60. Sri Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval, Trichy (Chola Nadu - North of Kaveri):Names of God : Sri Jambukeswarar, Sri Appu Lingeswarar, Sri Vennavalesar, Sri Jambunathar, Sri Aanaikkaa Annal, Sri Neerthiral Nathar
Name of Goddess : Sri Akilandeswari
Holy water (Theertham) : Nava Theertham.
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Ven Naval Tree.
Thevaram : Thirunavukarasar ; Sambandar ; Sundarar
District : Tiruchirapalli.
Location : Trichy.
Timings : 05:30 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. and from 03:00 p.m. to 08:30 p.m.
For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click HereThis is the 60th sthalam on the northern side of river Cauvery. Moovar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. Thiruvanaikaval is a suburb in the city of Trichy in Tamil Nadu. It is a peaceful, quaint and unspoiled town located on the northern bank of the river Kaveri very close to the river island of Srirangam. It is famous for being the birth place of Nobel Laureate Sir C. V. Raman who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930. It is most famous for the Jambukeshwar temple which is one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalas of Lord Shiva depicting the Water element. It was built by one of the earlier Chola Rulers Kochengannan nearly 1800 years ago. The temple is one of the sthalas among the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams meaning the place which has found mention in the songs of the Shaivite Saints called Nayanmars.
- This is one of the pancha bootha sthalangal and called Appu sthalam (Water). It is said that water is coming from the base of the lingam even during summer. Moolavar is facing west.
- Lord is worshiped by Brahma, Spider, Elephant, Ashtavasukkal, Ambal, Parasarar, Ko Chenkat Chozhan.
- There is a 9 way salaram in front of moolavar and we cannot enter staightly to karuvarai like any other temples, instead we have to enter through side way.
- Ambal is in a separate temple facing Iraivan ie east direction.
- Since Ambal worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple, archakar used to do the uchi kala pooja wearing sari.
- Ear Rings given by Sri Adhi sankarar is still being used for Ambal.
Fifth Enclosure: There is a huge and magnificent 7 tiered Raja Gopuram in the entrance. The idols of Kali and Veerabhadra are on either side of the entrance. The outermost fifth enclosure is a massive outer wall known as the Vibhuti Praharam. It is two feet thick, over 25 feet high and stretches over a mile. Legend says that Lord Shiva himself assisted the labourers who built the wall.
Fourth Enclosure: There is another seven tiered tower with a shrine of Lord Ganesha at the entrance. The fourth precinct encloses a hall with 796 pillars and is 2436 feet by 1493 feet. It also has a tank with ever flowing springs.
Third Enclosure: At its entrance it has another tower called the Mallapan tower with two shrines of Ganesha and Subramanya at its entrance. The third precinct encloses two gopurams (gateway towers) which are 73 and 100 feet tall, a coconut grove and a small water tank. It measures 745 feet by 197 feet and is surrounded by a wall 30 feet high.
Second Enclosure: Beyond that there is a huge seven tiered tower. The actual temple starts from this area. The second precinct is 307 feet by 197 feet with a gopuram 65 feet high and several small shrines and pillared mandapas. On the left side there is a big sub shrine almost like a separate temple dedicated to Jambukeshwar-Akhilandeshwari. Beyond that there is ‘Oonjal Mandapa’. After that there is a mandapa full of pillars containing beautiful sculptures. A small Ganesha idol is located here. The right side area has a small temple like shrine dedicated to Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar, a tank named Indira Teerth, a small shrine with mandapa and prakara for Shiva linga called Kashi Vishwanatha and three sub shrines with small Shiva Linga idols named Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. This enclosure has thinnais or raised platforms with lot of pillars on either side having beautiful sculptures on them. There are sub shrines of Bal Dhandayuthapani and Saneeshwara with Jyeshta Devi which is a rare sight. Few Dhwajasthambas or flag posts are found in the backside of the main shrine of this enclosure. A few small mandapas are located here. In a particular mandapa there are four statues of dancing girls found which are extremely attractive. The 100 pillared mandapa is also located here.
There are two towers found in this section. The area between the two towers have few sub shrines and Jambu Teerth or the holy tank. A big shrine more like a separate temple is dedicated to Shiva Linga named Sankaralingeshwara. The Goddesss Sankareshwari, Dakshinamurthy Narthana Ganapathy and Subramanya Valli are also located in this shrine. A big Linga named Kubera Linga , a small linga named Jambu Linga and Akhilandeshwari are found near the holy teerth.
Goddess Akhilandeshwari’s shrine: Unlike the other Shiva temples, there is no marriage conducted in this temple for Shiva and Parvati as here Parvati(Goddess Akhilandeshwari) was like a student and Lord Shiva(Jambukeshwara) was like a teacher(Guru). The temple idols are therefore installed opposite to each other. Such temples are known as Upadesha Sthalas. Goddess Akhilandeshwari and Prasanna Vinayaka are in the shape of the Pranava Mantra ‘Om’. It is believed that the Goddess was in deep anger hence during one of Adi Shankara’s visits he installed the Prasanna Ganapathy idol right opposite to her (as no mother would be angry in the presence of her child) and installed a pair of Shri Chakra earrings (Thatankas) to reduce her anger. This shrine is more like a separate temple with a separate flag post, Bali Peetha and Nandi idol facing the Goddess. The shrine has two prakaras. The idol of the Goddesss is very tall and attractive with four arms. The prakara has two Shanmuga-Valli-Devasena idols, four Ganesha idols and the rare Chandra with his Consorts Rohini and Krithika. The bas-relief images of Iccha, Kriya, Jnana, Durga and Chandikeshwari are found on the wall surrounding the shrine as the Goshta Idols. Few more idols like Saraswati, Ganesha and Bhadra are also located in the temple of Akhilandeshwari.
Nandi Mandapa: The Nandi Mandapa is adorned with four wide decorated pillars. There are intricate sculptures in the ceiling of this mandapa. Navagraha shrine is located near the Nandi Mandapa.
First Enclosure: In the first enclosure there is a sub shrine which houses the tall idols of Nataraja and Sivakami. In this enclosure the idols of Dakshinamoorthi, Chandikeshwara, Bhairava and two Jura Deva (sandalwood idols of Shiva with three legs and three arms) are all located. The important subshrine here is Kochengannan’s shrine, the Chola King who built this temple. There is a sub shrine housing the big idol of Vallabha Ganapathi with 10 arms and holding his Consort.
Innermost Enclosure: There is a small tower at the entrance. In this inner enclosure there are shrines of Subramanya with his consorts, Kalyana Sundara, Nataraja and Sivakami, Navagrahas, Chandikeshwar, Mahalakshmi, Ganesha, 63 Nayanmars as Utsava idols and a big Shiva Linga- Sahasra Linga. The idols of Bhairava, few Goddesses, Surya, Subramanya Saptamata, Dakshinamurthy and Chandra are also found here. The Sahasra Linga with 1008 small lingams is opposite to the Navagraha Sannidhi. It is said that even Lord Rama on his return to Lanka after vanquishing Ravana installed a lingam called the Maragatha Lingam to get rid of the ghosts of the Asuras that were following Him. Hence devotees pray to Him for removal of obstacles in marriage leading to marital bliss and harmony.
Main Shrine: The innermost precinct encloses the sanctum sanctorum which is a square structure open on three sides found independently situated at the centre of the enclosure and measures 126 feet by 123 feet. This structure has a shallow moat separating it from the circumambulatory path of the innermost enclosure. There is a Vimana on the roof of the sanctum. The Sthala Vruksha or the holy tree is the White Jambuka which grows along the South Eastern wall of the sanctum sanctorum. A walled structure protects the trunk of the tree. There is a large closed hall on the western side of the sanctum from where the deity is viewed called the Mukha Mantapa.
Mukha Mantapa: The principal entrance of the Mukha Mantapa has a large ornate western door gilded with silver. It contains four pillars and houses a bronze idol of Nandi. On the Southern and North Eastern sides, there are two additional entrances to the Mukha Mantapa. From the Mukha Mantapa, a set of three steps descend down to the level of the sanctum sanctorum. The western face of the sanctum sanctorum has a stone window through which the deity is viewed. The window has nine viewing apertures believed to represent the Navagrahas or could also mean the nine holes representing the nine outlets of the human body..Over the window there is a panel depicting the Sthala Puran of the Linga of Jambukeshwara under the tree, on the extreme right the jambuka tree growing out of a meditating sage’s head, a spider and an elephant worshipping the linga along with Goddess Parvati who is standing to the left of the Linga.
The sanctum sanctorum is divided into two parts, the Garbha Griha where the deity of Lord Jambukeshwara is housed and the Antaralam or the Ardha Mantapam whose western wall bears the window. A small door about 4 feet high on the southern wall forms the entrance into the sanctum. The Ardha Mantapam is 4 feet by 4 feet and contains an idol of Goddess Parvati on the right side of the door to the Garbha Griha. Small groups of devotees are permitted during special sevas into the Ardha Mantapa. The Garbha Griha is wider than the Ardha Mantapa. At the centre of the Brahma Sthana is the Linga of Lord Jambukeshwara. The upper conical part of the linga is copper colour and the pedestal or yoni-bhaga of the linga is of black granite. The linga is attached to the pedestal by a brass ring. The linga is at a height of three feet from the floor of the sanctum. The only source of illumination within the sanctum is the light from the ghee lamps. A stream of water is said to emerge from the Linga and this can be demonstrated by the soaking of clothes on which it is draped. The water increases significantly during the monsoon.
The image of Trimurthi Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva is present in the temple. There are separate shrines beyond the temple compound namely Lord Muruga in the form of Aandi having the same typical structure as the main shrines in Palani. The temple also has a shrine of Adi Shankara.
There are nine Theerthams in this temple, all of which held very sacred.
Brahma Theertham: This is in the South side of 4th Praharam (South Car Street)
Indhira Theertham: This is in the 3rd Praharam opposite to Kasi Viswanatha Swami sannathi.
Jambu Theertham: This is in the South West 3rd Praharam near the old Jambukeshwara temple (Opposite to Sangareshwarar temple and opposite to Kubera Linga)
Rama Theertham: This is outside the temple. Just directly opposite to the temple across the G.S.T Road. You can see this on the way to the Srirangam. This is where the “Thai Poosam theppam” festival is celebrated. This Theertham is full of beautiful Lotus flower plants.
Srimath Theertham: This is nothing but the water spring oozing inside the Sanctorum of Lord Shiva.
Agni Theertham: This is the well in the South East corner of 3rd Praharam. Just opposite on the side of Vasantha Mandapam and temple Nandhavanam.
Agathiya Theertham: This is the small well opposite to Amman sannadhi and close the “Palli Arai”
Soma Theertham: Its believed that this the “Chandra Pushkarni” in the Srirangam Sri Ranganathasami temple (adjacent to Sri Rama sannadhi)
Soorya Theertham: This is in the South West corner of the 4th praharam. Just opposite to the 1000 pillar mandapam. This Tank is architecturally beautifully built with two stories of Mandapams around the tank. Each mandapam built with 100 pillars. “Theppam” festival is celebrated in this tank in the Tamil month “Aadi” on “Pooram” day (the day when the star is Pooram, which is the star of Akilandeswari).
History / Legend:The Spider and Elephant: Thiruvanaikaval is the first of the ‘Maada Koils’ built by Kochenganan. In recognition of his great contribution to temple architecture and as the one who built the Thiruvanaikaval temple, Kochenganan’s idol is seen inside the temple.
Two devotees – Pushpavana and Mayavana - of Lord Shiva were involved in the process of plucking flowers from the Nandavanam and presenting to the Lord. One day, an argument arose between the two as to who had presented more flowers and they ended up killing each other in the fight that ensued. But having been true devotees through their lives, Lord Shiva provided them darshan at Kailasam and blessed them into birth as a spider and elephant in this Gajaranya Kshetram.
Provided with an opportunity to serve the Lord, the Spider provided shade to the Lord through its cobweb, while the elephant performed pooja removing all the dirt around the lord, bringing water for Abhishekam, plucking flowers and fruits and providing sandalwood.
One day, angered at finding a cobweb above the Lord, the elephant swung his tail and hit out at the web as he saw it as dirt. In retaliation, the spider entered the nose of the elephant. Stung with unbearable pain, the elephant died. The spider caught inside elephant’s body too died of suffocation.
And for the 2nd time, they entered Kailasam. When asked for a wish, the elephant asked for this place where he performed pooja with sincerity to be named after him. Hence this place came to be called Thiru ‘Aanai’ Kaval.
The spider asked to be born as a King who would build everlasting temples.
The spider was thus born as Kochenganan Chozhan in the Chozha dynasty. His parents were childless. An astrologer suggested that if the child was born during a specific time slot, he would become a great king and serve the Lord through his lifetime. Unfortunately, his mother Kamalavathi was slated for a pre delivery. Determined to have the child only during the specified slot, she asked her maids to tie her and hang here upside down till the specified time arrived. And thus she ensured that her son was born at that specified time. As the blood circulation had been disrupted, the child was born with red eyes. The mother called him ‘Ko’ ‘Chenganan’ (the one with red eyes) and died immediately after his birth. It was his aunt who took care of him through his childhood.
Maada Koils: Ko Chenganan built over 70 Saivite temples and is also credited with building Nachiyar Koil, the first Vaishnavite temple built by him. With two life time incidents of having fought with the elephant, he carried his anger into this life as well. All of the Saivite temples built by him were such that the elephant could not enter. It was either a small entrance into the sanctum or a high rise that an elephant could not climb. Such temples with either a narrow passage or high rise are referred to as Maada Koils.
Ruling from Uraiyur, the then capital of the Chozhas, Ko Chenganan crossed the Cauvery and found an idol of Shiva beneath the tree. He also remembered his life as a spider when he had provided shade right above. His devotion touched a peak and he built Thiruvanaikal as his first Saivite temple. He then went on to build several more in the Chozha kingdom including the Maada Style temple at Nachiyar Koil that is very different from the typical Vishnu temple in terms of architecture.
One of its kind Uchchi Kaalam Pooja: Ambal takes 3 forms every day here at Thiruvanaikaval. Early in the morning, she provides darshan as Lakshmi. At noon she is seen as Parvathi and in the evening she presents herself as Saraswathi in a white saree.
Legend has it that Goddess Parvathi once scoffed at Lord Shiva’s deep penance and his yogic style. Angered at this gesture, Shiva directed her to Earth. She reached this Jambu Vanam (Rose- Apple Forest) and performed pooja with sacred water that turned into Lingam, thus invoking his blessings. This tradition is followed every day during the Uchchi Kaalam Pooja. The priest dressed as Parvathi (draped in a saree) performs pooja at Jambukeswarar Sannidhi. Following this, he performs pooja on the sacred cow. This form of Uchchi Kaalam Pooja is the only one of its kind in Saivite temples in India.
Brahmma’s Penance: Once, Brahmma created a beautiful girl in this world. Instead of seeing her as his own daughter, Brahmma cast his eyes on the beautiful damsel. Inflicted with Brahmma Hathi Dosham, he came here, bathed in the Theertham south of the temple and undertook penance invoking the blessings of Jambukeswarar. A pleased Lord Shiva decided to provide darshan to Brahmma and liberate him from the Dosham. As Shiva was preparing to leave, Goddess Akilandeswari too wanted to join. Shiva cautioned that Brahmma had got into this situation lured by the beauty of a young girl and did not want to take a chance once again. They decided to interchange roles – Shiva took the form of Akilandeswari and the Goddess went there as Jambukeswarar and provided darshan to Brahmma. After liberating Brahmma from his Dosham, it is said that they got back into their original forms.
During Brahmotsavam, this interchange between Lord and Ambal is re-enacted on the Rohini day on the South Street of the fifth Prakara. As part of this Pancha Parva Utsavam, the Lord comes on a procession in each of the five prakaras – one of the highlights of the year at this temple.
Vibhoothi Prakara: The largest and outermost prakara – the fifth prakara is referred to as the Vibhoothi Prakara. Several thousands of labourers toiled hard through the day to construct the prakara. As a reward of their hard work, these committed labourers were each given Vibhoothi as prasadam. As they went back home, to their pleasant surprise they found that the Lord’s Prasadam had magically turned into money – a testimony to the truth that the Lord rewards who offer their sincere prayers and works sincerely in their daily lives.
Sundarar’s Devaram Verse: One of Sundarar’s Thevaram verses on Thiruvanaikka refers to an interesting episode that suggests that every devotee should first offer to the Lord before consuming it. A Queen who was a gifted a set of glittering necklaces adorned herself and showcased it with all joy. After bathing in the Cauvery, she found the necklaces missing. Shocked at this loss, the king and the queen invoked the blessings of Lord Jambukeswarar to help find the necklaces. Shortly after, as the priest provided the Lord with the sacred bath the necklaces were seen on the Lord’s Lingam making them realise that in their hour of joy and greed they had forgotten to first thank him for their state of happiness.
This story is beautifully narrated by Sundarar as a message to all devotees that we should not forget the Lord in our hour of happiness.
Adi Sankara’s Contribution: Adi Sankara installed the idols of Vinayaka and Muruga in the front and back of the Ambal Sannidhi to cool an angry Ambal who had undertaken penance here. Adi Sankara also presented the Goddess with two beautiful ear rings – Thaadagam with Sri Chakra. The alankara process for beautiful looking Akilandeswari is a very special feature at this temple.
Origin of the name Appu Lingam: Legends abound regarding the temple origins. Once, Parvati mocked Shiva’s penance for the betterment of the world. Lord Shiva then banished her to Earth to do penance and Parvati in the form of Akhilandeshwari as per Shiva’s wish went to the Jambu forest (Thiruvanaikaval) to do her penance. She made a lingam out of water from the Cauvery river (or river Ponni) under the Venn Naval (blackberry) tree and began her penance. Therefore the lingam is known as Appu Lingam(or water lingam). At last Shiva pleased with her (Parvati in the form of Akhilandeshwari) penance gave her darshan and taught her Shiva Jnana.
Origin of the name Thiruvanaikaval: There were two Ganas(Shiva’s disciples and guards) of Shiva who were always quarelling with each other. One day, one of them cursed the other to become an elephant on earth and the other in return was cursed to become a spider on earth. Both of them came to the Jambu
Forest and began their Shiva worship. Legend has it that the elephant would perform ablutions to the Lingam after collecting water from the Cauvery river. The spider constructed his web over the lingam to protect it from the harsh sunlight falling on it and also to prevent leaves from falling on it. The elephant would see the web and thinking it to be dirt would wash it with water that it carried in its trunk. This continued everyday till the spider one day in rage entered into the trunk of the elephant and bit it to death killing itself also in the process. Shiva in the form of Jambukeshwara was moved by their deep devotion and he relieved them of their curse. Therefore the place came to be known as Thiru-Aanai-Kaa, Thiru in Tamil meaning holy, Aanai meaning elephant and Kaa taken from the word Kaadu meaning forest. Subequently Thiruaanaikaa became Thiruvanaikaval. Due to the sin committed by the spider in killing the elephant, it was reborn in the next birth as the Chola King Kotchengannan Chola (meaning red eyed King). Remembering his enmity with the elephant in his previous birth, it is said that he not only constructed 70 temples but specially built this temple Sanctorum in such a way that not even a small sized elephant could enter. The entrance of the sanctum sanctorum of the Jambukeshwara temple is only 4 feet high and 2.5 feet wide.
Legend behind King’s red eyes: It is said that when the King was in his mother’s womb, the Palace Astrologer predicted the auspicious time to give birth to enable the new born’s well being. Unfortunately the queen went into labour earlier than the predicted time. She summoned her attendant and asked to be hung upside down so that the delivery would be stalled until the predicted time. This waiting time in the womb is alleged to have made the baby’s eyes red.
Legend behind offering betel nuts and leaves as Neivedhyam: Once, a Brahmin aspired to become a poet. He prayed to Goddess Akhilandeshwari seeking her blessings. The Goddess materialized as a woman chewing betel leaves. To test him she sought his permission to spit the betel juice in his mouth as she could not desecrate the temple. This angered the Brahmin and he refused to allow her to do it. Meanwhile another devotee named Varadhan who was very particular about cleanliness and purity in temples visited the temple. The Goddess went to test him and when she placed the same condition, he readily agreed. He later became a famous poet named Kalamegam. Thus even to this day betel nuts and leaves are offered to the Goddess to ensure success in education.
Origin of the name Jambukeshwar: There was a sage named Jambu who did penance of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared before him and gave him some blackberry fruit(Jambu in Sanskrit and Naaval in tamil) as prasadam. The sage ate the fruit and consumed even the seeds. The seeds began to germinate inside his stomach and grew into a tree right through his head. The sage then attained salvation. This tree became the Sthala Vruksha (holy tree). Goddess Parvathi created the lingam and offered penance to the Lord under this tree. Therefore the Lord came to be known as Jambukeshwar or the Lord who gave salvation to Sage Jambu.
Location: This temple is located near Srirangam in Trichy. This is one of the Pancha Bootha Sthalam of Lord Shiva..
Temple Address & Contact Details:Arulmighu Jambukeswarar Temple
Phone: +91 431 2230257 ; ST Subramanyam (STS) @ 99425 75663 / Hari Archakar @ 98949 14466 / Meera @ 75981 71929 / Panchapakesan (Panchu Iyer) @ Ph. 0431 2232958 / 98947 74780).