October 30, 2014

Tirukkaanur Karumbeswarar Temple

Site Name: Karumbeswarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tirukkaanur, located near Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Tirukkaanur is a village near Tanjore town in South India. Currently, the place is called as Manal Medu. It is located near Tirukkandiyur and Tirukkattuppalli, which in turn is located near Tiruvaiyaru. The village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered as the 56th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region north of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Appar and Sambandhar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • God Karumbeswarar aka Semmeninathar
  • Goddess - Shiva Loka Nayaki aka Soundara Nayaki
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Bilva
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Kollidam
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams
  • The idol of Goddess is made up of Salagrama stone
  • The sun's rays fall on the main deity on April 2, 3 and 4 every year

Legend:

It is believed that Agni worshiped the main deity of this temple.

The Goddess, Parvati, was once separated from Lord Shiva. She performed penance towards Lord Shiva in Tirukkaanur. As Shiva appeared in the form of fire (red color), he is called as Semmeninathar (Semmeni means "red colored body" in Tamil language.

After the demise of Karikala Chola's father, his mother was hiding along with him in this village due to fear of his enemies. The royal elephant came to this place and put garland around the neck of Karikala and hence he was selected as the Chola King.

As Parasurama killed 21 generations of kings, he got affected by sin. In order to get rid of his sin, he came here and took bath in the sacred spring.

In the 1920s, the temple was completely covered with sand and a sugarcane was growing on top of the sand heap. After removing the sand heap, the temple was discovered. Hence, the main deity is called as Karumbeswarar (Karumbu means sugar cane in Tamil language).

When the Cholas conquered this village which was under the rule of the Pandyas, the local chieftain was caught; however, his pregnant wife let out. The people were not allowed to help her. Due to fear of the Chola army, no one helped the pregnant lady. She cursed the villagers and hence the village was piled up with sand.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has three tiered tower (Raja Gopuram). It is believed that the original temple was built by the Pandyas and later was renovated by the Cholas.

The sanctum sanctorum has the main deity in the form of Shiva Linga named as Karumbeswarar. There is a separate shrine facing
the south direction dedicated to the Mother Goddess Soundara Nayaki.

The sub-shrines of Ganesha and Skanda-Valli-Devasena, Chandikeshwara, Nagas, Ayyanar, Surya, Chandra and Nalvar are found in the prakara.

Dakshinamurti, Bhikshatana, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as the niche (koshta) idols around the sanctum sanctorum.

Happy travelling.

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