Thiruvathigai – Veerattaneswarar Temple

Thiruvathigai Veerattaneswarar Temple is located in Panruti, near Villupuram.

The temple is praised in the Thevaram and Thiruvasagam hymns of celebrated Saivite saints Gnanasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar, Sundar and Manicka Vasagar. “Presiding over the Vedas, clad in tiger skin  Many worshipping with raised hands Surrounded by Bhooda Ganas, Mother Uma singing My Lord Veerattaneswarar on the north of Kedila River Stands majestically] dancing.”-Gnanasambandar This is the 7th Shiva temple in Nadunaadu region praised in Thevaram hymns.

The place and the temple are closely linked with the history of Saint Tirunavukkarasar.  Though born to Saivite  parents and brought up by his Shiva devotee sister Thilagavathy, Marul Neekiar – that was his baptism name – embraced Jainism and rose to Guruhood there with the name Dharumasenar.  His sister, a staunch Shiva devotee, dedicated herself to the service of Lord Shiva by maintaining the temple, prayed to the Lord seeking her brother’s home coming to Saivism.

Lord Shiva caused a severe stomach pain to Appar.  None in the Jain camp could cure him.  He came to sister Thilagavathy, fell at her feet for relief.  The affectionate sister took the brother to Veerattaneswarar shrine, chanted the Panchakshara-five letters-Na Ma Shi Vaa Ya – and put the sacred ash on his forehead.  Appar also consumed the ash and was miraculously cured instantly of his deadly stomach pain.  Out came spontaneously Appar’s first hymn called Kodhil Neediya Tirupathigam beginning with the line “Kootru Aayinavaru Vilakka hileer”.  Pleased with his poetic skill, Lord Shiva honoured Appar with the title Tiru Navukku Arasar-Tirunavukkarasar meaning king of tongues.

Devotees seeking the grace of Lord Veerattaneswarar are relieved from the three basic evils glued with humans – viz. Aanavam-arrogance, Kanma, that which follows birth after birth and illusion.  Devotee visiting this temple reaps the benefit of seeing the Lord in His abode Kailash.  Saint Arunagiriar had praised Lord Muruga of the temple in his Tirupugazh hymns.

Indira the king of Devas, Lords Brahmma and Vishnu, Pandavas the five brothers, Saptha Rishis (seven sages), Vayu the God of Wind, Varuna the God of Rain, Yama the God of Death came to this temple in their chariots to worship Lord Veerattaneswarar.  Hence, the temple is designed as Rath.  Thanjavur Peria Koil (BigTemple) Vimana was designed after this temple by Rajaraja in the temple he built at Thanjavur.  The temple is designed with such mathematical accuracy by the Pallavas that the shade of the temple does not fall on the ground.  This is the place from where Lord Shiva destroyed the three lokas-Tripuras – simply by His boisterous laughter, without the aide of any weapon or army.

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