Vaitheeswaran Koil

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Location : 24-km From Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu
Also Known As: Pullirukkuvelur
Deities Worshipped: Ishwara, Devi And Muruga


Vaitheeswaran Koil is about 24 km from Chidambaram. Vaitheeswaran temple is known in Hindu scriptures as Pullirukkuvelur, (Pul - Irukku - Vel - Ur, the words in Tamil meaning Bird (Jatayu), Rig Veda, Lord Murugan and Sun respectively) is one of the important Shiva temples in the South.

The Legend
There are many legends associated with this temple. It is said that Lord Murugan received his Vel in order to vanquish the demon King Soorapathman in this place. It is also believed that Lord Shiva himself appeared at this place with Goddess Thaiyalnayaki carrying the "Sanjeevi Thailam" (panacea for all ills) and the soil from the roots of the vilva tree in order to cure all illnesses of mankind.

A King by the name of Veerasena was a devotee of Lord Shiva and he found that his son Chithrasena was suffering from an incurable illness. So he took the advice of his Guru and arrived at this place, and after offering puja to the deity smeared his body and that of his son Chitrasena with the sacred ash viboodhi found in the Jatayu kundam where upon he found that his son was cured of his illness.

The tank in front of the temple of Goddess Thaiyalnayaki is a very holy Theertham (also spelt as Teertha). It is said that this water cured the white leprosy of a devotee called "Suntharan" and red leprosy of Ankaragan, and when this Theertham was sprinkled on the severed head and body of Thakkan, the two pieces miraculously joined together and he was brought back to life.

The Deity
In other temples only the main deity is considered to be potent, here three deities the Ishwara, The Devi and Muruga are very powerful in bestowing grace. Muruga here known as "Muthu Kumaraswami" is the most charming figure and innumerable legends have arisen to reveal his grace. It was this Kumara, who taught saint Kumaragurupara, the opening sentence for his devotional lyrics.

The spear is inseparable from Muruga and he is also called "Vel-Muruga". It was the spear that pierced the chest of Surapadma and put an end to all his evil deeds. And this spear was bestowed to Muruga here only by his mother Parvati.

The Temple
As we enter the town two tall Gopurams eastern and western Gopurams can be seen. The south entrance is not so magnificent, which leads to the temple tank Siddamrita Teertham, a very sacred pool. This picturesque pool is surrounded by a covered corridor with fine flight of steps to the water, which ripple around a water pavilion in its midst. Its waters are said to contain medicinal properties and peculiarity is that it harbours no fogs. People with various illnesses come here to get cured and hence this place is called "Vaitheeswaran" - the one who cures of illnesses.

Three important sanctums, one for Vaidyanada facing west and for Devi Thayalnayaki and selva Muthukumaraswami facing south adorns the interior. In the north corridor abutting the Shiva's sanctum is the shrine of Avudai Amman the Bhadrakali.

Another salient feature of the temple is the presence of Planet Angaraka (Tuesday) and Jvaraharesvara (Lord of fevers). Even for every fatal ill like Smallpox, application of neem leaves is considered to be effective and this temples holy tree (Thalamaram) is neem, seen near the eastern Gopuram, with a sturdy trunk and sprawling branches.

The sanctum of the Ishwara has a corridor around it, with the festival icons of Adikara Nandi and Jatayu. The Navagraha images stationed in the east corridor are devoid of Angaraka and Sun. The south corridor has the Jatayu Kunda, the place where Rama performed the last rites to Jatayu, with images of Rama, Lakshamana, Visvamithra, Vasista and Jatayu over that Kunda. Another unusual thing here is the presence of Sattanada above Dakshinamurti.

Services And Festivities
There are six daily worships and the temple is closed in the afternoon between 12 noon and 5 pm. There are festivals throughout the year. A special puja is conducted every month during karthikai with the main festival falls in the month of Thai (Jan/Feb) to Sri Selvamuththukumarar. Puja for Ankaragan is conducted on Tuesdays and he is taken in procession. On these days large numbers of devotees bathe in the water of the Siththamirtha Theertham (also spelt as Teertha) and offer their prayers to the deities in order to receive divine blessing.

HOW TO GET THERE

Air: The nearest airport is at Trichy.
Rail: The nearest railway station is at Kumbakonam. There are frequent trains from Mayladuthurai, Kumbakonam and Ariyalur.
Road: There are regular buses from Kumbakonam almost every hour and a few other buses to Trichy and Chidambaram. Tourists who wish to drive from Chennai can reach the temple via the Chennai-Kumbakonam-Thanjavur highway. It is 245 km from Chennai, 74 km from Thanjavur and 34 km from Kumbakonam.

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is available at the moderate class and small budgeted hotels, lodges and choultries in Chidambaram.



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