Tiruvannamalai – Sri Arunachaleswar temple

 Name of the Temple

Sri Arunachaleswar temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Arunachaleswar, Annamalaiar

Ambal: Abithagujambal, Unnamulayal

Sthala Theertham: Shivaganga

Sthala Virksham: Magizha tree

Devaram: Tirugnanasambandar

Sthalapuranam:

The hill itself is Shiva Linga. This is a temple of great significance in South India. The very thought of this temple ensures total salvation to the soul. This is the place that would destroy the “I” arrogance. Mother Uma performed penance here going round the hill to claim the left part of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva granted His darshan to mother in the form of Light-Jyothi. This is the birth place of Saint Arunagiriar. Frustrated in life, when the Saint attempted to end himself, Lord Muruga protected him from death. Lord Muruga also made him a poet whose Tirupugazh hymns stand unmatched till today in the meter forms, syllables, melody and spiritual content singing the glory of Lord Muruga. Tiruvannamalai is the sacred place where Ligodhbava came into being first and followed in other Shiva Temples. The temple covers an area of 25 acres with 9 towers and 9 corridors-prakaras. The tower of the temple is the second tallest – 217 feet. The temple is always crowded with devotees as in Tirupathi. The temple was built in the 6th Century. The renovations of this ancient temple were done by Chera, Chola, Pandya and Vaisala kings at various periods. Tiruvannamalai was home to number of Siddhas in the past whose lineage continues even today. Their Holinesses Sri Seshadri Swamigal, Ramana Maharishi and Visiri Samiyar attained salvation on this sacred soil. Girivalam: Lord Shiva gave His Half to Mother Parvathi on the Kruthika star day in the month of Karthikai-November-December. Therefore, Girivalam – going round the hill – is taken up by the devotees this day. It is said that great Rishis and enlightened souls were following this as a penance on Pradosha days and on the first day each Tamil month. This is followed by devotees now-a-days. It is said that Moon absorbs all energies from Sun on Poornima days and therefore, this day is considered important for Girivalam. Of the five Shaktis on which Earth stands – Space, Water, Air, Earth and Fire the Agni, Tiruvannamalai belongs to Agni. Tuesday is attributed to Agni. Girivalam is undertaken on this day. There will be special pujas in the temple. Worshipping the Lord on Sundays bring high positions to the devotee equal to a posting in His court, Mondays elevate the devotee to a position equal to Indira, Tuesdays ensure relief from debt burdens and poverty and continued prosperity in the births following, Wednesdays for academic excellence and final salvation, Thursdays wisdom equal to Maharshis, Fridays grace of Lord Vishnu and a place in His abode and Saturdays the benefit of worshipping all the 9 planets. Worshipping on New Moon day brings total mental peace. Observing a fasting for 48 days and performing the Girivalam blesses the couple with child boon.

10 day Karthikai Brahmmotsavam and Karthikai Deepam in November-December, Masi Maha Shivarathri in February-March, Thai Mattu Pongal, Tiruvudal and Oonjal utsav falling almost on January 15 and monthly Brahmmotsavam are devotionally celebrated in the temple. Fire walking is observed on Aadi Pooram day in July-August a ceremony not followed in any Shiva temple. Six time Puja (Aaru Kala Puja) is strictly followed in this temple as per Agama rules. On Masi Magam day in February-March, Lord Annamalaiar visits a place called Palli Pattu for Theerthavari, an event that represents Lord’s performing the last rites for Vallala Maharaja to whom He was born a son earlier. Lord visits the temples in the surroundings on the 5th day of Thai month covering January-February and grants darshan to devotees at Kalasapakkam on the Rathasapthami day. It is on this day the Car (rath) of Sun turns northward marking the beginning of Utharayana period covering six months from January-February to June-July. The 6 day wedding festival takes place on Panguni Uthiram in March-April. Almost every day in the month is a festival day in the temple. Pradosha – 13th day of new moon or full moon is devotionally observed in the temple. Special pujas are performed on Deepavali, Pongal and Tamil and English New Year days.

This Temple which is considered to be Manipooragam accoring to Aathara stalam means Spine directly behind the navel

This Temple refered as fire according to pancha bootha sthalam

Route:

The temple is in the hart of Tiruvannamalai town linked with all parts of Tamilnadu with bus facilities.

Temple Timings:

5.00 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91-4175 252 438.

Temple Address:

Sri Arunachaleswar Temple,

Tiruvannamalai-606 601,

Tiruvannamalai Dist.

Chidambaram – Sri Thillai Natarajar Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Thillai Natarajar Temple

Period of origin

Before 3000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Thirumoolanathar

Ambal: Umayambikai, Sivakama Sundari

Sthala Theertham: Shivaganga, Paramananda Koopam, Vyakrapada Theertham, Anantha Theertham, Nagacheri, Brahmma Theertham, Shivapriyai,Pulimedu, Kuyya Theertham, Tiruparkadal

Sthala Virksham: Thillai

Devaram:  Gnanasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar

Sthalapuranam:

The story of Chidambaram begins with the legend of Lord Shiva strolling into the Thillai Vanam (Vanam meaning forest and thillai trees, a species of mangrove trees – which currently grows in the Pichavaram wetlands near Chidambaram. The temple sculptures depicting the Thillai trees date back to the 2nd century CE).

In the Thillai forests resided a group of saints or ‘rishis’ who believed in the supremacy of magic and that God can be controlled by rituals and ‘mantras’ or magical words. The Lord strolls in the forest with resplendent beauty and brilliance, assuming the form of ‘Pitchatanadar’, a simple mendicant seeking alms. He is followed by his Grace and consort who is Lord Vishnu as Mohini. The rishis and their wives are enchanted by the brilliance and the beauty of the handsome mendicant and his consort. On seeing their womenfolk enchanted, the rishis get enraged and invoke scores of ‘serpents’ by performing magical rituals. The Lord as the mendicant lifts the serpents and dons them as ornaments on his matted locks, neck and waist. Further enraged, the rishis invoke a fierce tiger, which the Lord skins and dons as a shawl around his waist. Thoroughly frustrated, the rishis gather all their spiritual strength and invoke a powerful demon Muyalakan – a symbol of complete arrogance and ignorance. The Lord wearing a gentle smile, steps on the demon’s back, immobilizes him and performs the Ánanda Thaandava (the dance of eternal bliss) and discloses his true form. The rishis surrender, realizing that this Lord is the truth and he is beyond magic and rituals.
The Ananda Thaandava
Adhisesha, the serpent who serves as a bed for the Lord in his manifestation as Vishnu, hears about the Änanda thaandava and yearns to see and enjoy it. The Lord blesses him, beckons him to assume the saintly form of ‘Patanjali’ and sends him to the Thillai forest, informing him that he will display the dance in due course. Patanjali who meditated in the Himalayas during krita age joins another saint, Vyagrapathar / Pulikaalmuni (Vyagra / Puli meaning “Tiger” and patha / kaal meaning “feet” – referring to the story of how he sought and got the feet and eyesight of a tiger to help climb trees well before dawn to pick flowers for the Lord before the bees visit them). The story of sage Patanjali as well as his great student sage Upamanyu is narrated in both Vishnu Puranam as well as Siva Puranam. They move into the Thillai forest and worship Lord Shiva in the form of Shivalinga, a deity worshipped today as Thirumoolataneswarar (Thiru – sri, Moolatanam – primordial or in the nature of a foundation, Eswarar- the Lord). Legends say that Lord Shiva displayed his dance of bliss (the Aananda Thaandavam) – as Nataraja to these two saints on the day of the poosam star in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan – Feb).

Lord Shiva is in three forms in Chidambaram, as visible idol form, formless as Akasha or space and form and formless as a Spatika Linga.
What is Chidambara Rahasyam – secret:  There is small entrance near Lord Sabanayaka in the Chit Saba.  The screen is removed and an arati is offered.  There is nothing in a form inside.  But there hangs a golden Vilwa garland without a Murthi.  The secret is that Lord is here as Akasha which has no beginning or an end.  This can be understood only by experience.  Of the Panchabhoodha Sthals, Chidambaram belongs to Akasha.
Chit + Ambaram= Chidambaram.  Chit means wisdom.  Ambaram means broad open space not measurable.  “We have nothing with us” is the lesson from this philosophy.
The reputation of Chidambaram is still greater, because it is here that the hymns of three great Saivite Saints were discovered.  They sang thousands of hymns in many Shiva Sthals they visited.  Where were they for the use of the devotees?  Tirunarayur Nambiandar Nambi and king Tirumurai Kanda Chozhan fell at the feet of Lord Polla Pillayar – Vinayaka to guide them in the matter.  With the blessings of Lord Vinayaka, they came to know that all these great spiritual literature with the signatures of the respective authors are hidden in this temple.  They rushed to Chidambaram and worshipped the authors with respectful festivals.  They found the palm leaves covered by anthill and mostly consumed by insects.  Yet they picked up the available full leaves and saved them.  All these invaluable spiritual literature would have been totally lost but for the painstaking and devout labor of Nambiandar Nambigal and Tirumurai Kanda Chozhan.
Chidambaram Lord Nataraja probably is the first social reformer.  Nandanar, a dalit farm worker was a staunch Shiva devotee.  He desired to have the darshan of Lord but could not secure a holiday from his upper caste boss who said that as a low born he was not entitled for the privilege.  Nandanar did not lose hope.  Naalai Pohalam – Let me go tomorrow – was his hope.  After many tomorrows, he finally reached Chidambaram but could not enter the temple due to his community problem.  He tried to have the glimpse of Lord, but Nandhi the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva blocked the view.  Lord asked Nandhi to move and enabled Nandanar to have his darshan.  Nandanar attained salvation here and merged with Lord to the shock and surprise of the upper class.
It is said that the four Saivite Saints entered the temple through the four entrances of the temple, Manickavasagar through the east, Gnanasambandar from south, Appar from west and Sundarar from the north.  Appar-Tirunavukkarasar did his Angapradakshina in the car strees (Ratha Veedhi) of Chidambaram.
Saint Manickavasagar cured the dumb daughter of the Buddhist king of Lanka with the blessings of Lord in the temple.  There are five Sabhas in the temple – Chittrambalam, Ponnambalam, Perambalam, Niruddha Sabha and Rajatha Sabha.  The shrines of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are so structured that the devotee can have twin darshan from one spot in the temple.  This is a temple where Brahmma, Vishnu and Rudra grace the devotees together.
Saint Arunagirinathar had praised Lord Muruga of this temple in ten of his Tirupugazh hymns.
Many believe that Lord Nataraja is the presiding deity of this temple.  The presiding deity is Adhimoola Nathar in the Linga form.  Sages Patanjali and Vyakrapada wished that people of this earth too should have the chance to view and enjoy the great dance of Lord Shiva performed at Mount Kailash.  They came to earth and sat in penance on Adhimoolanathar for the purpose.  Responding to their selfless penance for the common people, Lord Shiva along with Tri Sahasra Muniswaras – 3000 sages came to this place and granted His dance darshan in Thai month (January-February) on Poosam Star day at 12.00 a.m.  These 3000 Muniswaras then came to known as Thillai Moovayiravar.
Chidambaram is a holy place that ensures total salvation to the souls.  For salvation, one should have his/her birth at Tiruvarur or live in Kanchi or think of Tiruvannamalai or die in Kasi.  If one worships Lords Tirumoolanathar and Nataraja at Chidambaram at least once in life time, salvation is reserved for the soul.  Despite strong opposition to Nandanar to enter the temple due to community reasons, he entered the temple with all honours and merged with the Lord. His bhakti-devotion was too deep and true that transcended all blockades of caste discrimination.
Every one in the world, irrespective of race, colour, country, language, religion throng he temple for Lord Nataraja darshan and also participate in pulling the car-rath.
Lord Brahmma organized a yajna and invited the 3000 Muniswaras to join in the pujas.  They simply replied that no great soulful gain could be achieved  by attending the yajna than the darshan of Nataraja at Thillai Chidambaram.  Lord advised them to go and attend the yajna and promised to appear there at the end of the yajna.  That form of His appearance in the Brahmma Loka is praised as Rathna Sabapathy.  This idol is under the Nataraja idol.  Every day, between 10.00 a.m and 11.00 a.m. Arati is shown to Lord Rathna Sabapathi, both at front and back.
There is a similarity in the design of Nataraja shrine and the human body, it is said.  The 21,600 golden tiles engraved with the Na Ma Shi Va Ya mantra represent the number of times one breathes each day.  The 72,000 nails used in the Ponnambalam represent the number of nerves of the human body.  The 9 entrances represent the nine conveniences in the body activating our movements.  Five steps to Ponnambalam represent the five letters of Na Ma Shi Va Ya Mantra.  Wooden supports numbering 64 represent 64 arts, 96 windows the 96 philosophies, the pillars the 4 Vedas, 6 Sastras and Panchaboodas.
Sri Chakra installed by Acharya Adi Sankara is in the Ambica shrine. The Arthajama puja in the temple has its own significance when, it is believed that all other Gods assemble here for worship.  Great Saivite poet Sekkizhar released His magnum Opus Periapuranam in this temple.  Saint Arunagiriar had praised Lord Muruga of this temple in his Tirupugazh hymns.

Chidambaram is also referred to in various works such as Thillai (after the Thillai forest of yore in which the temple is now located), Perumpatrapuliyur or Vyagrapuram் (in honour of Saint Vyagrapathar).The temple is supposed to be located at the Lotus heart of the Universe”: Virat hridaya padma sthalam. On the spot where the Lord displayed his dance of bliss, the Änanda Thaandavam – a spot exactly south of the “Thirumoolataaneswar temple”, today is the Ponnambalam/ Porsabai (Pon meaning gold, Ambalam/Sabai meaning stage) housing the Lord Shiva in his dancing form. The Lord is also hence referred to as the Sabhanayakar, meaning the Lord of the Stage.

This gold-roofed stage is the sanctum sanctorum of the Chidambaram temple and houses the Lord in three forms:
the “form” – the anthropomorphically form as an appearance of Lord Nataraja, called the Sakala thirumeni.
the “semi-form” – the semi-anthropomorphically form as the Crystal linga of Chandramouleswarar, the Sakala nishkala thirumeni.
the “formless” – as the Space in Chidambara Rahasyam, an empty space within the sanctum sanctorum, the Nishkala thirumeni.

Pancha Bootha Sthalas
Chidambaram is one of the Panchabootha Sthalas, where the Lord is worshipped in his manifestation as sky or Aagayam (“pancha” – meaning five, bootha – meaning the elements: earth, water, fire, wind and space and “sthala” meaning location).

The others are:
the Ekambareswarar temple at Kanchipuram, where the Lord is worshipped in his manifestation as Earth
the Jambukeswarar temple at Thiruvanaikaval, in Tiruchirapalli, where the Lord is worshipped in his manifestation as Water
the Annamalaiyar Temple at Tiruvannamalai, where the Lord is worshipped in his manifestation as Fire
the Kalahasti temple at Srikalahasthi, where the Lord is worshipped in his manifestation as air/wind.
Chidambaram also is one of the five places where Lord Shiva is said to have displayed his dance and all these places have stages/ sabhais . Apart from Chidambaram which has the Por sabhai, the others are the Rathina sabhai at Thiruvaalangadu (rathinam – ruby / red) , the Chitra sabhai at Courtallam (chitra – painting), the Rajatha sabhai or the Velli ambalam at Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple (rajatha / velli – silver) and the Thaamira sabhai at Nellaiappar Temple, Tirunelveli (thaamiram – copper).
The temple complex spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. It is an ancient and historic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva Nataraja and Lord Govindaraja Perumal, one of the few temples where both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite deities are enshrined in one place.To the followers of Shaivism (Saivism) or the saivaite, the very word koil refers to Chidambaram. In the same way, to the followers of Vaishnavism it refers to Srirangam or Thiruvarangam.

A unique feature of this temple is the bejeweled image of Nataraja. It depicts the Lord Shiva as the Lord of the dance Bharatanatyam and is one of the few temples where Shiva is represented by an anthropomorphic murthi rather than the classic, anionic Lingam. The Cosmic Dance of Lord Nataraja symbolises the motion of the universe as sustained by Lord Shiva. The temple has five courts.Aragalur Udaya Iraratevan Ponparappinan (alias Vanakovaraiyan) rebuilt the Siva temple at Chidambaram around 1213 AD. The same Bana Chief also built Tiruvannamalai temple.The temple has been traditionally administered by an endogamous group of shiavite brahmins called Dikshitar, who also officiate as its priest.

The Chidambaram Natarajar temple is a specimen of the assimilation of several architectural styles. The innermost sanctum of the temple, houses the grand images of Shiva (Nataraja) and Parvati (Sivakami) in the ChitSabha or the hall of consciousness, adjoining which is the KanakaSabha or the Golden Hall, both these structures resting on a raised platform. The innermost prakaram surrounds this holiest of shrines, and to the South West of Nataraja, is the shrine of Govindaraja Perumaal facing the East.

The Chitsabha, the holiest shrine in the temple, is a wooden structure supported with wooden pillars, with a hut shaped roof. It is in this hall, that the images of Nataraja and Sivakami are housed, in front of a set of two curtains, the inner (invisible) one being red in color, the outer one being black in color. To the right of Shiva, is the revered Chidambara rahasyam – or a representation of emptiness garlanded with golden vilva leaves. The curtain in front of the Chidambara Rahasyam, representing Shiva (and Parvati) in the formless form (Aroopam) is lifted ceremoniously during worship services, with offerings of lamps. Also in the Chitsabha are images of Ratnasabhapati (Nataraja of Ruby), the Spatika Lingam of Chandramauleeswara, Swarnakarshana Bhairavar, Mukhalingam etc

The Golden Hall, or KanakaSabha is immediately in front of the ChitSabha, both being on an elevated platform as mentioned before, with silver panelled doors in front. The ChitSabha itself is a meter or so higher than the Kanakasabha and is reached by a flight of 5 silver plated steps, marking the five aksharas (or syllables) of the Panchakshara Mantram (the five syllabled Namasivaya).

Across from the Nataraja shrine in he second prakaram is the Nritta Sabha or the hall of dance with some fine pillars, housing an image of Shiva in the Urdhva tandava posture, winning over Kaali in a dance duel, and an image of Sarabheswara, another form of Shiva. The Nritta Sabha with fine pillars is in the form of a chariot drawn by horses. The Deva Sabha or the house of Gods is also in the second prakaram, housing festival images of the Pancha Murtis (Somaskandar, Parvati, Vinayaka, Subramanya and Chandikeswara) and other deities. Mulanathar, or the representation of Shiva as a Lingam is housed in the second prakaram.

The outermost prakaram is home to the grand Sivakami Amman temple, the Sivaganga tank and the 1000 pillared hall or the Raja Sabha, where Nataraja is brought during two annual festivals. The vast Sivakami Amman shrine is a temple in its own right. Ceilings on the mukhamandapam of this temple have paintings from the Nayaka period. There are friezes of dancers, drummers and musicians all along the enclosing walls of this temple. The thousand pillared hall has witnessed several grand events in history. This hall is also designed in the form of a chariot. Its entrance features two elephants, and on the basement there is a frieze of dancing figures. The 100 pillared hall, also in the outermost prakaram is also of artistic value, as is the shrine of Subramanya, which dates back to the Pandya period. The Subramanya shrine is also in the form of a chariot, and is referred to as the ‘Pandya Nayakam’.

Perhaps the most magnificient structures in the temple are the four lofty gopurams or towers in the four cardinal directions, piercing the walls of the outermost prakaram. Each is a gigantic masterpiece in itself – about 250 feet in height, with seven tiers. The Western tower is the oldest one. In the towers, on either side of the gateways there are representations of the 108 poses of the classical Bharata Natyam Tradition as enunciated in the Classic Natya Sastra. The towers are embellished with images from Hindu mythology. From the second tier onward, on each of the Gopuram, are seen images of various manifestations of Shiva such as Bhikshatana, Kankala (both being ascetic forms), Kalyanasundarar, Somaskandar etc. (bestowers of prosperity). There are no representations of Nataraja on the temple towers, as this image is reserved for the innermost shrine alone.

Six worship services are offered in this temple each day at the shrine of Nataraja – the last of which is the ArdhaJaama Puja (the most special one), where the padukas (footwear) of Nataraja are ceremoniously taken to the Palliarai (night chamber) of Shiva and Parvati after elaborate rituals. It is believed that the entire pantheon of divine figures in the Hindu system of beliefs is present during this occasion. The first puja in the morning involves the waking up of Shiva, and a transport of the padukas back to the main shrine, followed by fire rituals and ablutions to the crystal Shivalingam. The worship services that follow at about 9:30, and then at noon, and at 5 in the evening and at 7 pm involve a combination of rituals involving ablutions to the Crystal Lingam and the ceremonial show of lamps to Nataraja and Sivakami amidst the chanting of Vedic and Tamil hymns. The Shiva Agama system of temple rituals followed in almost all of the Saivite temples in Tamilnadu, is not followed at Chidambaram. It is a unique worship protocol said to have been prescribed by Patanjali that is followed at this temple.

Two annual Bhrammotsavams at Chidambaram are of great significance, as they involve colorful processions of festival deities in the car streets. The grandest of these occurs in the month of Margazhi (Dec 15 – Jan 15), concluding on the full moon day corresponding to the Arudra Darisanam festival (Arudra Darisanam is celebrated in Saivite temples all over Tamilnadu). This ten day festival at Chidambaram involves a grand scheme of traditional observances commencing with the hoisting of the temple flag on the first day, followed by colorful procesions of the five deities (Pancha Murthys) on the first eight days on various mounts. The fifth day features Mount Kailasam, while the sixth day features the elephant mount. It is only on the ninth day that Nataraja leaves his sanctum, and is taken in a procession through the car streets, in the grand temple car. This is a special occasion and crowds throng to see it. Local fishermen communities traditionally offer gifts to Nataraja during this procession. Nataraja then returns to the Raja Sabha of the temple, where in the pre-dawn hours of the next day, while the moon is full, special abhishekams are performed to Nataraja, in the presence of thousands of devotees, and this ritual is followed by the royal audience of Nataraja in the Raja Sabha. In the afternoon, Nataraja returns to the shrine ceremoniously from the Raja Sabha, amidst an enactment of the Ananda Tandavam or the Dance of Bliss.

The second of the Bhrammotsavams happens in the month of Aani, and it concludes with Aani Tirumanjanam on the tenth day, in a manner similar to Arudra Darisanam in Margazhi. It is interesting that these annual Bhrammotsavams or festivals happen in the months immediately preceding the summer and winter solstices (ie. Gemini and Sagittarius).

Live dance performances have been introduced to the temple recently, in the form of annual dance festivals.

This temple is  Aathara Stalam.This place is called Anthagam meaning Brain directly behind eyebrow

 

Route:

located in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram,

78 km south of Pondicherry

235 Km from Chenna

100km from Thanjavur

Temple Timings:

6.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91- 94439 86996

Temple Address:

Sri Thillai Natarajar Temple,

Chidambaram-608 001,

Cuddalore district.

Kashi – Sri Viswanathar Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri  Viswanathar Temple

Period of origin

11th or 12th century BC

Name of deity

Moolavar: Viswanathar

Ambal: Vishalakshi

Sthala Theertham: Ganga

Sthala Virksham: Castor

Sthalapuranam:

Standing on the western bank of India’s holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the inexorable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well and thereby symbolizes man’s desire to live in peace and harmony with one another. Vishwanath being a supreme repository of this spiritual truth thus strengthens the bonds of universal brotherhood and fellow feeling at the national as well as global levels. The Temple in the present shape was built way back in 1780 by Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. In the year 1785 a Naubatkhana was built up in front of the Temple by the then Collector Mohd. Ibrahim Khan at the instance of Governor General Warren Hastings. In 1839, Two domes of the Temple were covered by gold donated by Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Third dome but was remained uncovered, Ministry of cultures & Religious affairs of U.P. Govt. took keen interest for gold plating of third dome of Temple.

The rivers Varana and Asi join the Ganges here, a beautiful city was built there in the ancient times. It was named Varanasi. Varanasi, a prime place of pilgrimage, a tribe called kasha used to live. Therefore, Varanasi was also known as Kashi. Near Kashi, Ganga flows in the shape of a bow. Hence it acquired special importance. A king called Deivodas expanded this area. Nirvikar cahitanya and Sanatan Brahma have assumed the form of Saguna Vishwarupa from the initial Nirgun Roopa or form. The Shiva Shakti roopa became the Purusha (man) and Stree (the woman) again. Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and man) (Shiva-Shakti) were once ordained by Shiva to do tapas in the universe in order to create the best being. He specified the best place for this purpose. When a prayer was held, Nirgun Shiva, with His own powers and aura, created a wonderful city called Panchakoshi. Vishnu, who resided there, spent a lot of time praying to Shiva after which several watersprings originated there. Vishnu was amazed at this wonderous event, and even as he tilled his head, a gemstone fell from his ear. Because of this place, it was also called Manikarnika. The entire Panch Koshi area of Manikarnika waters were then gathered into the Trident by Shiva. Then from the navel of Vishnu was born a lotus flower with Brahma in it. Brahma was ordained by Shiva to create a world, at which Brahma created this wonderful world. It had fifty crore Yojanas of area and fourteen lokas. In order to save the lives of these who are bound by their own actions or karma. Shiva kept panchakoshi city away from the entire universe. In this city, Shiva Himself established the saviour Muktidayak JyotirLinga, which He can never leave. Shiva removed this very Kashi from His Trident and set it in this mortal world. It was not to be destroyed when Brahma’s day ends, but during Pralay i.e., final destruction of the world, Shiva saved it by keeping it safe in his trident. So the kashi is called avimukta kshetra. In Kashi, the Avimukteshwar Linga is there forever. Those who can never hope for salvation, attain Moksha here.

This holiest city of Panchakoshi, with its capacity to destroy every conceivable sin, is the vehicle of a special Moksha by the name “Samyugha”. That is the reason why this city which is ruled by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha, is the place, where even divines want to die. Sarwaguna from inside and Tamoguna from outside, are the qualities of Rudra here. When prayed to, Vishwanatha Bahagavan Sri Shankar made this abode and resided there with Parvati. Kashi city is the place for Moksha and Ganga. Those who live here attain Mukti or Salvation, even without having to travel to any place of pilgrimage. Any one, be it a man, woman, young, old, Sahava, pure or impure, Prasuta, Aprasuta, Swadesh, Andaja, Udibhaja, of whatever caste, all attain Moksha. There is not an iota of doubt in this. Whatever a person may be doing, eat, sleep or anything else, if he departs from this world from Avimukteshwar, he definitely attains Moksha. Any small act of goodness or Punyakarya, takes away all the sins. Good as well as bad people are born on this earth. But by living in Kashi, both attain Moksha

Vishalakshi Temple

There is a saying in Tamil ” Kanchi Kamakshi, Kasi Visalakshi”. But this is not known in Kasi. The Visalakshi temple is near Viswanath temple. You have to enquire around. Then they may ask “do you mean the Nattukottchetti temple? This is the local name as the temple was constructed by the Nattukottai Chettiars. Not an old temple. A small temple in typical Tamil Nadu style.

Sati was the daughter of the Prajapati Daksha and She got married to the Lord Shiva against Her father wishes. Once, Prajapati Daksha had organized a great yagya but he did not call his daughter and his son in law. Sati was very sorrow from Her father’s such behavior. She reached there but got insulted from Her father as he ignored the Sati. She could not bear insult of his husband (Lord Shiva) and She had jumped into the fire of yagya and committed suicide. She died but Her dead body did not burn. Lord Shiva became angry and had taken His Virabhadra Rupa. He cut the head of Daksha but finally He forgave him by reviving his life again. The heartbroken Lord Shiva had wandered in the universe by taking the Sati’s corpse. Finally, Lord Vishnu dissected the corpse of the Sati into 52 parts by His Chakra. Each of the body part became Shakti Pitha. At the place where body piece had fallen on the earth had changed into the temple. Lord Shiva had created 52 Bhairava for each Shakti Pitha as a guardian to secure the Shakti Pitha. It is considered that Her eyes or earrings had fallen.  It is said that karna kundala (earring) of Devi Sati fell here. Hence Devi Maa here is also known as Manikarni or Manikarnika. The Puranas say that this city exists even after the Pralaya. The famous place ‘Manikarnika’ is located here and named so because the earring of Goddess Sati was like a pearl (Mani). Goddess worshiped here as Maa Vishalakshi & Lord Shiva as Kala or Kaal Bhairva. Some pundits feel that karna kundala is merely an ornament and not part of the body. Therefore this place can at best be considered as a upapeetha, a minor or sub-centre. Another version says that this is a shakti peetha only because one of the three eyes (Akshi) fell here. As the divine eye can perceive the entire universe, Mother here is called Vishalakshi, the vast-eyed. The Vishalakshi Temple of Divine Mother Sati, wife of Lord Shiva stands at Meer Ghat just behind Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India. Vishalakshi Devi temple is a powerful Shakti Peeth and any pooja, charity, recitation of devi mantras performed in this premises is considered to yield very high results. Unmarried girls worshiping Vishalakshi Devi are sure to get married, childless couple will certainly be blessed with a child, even the most unfortunate ladies will find all fortunes coming their way.

Annapurna Temple

Annapurna temple is situated at Dashashwamedh road, Opening time of the Annapurna temple is 4:00 am to 11:30 am and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  Annapurna temple is dedicated to the Annapurna or Annapoorna Mata, the Goddess of Food or the Goddess of Nourishment (Anna means food and Purna means complete or full), Mata Parvati. There was a golden idol of the Annapurna Mata in the Annapurna temple. Annapurna temple has a huge crowd of pilgrims at the occasion of Annacoot. Annacoot festival is celebrated in India every year after Diwali. On the occasion of Annacoot coins are distributed to all the devotees. It is considered that whoever will worship this coin, he will be blessed by the Annapurna Mata for his successful and prosperous life. Annapurna Mata is the Goddess of the Varanasi city Who always protects the Kashi and fulfill His devotees with the food

Once, Lord Shiva said to the Goddess Parvati that the whole world is an illusion and the food is the part of that known as ‘Maya’. The Goddess of food (Mata Parvati) became very angry and She had to show the importance of all the material, in order to that She had vanished all things from the world. In the absence of food from the earth, the earth became infertile and everyone had suffered from the deep hunger.

She had to reappear in the world by seeing His devotees suffering from the deep hunger. She, then made a kitchen in the holy city, Varanasi. Lord Shiva too came to Her and said that I understand that the material can never be sent away as an illusion. Mata Parvati became very happy and offered food to the Lord Shiva with her own hands. From that time Mata Parvati is worshiped as an Annapurna means the Goddess of Food.

Another myth about the Annapurna is, Once Mata Parvathi had closed all the eyes of the Lord Shiva (three eyes: Sun, Moon and Fire) and entire world was full of darkness. There was the condition of ‘Pralaya’ and the color of the Mata Parvati became dark also (means She has lost Her Gauri Rupa). She was very sorrow and asked Lord Shiva how to get Gauri Rupa again. Lord Shiva said to Her to make Anna Dan in the Kashi. Mata Parvati took Her Annapurna Rupa with a golden pot and ladle and made Anna Dan in Varanasi. Again She got Her Gauri Rupa. It is considered that Her devotees do Annapurna Pooja by making Anna Dan in Kashi.

Kalabirav Temple

Kaal Bhairav Temple today is one of the most intresting in Varanasi. Entering from the street , through a door guarded by Bhairava’s mount, the dog, one finds a fine courtyard, in the center of which is the main shrine of Bhairava. Only the silver face of kaala bhairava, garlanded with flowers, is visible through the doorway of inner sanctum. The rest of Bhairava’s image-said to be pot-bellied, seated upon a dog, holding a trident-is hidden behind a cloth drapery. This a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are nine other Bhairav temples in the city. Kaal Bhairav, the “Black Terror,” is widely known as the Kotwal, the “police chief,” of Kashi, and the section of the city in which his temple stands is known as Kotwalpuri. Bhairav is considered a fearsome manifestation of Shiva. He wears a garland of skulls and carries a club of peacock feathers. Kaal Bhairav, whose name, Kaal means both Death and Fate, in addition to meaning Black. He is the black one who has also assumed the duties of the God of Death in Kashi. Even Death, it is said, is afraid of Kaal Bhairava.

Long ago many great saints went to the Sumeru Mountain in order to know from Lord Brahma that who is eternal and supreme power. Lord Brahma stated that he was the superior person. Lord Vishnu (also known as the Yagyeshwar or Narayan) was not agreed with the quick and impudent decision of the Lord Brahma. Both, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu went to the four Vedas for the answer of same question. Rig Veda answered that the Rudra is supreme as He has the power to control all living beings. Yajur Veda answered that Lord Shiva is supreme as He could be worshiped by various Yagnas (Yagam). Sam Veda declared that Triambakam is supreme as He is worshipped by a variety of Yogis and can control the entire world. Atharva Veda answered that Lord Shankar is supreme as He can eliminate all the troubles of human beings. All of the four Vedas declared that Lord Shiva is the ultimate supreme.

Both, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu laughed on the decision of Vedas. Soon, Lord Shiva came as a powerful divine shine in their center. Lord Brahma was staring very angrily at that shine with his 5th head. Lord Shiva has instantly created the new being (known as the king of Kaal means Kaal Bhairav). Lord Shiva said that Kaal Bhairav will forever be in Kashi in order to remove sins of the disciples, that’s why Kaal Bhairav is also known as Paap Bhakshak. In the meantime, Kaal Bhairav plucked the burning head with anger of Lord Brahma and devotees started praying Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva said to Kaal Bhairav to go to various places but Brahma Hatya Dosh was following him. Brahma Hatyia (a female stature) created by Lord Shiva was following Kaal Bhairav at every places. Finally, he reached to Kashi, also known as the Moksha Puri in the world. Brahma Hatya has finally vanished as soon as Kaal Bhairav has entered to the Kashi. The Lord Brahma’s head (held by Kaal Bhairav) fell at the ground known as Kapal Mochan and the place famed as the Kapal Mochan Teerth. From that day onwards, Kaal Bhairav stayed at Kashi forever and protects devotees from their problems.

Kalbhairav temple is located at K-32/22 Bharonath, Vishweshwarganj, Varanasi. God KalBhairav is believed to be the “Kotwal of Sati pind”. Without his permission no one can even touch to the Sati pind.

Ashtami day [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][eighth day after Poornima] in the month of Margashirsha is an important day for worshipping Kaal Bhairav. Besides sundays, tuesdays, Ashtami and Chaturdasi days are very important for worshipping Kaal Bhairav. A person who circumabulates Lord Kaal Bhairav 8 times will be absolved of all the sins committed by him. It is also believed that a devotee who worships Kaal Bhairav for 6 months will attain all types of Siddhi [ as mentioned in Kashi Khand Chapter 31]

Old timers in Kashi believe whenever residents of Kashi leave the city for short journeys, they worship Kaal Bhairav[taking his permission] and on return back to Kashi, they again worship Kaal Bhairav. It is said that those living in or visiting Kashi, must worship Kaal Bhairav and he in turn, grants protection/shelter to all his devotees.

Sankatmochan hanuman Temple

Sankat Mochan temple is one of the sacred temples of Varanasi. It is located in the southern part of Varanasi, near the Banaras Hindu University. It is dedicated to the Hindu God, Hanuman. The word “Sankat Mochan” means one who helps in removing sufferings Lord Hanuman. Tulsidas, the author of the famous Hindu epic Ramacharitamanasa, founded the Sankat Mochan temple. According to Hindu mythology, one who visits the Sankat Mochan temple regularly, his wishes get fulfilled. Lord Hanuman at this temple brings good luck to the devotee.Every Tuesday and Saturday, thousands of devotees queue up in front of the Sankat Mochan temple to offer prayers to Lord Hanuman. According to Vedic Astrology, Hanuman protects human beings from the anger of planet Saturn and those who have ill placed Saturn in their horoscope visit the Sankat Mochan temple to get remedy. People put “Sindoor” on the statue and offer “laddoos” to Lord Hanuman. The “Sindoor”, from the statue of Lord Hanuman is put on the foreheads of devotees. Sankat Mochan Temple was founded by Tulsidas who was the author of the Tulsi Ramayan, which is the Hindi version of the Hindu epic Ramayan originally written by Valmiki. Tradition promises that regular visitors to the temple will gain special favor of Hanuman. This is supposed to be the most effective way for appeasement of Shani. While it is suggested that Hanuman did not hesitate in engulfing in his mouth the sun, the lord of all planets, humbling all the gods and angel, making them to worship for sun’s release. Some astrologers believe that worshiping hanuman can neutralize the ill-effect of Mangal (mars) ad practically any planet that ha ill effect on human life.

Hari Chandra ghat
This ghat is name after King Harish Chandra. This is one of the two cremation ghats, and sometimes referred as Adi Manikarnika. You remember the climax of the Harischandra story in the cremation ground. There is an electric crematorium here now. However traditional funerals of wood fire continue.

Hanuman Ghat
The ancient name of this ghat was Rameswaram ghat. A lot of importance to Tamil Brahmins as the Brahmins who perform the ceremonies for ancestors stay in and around this ghat. Kanchi Madam has a branch here. They have also erected a Kamakshi temple. There is a Veda Patashala founded by a Tamil Brahmin Professor of Banares Hindu University.

Kedar Ghat
This ghat is near the Hanuman ghat. At the top there is a Shiva (Kedareswara) temple. You enter the temple and you will immediately be back in a Tamil Nadu temple. The reason is very obvious. This temple is attached to the Kumaraswamy madam. In late Sixteenth century Kumaraswamy, a Tamil Saivite founded the madam. Now this is part of the Tirupparanthall (Tiruvaippadi) math. Fairly large temple unlike the other temples. The ghat here is kept very clean and it is good to take a bath here and have Dharshan of Kedareswar. The Nayanmars were very much devoted to Shiva at Kedarnath. One of them wrote a poem called Kedarappan Pathikam. It is displayed prominently in the Shiva temple at Kedarnath. Most of Tamil Nadu are Shaivites. Other than the Veera Shaivas, Shivism is now almost exclusively Tamil.

Dasasvamedha Ghat
This is an ancient ghat and the busiest ghat. According to the mythology, Lord Brahma performed the ten-horses sacrifice (dasa-asvamedha) at this site. The historical sources infer that at this site the Hindu dynasty of the second century, the Bhara Siva Nagas had performed ten-horses sacrifice here. It is in the heart of the town with broad roads leading to it.

These are the ghats which would be of interest to the Tamil Brahmin pilgrim. Of course your Sasthirigals will take you on a conducted tour with specific instruction where to bathe and offer Pindams. Like you remember the famous quote “poonalai valam pottukkarathu”. At that time you will not have time to appreciate the beauty of the ghats. You should go back later.

This temple is  Aathara Stalam.This place is called Anahata meaning Central channel behind spine

Route:

Road Distance or driving distance from Varanasi Junction Railway Station to Kashi Vishwanath Temple is 4 kms 

Temple Timings:

3.00 am to 1.30 pm and 4.30 pm to 10.30 pm

Temple Telephone Number:

0542- 2392629

Temple Address:

Sri Kashi Viswanath Mandir

Vishwanath Gali,

Varanasi-221001

Uttar Pradesh

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Thiruvanaikaval – Sri Jambukeshwara Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Jambukeshwara Temple

Period of origin

Before 6th century

Name of deity

Moolavar: Jambukeshwarar

Ambal: Agilandeswari

Sthala Theertham: Nava Theerthangal

Stalavriksham: Vennaval (Jambu)

Dhevaram : Appar

Sthalapuranam:

The Lingam is believed to have been worshiped by his Consort, Parvathi. It is said that Goddess had several doubts and approached the Lord for clarification. She was advised to worship him at Thiruvanaikkaval. She made the Lingam out of particles of water and hence the name Appu Lingam. It is one of the Panchabhootha Stalams signifying the 5 elements of wind (Kalahasti), water (Tiruvanaikka), fire (Tiruvannamalai), earth (Kanchipuram) and space (Chidambaram). The primordial element water is represented by an undying natural spring in the sanctum.

Once the two Shiva Ganam Malyavan and Pushpadanta were born under the influence of a curse as a elephant and a spider. The elephant used to clean the place of dry leaves fallen on the lingam. It has collected water from various holy rivers in its trunk and performs anointing to the Lord. The spider was living in the tree. It used to construct a canopy over the Linga, with its web, and thus prevent leaves from falling on the Lord. The elephant worship would destroy the spider’s web, and the spider’s web amounted to desecration in the eyes of the elephant leading to animosity between the two, of such proportion that a fight between them resulted in the death of both.

The Lord was moved by the devotion of these creatures and blessed their souls. As the spider made the elephant to die it was given the rebirth and the elephant got mukthi. The spider was born in the royal Chola family as a boy with reddened eyes, earning for himself the name Chenkannan the red eyed one. In his life time Ko Chenkannan is said to have been built several elevated temples out of reach of elephants, keeping with the legend of his animosity with an elephant in his previous birth.

Since the Lord was worshiped by an elephant in this place came to be known as Thiru-aanai-kaa, which means the grove of the holy elephant. The present name Thiruvanaikkaval or Thiruvanaikkovil is a colloquial form of Thiruvanaikaa.

It is believed that the sage Sambu, who was performing penance in this place turned into Jambu tree, jambu (means naaval pazham in Tamil).Lord gave him jambu prasatham when he went to kailash he came here and sat at the theertham bank and started his penance, when he got hungry, he swallowed the fruit and the seed, because the fruit was given by the lord. Sage Sambu continued his penance in the very same place for a number of years and prayed to lord to take his abode under him, who has now become the tree. His wish was fulfilled and the Linga was installed under the tree.

It is believed that Akhilandeswari was originally an Ugra Devata of great fury, and AdiSankaracharyar is said to have converted the fiery energy of the deity into a manifestation of peace. Adorned her with ear rings bearing the symbol of the chakram. and installing Shrines of Vinayaka and Subramanya at front and back. Here we can see shrine for Adi Sankara.

This is a vast temple (18 acres) with lofty gopurams, 5 prakarams and ornate mandapams. The second and third prakarams date back to the 13th century. The dwajasthampa mandapam has grand sculptural work. There is an image of Ekapada Trimurthy representing the unity of Bhrama Vishnu and Shiva in this temple.

The Akhilandeswari shrine is located in the fourth prakaram. The Eastern tower with seven levels has fine sculptural specimen of musical scenes, while the Western tower has nine levels. The first prakaram has been renovated in this century.

Pankuni Brahmotsavam, Vasanta Utsavam, float festival in Thai, Aadi Pooram, Pancha Prakara festival are the major festivals celebrated here.

This temple is  Aathara Stalam.This place is called Swathistanam meaning One’s own abode

Parihar:

Timely marriage, Re-union of couple, seasonal farming, water scarcity are rectified by offering Anoiting and vastharam to the Lord and goddess.

Route:

6 km from chathiram bus stand, Thiruchirappalli.

Temple Timings:

5.30 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 8.30 pm. Fridays and Sundays the temple will be opened throughout the day

Temple Telephone Number:

0431- 2230 257

Temple Address:

Sri Jambukeshwara Temple
Thiruvanaikaval
Thiruchirappalli (Dist)
Tamil Nadu
India

Thiruvarur – Sri Thiagarajar temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Thiagarajar temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Vanmeekanathar

Ambal: Kamalambikai

Sthala Theertham:Kamalalyam,Sanku, Kaya, Vanni Theertham

Stalavriksham: Paathiri

Dhevaram : Appar,Gnanasampanthar, Sundarar, and Manikavasagar

Sthalapuranam:

Indira had to face a battle against the demons.  He was able to win the war with the help of Emperor Mushukunda.  As a token of his gratitude to the emperor, Indira wanted to present a gift and asked what he wanted.  Mushukunda asked for the Shivalinga in Indira’s possession which was worshipped by Lord Vishnu keeping it on His chest.  Indira did not want to part with the Linga.  He made a trick with divine sculptor Mayan making six such Lingas and presented them to the emperor.  Mushukunda found them fake.  With no means to convince the emperor, Indira offered the Original Shivalinga along with the six new ones too making the total to 7.  The original Shiva Linga is in Tiruvarur.  Other six are installed in other temples all collectively known as Saptha Vidanga Sthalas.  Saptha in Sanskrit means seven.  They are installed as 1) Veedhi Vidangar in Tiruvarur, 2) as Nagara Vidangar in Tirunallru, 3) as Sundara Vidangar in Nagapattinam, 4) as Avani Vidangar in Tirukuvalai, 5) as Neela Vidangar in Tiruvaimur, 6) as Bhuvani Vidangar in Vedaranyam and 7) as Adi Vidangar in Tirukaravasal.  These Lingas are tiny in size and could be held in hand.  These places are called Saptha Vidanga Sthalas where Lord Shiva is worshipped as Thiagarajar.

A demon Satya Gupta by name was a threat to Devas.  He was caught in the aspect of Sani Bhagwan-Planet Saturn.  Enraged, he began to fight with the planets.  The planets appealed to Lord Shiva for protection.  Lord Shiva protected the planets from the demon on condition that they should ever be soft to His devotees.  Hence, the planets are on straight line facing the Lord.  Lord Vinayaka is also in this shrine monitoring them whether they are soft to Shiva devotees.  It thus became the rule that though devotees visit Tirunallru for Saturn reliefs, they should visit Tiruvarur also for worship for total relief.  Of the 84 Vinayakas in the temple, four are highly revered.  Those suffering from nervous problems and high tensions, pray to Nadukkam Theertha Vinayaka-Vinayaka protecting from trembling.  Women pray to Mattru Uraitha Vinayaka in the West Gopuram gate before buying jewels as He confirmed the touch quality of the gold awarded by Lord Shiva to Saint Sundarar.  Lord Mooladhara Ganapathi appears reclining and dancing on a blossomed Lotus near a five headed serpent.  Those practicing yoga worship here.  Lord Vadhabi Gnapathi graces the devotees from the first prakara of Lord’s shrine.  Great Carnatic Musician Sri Muthuswamy Dishitha, one among the Trinity of Carnatic Music heritage, sang the famous song “Vadhabi Ganapathim Baje” from this shrine which musicians sing first in their concerts.

Presiding Lord Vanmeeka Nathar appears gracefully wearing the crescent moon on His head.  So Mother Kamalambal grants darshan to Her devotees with this Crescent Moon jewel.  She represents Mothers Saraswathi, Parvathi and Mahalakshmi holding a flower in the right hand, keeping the left on the hip and legs on a Yoga posture as an Empress.
It is the custom in Shiva Temples to end the Thevaram hymn chanting with the word Tiru Chittrambalam as followed in Chidambaram temple, considered to be first among all Shiva temples in the state.  But the antiquity of Tiruvarur temple is more ancient, hence, this word is not chanted here.
The Car (Rath) of Tiruvarur is biggest in size and beautiful in the make.
Lord Shiva had played 364 miracles (Tiruvilayadal in Tamil) in Tiruvarur alone.  As salvation is a certainty for those born in Tiruvarur, Yama the God of Death had no work here.  He prayed to Lord and took the place of Chandikeswara.  Those with fear of death pray here.  Those joyous of the face darshan of Lord in Tiruvarur also visits Vilamal temple, 3 km from here, for Feet Darshan for complete satisfaction.   The Feet Darshan secret is said to be behind the sanctum sanctorum of Lord.
Aadi Pooram festival (July-August) is celebrated for procession deity Manonmani.  Akasha Bhairava above the Kamalambika tower is acting as a custodian deity.   Lord Bhairava of the temple is praised as Siddhi Bhairava.  Kamalamuni Siddhar Peetam is near the sanctum sanctorum of Mother Kamalambika on the right side.
Siva Surya graces from the prakara of Lord Shiva Shrine.  He looks tall.  Those facing debt burdens pray to Runa Vimochana Easwara.  Lord Thiagaraja grants darshan on the Tiruvadhirai day in December from the Raja Narayana Mandap.  There are Ashta (eight) Durga shrines in the temple.  Sri Muthuswami Dishithar had sung the glory of the Durgas in his celebrated Keerthanas.
Abishek is dedicated to Mother Mahalakshmi with gold coins on Deepavali in October-November and on Akshaya Tritiya day in April-May by devotees.

Lord Dakshinamurthi graces from the outer wall of Ambika shrine with six disciples, though generally only four are with Him in other Shiva temples.
Mother Neelotpalambal graces from a separate shrine with a maid holding Lord Muruga.  The idol of mother is beautifully made as if She is touching the head of Her beloved son Muruga.
We see Mother Saraswathi with a Veena only.  She does not hold one here but graces the devotees in a penance posture.  Lord Hayagriva, in his own shrine appears performing Shiva Puja.  He is praised as Hayagriswarar.  Students pray to Mother Saraswathi and Lord Hayagriswarar to shine in their academic pursuits.
A contest arose in the celestial world on the integrity level in people.  Yama the God of Death claimed the title.  But Maharshi Narada denied His right and said that King Manu Needhi Chola alone deserved the title.  Yama came to earth in the guise of a cow with a calf.  Prince Veedhi Vidangan was coming on the royal street of the city. The calf was caught under the wheels and was killed in the accident.  The Mother Cow (Yama) rushed to the king’s palace and sought justice from the king-Manu Needhi Cholan.  The king decided that he also should endure and suffer the pain of losing a child as the cow.  He drove the rath on the body of his son, delivered justice with life for life.  Yama appeared before the king recognizing his integrity and sense of justice to non-humans too and disappeared.  This episode is depicted in a stone rath sculpture placed in the northeast corner of the temple.
Generally, Nandhi is seen in a sitting position in Shiva temples except in Saptha Vidanga places around Tiruvarur.  All of them are metal idols.
In temples facing east, Lord’s procession also begins from east facing entrance.  In Tiruvarur, the procession begins from the northeast entrance called Vittavasal.  Emperor Mushukunda installed the Linga in the temple which he got from Indira.  But Indira wanted to take back the Linga to his own Devaloka.  It is believed that Indira is waiting at the east entrance to use the opportunity when Lord passes through this gate.  To fool Indira, the devotees are taking Lord in procession through the northeast entrance, so that he may not enter the temple to steal the Linga.  Even majority of the devotees use the northeast gate only to enter the temple avoiding the east.
Tiruvarur is the only temple that has more number of Thevaram hymns-353, Ganasambandar 55, Tirunavukkarasar 208 and Sundarar 87 and Manickavasagar 3.
It is noteworthy that Mother Kamalambikai is greatly revered as a total personification of the devotional hymn Lalitha Sahasra Nama.  Hence, the Theertha is praised as Kamalalayam.  Bathing in this Theertha on the Panguni Uthiram day in March-April is considered equal to 12 Mahamagam bath in Kumbakonam.  It should be noted that Mahamagam occurs only once in 12 years.
It is also noteworthy that Pradosha puja is performed in this temple every day – known as Nitya Pradosham – from 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. though it is performed once in a fortnight in other temples.  It is said that all the Devas – 33 crore in  number (Muppathu Mukkodi in Tamil) are worshipping Lord Thiagaraja during this puja.  The devotee worshipping the Lord in the evening is blessed by all Gods, it is believed.

This temple is  Aathara Stalam.This place is called Moolatharam meaning Basal end of the spinal

Musukunda chakravarthi brought Athmalinga(Emerald Linga) from Indra and kept in this place as first linga among the Seven called as VEETHIVIDANGAR

 

Route

1. 56 kms from Thanjavur
2. 40 kms from Kumbakonam
3. 24 kms from Nagapattinam
4. 29 kms from Nagore
5. 40 kms from Karaikal
6. 40 kms from Mayiladuthurai

Temple Timings:

6am to 12 pm and 4.30 pm to 8 pm

Temple Address:

Sri Vanmeekanathar Temple
Thiruvarur (post)
Thiruvarur(Dist)
TamilNadu
India.

Economical hotels and lodges:

V.P.K. Lodge, Opp. To Bus Stand, Thanjavur Road, Thiruvarur
Phone: 04366-222309

Meenatchi Lodge, Annasalai, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366 222279

SekarLodge, Thanjavur salai, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366 222225

Luxury Hotels

Hotel Royal Park, Bye Pass Road, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366-251020

Hotel Selvies (P) LTD,Near Bus Stand, Thiruvarur
PH: 04366-222080