Friday, October 15, 2021

Poovananathar Temple, Tirupuvanam

Location of the templeTirupuvanam
Lord Shiva known asPoovananathar, Mangalanathar, Pithru Muktheeswarar
Female deity known asMangalaambikai
How to reach This temple is well connected by road and train services from Madurai and is situated about 20 Kms to the southeast of Madurai. There is a railway station at Tirupuvanam on the Madurai - Manamadurai section of Southern Railway.Town bus and regular bus services from Madurai are available to go to Thiruppuvanam.
Temple addressArulmighu Poovananathar Temple
Tirupuvanam Post
Manamadurai Taluk
Sivagangai District
PIN 623611
Tiruppuvanam map
Map showing location of Thiruppuvanam
Map courtesy by: Google Maps:

Temple: This temple is situated at Tirupuvanam on the southern bank of river Vaigai. This sivasthalam is considered as holy as Varanasi (Benares) as the river Vaigai takes a turn towards the north here and then flows towards east. The temple at Tirupuvanam is rather big with a 5 tier gopuram at the main entrance and a small gopuram at the entrance to the presiding female deity's shrine. This temple got the royal patronage of the Pandiya kings and later on by Nayak kings who ruled from Madurai.

When Sambandar reached the north bank of river Vaigai with the intention to visit Tirupuvanam and worship Poovananathar, the sands of river Vaigai appreared to him as thousands of Sivalingams. Samabandar decided not to set his foot on the sands of river Vaigai and wanted to worship Lord Poovananathar whose temple was on the other side of the river. Lord Shiva ordered Nandhi to move aside a little so that Sambandar could have a view of the Lord from the other bank of the river. The Nandhi is not in a straight line facing the Lord Shiva in this sivasthalam.

According to the legend, Lord vishnu and His consort Tirumagal, Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva's consort Umadevi, Sage Agasthiyar, Sage Markandeyar, Sage Vasishtar, Indiran, Sooriyan are said to have worshipped Lord Poovananathar at this Shivasthalam. Tirupuvanam is associated with an episode narrated in the Thiruvilayadal Puranam. This episode narrates the life of Ponnanaiyal, an ardent devotee of Lord Poovananathar, who lived in Tirupurvanam. She used to take her bath in the river Vaigai everyday in the morning and offered garland to the Lord and danced before Him daily. She had a desire in her mind to carve out an idol of the Lord in Gold. Lord Shiva, pleased with her devotion to Him, appeared before her in disguise as a Siddhar and told her that He could covert any piece of metal into gold. Ponnanaiyal handed over to Him all the vessels she had in the house. The Siddhar Lord Shiva in disguise sprinkled sacred ash on the vessels and told Ponnanaiyal that they would turn into gold on the next day morning. When Ponnanaiyal found the gold next day morning, she gave the gold to a goldsmith and made an idol of Lord Poovananathar in gold as she had always desired. The idol was so beautiful and thrilled by the beauty of it, Ponnanaiyal pinched the deity's cheek leaving a permanent mark there. This idol of somaskandar alias Azhagiya Nayagar bears the pinch mark on His cheek even now.

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