15. Sri Vasishteshwarar Temple, Thenkudi Thittai, Thanjavur (Chola Nadu - South of Kaveri):Names of God : Sri Vasisteswarar
Name of Goddess : Sri Ulaga Nayagi
Holy water (Theertham) : Chakra Teertham
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Champak.
Thevaram : Thiru Gnana Sambandhar
District : Thanjavur.
Location : Thanjavur.
Timings : 06:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 04:00 p.m. to 08:00 p.m
For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click HereThis is the 15th sthalam on the southern side of river Cauvery. Thiruganasambandar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. Thenkudi Thittai is a village near Tanjore town in South India. The village has a prominent temple called as Vasishteshwarar temple. It is considered as the 15th among the Tevara Paadal Petra Stalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region north of Cauvery river.
- It is considered as one of 275 Paadal Petral Stalams.
- It is a Guru Stalam.
- Suryakantha and Chandrakantha stones on top of the sanctum sanctorum in the vimana; water drops naturally fall on Shiva Linga for every 24 minutes.
- The sun rays fall on the main deity for three days in the month of Mar-Apr and again for three days in the month of Aug-Sep every year.
- There are five Shiva Lingas in this temple and hence it is called as Pancha Linga Kshetra.
- Guru (Jupiter) is found in a separate shrine.
- The entire structure of the temple is built in stone.
- The vimanam is built with complete stone.
The word "Thittu" means mound in Tamil language. As the place is located between the two tributaries of the river Cauvery, Vennaaru and Vettaaru, the place is called as 'Thittai'.
It is believed that during Pralaya (the Great Dissolution), it was the only place in the entire world, which did not get submerged under the water. A self manifested (swayambhu) Shiva Linga appeared on this mount and it is the main deity of the current temple. Hence, he is also called as Swayambhutheswara. It is believed that all deities came to this place for shelter and hence it is also called as 'Kudi Thittai'.
As Renuka worshiped Lord Shiva in this village, the village is also called as Renukapuri. As Kamadhenu, the divine cow worshiped Lord Shiva, he is also called as Dhenupureeswarar.
A devotee named Sugantha Kuntala got her deceased husband back to life after worshiping Goddess Ulaga Nayaki. Hence, the Goddess is also called as Sugantha Kuntalambikai.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu created the holy tank 'Chakra Teerth' by throwing his discus (chakra).
The temple of Vasishteshwarar in Thenkudi Thittai is considered as a Guru Parihara Stalam (the most famous Guru Stalam is in Alangudi). The temple has a simple tower and it faces the east direction. Opposite to the temple, the holy tank 'Chakra Teerth' is found.
The sanctum sanctorum enshrines the main deity Vasishteshwarar who is in the form of a Shiva Linga. On top of this shrine, there are two unique stones, Suryakantha and Chandrakantha, found in the vimana. They absorb the moisture from air and let it drip as water drops on Shiva Linga for every 24 minutes. It is very unique architectural feature of this temple.
The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi mandapa are found facing towards the main shrine.
The Goddess Ulaga Nayaki is found in a separate shrine. There is a stone with all zodiac signs on the ceiling in front of this shrine.
Guru Bhagavan is found in a separate shrine between the shrines of God and Goddess.
At the entrance of the main shrine, there is a Ganesha idol. The entrance of Ulagammai shrine has the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya.
The inner prakara has the sub shrines of Siddhi Vinayaka and Subramanya with his two consorts. The idols of Gaja Lakshmi, Bhairava, Shiva Linga, Surya, Chandra, Maha Linga with his consort and Ganesha and Navagraha. The Navagraha is unique with Surya in the middle and all other eight planets facing towards Surya.
The walls around the sanctum sanctorum has Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Durga as the Koshta (niche) idols. Chandikeshwara sub-shrine is also found as usual. Dakshinamurti is big and looks attractive.
History / Legend:The presiding diety is Swayambootheswarar and the Godess, Ulaganayaki. As the main diety is a Swayambu Lingam he got the name "Swayambootheswarar".
The main diety is also called as Vasishteswarar as he was worshiped here by Saint Vasishtar.
"Thittai", the name of the village means "Thittu" in Tamil, (i-e) a Mound. When the whole world was surrounded by water because of "Pralayam", Brahma & Vishnu worshiped the Lord Maheshara for protection. After wandering much for a safe place, they found this only mound, which did not drown in the Pralaya waters, where there was a Shiva Lingam.
The Lingam here is Swayambhu (Swayam – self & bhu – to be; Swayambhu means self manifest). Sage Vasishta is believed to have worshiped the Lord here and hence the name Vasishteswarar. He is also called Theerurnathar, Pasupathynathar, Radhapureeswarar or Dheenupureeswarar. Yama got rid of curse after worshiping this deity.They performed Pooja to the Lingam and worshipped Lord Shiva, who appeared before them and deligated their duties of Creation and Protection. Its beleived that this is the only place, which was not destroyed even during Pralayam.
The divine consort of Vasishteswarar is Ulaganayaki, Sugantha Kunthaleswari and Mangaleswari. The Goddess Ulaganayaki is known as Sugantha Kunthalambigai since a Vaisya girl by name Sugantha Kunthala got her deceased husband back to life after worshiping Ulaganayaki here. Therefore, Ulaganayaki is worshiped by the married women for the long life of their husband.
There are four Lingas in the four corners and the fifth linga is the main deity, hence this is a pancha linga kshetram. This is also called the Pancha Bhootha Kshetra. The temple tank here is Chakra Theertham, believed to have been created by Lord Vishnu’s chakra.
This is a Parihara sthalam for Guru. Lord Guru is seen in a separate shrine between swami and ambal. Guru here is Raja Guru and is in standing posture, with 4 hands holding his weapons and a book. (In Alangudi, the main Guru Parihara sthalam, Lord Dakshinamurthy is worshiped as Guru.)
He is believed to have given upadesam to Vasishta muni. Worshiping the Guru here and subsequently worshiping Chandran at Thingalur, on the same day, is supposed to bring the Guru Chandra Yogam in ones horoscope. This is supposed to be very good for the inmate of the horoscope.
Unlike many other temples, here the complete temple is built using the stone. Not only for the main dieties, but also all other Sannidhi's are constructed using stones, right from floors, pillars, walls and roof.
An unique feature of this temple is a drop of water falls on the Lingam (Main Deity) exactly every twenty four minutes (1 Naazhigai) from the roof. But for a small hole, there is no source of water or anything, on the Vimana of the main diety.
Two stones "Suryagaanthakkal" and "Chandragaanthakkal" which are placed at strategic points above the Vimana are the reasons for the droplets of water which falls on the deity.
These 2 stones absorb moisture from the atmosphere, convert into 1 water droplet, performing a natural Abhishegam to the diety, every 24 minutes (1 Naazhigai), be it the day or night.
A small piece of yellow cloth (Dhothi) which covers the Lingam is always wet because of this. If one can wait patiently, they can view this amazing act.
That shows the scientific and architectural brilliance of our ancestors who have made this temple.
The temple tank situated opposite the temple is called "Chakra Theertham" which is believed that it was created by the Chakra from the hands of Mahavishnu.
Another special here is that the "Guru Bhagavan" has a temple inside this temple itself. Even in the Gurusthalam Aalangudi, one can see that Dhakshinamurthy facing South in the Praakaaram is worshiped as Guru.
But this is probably the only place in the world where Guru Bhagavan has a separate Sannidhi and separate Vimana between Vasishteswarar and Loganayaki Sannidhis. This is the only place where you can see Guru Bhagavan who is the Raja Guru, in standing posture with 4 hands holding his weapons and a book. Chitra Pournami & Guru Peyarchi are most important festivals here.
Thittu in Tamil means a place in higher levels. During a pralaya period, the world was inundated with water. The boat powered by the Ohm Mantra carrying Lord and Mother stopped at a Thittu. This Thittu is Sirkali also called Thonipuram. Of the 28 holy places Lord Shiva loved in days prior to the Pralaya, 26 were submerged in water. The remaining two are Sirkali and Thenkudi Thittai. During the Pralaya the sound OHM came out from Sirkali. In Thenkudi Thittai the sound OHM emerged along with other mantra sounds. Hence, this place is known as Gnana Medu the wisdom spot and as Thenkudi Thittai. Sirkali is known as Vadakudi Thittai. Also, places called Thittai (Kudi Thittai) are loved most by Lord and Mother. As Maharshi Vasishta had his hermitage here to worship Lord Shiva here, He is praised as Vasishteswara. Mother is praised as Ulaganayaki.
Location: This sivasthalam is situated 10 Kms from Thanjavur on Thanjavur - Melattur - Kumbakonam road. Town bus services from Thanjavur are available to go to Thittai.
Temple Address & Contact Details:Arulmighu Pasupatheeswarar Temple
Phone: +91 4362 252 858 ; 9443445864