01. Sri Rathnagirinathar Temple, Thiruvatpokki (Ayyar Malai), Kulithalai (Chola Nadu - South of Kaveri):Names of God : Sri Rathnagirieswarar, Sri Arthanasaleswarar, Sri Manikka Easar, Sri Mudi Thalumbar
Name of Goddess : Sri Surumbaar Kuzhali
Holy water (Theertham) : Cauvery
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Neem Tree.
Thevaram : Thirunavukarasar
District : Karur.
Location : Kulithalai.
Timings : 07:00 a.m. to 07:00 p.m.
For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click HereThis is the 01st sthalam on the southern side of river Cauvery. Appar and Sundarar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. Iyermalai Rathinagireeshwarar Temple situated at Iyermalai Hills in Karur is a famous temple dedicated Lord Rathnagireeswarar and His consort Karumbarkuzhali Ambal. This is one of the 275 Padal Petram Sthalams. The temple is located on hills of 1178 feet height and has 1017 steps. The temple is said to be a Swayambhu temple, where Lord manifests himself rather than built or installed by humans. The presiding deity is also known as Rajalingam and Valpokki. The shrine is praised in the hymns of Thirunavukkarasar and Arunagiriar Thirupugazh.
- At foot hills sannadhi for Vinayagar, karuppasamy and Viswakarma Ganapathy in a big mandapam.
- On the way up the hill the Ponnidum Parai, Where Sage Sundarar got the gold from Lord Shiva. It is believed Shiva’s Padham is at Ponnidum Paarai.
- When we climb further we can have the dharshan of Sabthamatahakkal. Before that there are many small mandapams to take rest.
- At end of the steep steps Sri Ganapathi welcomes us to his father’s shrine.
- At 1017th step we can reach the sanctum sanctorum. The steep steps are neatly and evenly paved throughout the 1017 steps. Monkey menace is too high in this hill shrine.
- It is believed that rishis are mediating in the hill, to prove that there are number of natural caves in this hill shrine.
- The moolavar head looks like chopped. The story goes like this. The Arya King could not fill the pot with Cauvery water, to get “Rathnam” for his crown, as per an Anthanar. The king got angry and chopped Anthanar’s (Lord Shiva) head. On realizing that the Anthanar is Lord Shiva, The Arya King try to kill himself. The Lord appeared before him and gave Rathnam.
- The shrine is constructed on the rocky hill. The Ambal Sannadhi is one level below the Lord Shiva’s shrine.
- We could see a lot of inscriptions dating back 10th to 12th century on the walls of Moolavar and Ambal Sannadhi.
- The temple is facing west.
- There are some more special features in the temple are Chandran and Suryan are along with their wives.
- Instead of Lingothbavar Sri Arthanareeswarar is installed.
- It is still believed that Indran used to come and worship Lord through 9 holes opposite to moolavar in the form of thunder & lightning. To prove that the garland and vastharam of moolavar can be seen burnt on the next day even these years.
- The abishekam milk will turn to curd.
Devotees offer bell lamps (Manivilakku) to the God besides usual archanas etc. Abisheks are offered in oil, milk, tender coconuts. They undertake some fasting also and do charities. Dhyana, penance and such silent prayers are undertaken by the devotees. This is a special Shiva temple for devotees seeking mental peace. Preparations offered to the deity are distributed to visitors.
The unboiled milk used for abishek does not go stale till the evening though some dust from the incense sticks fall on the milk. Instead, it becomes a good curd the next morning. This is a miracle that could be seen only in this temple.
A devotee, Vairagya Perumal of Kancheepuram vowed to offer his head to Rathnagireeswarar if he got a child. He kept his promise sooner the wish was achieved. The head came to the peak of the mount while the feet stayed down. Honey and Coconut milk is used for the abishek for this head. The garlands used for the presiding deity is then offered to the head. The other surprise here is, that no crow flies on the hill. Tradition has it that once a crow upset the milk bowl of a devotee and got burnt. From then no crow flies on the hill. The presiding deity is also known as Rajalingam and Valpokki. The shrine is praised in the hymns of Thirunavukkarasar and Arunagiriar Thirupugazh. The abishek water is carried each day from the Cauvery river in the plains, 9 kilometers far. The scriptural names are Iyermalai and Shivayamalai.
History / Legend:The legend has that Lord Adishesha and Lord Vayu had a heated argument about their superiority. Lord Indra intervened and proclaimed them to prove their strength. The final verdict was followed, Lord Adishesha should carry the Mount Meru with his thousand heads and Lord Vayu should tear apart the Mount Meru with his strength. Lord Vayu with all his strength blew off Mount Meru, as a result it’s divided into five parts and each part was fallen as precious Gems such as Emerald, Ruby, Diamond, Coral and Sapphire on the different places of the Earth. These sacred lands were turned out prominent worship places of Lord Shiva. The places where Coral landed on Earth came to known as Thiruvannamalai, Ruby landed as Ratnagiri, Emerald as Inkoi Malai, Bule Saphhire as Pothikai and Diamond landed as Kodumudi. Hence, the self-manifested Linga on this sacred land came to known as Kodumudinathar/Makudeswarar. Thus, Ratnagiri hill and the presiding deity Lord Ratnagirinathar were originated during this mighty process.
Iyermalai is one of the peaks of Meru Mount. The Linga is a Jyothir Linga. Also Swayambu.. The prayers begin at Kadambar temple on the banks of Cauvery, proceeds to Rathnagireeswarar in Iyermalai and ends in the Thiru Engoimalainathar temple. The abishek water is stored in a big bowl called Kopparai. Once it so happened that the Kopparai did not become full though people went on pouring the Cauvery water. The angry king took the sword and threw it on the Linga which began to bleed. The king reconciling from the fury fell at the feet of Lord, who in turn pardoned him and also offered precious stone. The scar is still visible on the Linga.
The crowd would be too huge for 15 days during the Chithirai Festival and on Mondays of the Karthikai month, especially on the 3rd and 4th Mondays touching two lakhs. Devotees go up rolling. During Pradosham days, transition of Guru (Jupiter) and Saturn and Poornima (full moon day), week end days, Tamil months 1st. day the crowd will be huge for Girivalam (around the mount).
Location: This sivasthalam temple is located at Ratnagiri near Kulittalai. Kulittalai railway station is located on the Karur - Tiruchirapalli section of the Southern Railway. Bus services from Trichy, Erode and Karur are available to go to Kulittali.
Temple Address & Contact Details:Iyermalai Rathinagireeshwarar Temple,
Phone: 04323 245 522