18. Sri Mullaivananathar Temple, Thirukkarugavur, Papanasam (Chola Nadu - South of Kaveri):Names of God : Sri Karpapureeswarar, Sri Mullai Vananathar, Sri Maathaviveswarar
Name of Goddess : Sri Garba Rakshambigai, Sri Karu Kaatha Nayagi
Holy water (Theertham) : Paal Kulam
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Mullai – belonging to Jasmine family
Thevaram : Thirunavukarasar ; Sambandar
District : Thanjavur.
Location : Papanasam.
Timings : 06:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 03:00 p.m. to 08:00 p.m
For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click HereThis is the 18th sthalam on the southern side of river Cauvery. Thiruganasambandar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. ThiruKarukavur is the abode of Goddess Garbharakshambika and Lord Mullai Vana Nathar. Garba means "Pregnancy" and Raksha means "To Protect" and Ambigai is one of the names of Goddess Parvathi. A remarkable feast about the temple which distinguishes this temple from the other shrines is that the Goddess Garbakashambika not only protects the unborn child, but also bless people whose marriages are being delayed and who long for a child.
- It is considered as one of 275 Paadal Petral Stalams.
- The temple is an ancient Shiva temple. It dates back to 6th century. The three famous Nayanmaars Thirunavukarasar, Thirugnanasambandhar and Sundarar have sung praise of this God and Goddess in soul stirring verses.
- This temple is located on the banks of river Vettaar, a branch of sacred river Cauvery. This is the first temple to be worshipped in Pancha Aaranya (five forest temples) sequence. The other temples are Alangudi, Avalivanallur, and Thirukollampudur.
- The Swami (prime deity), Vinayagar (Ganesha) and Nandhi (Sacred bull) are Suyambu i.e, self manifested. Swamy is made up of hardened Ant Hill mud. Hence no Abishegam (holy bath) is offered to God.
- Once upon a time this place was a Jasmine (Mullai) forest. Numerous Sidhars and Yogis have done penance in this place. They are said to have taught their disciples under Banyan trees. One can still see number of Banyan trees on their way to this temple. Since this Swamy is self manifested mullai creepers have grown around the Lingam. The impression of it has been marked over the Lingam. The temple priest will show it to you every time while he is doing Deeparathana.
- Niruthi is a Devata or God residing in Southwest direction who plays an important part in ancestors (History). Here Vinayagar is located as Nirudhi Vinayagar who wards of the evil sin committed by ancestors of the devotee.
- Somaskandamurthi is one of the main aspects of Lord Siva. The representation of the child Murugan in between Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi is mainly intended to emphasize the importance of the child in family life. Here Subramaniyar (Murugan) Sanndhi is located in such a way that it is in between his parents God Shiva (Mullaivananathar) and Goddess Parvathi (Garbarakshambigai).
- Mullai tree is the Thala Virutcham (Holy tree) in this temple.
- The well beside the Holy tree is sacred.
- Goddess Garbarakshambigai bless for early marriage, cures infertility related problem to conceive and bless for safe and trouble-free delivery. She is 7 feet tall and bless with a standing posture with a divine grace with one hand resting of the lower hip as if protecting the woman and the other with and the Abhaya Mudra symbolizing protection, peace and dispelling of fear.
- The temple pond before the entrance has been created by Divine Cow Kamadhenu to feed child, Naidhuruvan and it is named as Ksheera Kundam. (Milk pond).
- Till now there is no maternity death reported in this village (Thirukarukavur) where our beloved Goddess resides.
The special feature of this temple is that the moon's rays falls on the Sivalingam on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Panguni (March/April) every year.
History / Legend:In the distant past two sages by the name of Gowthama and Gargeya did penance at this place called 'MULLAIVANAM' ie. (Jasmine Forest). A couple by name Nidhruva and Vedikai stayed in the same ashram and rendered service to the sages. Since the couple had no children they represented this to the sages. The sages advised the couple to worship Sri Garbarakshambigai. The couple did that with intense devotion and their prayers got answered. Vedikai got conceived.
During her later stage of pregnancy and while her husband Nidhruva was away from home she was in a faint state due to the strain of pregnancy. At this moment, a sage by name Sri.Urdhuvapada came to her abode and asked for alms. Due to her unconscious state of mind, she did not respond to that sage's request. The sage was enraged at this apparent indifference and cursed her without knowing the exact reason for her silence. Due to the curse, her fetus got disintegrated and descended. Shocked Vedikai prayed to the Goddess in great distress. The Goddess appeared before her, protected the fetus, preserved it in a sacred pot until it developed into a male child and presented it to the devoted couple. The parents named their child as 'Naidhuruvan'.
Struck by this great act of benevolence of the Almighty Goddess, the immensely grateful Vedikai prayed to the Goddess to remain in this place and protect women and their foetus as she had done in her case. The Goddess accepted her prayer and remains here as 'Garbharakshambigai' meaning 'savior of foetus'. Due to this fame this place came to be known as 'Thirukarukavur' i.e., the place where pregnancy is protected and also the place where childless couples are blessed with children.
Later while Vedikai had no mother's milk to feed her child Naidhuruvan, answering her prayers Goddess sent 'Kamadhenu' the divine cow to this place to feed the child. Kamadhenu scratched the earth in front of the temple with her hoof and milk came out in plenty from the ground and it formed into a 'Milk Tank'. This Tank exists even now in the name of 'Ksheerakundam'
Thus at this sacred place childless people who worship the Goddess with devotion and faith are blessed with pregnancy. Those pregnancies are well protected and the women are blessed with safe and trouble free deliveries.
The Lord of this place is called 'Mullaivananathar'(meaning lord in jasmine forest). Even today everyone can see the impression of jasmine creepers which once covered it. Linga here is a 'Swayambu' i.e. Self Manifested. This Linga is made up of ant hill mud. Hence abishekam to Linga using water is avoided. Instead, the Linga is merely pasted with a kind of must called 'Punuhu' during valarpirai Pradosham.. People who are afflicted with incurable disease come to this place to offer 'Punugu Chattam' to the Lord and get themselves cured from the diseases. This is a fact which is actually verified even today.
Location: This temple is located at Tirukkarukavur which is 7 Kms from Papanasam, a small town on the Kumbakonam - Thanjavur main road. This sthalam is 20 Kms in the south-west direction from Kumbakonam and 20 Kms in the north-east direction from Thanjavur.
Temple Address & Contact Details:Sri Mullaivananatharswamy and Garbarakshambigai Amman temple,
Pin code: 614 302.
Phone: 04374-273423 ; 08870058269 ; 04374 273502 ; 097891 60819.