Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thenupureeswarar Temple, Tirupatteeswaram

Location of the templeTirupatteeswaram
Lord Shiva known asThenupureeswarar, Patteeswarar
Female deity known asSri Gnanambikai, Sri Palvalainayagi
PathigamSambandar
How to reach This temple is located at about 9 Kms south-west of Kumbakonam and about 3 Kms south-east of Swamimalai. Bus facilities are available from Kumbakonam and Thanjavur. The nearest railway station (2 Kms) Darasuram is situated on the Thanjavur - Kumbakonam section of the Southern Railway.

The Shiva temple at Tirupatteeswaram is fairly a big temple measuring 650 feet east-west and 295 feet north-south. There are 5 tall gopurams and 3 prakarams. The sanctum sanctorum of the main deity Thenupureeswarar is located in the central mandapam of the first prakarams. There are shrines for Chandikeswarar, Natarajar, Sun god Sooriyan etc. To the north of the main sanctum sanctorum is the main shrine for the female deity Sri Gnanambikai.

According to the legend, Divine Cow Kamadhenu's calf Patti is said to have worshipped the God Shiva here and hence this Sthalam is called as Patteeswaram. Sage Viswamitirar got the tile of Brahmarishi at this Sthalam. Sri Ramar is said to have worshipped Shiva at this sthalam to absolve himself of the Chaayadosham which he got by killing Vaali.

Durga's shrine here is of great importance. The Kodi Theertham well in the temple is said to have been created by Sri Ramar. Sri Ramar is said to have worshipped Shiva with the water from th is well to get rid of the sin of killing Ravanan. This Kodi theertham is considered to be equivalent to Dhanushkoti. Shiva is said to have blessed Sambandar by sending through his Shivaganas an umbrella made with pearls (Muthu Pandal), to protect him from the scorching summer sun when he was coming to Patteeswaram. It is said tha t God Shiva asked Nandi to move aside so that He can see Sambandar while he was coming to this temple to have darshan of God Shiva. The Nandi in this temple is not in a straight line facing the sanctum sanctorum to substantiate the above.

Though this is a Shiva temple with an interesting history, the most famous deity in this temple is Durga. Patteeswaram Durga is said to be a very powerful deity, and draws devotees from all over. She is basically a Kaaval deivam (or a guardian deity) of this temple, and has her sanctum right at the entrance. Though Durga is generally considered an angry deity, in this temple, the black granite idol of the goddess with her vehicle the lion, eight arms holding different weapons, killing the demon Mahishasura, has a smiling visage, which seems to reassure us.

It is believed that the holy cow Kamadhenu and her daughter Patti worshiped Shiva here. Hence, while the village is known as Patteeswaram, the lord takes the name of Dhenupureeswarar, and the goddess is named Gyaanambigai. There are also other legends connected to this temple. Sage Vishwamitra is believed to have been given the title of Brahmarishi here, and Rama is believed to have worshipped Shiva here to absolve himself of the sin of killing Vaali.

There is another interesting story attached to this temple regarding the Shaivite saint Thirugnyaanasambandhar. Shiva presented Sambandhar an umbrella made of pearls (Mutthu Pandal) to protect him from the heat as he walked from one temple to another. As Sambandhar approached Patteeswaram, Shiva was impatient to see him, and asked Nandi to move aside so that He could see Sambandhar coming towards the temple under the Mutthu Pandal. Till this day, the Nandi in this temple stands slightly to the side, just as it moved so many years ago.


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