Sirkazhi is about 20 -km from
Chidambaram and it is a
highly revered shrine with 71 Tevara Patikams. Sirkazhi is a centre for
Bhairava worship, and the site of authorship of several works.
There are three shrines dedicated to Sri Brahmapureeswara, Sattanathar and Thoniappar shrines, the Goddess Tirunilai Nayaki shrine and the shrine of Godchild Gnanasambandar.
Sirkazhi is known mostly for its association with Sambandar. To the west of Sirkazhi is Tirukkolakka where Sambandar was blessed with a pair of golden cymbals, south of Sirkazhi is Tirunanipalli the home of his mother, and north of Sirkazhi is Aachaalpuram where Sambandar attained beatitude. Sirkazhi Govindarajan, a well-known Tamil poet who has rendered several recordings of Tevaram hymns hails from here.
According to the popular legend when the total earth was submerged Lord Shiva is said to have carried the 64 arts with him in a raft, in this shrine, hence the name Toniappar, and Tonipuram. Brahma is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva and hence he got the name Bhramapureeswara. Bhairavar or Sattainathar is worshipped each Friday night.
About The Temple
There are three Shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in this vast temple complex. The Bhramapureeswara shrine is housed in the lower level. The second level houses Periyanakar with Periyanayaki on a 'Thoni' and hence the name "Thoniappar".
Sattainathar/Vatukanathar is also housed here. One can grasp the entire layout of this vast temple and its towers and Mandapams from the steps leading to the Toniappar and the Vatukanathar shrine.
In total there are 22 Theerthams (also spelt as Teertha) associated with this shrine. Different forms of Lord Shiva worshipped here are the Shivalingam ("Bhrammapureeswara"), a colossal image of Uma Maheswara ("Toniappar") at the upper level, and Bhairavar ("Sattanathar") again at the upper level.
High walls enclose the 3 vast courtyards of the temple and there are two sets of 7-tiered Gopurams in the outer walls of the enclosure. The temple is well maintained under the able administration of the Dharumapura Adhinam.
This shrine has been in existence from the period Nayanmars and it includes the shrine of Bhramapureeswara or Bhrampureeshwara, on the southern bund of the temple tank. The Toniappar shrine is on a mound west of the central shrine, and the Sattanathar shrine in the second floor reached from the southern Prakaram (also spelt as Prakara) of the Toniappar shrine by a flight of steps. During the period of Kulottunga I, Vikrama Chola, Kulottunga II and III the original temple was enlarged, which took the present shape.
Association With Tirugnanasambandar
It is believed that Sambandar was fed with the milk of wisdom during his infancy by the divine mother Parvati on the banks of the temple tank just prior to the commencement of his authorship of the anthology of Tevaram hymns commencing with Todudaiya Seviyan.
Services And Festivities
Six worship services are offered each day. Bhairavar or Bhairava (Sattanathar) is offered special worship services on Friday nights. The annual Bhramotsavam is celebrated in the month of Chithirai (April-May), where on the second day, the Tirugnanasambandar festival is celebrated.
Air: The nearest airport is at
Rail: The nearest railway station is at Chidambaram, which is linked by metre-gauge to Chennai, Thanjavur, Trichy, and Rameshwaram.
Road: Sirkazhi is well connected by road with the important towns and cities of South India.
Accommodation is available at the small budgeted hotels and choultries in Sirkazhi.