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Sri Mayuranathar Temple, Mayiladuthurai - 275 Shiva Temples

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Sri Mayuranathar Temple, Mayiladuthurai - 275 Shiva Temples

39. Sri Mayuranathar Temple, Mayiladuthurai (Chola Nadu - South of Kaveri):

Names of God : Sri Mayuranathar
Name of Goddess : Sri Abyambikai, Sri Anjalnayaki
Holy water (Theertham) : Rishaba Theertham, Brahma Theertham, Agastya Theertham
Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) : Mango
Thevaram : Thiru Gnana Sambandhar ; Thirunavukkarasar
District : Nagapattinam.
Location : Mayiladuthurai.
Timings : 05:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 04:00 p.m. to 08:30 p.m

For Complete List of 275 Shiva Temples : Click Here

This is the 39th sthalam on the southern side of river Cauvery. Thiruganasambandar and Appar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple. The town of Mayiladuthurai also known by different names like Mayavaram or mayuram is home to a large Shiva temple called the Mayuranatha Swami temple. The name of the deity gave birth to this town’s name. The temple is located to the south of this town near the banks of Cauvery River. This town is one of the very ancient towns in the banks of the Cauvery. Mayuram is mentioned in an old Tamil saying “Aayiram aanaalum mayuram aahaathu”, meaning even a combination of 1000 special places cannot be compared to Mayuram. This is one of the six temples considered equal to Kashi. The other 5 Shivasthalams are Tiruvenkaadu, Chaayaavanam, Tiruvaiyaru, Tiruvanchiam and Tiruvidaimarudur.

This is a vast and well maintained temple with a beautiful tank, several gopurams and mandapams in the town of Mayiladuturai (Mayuram). This is a temple of great religious significance, and is a hub in the temple belt of Tamilnadu. Several Shivastalams are located in the vicinity of Mayiladuturai which is considered to be the 39th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri.

Important Features:
  • This temple classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.
  • One of the six temples on the banks of Cauvery which are considered equivalent to Kasi.
  • It is considered that Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi come here every year during the month of Iyppasi (Thula month) and take bath here. The “tula snanam” is highly popular.
  • Dakshayani (Parvathi devi) attended her father Daksha’s Yagnam (The Thiruppariyalur Veerattanam where the Daksha yagnam is believed to have been performed is about 10 kms from here) without an invitation and without obeying Shiva’s words to only get humiliated there. So Shiva asked her to take birth as peacock and penance here for the entire month of Iyppasi to reunite with Him. Later Shiva also took a peacock form, performed the Gowri Tandavam and united with Her. Hence the name Mayiladuthurai (Mayil in tamil means peacock). There are only two temples where Parvathi took the form of peacock and worshipped Shiva, the other one being Mylapore.
  • Also, all the devas who attended Dhaksha yagam worshipped Shiva here and got liberated from their sins.
  • It is considered that the place of Mayuram itself was created by Lord Brahmma who worshipped Lord Shiva here.
  • One of the six temples on the banks of Cauvery which are considered equivalent to Kasi. Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi became sinful and very ugly since people take bath in these rivers to wash off their sins. So, as per the advise of Kannuva muni, they all came to Mayuram during the Iyppasi month, took bath at the Cauvery and got their sins cleared off and got back their beauty. So it is considered very sacred to take bath at Cauvery here during the month of Iyppasi. Especially, the last day of Iyppasi, called “Kadaimugam” is considered the most sacred day to take bath here and get moksha.
  • A couple by name Nathasama and Anavidhyambihai came here to take bath during the “Kadaimugam” but by the time they arrived here it was too late. So they were very upset and prayed to Lord Shiva. The Lord appeared in their dream and said He will extend the sacred period to the next day and asked them to take bath before the sunrise. So the first day of Karthigai month before sunrise is called “Mudavan Muzhukku” and is considered as holy as “Kadaimugam”.
  • Dhakshinamoorthy is Medha Dhakshinamoorthy/mouna and gave upadesam to Rishaba devar in yoga posture.
This temple spread over 350000 sq feet has 5 prakarams, a 9 tiered 165 feet high Raja Gopuram, pillared halls with interesting sculptural work as well as 14 vimanams withseveral stucco images. Inscriptions from the Imperial Chola period are found here. The temple is managed by the Tiruvavaduturai Adhinam, while the Vallalar Koyil and Kaasi Viswanathar temple are managed by the Dharumapura Adhinam.

This temple was reconstructed with stone, during the period of Sembiyan Mahadevi (10th century); however renovations from the 19th century have destroyed the older structures and the inscriptions. Thankfully fine stone sculptures of Vinayakar, Natarajar, Siva-Uma-Alinganamurthy, Dakshimamurthy, Lingodbhavar, Bhrama, Ganga Visarjanamurthi, Durga and Bhikshatanar from the period of Sembiyan Mahadevi have been well preserved in their niches. From available inscriptions it is inferred that the Avayambal shrine came into existence during the period of Rajaraja Chola III (13th century). Till then, there must only have been a Bhogasakthi bronze image in the sanctum of Mayuranathar, as was the practice till separate Ambal shrines were introduced during the reign of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120).

Main Deity: The Mayuranatha Swami Temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. In the past, the temple has been referred by different names such as the Sikliandipuram, Brahmavanam, Sudavanam and Brahmapuram. Besides lord Shiva, there are other shrines for Godess Parvati, Ganesha and Nataraja (Shiva’s dancing form).

Temple Architecture: Here, the lord is in his Lingam form and has self-manifested. The temple was built during the medieval Chola dynasty. The temple is almost 2000 year old. The temple has nine tired Gopurams and the Vimana (crowning) is called tridal vimana. The temple also has five prakaras (enclosed precincts). A Durga idol is placed near the Northern entrance to the temple.
There is also a massive water tank at the center of the temple complex. Above the lords sculpture one can see sculptures of two monkeys and two peacocks.

One of the interesting thing to be noticed in this temple is Vilva tree with leaves which had seven leaflets, instead of the usual 3.

Gallery Of Mayuranathar Temple:

Mayiladuthurai Temple Majestic Main Gopuram
Mayiladuthurai Temple Majestic Main Gopuram Close-up View
Mayiladuthurai Temple Name Written In Main Gopuram

Mayiladuthurai Temple Main Gopuram In Detail 01
Mayiladuthurai Temple Main Gopuram In Detail 02
Mayiladuthurai Temple Main Gopuram View With Temple Tank 01

Mayiladuthurai Temple Main Gopuram View With Temple Tank 02
Mayiladuthurai Temple Majestic Main Gopuram Side View
Mayiladuthurai Temple Inside View 01

Mayiladuthurai Temple Inside View 02
Mayiladuthurai Temple Entrance
Mayiladuthurai Temple Praharam 01

Mayiladuthurai Temple Vilva Tree With Leaves Having Seven Leaflets
Mayiladuthurai Temple Praharam 02
Mayiladuthurai Temple Unique Idol - Medha Dakshinamurthy

Mayiladuthurai Temple Lord Ganesha Idol In Kostham
Mayiladuthurai Temple Idols In Praharam
Mayiladuthurai Temple Goddess Anjal Nayaki

Mayiladuthurai Temple Main Deity Mayuranathar

Please click on above images to enlarge.

History / Legend:

Lord Aadhi Mayuranathar graces from a separate shrine in the prakara. While the Presiding deity is in the form of Shivalinga, Ambica appears as a peacock worshiping the Lord. Lord Muruga in the prakara is praised by saint Arunagiriar in his Tirupugazh hymns. During the Skanda Sashti festival in Shiva temples, Lord Muruga would receive His Vel weapon from Mother Ambica. Here, He receives it from Lord Shiva. The Gouri Thandavam dance performance of Lord is celebrated as Mayura Thandavam – Mayura-peacock. Lord Nataraja graces from a separate shrine. The first puja in the evening is dedicated to Lord Nataraja. Mayilamman shrine is opposite to Nataraja shrine where both Lord and Mother grace in the form of a peacock.

Two peacocks and two monkeys are depicted in the banyan tree above the Lord Dakshinamurthy sculpture in the goshta wall. There is also a Nandhi.

Nadha Sharma and his wife Anavidyambikai came to this place for the Cauvery bath-Thula Snanam. Before they arrive at the place, the 30 days time (Aipasi month-October-November) expired. They sadly stayed at the night worshiping Lord Shiva. Lord appeared in their dream and advised them to have the bath before sunrise the next day and assured that they would have full benefit of the Tula Snanam bath. Based on this, the practice of this bath continues even now on the first day of Karthikai month. As Lord Shiva froze the bath time for His devotee couple, this bath is called Mudavan Muzhukku. Mudakku in Tamil means freezing, Muzhukku bath.

The couple merged with the Lord then. This Linga is facing west. The Linga with which his wife Anavidyambikai merged is at right of the Ambica shrine. This Linga is dressed with Red Sari only. It also indicates the oneness of male and female. Lord Dakshinamurthi appears slightly slanting on a side with His legs folded.

Mother Aadi Poora Ambal graces from a separate shrine in the Veera Shakti form praised as Abhayambikai. She is also brought in procession to the banks of Cauvery on Aadi Pooram day and Fridays of this month covering July-August.

Lord Vinayaka in the prakara appearing earlier from a sandal tree is praised as Agasthya Sandana Vinayaka – Sandanam-Sandal.

Tula Snanam: It is said that Lord Shiva blessed Nandhi by destroying its pride. This Nandi is in the midst of Cauvery. People take their holy bath in the river during the Aipasi month (October-November) and the first day of following Karthikai month. Lord visits Cauvery each day during this period of 31 days. It is also said that Holy Ganga had Her sins washed off with a dip in Holy Cauvery. This day is Aipasi new moon day-Deepavali. A bath in Cauvery on this day cleanses the devotee of all his/her past sins.

Planet Saturn in the Navagraha shrine appears as Jwala Saturn with Agni-fire on his head. Also a Saturn of normal form with his crow vehicle is by the side facing north performing Shiva puja. This is a very rare form of Sani planet. Those facing adverse aspect of this planet pray here to reduce its intensity.

There are five prakaras in the temple. Juradeva is by the side of the feet of Lord Nataraja. Mother Durga graces with demon Mahisha at Her feet and also with two demons on both sides. This is also said to be a rare form of Durga. Chandikeswara and Tejas Chandikeswara are in the same shrine. Lord Mahavishnu worshiping Lord Shiva is in a separate shrine. Mothers Ashta Lakshmis and Sattainahar are in the prakara. There is also a shrine for Kudhambai Chithar who attained salvation here. People pray to Kanakkadi Vinayaka to take care of their accounts.

Daksha, father of Mother Parvathi conducted a yajna but intentionally failed to invite Lord Shiva to humiliate Him. Lord Shiva did not want Parvathi too to attend the yajna. Yet, with a view to correct Her father, Parvathi attended the function but was humiliated by Daksha. Lord Shiva took the Veerabadra form and destroyed the yajna. A peacock used for the rituals sought asylum at the feet of Mother Parvathi. As She ignored Lord’s advice, She was cursed to become a peacock. She came to this place as a peacock and performed severe penance to get back Her Lord. Pleased with Her penance, Lord Shiva appeared before here as a Peacock Himself and danced as a peacock – Mayura Thandavam. Ambica was restored to Her original form. As Lord came here as a peacock-Mayura, He is praised as Mayuranathar.

Location: This sivasthalam temple is located at Mayiladuturai, also known as Mayavaram and Mayooram. One of the 108 Divya Desam shrines of Lord Vishnu is also located in Mayiladuthurai and is more popularly known as TiruIndalur Parimala Ranganathan temple.

Temple Address & Contact Details:

Sri Mayuranathaswami Temple,
Mayiladuthurai Taluk,
Nagapattinam district,
Pin code: 609 001.
Phone: +91- 4364 -222 345, 223 779, 223 207, 93451 49412.


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