48. Sri Vilvavananathar Temple, Thiruvaikavur, Papanasam (Chola Nadu - North of Kaveri):Names of God : Sri Vilvavaneswarar, Sri Vilvanathar
Name of Goddess : Sri Sarvajana Rakshaki, Sri Valakkai Nayagi
Holy water (Theertham) : Yama Theertham.
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Vilvam (Bael Tree).
Thevaram : Sambandar
District : Thanjavur.
Location : Papanasam.
Timings : 06:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 05:00 p.m. to 08:00 p.m.
For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click HereThis is the 48th sthalam on the northern side of river Cauvery. Thiruganasambandar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. The Lord of this place graces us as a swayambu moorthi. This place brought in the important Maha Sivarathiri festival, the festival of Siva temples. In this sacred temple, Lord Dakshinamurthi appears in the standing posture with a staff in his hand. Such an icon cannot be seen in any other place. Nandikeswarar is reversed and in the opposite side. There is no Navagraha sanctum in this temple. In the ardha mantapam, on both the sides of the door step, Lord Vishnu and Brahma stand as security guards, a feature that could not be seen anywhere.
Maasi month – Maha Sivarathiri – two days festival – Theerthavaari on the New Moon Day. Panchmukha Moorthis Procession in the Palm leaf cart in the night. It is a significant feature that the Rishabam, Swami and Ambal are all made in Palm leaves and they are taken in procession. Arudhra Procession - This festival is quite noteworthy in this place on the Tiruvaathirai, Vijayadasami and Tirukkaarthigai days.
This holy temple has no Rajagopuram. In the front appears Vinayagar. With five kalasams, the front door alone faces east. On entering we can see the Nandhi turning faces us eastward. If we enter the inner temple door, we can see and enjoy the Hunter story imaged in mortar. In the outer prakaaram are the sanctum of Saptakannikas, Sundaramurthi Vinayagar sanctum and that of Lord Arumuga.
History / Legend:The command of Ambal: Valaikkainaayaki (Sarvajana Rakshaki) of this temple is a powerful deity. It is significant to perform pooja in the Tuesdays and Fridays between 6.00 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. At that time, we should stand near the Sri Chakram opposite to Devi, voice out our troubles and worship. We can feel that Devi talks with us. While we are praying to Ambal, the priest would perform the ‘deepaaradhnai’ (showing camphor-light) to the Lord, come to the sanctum of Ambal, inform us about our prayer and also the duration of time for that to get fulfilled. The devotees endorse this that things have happened as told by the priest.
Vedas in the form of Vilvam: Legends state that the Vedas conduct their tapasya in the form of Vilvam. It is believed that the Vedas realized that everything would be annihilated during deluge. So they approached Lord Siva and asked Him the way to get protected from extinction. The Lord advised them to do tapasya standing as the bael tree. They did so and hence this holy place came to be known as ‘Vilva Aaranyam’ and the Lord was called ‘Vilvavaneswarar’. Here reside Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu and so the place is celebrated as the holy place of the Trinity. Just as the bridal couple sit in a straight line during wedding, the sanctum of the Lord and Ambal appear in straight line. The belief is that the ailments get dissolved either by taking bath in the theertham or by sprinkling that water on the body. All doshas or curses will disappear. In other places it is said that the Sapta Maathas had offered prayer; but here the Sapta Kannigaas (the Seven Virgin goddesses) are said to have worshiped. We can see the six-faced Shanmugar with the peacock and the sacred arc (thiruvacci) carved in single stone. We can see clearly in the image the nails and the lines of the palm. Another significant aspect is that the peacock stands turned towards left.
This temple has been consecrated by Saint Arunagirinaathar and also by the three nayanmar, and was erected by King Kulothunga Cholan. At Tiruvaikkavur, the Divine Couple Siva and Parvathi joyfully stayed. It remains as a holy place where fear of death is annulled. The tradition is that only in this place ‘Sivarathiri’ was initiated.
When the sage Thavanidhi was doing tapasya, a hunter came chasing a deer. Since the sage gave protection to the deer, the angered hunter began attacking the sage. Lord Siva at once took the tiger’s form and began driving the hunter. The frightened hunter ran and climbed on the nearby bael tree. The tiger also stood under the tree. The hunter had no other way and so stayed in the tree throughout the night. The hunter thought that he would fall down from the tree if he slept and so he plucked the leaves and dropped them down one after the other. The leaves fell on Lord Siva in the tiger’s guise. That was a Maha Sivarathiri day. The hunter received unawares the grace of the Lord, worshiping Him without any knowledge, fasting and sleepless. The Lord appeared before him and sanctioned moksa (liberation) to him. As he had to die the next day early morning Yama, the Lord of Death came there. Nandhi Deva discarded him and Lord Siva as Dakshinamurti drove Yama away with a staff in His hand. He was also angry with Nandhi Deva for having permitted Yama in. Because of his fear to the Lord, Nandhi Deva stopped Yama controlling him with his breath. Yama was then relieved after he surrendered to Lord Siva. The legend says that he created a pond before the temple, worshiped the Lord and left the place.
Worshiping Lord Vilvavaneswarar, our sorrows will vanish. Those who long for marriage and offspring can worship this Lord. The Lord will grant peace and serenity to those who pray to Him. The Lord also readily grants the prayers of his devotees who pray for good job opportunities, business enhancement and promotion in job.
We can perform abhishekam to the Lord and offer milk, curd and tender coconut. We can also gift dhoti to the Lord and sari to Ambal, and distribute food to the devotees who come to the temple after offering that to the Lord along with the usual abhishekam and pooja. Those who are rich can donate to the temple renovation.
Location: Town bus services to Tiruvaikavur is available from Kumbakonam. This sthalam is situated on the south bank of river Kollidam. One can also reach this sivasthalam from another paadal petra sthalam Tiruppurambiyam. Kumbakonam to Swamymalai town buses pass through this place.
Temple Address & Contact Details:Arulmighu Vilvavananathar Temple
Phone: + 91 94435 86453 & + 91 96552 61510.