Name of the Temple

Sri Pasupatheeswarar temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Pasupatheeswarar, Pasupathinathar, Brahmmapureeswarar, Alandurainathar

Ambal: Alliangothai, Soundaryanayaki

Sthala Theertham: Cauvery, Kudamurutti, Kamadenu Theertham, Shiva theerthangal

Sthala Virksham: Banyan tree

Dhevaram : Tirugnanasambandar

Sthalapuranam:

This is the fifth of seven temples (Sapthasthana sthalas) praised in the hymns of saint Tirugnanasambandar who lived in the seventh century. Thiruchakkarapalli is the first in this series. These seven temples were worshipped by the Sapthamadhas – Ariamangai,Chakkara Mangai, Shoola Mangai, Nandhi Mangai, Pasu Mangai (Pasupathi temple), Thazha Mangai and Pulla Mangai and also the Saptha Rishis (seven sages). This temple was worshipped by the Divine Cow Kamadenu. This is depicted in a sculpture.

A Chola king, Kochengat Cholan was a spider in his previous birth, spun webs on the Shivalinga and worshipped Lord Shiva. The spider spun the webs to prevent birds spitting on the Linga and falling of stale leaves in the Lord. Knowing not the Bhakthi of the spider, an elephant, also a Shiva devotee performed abishek to the Lord with water from Cauvery, thus removing the spider web. The spider entered into the ears of the elephant. Unable to bear this torture, the elephant struck the ground strongly with its tusk and died killing the spider too. Both reached the Feet of Lord Shiva simultaneously.

The spider begged the Lord to grant him a royal birth and was born as Kochengat Cholan and built temple which elephants could not climb. These temples are called Mada temples. Based on this story and the services of Kochengat Cholan, these events are sculpted in the temple tower in small size. Scientifically too, these Mada Temples are considered a means to protect people of Cauvery delta villages from heavy floods. The temple’s beauty and reputation lies in the majestic form of Mother Sree Durga in the northern corridor (prakara) of the temple. Speaking volumes of the skill of the sculptor, Mother Durga graces from under a stone umbrella, standing on the head of a buffalo holding weapons as conch, discus, sword, bow, club, trident, armour, angusam the rope. Two men are approaching Her, one chopping his own head and other tearing his lap offering blood sacrifice. While the Goddess is holding theis Lotus Feet is head,, bow in one hand, the other hand assures safety with her ring finger touching the thumb, other fingers straight, a sign called chinmudra. A basket with arrows is at Her back. It is said that the Durga idols of Tirupullamangai temple and those in Tirunageswaram and Patteeswaram were made by the same sculptor, all having supreme powers.

The local history is that this town was known as Pullamangai and the temple name was known as “Alandhurai”. However, in present days the town name has become Pasupathi Koil. This temple is located in the banks of Kudamuruti River. Since this temple Thala Vriksham is “Ala Maram” hence it is called as “Alandhurai”, some people say this too. The actual story for this place is, when Devas were trying get nectar by churning the milky ocean, the snake they were using spewed poison, and it is said the God abode here took that poison and settled here.  Hence the name Alandurai or Alanthurai. Also there is a legend that Parvati is said to have taken the form of a Chakravaha bird and worshipped Shiva here, hence the name Pullamangai. Some sources say that the name Pullamangai is sourced from the Kites that live in the Temple Tower.

There are shrines for Chandeswara, Navagrahas the nine planets with Nandhi at the centre and Nalvar – Ganasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar. Eagles are ever flying on the top of the tower. This is the place where Lord Shiva made nectar of Aalahala poison that came out of the milk ocean. The sanctum sanctorum is of Agazhi type – Agazhi is a deep water canal security arrangement around a fort with crocodiles put in to prevent enemies entry to the fort. We witness devastating floods even today despite preventive dam arrangements. In those days, when such engineering safety was not available, many of the Cauvery delta villages were ruined due to heavy floods. These natural calamities are recorded in Tirukattupalli epigraphic details of Sundara Cholan period.

Parandaka Cholan, the great grandfather of Rajaraja Cholan had renovated this temple in Tirupullamangai and other one in Pasupatheeswaram, as found in the stone carvings in pillars. Many of the sculptures as pillars and other temple structures and idols as Chandikeswara, Chamunda Devi on the eastern side of the temple, Jeshta Devi and Nandi represent the Chola period. In later years, rulers of north not only invaded this region but also had robbed invalauable art wealth. These temples were later renovated by Vijayanagara ruler Veera Sumbanna Udayar with sanctions of land for temple maintenance. He also built the five tier main tower – Rajagopuram 65 feet tall that contains a mention in Telugu of this work representing Naicker architecture.

The then Thanjavur Maratta king Prataba Simhan, who was paying tax to the Arcot Nawab delayed the payment once. Exasperated, the Nawab, invaded Thanjavur twice. The second army of the Nawab Anwaruddin camped near the Pasupathikoil village and began attacking the temple with a tanker. In retaliation, king’s commander Manojiappa gave a fitting fight and defeated the Nawab and captured him. Thus the place and Pasupatheeswarar temple were subjected to successive calamities and was renovated by the King Pratapasimhan. One can find a mix of Cholas, Naicker and Maratta cultures in the temple now. After the days of kings were over, there was none to take care of the temple and its maintenance leading to its poor condition. Many beautiful sculptures had been robbed and there is no trace of them. The first corridor (prakara) was almost floored off. The Goddess and Her shrine were almost destroyed. Bats were flying. The temple is built in accordance with the Agama rules in the north eastern corner (called Eesanya corner) in the Kallar Pasupathikoil village.

The 65 feet tall main tower (Rajagopuram) is very beautiful at the entrance. There are facilities to climb the tower. A Nandhi of the Chola period is on the western side under the Madakoil in a sitting form with its legs folded. Some sculptures are available here and there. Thus the place and Pasupatheeswarar temple were subjected to successive calamities and was renovated by the King Pratapasimhan.  One can find a mix of Cholas, Naicker and Maratta cultures in the temple now.   After the days of kings were over, there was none to take care of the temple and its maintenance leading to its poor condition.  Many beautiful sculptures had been robbed and there is no trace of them.  The first corridor (prakara) was almost floored off.  The Goddess and Her shrine were almost destroyed.

Mahashivarathri in February-March, Aipasi Annabishekam in October-November and Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January are the festivals celebrated in the temple.

Route:

This is a village 14 km on the Thanjavur-Kumbakonam road. The temple can be reached from the Pasupathi Koil bus stop. The temple is 1 km from the road branching towards south.

Temple Timings:

6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91 9791482102, 8056853485

Temple Address:

Sri Pasupatheeswarar Temple,

Pasupathikoil – 614 206,

Thanjavur district.