12. Sri Brahma Sira Kandeeswarar Temple, Thirukkandiyur, Thiruvaiyaru (Chola Nadu - South of Kaveri):Names of God : Sri Brahmasirakkandeswarar, Sri Veerateswarar, Sri Brahmanathar, Sri Aathivilvanathar
Name of Goddess : Sri Mangala Nayaki, Sri Mangalambikai
Holy water (Theertham) : Kapala Theertham, Daksha Theertham, Brahma Theertham, Pathal Ganga, Nandi Theertham
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Vilvam tree.
Thevaram : Appar ; Sambandhar
District : Thanjavur.
Location : Thiruvaiyaru.
Timings : 06:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 04:00 p.m. to 08:00 p.m
For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click HereThis is the 12th sthalam on the southern side of river Cauvery. Thiruganasambandar and Appar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. Thirukandiyur or Kandiyur is the site where Shiva curbed the ego of Brahma by cutting off his fifth head. It is believed that, at the beginning of creation, Brahma had 5 heads, and as he created one form of life after another, his ego grew, until he felt that he was the greatest of the gods. Shiva decided to teach him a lesson, and cut off Brahma's fifth head, which stood on top of the other four. Brahma at once realized his error, and prayed to Shiva, asking for forgiveness. This temple also figures among the Saptha Sthaanam temples.
- This is the one of the eight Veeratta Sthalam and fifth in saptha sthana sthalam.
- Lord Shiva cut the fifth head of Brhahma with his trishula.
- High walled outer prakaram.
- Nandhi seen here is bigger in size.
- Rajagopuram is of 5 tiers.
- Raja ganapathy is on the left side and Linghotbhavar on the right side with Dwarabalakars.
- The temple is at lower level than the road.
- Ambal sannadhi is on the left side of moolavar.
- Unique ARTHANAAREESWARAR in sitting posture (Last image of this post).
Kandiyur has the distinction of being one among two sets of temples - one of the Saptha Sthaanam temples and as well as one of the Ashta Veeratta Sthalams - temples where Shiva has shown his power by overcoming someone. Here, at Kandiyur, he crushed the ego of Brahma by plucking off his fifth head. He is therefore known as Brahma Shira Kandeeswarar. Hence the name - Kandiyur. The Devi here is Mangalambigai.
An interesting thing about this temple, and indeed, many other temples in this area (Thanjavur, Thiruvaiyaru and Kumbakonam) is the position of the Navagrahas. Generally, the Navagrahas have Surya in the middle, with the eight others facing in different directions. However, in many of these temples, all the eight face Surya. Another interesting thing is that Surya is accompanied by his wives, Usha and Sandhya.
The Rajagopuram with five stages stands majestically. Armoured Flag-post, Nandi and altar are seen. Lord Vinayakar is seen in the Flag-post. In the inscription, this Lord is noted as “Thiruveerattaanaththu mahaadevar, Thirukkandiyur utaiya mahadevar”.
The sanctum of Dandapaani is a separate temple with a mandapam. In the ‘saptha-sthaana’ festival, the Lord takes a procession. Ambal stands south facing with four arms and with ‘abhayavaratham’ (refuge sign). Within are the sanctum of Vinayagar, Subrahmanya with Valli-Deivanai, Mahalakshmi, Nataraja, Vishnu-Durgai, Bhairavar, many kinds of Vinayagar and Ardhanaareeswarar in the sitting posture. Chandeswarar is in separate temple. Brahman, Lingodhbavar, Dakshinamaurthi, and Bhikshaadanar appear as koshta murthis.
History / Legend:Near the door-guards (dwaarapaalar), is the image of Sage Saathaathaapar, and the sanctum of Kaalathinaathar, who revealed Himself to Sage Saathaathaapar, Sapthasthaana Lingams and Panchabhuta Lingams. In the Navagrahas’ sanctum the Sungod is seen with his two spouses. The Prime Deity a Swayambu murthi, is on a slightly high pedestal. The statues of Brahma and Saraswathi are near the sanctum of the Lord. The statue of seated Brahma looks lovely appearing with folded hands in prayer holding flower and rosary. After plucking his head, Brahman prayed to the Lord to restore his beauty. The Lord blessed him to get back the beauty of his five faces in his four countenances and Brahma gladly received this benediction.
To pluck the head of Brahma, the Lord assumed the garb of a hunter. A small statue of this form is seen near the left side of the door that leads to the sanctum of Brahman opposite to the Lord’s sanctum. In the sanctum of Navagraha, a dais is built with provision to light lamps and worship.
Since one head, out of the five heads of Brahman was plucked this place came to be known as ‘Kandanapuram’ or ‘Kandiyur’. The Lord brought the Bael Tree from Mount Kailas for Sage Saathaathaapar; so this holy place is also called “Aadi Vilvaaranyam”. Sage Saathaathaapar used to go to Kaalahasti on the ‘pradosham’ day to have darshan of the Lord. Once when he came to Kandiyur, he could not go to Kalahasti in time. The legend is that the Lord graced him with the Kalahasti darshan at Kandiyur itself. This sacred site is also the place to placate the Brahmahathi curse.
The legend has that Lord Shiva plucked one of the five heads of Lord Brahma which represents five elements of the Nature, as a result Lord Shiva was afflicted with Brahmahathi sin. Due to the curse, Lord Shiva lost his glories, he underwent severe penance and visited temples of Lord Vishnu to get rid of the sin. Lord Shiva arrived at Karambanur, visited Lord Purushothamar and Goddess Poornavalli Thayar’s Temple. The most compassionate Goddess Poornavalli Thayar served with food to Lord Shiva and the curse was removed partially, thus his persistent hunger was removed. But Lord Brahma’s skull remains stuck on Lord Shiva’s hand. At the divine instruction of Lord Purushothamar, Lord Shiva arrived in Thirukkandiyur. Lord Shiva worshipped Lord Kamalanathar and entirely eradicated from the sin of Brahmahathya.
Devotees worship this Lord to get rid off ‘Brahmahathi’ curse and to become beautiful. Devotees can perform abhishekam to the Lord and Ambal, and adorn them with new clothes.
Location: This temple is located 11 Kms from Thanjavur and 3 Kms from Tiruvaiyaru on the Thanjavur - Tiruvaiyaru road. Town bus facilities are available from Tiruvaiyaru. Other paadal petra sthalams in and around Tirukandiyur are Tirupoonturuthi, Tiruchotruturai and Tiruvedhikudi. One of the 108 Divya Desam shrines of Lord Vishnu is also situated at Tirukkandiyur near the Shiva temple.
Temple Address & Contact Details:Arulmighu Brahmasirakandeeswarar Temple
Phone: +91 4362 261 100, and +91 4362 262 222.