces realised the truth. Lord Shiva engaged Sumbha and Nisumbha in battle, but they soon fled. They were later killed by Parvati. Jalandhara then engaged Shiva in battle. Towards the end of the battle, when most of the army of Jalandhara had been slaughtered, Lord Shiva beheaded him with a chakra (discus) created from his toe.

Upon his death, his soul merged with Shiva, just like the soul of Vrinda had merged with his consort. Lord Vishnu mixed himself in the ashes of Brinda. Vaikunda the abode of Lord Vishnu became dark. Mahalakshmi was sad. Parvathi came to Mahalakshmi and advised her to perform penance on Shiva with Shiva Theertha to get back Lord Vishnu her husband. Mahalakshmi followed this rigidly for a Mandalam (48 days) when Lord Shiva appeared before them. 

They went to Vegavathi River (now Vaigai) and worshipped Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva gave them some seeds to be sowed on the ashes of Brinda from which Tulsi appeared.  Lord Vishnu worshipped Lord Shiva with the leaves and also made a garland and wore it himself. This happened on a Monday (Somavaram). Since then, pujas to Lord Shiva in this temple is performed with Tulsi leaves. As Lakshmi worshipped Lord Shiva here, Lord Shiva came to be called as Thirunokkiya Azhagiyanathar.


As per legend, Koon Pandiyan was the Pandyan ruler during 7th century CE. He followed Jainism but his wife, Mangayarkkarasiyar and his minister, Kulachirai Nayanar, were both Shaivites. When the king suffered from boils and incurable fever and also had a hunch back, the two invited the Shaivite saint, Sambandar, to Madurai. Sambandar offered to help the king. The Jains monks opposed this, arguing that a Brahmin from the Chola country should not be trusted. The Jains sought to demonstrate the incompetence of Sambandar by challenging him to a debate.

Further, they declared that they would become his slaves if defeated. Sambandar rejected the condition about slavery. Sambandar proposed that the Jains be impaled if defeated. In the fire contest, two manuscripts, containing Jain and Shaivite hymns respectively, were thrown into fire. The Jain manuscript burned, while the Shaivite manuscript remained unscathed. In the water contest, the Jain manuscript was carried away by the river, while the Shaivite manuscript came back to the shore undamaged.

It is believed that the Shaivite manuscripts reached Thiruvedagam against the river water and the Jaina manuscripts were washed away by the river and reached this place. As the Jaina manuscripts (Thiruppakkal) reached this place, the place came to be called as Thiruppachethi. Sambandar defeated the Jains in the ensuing debate and he miraculously cured the hunched back of the king, transforming him into a handsome man. The king converted to Shaivism, and the Shaivite devotees impaled the defeated Jains.

Emperor Nala worshipped Lord Shiva here:

As per legend, Emperor Nala had lost his kingdom and was separated from his queen Damayanti due to the adverse aspects of Sani. Sage Durvasa advised him to visit this place and worship Lord Shiva for relief from Sani dosha. As per his advice, Nala came here, took bath in the theertham, worshipped Lord Shiva and got back his kingdom and wife. In gratitude, Emperor Nala constructed the Punniya vimana of this temple.


It is believed that Emperor Nala and Sage Durvasa worshipped Lord Shiva here, the place came to be called as Unnathapuri.


It is believed that goddess Lakshmi worshipped Lord Shiva here, the place came to be called as Lakshmipuram.

Parijatha Vanam:

As the place was a forest dense with Pavalamalli, the place came to be called as Parijatha Vanam.