Garbharakshambigai Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Thirukarukavoor, Tamilnadu, India. The temple is located 6 km east of Papanasam, 20 km south east of Kumbakonam, 10 km north of Saliyamangalam, 20 km north east of Thanjavur and on the southern bank of Vettar river. The place is also called Tirukalavur, Mullaivanam, Mathavipuram and Garabapuri. Since Mathavi is the temple tree, it is called Mathavipuram (Mullaivanam); Karu means womb, Ka means save and oor means village – Since womb is believed to be saved by the temple deity, the village is called Thirukarukavoor. Presiding Lord Shiva is a swayambumurthy in the form of an antihill. Hence, instead of direct abisheks only Pnugu Chattam is offered to the Lord.
This is an ancient temple of God Shiva dedicated to Sri Mullaivananathar and Sri Garbharakshambigai Amman. Appar, Sundarar and Sambandhar, the three famous Nayanmars have celebrated the glory of this temple in soul stirring verses. The remarkable feature which distinguishes this temple from the other shrines is that, Goddess Sri Garbharakshambigai Amman here cures infertility related problems to women, blesses them to conceive and also helps them for safe and trouble free delivery. Sri Mullaivananathar swamy is worshipped for better health and well being. The co-ordinates for this temple are 10.86N, 79.27E.
Garbharakshambigai Temple Thirukarukavoor Legends
In the distant past two sages by the name of Gowthama and Gargeya did penance at this place called ‘Mullaivanam’ i.e. (Jasmine Forest). A couple by name Nidhruva and Vedikai stayed in the same ashram and rendered service to the sages. Since the couple had no children they represented this to the sages. The sages advised the couple to worship Sri Garbharakshambigai. The couple did that with intense devotion and their prayers got answered. Vedikai got conceived.
During her later stage of pregnancy and while her husband Nidhruva was away from home she was in a faint state due to the strain of pregnancy. At this moment, a sage by name Sri Urdhuvapada came to her abode and asked for alms. Due to her unconscious state of mind, she did not respond to that sage’s request. The sage was enraged at this apparent indifference and cursed her without knowing the exact reason for her silence. Due to the curse, her fetus got disintegrated and descended. Shocked Vedikai prayed to the Goddess in great distress. The Goddess appeared before her, protected the fetus, preserved it in a sacred pot until it developed into a male child and presented it to the devoted couple. The parents named their child as ‘Naidhuruvan’.
Struck by this great act of benevolence of the Almighty Goddess, the immensely grateful Vedikai prayed to the Goddess to remain in this place and protect women and their foetus as she had done in her case. The Goddess accepted her prayer and remains here as ‘Garbharakshambigai’ meaning ‘savior of foetus’. Due to this fame this place came to be known as ‘Thirukarukavoor’ i.e., the place where pregnancy is protected and also the place where childless couples are blessed with children.
Later while Vedikai had no mother’s milk to feed her child Naidhuruvan, answering her prayers Goddess sent ‘Kamadhenu’ the divine cow to this place to feed the child. Kamadhenu scratched the earth in front of the temple with her hoof and milk came out in plenty from the ground and it formed into a ‘Milk Tank’. This Tank exists even now in the name of ‘Ksheera kundam’
Thus at this sacred place childless people who worship the Goddess with devotion and faith are blessed with pregnancy. Those pregnancies are well protected and the women are blessed with safe and trouble free deliveries.
Greatness of God Sri Mullaivananathar
The Lord of this place is called ‘Mullaivananathar'(meaning lord in jasmine forest). Even today everyone can see the impression of jasmine creepers which once covered it. Linga here is a ‘Swayambu’ i.e. self Manifested. This Linga is made up of ant hill mud. Hence abishekam to Linga using water is avoided. Instead, the Linga is merely pasted with a kind of must called ‘Punugu’ during valarpirai Pradosham. People who are afflicted with incurable disease come to this place to offer ‘Punugu Chattam’ to the Lord and get them cured from the diseases. This is a fact which is actually verified even today.
Devotees do cleaning of the steps with ghee for auspicious conclusion of marriage proposals. Women do it before the shrine of Ambica and draw Rangoli with archanas for wedding and child boon. Realizing their wish, they tie cradles and offer Tulaabaaram. Women not having a child even after years of marriage will offer ghee dedicated to Ambica with Mantras and placed at the feet of Mother Karukatha Nayaki. They have to consume it for 48 nights continuously. Though the husband fails in the procedure, the wife should scrupulously follow this condition.
There is no diet condition while taking this ghee by women. The woman will conceive shortly. The temple offers a puja castor oil for the pregnant women placed at the feet of Mother which they have to apply on the stomach during the labour pain time for safe delivery of the child. This oil is applied on pregnant women even when they feel pain naturally at some times during the period.
Presiding deity Lord Shiva is a swayambumurthy in the form of an anthill. As no abishek could be performed with liquid items, only a punugu paste (a cosmetic paste) is offered – punugu Chattam in Tamil. The place was earlier dense with Mullai plants – belonging to jasmine family – from where the Shivalinga was founds. As the plants were covering the Linga, those scars are still visible on the Linga.
Since days of yore, the place is considered a place of safety for pregnant women. Lord and Mother protect these women from any problem such as abortion etc. and ensure safe delivery of the child.
It is noteworthy that presiding Lord, Nandhi and Lord Vinayaka are Swayambumurthis in the temple.
As Lord Muruga – Somaskanda – is in between Lord and Mother, people pray to him for child boon. In the Navagraha shrine, all the planets are facing Sun. Jupiter is directly facing Sun. All planets offer only positive aspects, none retrograde. Mother, Graces the devotees with her hand on her hip as if holding pregnancy.
The Shri Garbharakshambigai Sametha Shri Mullaivana Nathar temple is spread over a wide expanse with huge towering Gopurams and a beautiful water tank in front of it. The temple is surrounded by tall coconut palms; the whole atmosphere is very calming and serene and lends the place sanctity.
The temple has a 5-tier Rajagopuram and an outer prakaram (closed precincts of a temple). There are inscriptions from the Chola Kings. The temple is 460 ft by 284 ft and has a gopuram facing east and also has an entrance facing south.
There is a garden in the southern side and a Vasantha Mandapam in the north. The sanctum of Mullaivananathar is in the second precinct and the shrine of Amman is located parallel to the Swami shrine.
The shrine is Nandi is located in front of Swami, with the Balipeedam and Dhwajasthambham located right behind the Nandi. There is a Nataraja hall and a yagasalai. There are separate shrines for Natarajar, Somaskanda, Karpaga Vinayagar and Navagrahas.
There are separate shrines for Sezhkizhar, Nalvar, Brahma, Durga, Santhanachariar, Dakshinamoorthy, Nrithivu Nayakkar, Arthanareeswarar, Mahalakshmi, Arumugan and Chandikeswarar. There are four water bodies associated with the temple. Sheerakundam (Parkulam) is the temple tank located opposite to the temple and the water is believed to be born out of the milk of Kamadenu, the sacred cow. Sathyakupam is a well located in between the shrines of Swami and Amman.
Brahma Theertham is a tank located north east of the temple – Nataraja gives Theerthavari during Karthigai Thivatharai in this tank. Vritha Kaveri is the branch of Kaveri, Vettaru (also called Mullivay) – the step shore is the bank for many of the temple occasions. The temple tree, Mullai tree is located in between the Swami Shrine and Chandikeswarar shrine.
The temple is an ancient Shiva temple. It dates back to 6th century. The three famous Nayanmars Thirunavukarasar, Thirugnanasambanthar and Sundarar have sung praise of this God and Goddess in soul stirring verses.
This temple is located on the banks of river Vettaaru, a branch of sacred river Cauvery. This is the first temple to be worshipped in Pancha Aaranya (five forest temples) sequence. The other temples are Alangudi, Avalivanallur, and Thirukollampudur.
The Swami (prime deity), Vinayagar (Ganesha) and Nandhi (Sacred bull) are Suyambu i.e, self manifested. Swamy is made up of hardened Ant Hill mud. Hence no Abishegam (holy bath) is offered to God.
Once upon a time this place was a Jasmine (Mullai) forest. Numerous Sidhars and Yogis have done penance in this place. They are said to have taught their disciples under Banyan trees.
One can still see number of Banyan trees on their way to this temple. Since this Swamy is self manifested Mullai creepers have grown around the Lingam. The impression of it has been marked over the Lingam. The temple priest will show it to you every time while he is doing Deeparadhana.
Niruthi is a Devata or God residing in Southwest direction who plays an important part in ancestors (History). Here Vinayagar is located as Nirudhi Vinayagar who wards of the evil sin committed by ancestors of the devotee.
Somaskandamurthi is one of the main aspects of Lord Siva. The representation of the child Murugan in between Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi is mainly intended to emphasize the importance of the child in family life.
Here Subramaniyar (Murugan) Sannadhi is located in such a way that it is in between his parents God Shiva (Mullaivananathar) and Goddess Parvathi (Garbarakshambigai).
Mullai tree is the Thala Virutcham (Holy tree) in this temple. The well beside the Holy tree is sacred. Various rulers in Pallava, Chozha dynasty have endowed land for this temple and they have been marked as inscription in granite stones affixed adjacent to the Vimana of Swamy Sannadhi.
Goddess Garbarakshambigai bless for early marriage cures infertility related problem to conceive and bless for safe and trouble-free delivery. She is 7 feet tall and bless with a standing posture with a divine grace with one hand resting of the lower hip as if protecting the woman and the other with and the Abhaya Mudra symbolizing protection, peace and dispelling of fear.
The temple pond before the entrance has been created by Divine Cow Kamadhenu to feed child, Naidhuruvan and it is named as Ksheera Kundam (Milk Pond). Till now there is no maternity death reported in this village (Thirukarukavoor).
Devotees pay their respects to the presiding deity, Shri Mullaivana nathar (Lord Shiva) first, as is the custom that is followed in Shiva temples anywhere in TN and then to Goddess Garbharakshambigai.
Beauty of the Goddess
Goddess Garbarakshambigai in Garbarakshambigai Temple is the supreme personality of Motherhood and the sanctum sanctorum (Garba Graha) of her temple is filled with the presence of her beautiful idol, which is about 7 feet tall and decked in beautiful kanjeevaram Sarees and exquisite jewellery.
She is adorned with fragrant, colourful flowers which are offered in abundance increasing her beauty. The Goddess has the most radiant smile on her face depicting positivity and a ray of hope. For the thousands who throng to her abode she is not just an idol, she is their only remaining hope.
Even a casual visitor cannot fail to be thrilled by the motherly grace and the imposing look of the Goddess here.
The temple has 31 inscriptions dating from the Chola period from the reigns of Koparakesari Varman, Raja Raja I, Rajendra Chola I and Kulothunga Chola. The inscriptions record the grants of the temple by the kings. The inscriptions are found on the walls of the temple, sanctum and also in the halls. The inscriptions are recorded in numbers 100, 102 and 110 in South Indian Inscriptions, Volume III, Part III.
The Gopuram and the huge compound walls tell the story of more than a thousand years. The Sthalapuranam which are in Sanskrit and Tamil are preserved in manuscript forms and show the antiquity of the temple. The Sthalapuranam gives a detailed account of the origin of this Kshetram and the various persons who obtained Divine Grace at this place. There are also ancient inscriptions on the walls inside.
Inscriptions from King Raja Raja Chola’s period who ruled between 985 and 1014 AD; as well as those from Parantaka Chola’s period (early 10th century AD) are seen inside the temple. There is evidence that Beema, Garkiyar, Gouthamar and a lot of ancient kings worshipped the God in this temple.
Garbharakshambigai Temple Thirukarukavoor Opening Time
Temple is open from 7:00 AM – 12:30 PM & 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM.
Blessed Ghee for pregnancy
Blessed castor oil for easy delivery
Navakodi Ghee lamps
Thanga Thottil : 7AM – 12:30PM; 4PM-8PM
Ear boring and Tonsure prayers
Blessed Ghee for pregnancy
Couples yearning for a child have to come in person to this temple, obtain ghee from the counter, light 11 ghee lamp and must do step smearing (Padi Mezhuguthal) in sacred Ambal Sannadhi and pray for their child. After returning to their home they should buy quality ghee for 1/2 kg and mix them with the sacred ghee obtained from this temple. Before going to bed couples should take a teaspoonful of the ghee for next 48 days.
Women should avoid consuming this ghee during their periods, while men should continue without break.
Persons who are unable to visit this temple in person can obtain blessed ghee from this temple through post or courier.
Blessed Castor Oil for easy Delivery
Pregnant woman in third trimester has to obtain blessed oil from this temple. It is not necessary for the woman to come in person while her husband or any family member can come and obtain the blessed oil. The oil must be applied in the lower abdomen of the woman during pain.
Persons who are unable to visit this temple in person can obtain blessed oil from this temple through post or courier.
Sri Mullaivananathar Swamy is worshiped for better health. The Swamy here is swayambu i.e, self manifested. He is made up of hardened mud and there is no Abhishegam for this God. Instead Punugu sattam is being offered on the Valarpirai Pradosham day, the eleventh day after new moon. This Punugu is believed to have healing power and it is being sent as Prasadam for the peoples who suffer due to incurable skin diseases, cardiac diseases and surgery.
Abishegams are performed during these timings. Monday to Saturday: 8.00 A.M. Abishegams are not performed during evening, Sundays and Festival days. Pre-bookings are made for Abishegams. Devotees are expected to be present 1/2 hour before Abishegam.
Among all gifts of charity, providing food to the hungry is the greatest of all gifts as food gives life, longevity, light and energy. This temple is located in a remote village, where quality mid-day meal is unavailable to the devotees who arrive after a long travel. Therefore the temple administration provides free mid-day meal to 100 persons daily.
Kattalai archanai is one type of archanai which is being done on particular date or star, which the devotee prefers. It is done for a particular period (minimum 1 year) or for life time. You have to send stipulated amount for the period you wish to do archanai. Prasadams will be sent to you in monthly basis. Pregnant women opt for Kattalai archanai up to their pregnancy period.
Navakodi Ghee Lamps
All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion. Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness – ignorance. The Lord is the “Knowledge Principle” (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.
The traditional ghee lamp has a further spiritual significance. The ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the sin. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the sin too finally perishes.
In this temple, people who pray for pregnancy are advised to light up eleven lamps (one for Vinayagar, one for the Lord Mullaivananathar and nine for Garbarakshambigai) and who pray for safe delivery are advised to light 5 lamps (one for Vinayagar, one for the Lord Mullaivananathar and three for Garbarakshambigai).
Sandalwood paste plays an integral part for rituals and ceremonies in Hindu religion. It gives a cooling effect to mind and soul. Therefore devotees offer Sandalwood paste smearing (Sandana Kaapu) to Goddess Garbarakshambigai to bless their wish. The Sandana Kaapu pooja is offered on Friday evenings. The cost is Rs.5000 for both Indian and overseas devotees and you are requested to contact temple office for the date of booking.
In this temple one unique way of Thanking Goddess Garbarakshambigai for her benevolence, it is called Thanga Thottil Prarthanai. Blessed couple having child after praying to Goddess Garbarakshambigai can thank her by placing their child in Thanga Thottil (Golden cradle) and circumventing Amman Praharam with their child. The cost of the Prarthanai is Rs.550. There is no pre-booking for it.
This is an age old tradition which is followed in many temples. Placing your child in one plate of the weighing scale and balancing the other with goods is called Thulabharam. Those who cannot come in person to light ghee lamps can use the temple service to do so. Lighting ghee lamps up to the number of their age is a common occurrence here.
Ear Boring and Tonsure Prayers
Ear boring of your child can be done in this temple. You are requested to call this temple office earlier and make arrangement for the gold smith to be present during your visit.
Similarly for Tonsuring head prayers please call this temple office earlier and make arrangements for it.
Following poojas are performed to our devotees who are unable to visit this temple. The cost of the poojas and services are mention alongside.
Vaikasi Visagam for Swami, Aadipooram and Navarathri Uthsavam for Ambal, Annabishekam, Kanthasashti, Karthigai Maha deepam, Karthigai Sunday Theerthavari and Panguni Uthiram are some of the prominent festivals celebrated.
Saint Thirugnana Sambandar had sung the glory of Lord of the temple in his Thevaram hymns. This is the 18th Shiva temple on the southern bank of Cauvery praised in Thevaram hymns.
The temple finds mention in Tevaram, the 7th century 12 volume Saiva canonical works by Tamil saints, namely Appar, Sundarar and Sampanthar. The temple also finds mention in Periya Puranam by Sezhkizhar, Siva Kshetra Sivanamaga Kalivenba by Umapathi Sivam and Vinapakali Venba by Ramalinga Adigal. Thalapuranam by Ambalavana Pandaram, Nanmaimalai & Rettaimani Malai by Veerapathra Swamigal, Pathirru Panthathi by Govindaswami Pillai, Vadamozhi Slogangal by Anatharama Dikshithar and Amman thothirangal Tamilpattu by T.S. Vaithiyanathan are some of the religious works associated with the temple.
Garbharakshambigai Temple Thirukarukavoor Prayers
Every couples dream is to become a parent. It is the next step in family life and at sometimes it may seem impossible for few. Trust in this Goddess. She makes it possible. She embraces all, with her compassion and fulfills a women wish to conceive and also helps carrying her baby to full term without any hurdles along the way.
History says that Sri Garbarakshambigai Amman blessed her ardent devotee Vedhikai to conceive and when Vedhikai almost lost her fetus, Goddess Garbarakshambigai came to her rescue, protected her fetus and blessed her for safe delivery. Numerous devotees who long for a child have been blessed by this divine mother. The uniform experiences of the people who have been blessed by this divine deity are testimony of her benevolence. People from various countries and religions, who have difficulty in conceiving and delivery, pray to this divine Goddess for her benevolence.
It is believed that childless people who worship here with devotion and faith are blessed with pregnancy and pregnant women with safe deliveries. Unmarried women also pray here for their marriages. Special prayers are conducted by people on behalf of their pregnant relatives or friends.
The uniform experience of the people of these parts bears unfailing testimony to the said characteristic attributed to the Deity. The inhabitants of the village vouch the fact, that within living memory, there has been no case of fatality to the mother or child during confinement. Pregnant women from elsewhere come here and pray to the God and Goddess for a safe child birth. No one in this place has ever had a miscarriage or pregnancy problem. It is at a place like this that one can understand what “Divine Presence” is.
Majority of the devotees praying to Mother Karukatha Nayaki are women longing for a child after years of marriage. Many pray for safe delivery. Those facing menstrual and uterus problems and whose marriage is delayed pray to Mother for cure and happy results.
Sri Mullaivananathar Swamy is worshiped for better health. The Swamy here is swayambu i.e, self manifested. Even today we can see the impression of Mullai creeper over him. He is made up of hardened mud and there is no Abhishegam (Holy bath) for this God. Instead Punugu sattam is being offered on the Valarpirai Pradosham day, the 13th day after new moon (Sukla patcham Pradosham). This Punugu is believed to have healing power and it is being sent as Prasadam for the peoples, who suffer due to incurable skin diseases, cardiac diseases and surgery.
The main prayer commitment followed is the offering of Punugu Chattam to Lord Mullaivana Nathar on each Pradosha days of the full moon fortnight. Devotees offer rice, fruits, jaggery, sugar candy, money etc. equal to their weight, a commitment called Tulaabaaram. Devotees perform abishek with rice flour, turmeric, cosmetic powders, milk, curd, green coconut, panchamirtham, sandal and honey and archanas to Lord and Mother and offer vastras.
On Sundays of Karthikai month (November-December) abishek to Lord is performed with 1008 conches. As the presiding deity is in the form of anthill, it is covered with a bowl – Kuvalai in Tamil – for the abishek. Devotees offer nivedhanas to Lord and mother and distribute the same to other visiting devotees. They also contribute to the temple renovation fund.
There are no Lodges at this location, but paid bathrooms are available inside the temple campus for nominal charges to freshen up. At present there are no rest houses from temple administration.
Garbarakshambigai Amman Seva maiyam is a private rest house maintained by Thirumathi. Dr. Jayam Kannan. Contact numbers for private lodge in Thirukarukavoor – 04374 – 273741. Better Accommodations are also available at nearby Kumbakonam and Thanjavur.
How to Reach Garbharakshambigai Temple Thirukarukavoor?
Thirukarukavoor is a village situated in Thanjavur District, Tamilnadu, South India. Thirukarukavoor is situated in Thanjavur – Kumbakonam main road. People from Chennai and northern parts of Tamil Nadu may reach Kumbakonam and from there to Thirukarukavoor. People from east and southern parts of Tamil Nadu must reach Thanjavur and from there to Thirukarukavoor. The temple is one of the prominent and most visited temples in the district.
This village is 6 kms south of Papanasam, a town in between Thanjavur and Kumbakonam main road. The temple can be reached from Kumbakonam via Aavur and Patteeswaram. Also direct buses are available to Thirukarugavur from Kumbakonam. Those coming from other place may hire a cab.
From Thanjavur: Town Bus Number 24, 34, 16, 44.
From Kumbakonam: Town Bus Number 11 and 29.
Apart from that various auto rickshaws and share autos are available from Papanasam Bus stop. Auto fare costs around Rs.60 to Rs.80 while share auto cost around Rs.5 to Rs.10.
The nearest railway station is in Papanasam, about 3 kilometres from the place. The nearest airport is in Trichy.
Garbharakshambigai Temple Thirukarukavoor Address
This temple is under the control of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, Government of Tamil Nadu. It is administered by an Executive Officer appointed by Commissioner of this department.
All Pooja procedures have been carried out as per Karana Agama. The Executive Officer can be contacted during office hours in landline number of this temple.