Saraswati Ambal Temple At Koothanur

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» Tamil Nadu
Location : Near Poonthottam, Tamil Nadu
Presiding Deity: Goddess Saraswati
Temple Was Erected By: Ottakoothar


Koothanur is a small village located near Poonthottam in the heart of the Temple belt of Tamil Nadu. This village is especially famous for the Saraswati Temple and its association with Ottakoothar, the Tamil poet.

The Legend
Once upon a time a young devotee desirous of knowledge performed severe penance at the Saraswati shrine seeking the blessings of Saraswati. Saraswati took the form of a courtesan and materialised before him and expressed her desire to bless him. The devotee refused to accept her blessings, not knowing who she was.

Ottakkoothar rushed to the spot upon hearing of this incident, and recognising the identity of the courtesan, the poet prostrated before her seeking her blessings. Only after this incident, the fame of Ottakkoothar spread throughout the Tamil land. In fact, the name Koothanur derives from the poet's name Ottakoothar.

About The Temple
The uniqueness of this temple lies in the fact that it is dedicated exclusively to the Goddess of learning Saraswati. Although there are shrines to Saraswati in most Shaivite temples as well as niche shrines to Brahma, temples dedicated exclusively to Brahma or Saraswati are very rare.

It is believed that the poet Ottakoothar erected the shrine very early in the 2nd Millennium. He is also said to have celebrated Vijaya Dasami, the day following the 9-day Navaratri festival in the Tamil month of Purattasi. There are several stone inscriptions, validating the antiquity of the temple.

On full moon nights, children are brought here in droves and the word "Om" is written on their tongues, with a stick dipped in honey. It is believed that such children blossom into fine orators, poets and musicians.

HOW TO GET THERE

Rail: Koothanur is located near Poonthottam on the railway line between Mayiladuturai and Tiruvarur.
Road: State government provides regular bus services from Poonthottam to Koothanur.

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is available at the small hotels and lodges in Poonthottam.



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