August 4, 2014

Karungulam Marthandeswarar Temple

Site Name: Marthandeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Karungulam, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Navagrahas (nine planets) are found along with their respective consorts
Nearest Railway Station: Tirunelveli
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tirunelveli
Hotel: Go to Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Go to Tirunelveli 

Tirunveliveli is a historical city located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river in the southern Tamil Nadu state of India. The city and its surroundings have a lot of scenic spots and temples. Karungulam is a small village located near Tirunelveli on the way to Tuticorin. This village is also located on the banks of the river Tamrabharani. The village has a hilltop temple for Lord Venkateshwara and another temple dedicated to Shiva at the entrance of the village. Let us explore Shiva temple called as Marthandeswarar Temple in this article. 

Highlights:

  •  God – Marthandeswarar
  • Goddess – Kulasekhara Nayaki
  • Teerth (holy water) - Tamrabharani
  • Navagrahas are found along with their consorts

Temple Layout:

Karungulam is a peaceful village located on the banks of the river Tamrabharani between Tirunelveli and Tuticorin. The village has two temple one on top of the hill and another at the foothill. The temple at the foothill is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located at the entrance of the village.

Lord Shiva is named as Marthandeswarar in this temple. The east facing temple does not have a tower. As per the legend, Lord Surya (the Sun God) constructed this temple. The other typical features such as flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi are all located facing towards the east facing main shrine. Marthandeswarar, the main deity, is slightly larger Shiva Linga.

The Goddess Kulasekhara Nayaki is found in a separate south facing shrine in the prakara.

Dakshinamurti is found as the niche idol in the prakara. The idols of Surya, Chandra, Bhairava, Shaneeswara and Adhikara Nandi are located in the prakara.

The sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya and Chandikeshwara are also found in the prakara.

The maha mandapa has a sub-shrine full of utsava (metal) idols of Nataraja-Sivakami and other deities.

At the entrance of the maha mandapa, the idol of Anugnai Vinayaka is found. Near the flag staff, the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are located.

There are five Shiva Lingas along with Ambal in the prakara. They are called as Pancha Lingas.

There is another important shrine in this temple which is dedicated to Mahalingar and his consort Dharmasamvardhini. The idols of Ganesha and Nandi are also found in this shrine.

The highlight of the temple is Navagrahas, the nine planets. Surya is found with his two consorts. All other eight planets are found along with their respective consorts. It is very rare to find planets with their wives.

The details of planets and their consorts are given below.

Surya - Usha and Chaya
Chandra - Rohini
Mangal (Sevvai) - Shakti
Budha - Ila
Guru - Tara
Shukra - Sukirti
Shani - Neela
Rahu - Simhi
Ketu - Chitralekha

Happy travelling.

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