January 13, 2013

Thirupparaithurai Shiva Temple

Site Name: Thirupparaithurai Shiva Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Thirupparaithurai, near Trichy and Karur, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Elamanur
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Trichy and Karur
Hotel: Go to Trichy or Karur where there are a lot of options 
Restaurants: Go to Trichy or Karur where there are a lot of options

Thirupparaithurai is a village located near Trichy and Karur cities in Tamil Nadu state of South India. It has an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is considered as the third among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in Chola country south of Kaveri river. 

  • The site is also called as Tarukavanam in Sanskrit language. During the period of Raja Raja Chola II, it was called as Rajagambiranallur.
  • It is located on the banks of the river Akanda Kaveri (the widest point in the course of the river Cauvery)
  • It is one of the seven Sapta Sthanam temples in this region.
  • The sun's rays illuminate the sanctum on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Purattasi.
  • Appar and Sambandhar have sung the hymns of the deity.
  • As the site had the forest full of Parai (Taruka) trees, it got the name Paraithurai or Tarukavanam
  • It is believed that the temple was built during the reign of Parantaka Chola I in 10th century AD (however, the temple was present in a different form (probably as a brick temple) at least from the 7th century AD)
  • God : Paraithurai Nathar aka Tarukavananathar
  • Goddess : Pasumpon Nayaki aka Hemavanambika
  • Sthala Vrukhsa (the divine tree of the temple): Parai (Taruka tree)

As per the legend, the sages of Tarukavanam became very proud. Lord Shiva wanted to teach a lesson and took the form of Bhikshatana. The wives of sages fell in love with him and lost their purity. The furious sages created a tiger and sent the same to kill the Lord. The Lord killed it, removed its skin and started using the same.

Temple Layout:

Paraithurai Nathar temple is huge with an area of around five acres. This is a mada temple where the shrines of God and Goddess are located on a raised platform. There are two prackaras in the temple. At the entrance of each prakara there is a separate temple tower. The outer prakara's tower is the main tower which is seven tiered. A big Ganesha idols is found at the entrance of this main tower (Rajagopuram). The temple tank and 100-pillared mandapa are located outside the tower but within an ornamented arch entrance.

The sanctum santorum of Paraithurai Nathar, the shrine of Pasumpon Nayaki and a small mandapa are all located on a raised platform (mada koil architectural style). The mandapa pillars have two beautiful bas-relief images of Nataraja with his one leg raised towards the sky and the dancing Kali. The sanctum santorum has a small Shiv Linga idol. At the entrance there is a Ganesha idol. In the maha mandapa, there is a small Nandi idol facing the sanctum. The sanctum is facing the east direction. Outside the maha mandapa, there is a separate shrine for the Goddess facing the south direction. The Goddess is found in the standing posture. A small Nandi idol is found facing this shrine too. In addition, the maha mandapa has a shrine for Nataraja-Sivakami and a collection of various bronze idols; the beautiful idol of Bhikshatana is notable one.

The architecture of the inner prakara depicts the antique beauty of the temple. The prakara has raised pillared platform (thinnai) on either sides. The idols of Sapta Mata, Pidari, Nalvar, Ganesha, 63 Nayanmars, Appu Lingam, Vayu Lingam, Teyu Lingam, Ayyanar, Sona Lingam, Subramanya with his consorts, Vishnu, Mahalakshmi, Bhairava, Surya, Chandra, Nava Graha, Gangala Murti and Durga. The small shrines of Somaskanda, Ganesha, Subramanya with Valli-Devasena and Gaja Lakshmi are also found in this prakara. The idol of Subramanya inside the shrine is particularly very beautiful.

The koshta idols which are found on the outer walls of the main shrine are notably beautiful. Especially, the idol of Dakshinamurti is found in a small mandapa-like structure and looks very attractive. The idols of Brahma and Ardhanareeswarar are also very attractive. There are also idols of Ganesha and Durga found on the outer walls. The Chandikeswara idol found in a small shrine as usual in the typical South Indian Shiva temples is also beautiful in this temple.

The outer prakara is an open space with a lot of trees. Two shrines are found here - Kanni Vinayak and Dandayudapani. The holy tree of the temple is also found here with a small Shiv Linga idol. It is believed that this tree cures cancer disease. The flag post, dhwajastambha and bali peetha are also found in the outer prakara facing the main shrine.

Happy travelling.

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