Visited on: 29th September, 2016

Location

Thiruvavaduthurai is situated at a distance of about 20 kms from Mayiladuthurai. It is on the Mayiladuthurai – Kuthalam - Kumbakonam route. There is a small diversion road on the left side from Thiruvaalangadu leading to this temple. It is about one kilometre away from the main road. A beautiful arch can be seen at the entrance of the diversion road.

Nearest railway station is Narasinganpettai (3 kms) on the Mayiladuthurai to Kumbakonam railway line.

Other Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalams near this place are - Therizhanthur, Thirukkozhambam, Kuthalam, Thirumanancheri, Velvikkudi, Ethirkolpadi, Thiruvidaimaruthur and Mayiladuthurai.

General Information

Moolavar
Sri Gomuktheeswarar, Sri Masilamaneeswarar
Ambal
Sri Oppillamulaiyammai, Sri Athulyakujambal, Sri Abhaya Gujambal
Theertham (Holy water)
Gomukthi Theertham, Padma Theertham
Sthala Vriksham (Sacred Tree)
Padar Arasu (Peepal tree)
Pathigam (Hymn) rendered by 
Saint Thirugnanasambanthar, Saint Thirunavukarasar (Appar) and Saint Sundaramurthy (Sundarar)


  • This is one of the 276 Devara Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalams and 36th Shiva Sthalam on the Southern bank of the river Cauveri in Chozha Nadu (Thenkarai). 
  • Lord Shiva in this temple is a Swayambumurthi (self-manifested). 
  • This is one of the 44 Paadal petra sthalams where the “Moovar” (the three saints - Saint Thirugnanasambanthar, Saint Thirunavukarasar (Appar) and Saint Sundaramurthy (Sundarar) had rendered their Pathigams.
  • Saint Thirumoolar, one of the 63 Nayanmars and one of the 18 Siddhars, lived in this place.
  • Thirumaaligai Thevar, a staunch Shiva devotee and one of the 63 celebrated Nayanmars lived in this place.
  • This east facing temple has 3 corridors and its main tower (Rajagopuram) has 5-tiers.
  • The tower (Vimanam) above the sanctum sanctorium is of the “Dwaidala” style of architecture.
  • This temple’s Nandhi is one of the biggest Nandhis in Tamil Nadu.

History of the Temple

The historical names of this place are Nandhinagar, Navakoti Siddharpuram, Arasavanam, Bothivanam, Gokazhi, Thuraisai and Gomuktinagar.

Thiruvavaduthurai is the place where the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam is situated. This is one of the oldest Shiva Mutts and it manages a number of charitable endowments. It has many Shiva temples under its administrative control. It is to be noted that Mutts like Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam are the reason why many Shiva temples in the southern region are still cared for and have regular poojas.

The stone inscriptions available in this temple are from the periods of the Chola Kings Paranthakan-I to Rajarajadevan. Other inscriptions dating to the period of Kings Mara Varman and Vikrama Pandiyan can also be seen.


Legend

Thiruvavaduthurai enjoys a special place in mythology because it is linked to the legends of a few nearby Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalams.

  • At Therezhunthur, Lord Shiva cursed Goddess Parvathy which made her turn into a cow. Lord Mahavishnu played the role of a shepherd here.
  • At Thirukkozhambam, Goddess Parvathy, who was in the form of a cow, worshiped Lord Shiva. During the worship, as the cow’s leg hit Lord Shiva by mistake, its hoof made a mark on the lord’s chest.
  • At Thiruvaduthurai, again Goddess Parvathy (in the form a cow) worshiped Lord Shiva. It is here that Goddess Parvathy was relieved of her curse and got restored to her original form.
  • At Thiruthuruthi (Kuthalam), Sage Bharatha performed a yagna and it is believed that Goddess Parvathy came out of the fire in the form of a child.
  • At Ethirkolpadi, Lord Shiva was received as a groom by his father-in-law, Sage Bharatha.
  • At Thiruvelvikudi, the wedding ceremony including the yagna (“Velvi”) was performed. This is the great place where the earthly wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy took place.
  • At Thirumanancheri, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy granted their wedding darshan to everyone.

Goddess Parvathi as a cow

The legend is that once Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi were playing a game of dice. At the end of each game, Lord Shiva intentionally made Goddess Parvathi win. After successive wins, her joy slowly turns into arroganace. Seeing her vanity and excessive pride, Lord Shiva cursed her to be born as a cow on earth. When she pleaded for pardon, Lord Shiva advised her that the curse will end after she performs penance at Thiruvavaduthurai.

Goddess Parvathi, in the form of a cow, worshipped Lord Shiva by pouring milk in form of an abhishekam on the lingam. Pleased with her penance, Lord Shiva appeared before her and lifted the curse.

By worshiping Lord Shiva here, Goddess Parvathy was relieved of the curse that had turned her into a cow. For this reason, Lord Shiva is praised here as “Sri Gomukti Easwarar” (“Go” means cow and “Mukti” means relief in Sanskrit). The name Thiruvavaduthurai is arrived at in the following manner – in Tamil, “Thiru” a respectful prefix, “Aa” means cow, “Adu” means remove and “thurai” means river bank (river Cauvery in this case). 

Emperor Musukunda Chakravarthi

Another legend associated with this temple is that of the Emperor Musukunda. The king was childless and was worshipping an idol of Lord Thyagesar which was presented to him by Lord Indira. One day, Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and advised him to come to this place for worship. It is believed that he visited this temple and worshiped the lord. Later he was blessed with a child.

It is believed that when Emperor Muchukunda came to this temple, Lord Shiva projected himself in the form of Lord Thyagarajar of Thiruvarur.

Saint Thirugnanasambanthar

Sambanthar was staying in this place for a while with his father, Shivapada Hirudayar. Shivapada Hirudaya wanted to perform a yajna in Sirkazhi and asked his son to get him the resources for this purpose. Sambanthar sang a Pathigam of ten verses praying to the lord for gold and other materials needed for the yagna. Lord Shiva, through his Boothaganas (his securities), placed a purse of one thousand gold coins (“Porkizhi”) on the “balipeetam” (altar). The Boothagana informed Sambanthar that this purse is “Ulavaakkizhi” and it will forever remain filled with gold. Sambanthar gave the purse to his father to conduct the yajna. The “balipeetam” can still be seen in the temple surrounded by idols of the Boothaganas. It is believed that worshiping the lord from this spot in the temple would bring prosperity and wealth to devotees.

It is also believed that while taking the purse from the balipeetam, Sambanthar noticed a distict smell of “Tamil Manam” (manam means smell in Tamil). He had received this power of being able to sense hidden treasures because of his rigorous worship. He asked the people to move the balipeetam. When they did so, they found Thirumoolar’s 3000 songs written on palm leaves. This came to be known as “Thirumanthiram”. 

Saint Sundaramurthy Nayanar

It is believed that Saint Sundarar visited this place en-route to Thiruvarur from Kancheepuram. When he visited this place, he was unwell. He prayed to Lord Shiva to relieve him from his illness. Lord Shiva blessed him and cured him. Sundarar then rendered a hymn praising the lord of this temple.

Thirumaaligai Thevar and Nandhi

Another legend associated with this temple is that of Thirumaaligai Thevar - a staunch Shiva devotee and one of the 63 Nayanmars. He was born in an Adi Saivar (Gurukkal) family in Thiruvidaimaruthur, near this place. He was a scholar and served as Guru (teacher) to various Chola kings. However, he decided to renounce his material life and turn to spirutuality and ascetism. He came to Thiruvavaduthurai and started his penance under the peepal tree.

He is also considered to be one of the disciples of Saint Bogar. With the blessings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy, he got various divine powers.  Believing some baseless allegations against him, King Narasingan sent his soldiers to attack him. It is believed that using his divine powers, Thirumaligai Thevar directed all the Nandhis from the temple’s compound wall to drive away the soldiers.  For this reason, we cannot see any sculptures of Nandhi on the compound wall. It is also believed that he once made a dead man walk to the cremation ground. Also, it is believed that he made the Chidambaram car (Ther) run again after it had gotten stuck.

All the Nandhis of this temple are believed to have merged together and become one big Nandhi, which can be seen in front of the lord. The height of this Nandhi is about 15 feet. There is also another smaller Nandhi in front of the big one.

Thirumaaligai Thevar’s 4 hymns (pathigams consisting of 40 stanzas) form part of the 9th Tirumurai (known as “Thiruvisaipa”) of the twelve volumes of Thirumurai (Panniru Thirumurai).

The place where Thirumaaligai Thevar lived is presently the Thiruvavaduthurai Mutt.  There is a shrine for him (his burial place - “Samathi”) inside the Mutt.

Thirumoolar

A Shivayogi called Sundaranathar came to Earth from Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. He was one of the students of Nandhi Devar. He was visiting various Shiva temples in the country and wanted to meet Sage Agasthiyar. Near this place, he found a shepherd named Moolan who was lying dead and the cows around him were in grief. Sympathizing with the cows, he entered into the body of the shepherd using his yogic powers (“Parakaya Pravesam”) and took the cows to their home. He then began his penance under a peepal tree in this place. Moolan’s relatives, especially his wife, asked him to return home. But he refused to do so. His relatives realised that he had attained the divine wisdom and advised his wife to leave him alone.

The saint later came to be known as Thirumoolar. Thirumoolar, while performing his penance, composed his Thirumanthiram under this tree. He would wake up from his penance once in a year and sing a song that was rich in philosophical musings and then go back to his penance again. Like this, it is believed that he sung 3,000 songs over a period of 3,000 years. This was compiled as “Thirumoolar Thirumandhiram” which forms 10th volume of the twelve volumes of Thirumurai (Panniru Thirumurai). His shrine (Jeeva Samadhi) can be seen in the corridor (prakaram) where he is believed to have attained salvation and reached Lord Shiva’s abode. He became one of the 63 Nayanmars and one of the 18 reverred Siddhars. Saint Thirumoolar was praised by Saint Sundaramurthy Nayanar as “Nambiran Thirumoolan adiyarkkum adiyen” in his “Thiruthondar Thogai”.

Other Legends

It is believed that the “Navakoti Siddhars” including Bogar had performed penanced here and were taught the 8 yogic powers (Ashtama Siddhis) by Lord Shiva. 

It is believed that emperors from three different kingdoms - King Cheraman Perumal (one of the 63 Nayanmars) from Chera dynasty, King Kochenget Cholan from Chola dynasty and King Vikrama Pandian from Pandiya dynasty have worshiped the lord here. Also, they have contributed to the renovations of this temple.

Lord Yama, also referred as Dharma Devta, is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva here. Lord Shiva blessed him and gave him the honour of taking the place of his bull mount here. 

Deities in the temple

Other than the shrines of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy, shrines and idols of lords Vinayakar, Murugan, Natarajar, Dakshinamurthy, Agasthiyar, Lingothbavar, Brahma, Vishnu, Durgai, Pancha Lingam, Chozha Lingam, Saneeswaran, Suryan, Chandiran, Bairavar, Harathatha Sivachariyar, Sarasvathi, Maraignanasambanthar, Umapathi Sivam, Meikandar, Arul Nandhi Sivam, 63, Nalvars and Adhi Gomuktheeswar can be seen in the corridors. There is no navagraham here.

The procession idol of “Sri Anaiththezhundha Nayakar”, Adikara Nandhi, Pitchandavar, Sokkanathar, Mariyamman and Nalvar can be seen in the hall.

Similar to Thiruvarur, Lord Thiyagaraja’s shrine can be seen next to the lord’s sanctum. Lord Thiyagaraja is also praised as “Chempian Thiyagar”, “Puththirath Thiyagar” and “Sornath Thiyagar”.

At the entrance of the main tower, on either side, idols of Lord Vinayakar and Lord Murugan can be seen. It is believed that both Vinayakar and Murugan escorted Goddess Parvathy to this temple when she was in the form of a cow.

Salient Features

The procession idol of “Sri Anaiththezhundha Nayakar” depicts the lord as embracing Goddess Parvathy. Though the name suggests embraced, the idol is made in such a way that the hands of the lord did not touch goddess’s body.

Lord Shiva is believed to have performed his “Mahathandavam” dance here. It is also known as “Sundara nadanam”.

In his hymn, Saint Thirunavukkarasar mentioned about Lord Shiva’s gift of a purse containing gold coins to Saint Thirugnanasambanthar.

Arasamaram (peepal tree), the sacred tree of this temple is believed to be very old and is seen as a representation of the Devas (celestial gods). Lord Shiva is believed to have emerged from under this tree and blessed the Devas.

Sri Vinayakar of the temple is praised as Lord Thunaivandha Ganapathi as he escorted his mother. “Thunai vantha” means escorted in Tamil.

There is a statue in the corridor depicting the legend of Goddess Parvathy, in the form of a cow, performing abhishekam on a Shivlingam. This is known as “Sri Goroopambigai”.

In the corridor, three idols of Lord Suryan are placed together. Getting such a darshan of Lord Suryan is very rare.

The lord of this temple is praised in Thiruvasagam and Thiruvisaippa also (parts of 12 Thirumurai).

Beautiful stone reliefs of King Narasingan and his minister can be seen either side of the Nandhi Mandap.

Of the various sub-temples (“Parivara Sthalams”) relate to Thiruvidaimarudur, this temple is considered as Nandhi Sthalam. Worshiping the Nandhi here is considered to be very auspiious.

Greatness of this temple

Women pray for the safety and longevity of their husbands. It is also believed that worshiping Lord Shiva here will result in the reunion of estranged couples.

Since King Musukunda was blessed with a child, it is believed that those seeking “santhana prapthi” (child boon) can pray to the lord here. 

Devoees can also pray to this lord for removal of obstacles from their wedding proposals.

Important Festivals

Some of the important festivals celebrated in this temple are -

Brahmmotsavam in the Tamil month of Purattasi (Sept-Oct);

Annabishekam in the Tamil month of Aippasi (Oct – Nov);

Thiruvadhirai in the Tamil month of Margazhi (Dec-Jan);

Maha Shivrathri in the Tamil month of Maasi (Feb-Mar); and

Rathasaptami is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan-Feb) in a grand manner. On the 5th day of this festival, the event of Sambanthar receiving the golden purse is celebrated.

Pradosham is also observed regularly.

Temple Timings

From 07.00 AM to 12.00 Noon and from 04.00 PM to 08.00 PM. 

Temple Address

Sri Gomuktheeswarar Temple,
Thiruvavaduthurai Aadheenam,
Thiruvavaduthurai Post,
Kuthalam Taluk,
Nagapattinam District,
Tamil Nadu – 609 803.

Tele: +91 4364 232 021 and 232 055.


Pathigam (Hymn) with English transliteration

Saint Thirugnanasambanthar visited this temple and sang this Pathigam.

Devotees visiting this temple should make it a practice to recite this Pathigam.

இடரினுந் தளரினும் எனதுறுநோய்
தொடரினும் உனகழல் தொழுதெழுவேன்
கடல்தனில் அமுதொடு கலந்தநஞ்சை
மிடறினில் அடக்கிய வேதியனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள் ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Iṭariṉun thaḷariṉum eṉathuṟunōy
thoṭariṉum uṉakazhal thozhuthezhuvēṉ
kaṭalthaṉil amuthoṭu kalanthanañchai
miṭaṟiṉil aṭakkiya vēthiyaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

வாழினுஞ் சாவினும் வருந்தினும்போய்
வீழினும் உனகழல் விடுவேனல்லேன்
தாழிளந் தடம்புனல் தயங்குசென்னிப்
போழிள மதிவைத்த புண்ணியனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள் ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Vāzhiṉuñ sāviṉum varunthiṉumpōy
vīzhiṉum uṉakazhal viṭuvēṉallēṉ
tāzhiḷan thaṭampuṉal thayaṅkuseṉṉip
pōzhiḷa mathivaiththa puṇṇiyaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

நனவினுங் கனவினும் நம்பாவுன்னை
மனவினும் வழிபடல் மறவேன்அம்மான்
புனல்விரி நறுங்கொன்றைப் போதணிந்த
கனலெரி யனல்புல்கு கையவனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள்ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Naṉaviṉuṅ kaṉaviṉum nampāvuṉṉai
maṉaviṉum vazhipaṭal maṟavēṉam'māṉ
puṉalviri naṟuṅkoṉtṟaip pōthaṇintha
kaṉaleri yaṉalpulku kaiyavaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

தும்மலோ டருந்துயர் தோன்றிடினும்
அம்மல ரடியலால் அரற்றாதென்நாக்
கைம்மல்கு வரிசிலைக் கணையொன்றினால்
மும்மதிள் எரியெழ முனிந்தவனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள்ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Thum'malō ṭarunthuyar thōṉṟiṭiṉum
am'mala raṭiyalāl aratṟātheṉnāk
kaim'malku varisilaik kaṇaiyoṉtṟiṉāl
mum'mathiḷ eriyezha muṉinthavaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

கையது வீழினுங் கழிவுறினுஞ்
செய்கழல் அடியலால் சிந்தைசெய்யேன்
கொய்யணி நறுமலர் குலாயசென்னி
மையணி மிடறுடை மறையவனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள்ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Kaiyathu vīzhiṉuṅ kazhivuṟiṉuñ
seykazhal aṭiyalāl chintaiseyyēṉ
koyyaṇi naṟumalar kulāyaseṉṉi
maiyaṇi miṭaṟuṭai maṟaiyavaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

வெந்துயர் தோன்றியோர் வெருவுறினும்
எந்தாயுன் அடியலால் ஏத்தாதென்நா
ஐந்தலை யரவுகொண் டரைக்கசைத்த
சந்தவெண் பொடியணி சங்கரனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள்ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Venthuyar thōṉtṟiyōr veruvuṟiṉum
enthāyuṉ aṭiyalāl ēththātheṉnā
ainthalai yaravukoṇ ṭaraikkasaiththa
santhaveṇ poṭiyaṇi saṅkaraṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

வெப்பொடு விரவியோர் வினைவரினும்
அப்பாவுன் னடியலால் அரற்றாதென்நா
ஒப்புடை யொருவனை உருவழிய
அப்படி அழலெழ விழித்தவனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள்ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Veppoṭu viraviyōr viṉaivariṉum
appāvuṉ ṉaṭiyalāl aratṟātheṉnā
oppuṭai yoruvaṉai uruvazhiya
appaṭi azhalezha vizhiththavaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

பேரிடர் பெருகியோர் பிணிவரினுஞ்
சீருடைக் கழலலாற் சிந்தைசெய்யேன்
ஏருடை மணிமுடி இராவணனை
ஆரிடர் படவரை யடர்த்தவனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள்ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Pēriṭar perukiyōr piṇivariṉuñ
chīruṭaik kazhalalāṟ chinthaiseyyēṉ
ēruṭai maṇimuṭi irāvaṇaṉai
āriṭar paṭavarai yaṭarththavaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

உண்ணினும் பசிப்பினும் உறங்கினும்நின்
ஒண்மல ரடியலால் உரையாதென்நாக்
கண்ணனுங் கடிகமழ் தாமரைமேல்
அண்ணலும் அளப்பரி தாயவனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள் ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Uṇṇiṉum pasippiṉum uṟaṅkiṉumniṉ
oṇmala raṭiyalāl uraiyātheṉnāk
kaṇṇaṉuṅ kaṭikamazh tāhmaraimēl
aṇṇalum aḷappari thāyavaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

பித்தொடு மயங்கியோர் பிணிவரினும்
அத்தாவுன் அடியலால் அரற்றாதென்நாப்
புத்தருஞ் சமணரும் புறனுரைக்கப்
பத்தர்கட் கருள்செய்து பயின்றவனே

- இதுவோஎமை யாளுமா றீவதொன் றெமக்கில்லையேல்
அதுவோவுன தின்னருள் ஆவடு துறையரனே.

“Piththoṭu mayaṅkiyōr piṇivariṉum
aththāvuṉ aṭiyalāl aratṟātheṉnāp
puththaruñ samaṇarum puṟaṉuraikkap
paththarkaṭ karuḷseythu payiṉtṟavaṉē”.

- ithuvō'emai yāḷumā ṟīvathoṉ tṟemakkillaiyēl
athuvōvuṉa thiṉṉaruḷ āvaṭu thuṟaiyaraṉē.

அலைபுனல் ஆவடு துறையமர்ந்த
இலைநுனை வேற்படை யெம்மிறையை
நலம்மிகு ஞானசம் பந்தன்சொன்ன
விலையுடை யருந்தமிழ் மாலைவல்லார்
வினையாயின நீங்கிப்போய் விண்ணவர் வியனுலகம்
நிலையாகமுன் னேறுவர் நிலமிசை நிலையிலரே.

“Alaipuṉal āvaṭu thuṟaiyamarntha
ilainuṉai vēṟpaṭai yem'miṟaiyai
nalam'miku gñāṉasam banthaṉsoṉṉa
vilaiyuṭai yarunthamizh mālaivallār
viṉaiyāyiṉa nīṅkippōy viṇṇavar viyaṉulakam
nilaiyākamuṉ ṉēṟuvar nilamisai nilaiyilarē”.