31. Sri Pranava Vyakrapureeswar Temple, Thiru Omampuliyur, Kattumannarkoil (Chola Nadu - North of Kaveri):Names of God : Sri Pranava Viyakrapureeswarar, Sri Thuyartheertha Nathar, Sri Pranavapureeswarar
Name of Goddess : Sri Pushpa Lalithambigai, Sri Poongodinayagi
Holy water (Theertham) : Kollidam.
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Ilandai Tree.
Thevaram : Sambandar
District : Cuddalore.
Location : Kattumannarkoil.
Timings : 06:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. and from 04:30 p.m. to 08:00 p.m.
For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click HereThis is the 31st sthalam on the northern side of river Cauvery. Appar and Thiruganasambandar has sung hymns in praise of Lord shiva of this temple. This temple with 3 tier Gopuram (Tower) faces east. According to the legend, Shiva Dakshinamurthy is said to have revealed the Pranva Upadesam to Parvati, and hence this sthalam is known as Omaampuliyur (Om Aam Puliyur). Images illustrating the stala puraanam of this temple are seen in the front mandapam. One of these depicts Shiva blessing Vishnu with the Chakrayudam while the other depicts five of the Puliyurs. A stone image of Nataraja is seen on the niche reserved for Dakshinamurthy in the sanctum, while Dakshinamurthy occupies the grand Sabha, usually set for Natarajar. The Dakshinamurthy shrine is of significance here.
Jupiter transition day is celebrated annually in the temple.
History / Legend:Very interestingly, at proximity to the great temple for Lord Shiva as Lord Nataraja in his dancing form at Chidambaram, it being one, there are temples for Lord Shiva in four other places ending with the suffix Puliyur-meaning the place of the tiger. The temples in these five places viz Perumpatrapuliyur(Chidambaram), Omampuliyur, Perumpuliyur, Erukkattampuliyur, Tiruppathiripuliyur were worshiped by Sage Vyakrapada who is believed to have had the eyes and feet of a tiger. There is an interesting part as to how Sage Vyakrapada got his name. Being an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, Sage Vyakrapada would never fail to offer flowers to Lord Shiva even on a single day. To locate and collect the sweet scented flowers for the Lord the revered sage would go into the forest at night as he had observed that during day break the insects would have left their saliva on the flowers and would have polluted the same while collecting nectar. Such was his faith. He therefore chose to pluck the flowers at night but this task was becoming arduous as he was prone to attacks. He then intently prayed to Lord Shiva for a solution. Pleased with his sincerity, Lord Shiva blessed him with the eyes and claws of a tiger. Thus Sage Vyakrapada earned his new name, his earlier name being Bala Munivar.
According to legend, once, Goddess Parvati desired to know the meaning of Mukthi and observed a penance for the same under an Ilandai tree (Badri Tree-Chinese dates). Seeing her plight Lord Shiva appeared before her in the form of Lord Dakshinamoorthy and explained to her the meaning of Mukthi the source of which is Pranavam (Mystic-OHM). Lord Shiva thus earned the name Lord Pranavavyakrapureeswarar specific to this place.
The temple at Omampuliyur for Lord Pranavavyakrapureeswarar with his consort Goddess Pushpalathambigai was constructed over a thousand years ago by Kulothunga Chola and has stone inscriptions of the Cholas and the Pallavas. The temple spreads over an acre and faces the east.
A big pond exists in front of the temple from where perhaps water was drawn during earlier times for the various temple activities. This is named Gowri Theertham. There are two more water sources, one on the southern side of the temple and one on the northern side named Varadhanankuttai and Kollidam perar respectively.
As we enter the temple gates we first reach the enclosure of Lord Nandi, the celestial vehicle of Lord Shiva.Lord Nandi always faces Lord Shiva awaiting instructions except at Lord Vedapureeswarar's Temple at Chengam where as per the Lord's instructions he faces away from him to chase away vandals who would come to create disturbance when the Lord was teaching the Vedas.(Vidaithangi Nandi)
After praying to Lord Nandi we move to the frontage of the main Gopuram, a three tiered structure of modest height. On the gopuram we observe Dwarapalakas, who, fiery looking, keep a watch on who enters the temple and also safeguard the place.
We then enter the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Shiva who is in the usual phallic form with a five headed cobra over him. Lord Shiva appeared to be in a state of meditation, calm but watchful of what was going on in the Universe. The temple priest by name Sri Jagadisha Gurukkal was getting things ready for the evening poojas. On seeing us he performed Mangalarthi(camphor) to the Lord and offered the same to us.
While normally the garba-griha of the Goddess would be in line with that of Lord Shiva, at this temple, Lord Dakshinamurthy has a place of importance as he is in between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and both facing the southern direction. The one another temple where such an arrangement exists is at the Gurustalam at Tittai. Lord Dakshinamurthy (Guru) draped in yellow, looks beautiful and is seen showering bountiful blessings on his devotees.
After the darshan of Lord Dakshinamurthy, we arrive at the garbagriha of Goddess Parvati who is also named as Pushpalathambigai. She is facing south and is observed, offering her pranams to Lord Shiva, who explains to her the meaning of Mukthi (salvation).
Coming out of the main complex, circumnambulating, we arrive before the idols of Lord Ganesha, Lord Subramanya and Goddess Mahalakshmi.
There are a few legendary beliefs about this temple and some of the idols inside would bear testimony to the same. One such legendary belief relates to Goddess Parvati observing penance below the Ilandai Tree. We can see below in the picture, Goddess Parvati observing penance.
Another legendary belief relates to how Lord Shiva as Nataraja appeared before Sage Vyakrapada. Once on his way to see Lord Nataraja, Sage Vyakrapada is believed to have lost his way and came nearabouts Omampuliyur. Disappointed, he reverentially called out for Lord Nataraja. Lord Nataraja heard his pleadings and instructed him to offer prayers and lo, gave him a darshan at this temple.
Another belief relates to a hunter. Once a hunter was looking for a prey in the forest around Omampuliyur. A tiger which had come that way noticed him and was about to attack him. The hunter is believed to have climbed a Bilva tree to protect himself. But the tiger was not giving up and was waiting for the hunter to get down. Evening slowly turned to night. So as not to fall asleep the hunter unknowingly commenced plucking the holy Bilva leaves and dropping them down which were falling on Lord Shiva. Pleased with this Lord Shiva granted him salvation.
Once a king by name Sadanand got afflicted with leprosy. Being dejected he came to Omampuliyur and after bathing in the holy water Varadanankuttai he prayed to the Lord regularly. Pleased with his devotion the Lord got rid of his affliction.
Two Ghandarvas living in heaven were once cursed to go to earth and live like a pig and a Dasi due to their misdemeanours. Once they were chased by a tiger. To escape the tiger, they ran and jumped into the Kollidam river and prayed to Lord Pranavavyakrapureeswarar. Pleased with their prayers the Lord granted their wish to return to heaven.
In the courtyard of the temple we can observe a place exclusively for performing Homams (sacred fire).
Parents expecting their children to achieve academic excellence, come with them to the temple, perform abishek and archanas to Lord Dakshinamurthy.
This temple is of special importance to those
(a)born under REVATHI STAR
(b)whose Rashi is DHANUR
Location: This temple is located 30 Kms from Chidambaram and 6 Kms from Katturmannarkudi. Town bus facilities are available from Chidambaram and Kattumannarkudi.
Temple Address & Contact Details:Arumighu Thuyartheerta Nathar Temple
Phone: 04144 - 264845 (Jagadeesa Gurukkal).