Kodeeswarar Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Kottaiyur, a village in the outskirts of Kumbakonam, in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu. Presiding Deity is called as Kodeeswarar and Mother is called as Pandhadu Nayaki / Kanthuga Greedambal. This Temple is one of the twelve famous Shiva temples in and around Kumbakonam participate in the famous Maha Maham festival.This is one of the Saptha Sthana temples associated with Adhi KumbeswararTemple.Kumbakonam.
The Temple is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams – Shiva Sthalams glorified in the early medieval Thevaram poems by Tamil Saivite NayanmarTirunavukkarasar.This is the 98th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 44th on the northside of river Cauvery in Chozha Nadu. Saint Arunagirinathar had praised Lord Murugan of this temple in his revered Thirupugazh Hymns. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
According to Hindu mythology, at the end of every Yuga, there is a huge flood called Maha Pralayam occurs and the whole world immerses in a deluge on account of the wrath of Hindu god Shiva for the sins committed by humans in earth. Lord Brahma prepared himself for the next cycle of creation. He put all the seeds from which creation would sprout in amrita (the elixir of immortality) along with four Vedas and Puranas and kept them together in a clay pot On top of the pot, he placed a coconut with mango leaves and wrapping around the pot’s neck a sacred thread. He then placed the pot on the peak of Mount Meru in the Himalayas.
When the Maha Pralayam started, it destroyed all living creatures on the earth.The Amutha Kalasa also got displaced and started floating on the seas for years. Eventually when the Pralayam stopped. the Kalasa settled in Kumbakonam. Then Lord Shiva took the form of a hunter (Kirata Murthy) and split open the pot with his arrow, The life on earth started flourishing again. It is believed that when Lord Shiva opened the pot with his arrow, the pot broke and fell in various places across the earth. Each of these items became Shiva Lingas and temple has been established later.
These Temples are
Adi Kumbeswarar Temple (place where the Amrutha Kalasa stayed). It is believed that Lord Kirata Murthy (Lord Shiva) himself made a Shivalingam with the broken pieces of the Kalasa by mixing nectar and sand with it. He worshiped this lingam and stayed back in this place.The Shivalingam is in the shape of the neck of a pot (Kudamukku in Tamil).
As per Hindu legend, Suruchi. a prince from Thirihartha kingdom (a kingdom in the north), son of king Sathyarthi. was cursed by Sage Bathra Yogi to become a devil. This curse was given to him as he disrespected the sage and disturbed his penance in the Himalayas. As advised by Sage Vyasa, the king brought his son to this place to worship Lord Shiva.The prince took a dip in the temple’s Theerthams and worshiped Lord Shiva. It is believed that he was absolved of his sins. It is believed that the king stayed here for some time, renovated this temple and made some endowments for the temple maintenance. He got his original form and the belief is followed in modern times, where ladies take a holy dip to get a better appearance.
It was believed that Lord Shiva (in the form of a Shivalingam) appeared here in the midst of Castor plants (Aamanakku (Kottai) plant) (In Tamil it is called Erandam). The main Shivalingam in this temple looks as it is formed out of the fruits of a castor plant In other words, its texture resembles a jack fruit. Hence, Lord came to be called as Kodeeswarar and the village came to be called as Kottaiyur.
It is believed that Sage Bathra Yogi, in order to regain his spiritual power. visited many Shiva temples. When he reached this temple, Lord Shiva was pleased with his devotion and blessed him by appearing in the form of one crore (Kodi in Tamil) images of himself, along with one crore images each of Vinayakar, Goddess Parvathy. Murugan and Chandikeswarar.This was done as a way to bless him with the benefit of visiting one crore Shiva temples. Hence the lord here is praised as Koteeswarar and the place gets the name Koteeswaram. It is believed that any good deed (Punniyam) or bad deed (Pavam) done here will be multiplied one crore times.
Mother Goddess Pandhadu Nayaki (Goddess playing with a ball) is so named as she is tossing a ball under her feet, indicating that she would toss the sufferings of her devotees as that of a ball.
Heranda Maharishi Performed Penance here
As per another legend, sage Herandar (Atreya) is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Herandam means Castor plant.The sage gets his name because he had performed penance under the castor plants in this place.There is a separate shrine for Heranda Maharishi in the front hall where he is seen in a meditative posture.
Heranda Maharishi brought back River Cauvery from Pathala Lola
As per legend, once in Thiruvalanchuzhi,Adiseshan came out from the Pathala Logam (underworld) on a Shivarathri day to worship Lord Shiva. A huge hole (Bhila Dwaram) formed at the place where Adiseshan came out. Since river Cauvery was flowing through this place, she entered this hole and fell into the underworld. The Chola king who ruled from Kumbakonam, Harithuvajan got worried about this and prayed to Lord Shiva. It is believed that at this point the lord’s divine voice was heard saying that a king or a sage has to sacrifice his life by entering into the hole so that the river can come back to earth.
The king also sought the advice of Sage Heranda Maharishi who was performing penance in this place. The sage confirmed the divine voice.When the king decided to get into the hole for the welfare of the people, the sage stopped him and he himself entered into the hole and brought Cauvery back to earth. The place where the river came back to earth is called Mela Cauvery, near Kumbakonam.Although he entered into the underworld at Thiruvalanchuzhi. it is believed that he came back to the earth in Thiruvalampuram. He worshiped the lord there for some time and attained salvation.
Legend of Ganges
Another important feature of this lingam is that water droplets can be seen coming out of its top.This symbolises the legend that the Ganges resides in Lord Shiva’s head.
No Relief for the Sins Committed here
There is no relief for the sins that are committed here.A proverb related to this place goes like this — “Kottaiyuril seitha paavam kattaiyode” meaning those placing their feet in Kottaiyur will become Kauai (dead) meaning that sinners cannot enter this place.Those who commit a sin here will have to live with its repercussions for the rest of their life. If they do so. their sins multiply to a crore.The benefits of good deeds also would multiply in crores.As many wicked people were afraid to come to the temple, it is said that Goddess Pandhadu Nayaki assured them protection by tossing their sins as a ball and reform them. Now, many people come here with the obvious aim of seeking the pardon of the Goddess for what they did in the past and lead a righteous life.
People Worshipped Lord Shiva here
It is believed that Sage Heranda, Bathra Yogi, Lord Ram, Brahma. Indra, Prince Suruchi, King Sathyarthi. Sage Narada and Sage Markandeya have worshiped the lord here.
Kottaiyur Kodeeswarar Temple History
The place was called as Chozheeswaram, Baburajapuram, Koteeswaram, Vilvaranyam and Herandapuram.This temple is believed to have been built by Chola and Pallava kings.Tirunavukkarasar has sung the glory of this shrine along with that of Tiruvalanchuzhi.There are five stone inscriptions in this temple which date back to the periods of Chola kings Rajathiraja and Kulothunga III. The last consecration ceremony (Maha Kumbabhishekam) took place on 26.10.2015 and prior to that on 09.02.1992. This temple is under the administrative control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of Government of Tamil Nadu (HR&CE).
Kodeeswarar Temple is an east facing temple with five tiered Rajagopuram.The Rajagopuram is about 60 feet high.The Temple has two corridors and is surrounded by granite walls.The Temple has a rectangular plan covering an area of I acre (0.40 ha).The granite images of Nandi (the bull and vehicle of Shiva). a tall flag staff and a Balipeedam, the place of offering, axial to the sanctum.There is a separate shrine for Vinayagar and Murugan on both sides of the entrance to the sanctum.
Presiding Deity is called as Kodeeswarar and is facing east He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Lingam. Lord Shiva in this temple is a Swayambumurthi (self-manifested).The main Shivalingam in this temple looks as it is formed out of the fruits of a caster plant In other words, its texture resembles a jack fruitAnother important feature of this lingam is that water droplets can be seen coming out of its top.This symbolizes the legend that the Ganges resides in Lord Shiva’s head.
Narthana Vinayakar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbhavar, Brahma and Durga are the Koshta idols located around the sanctum walls. Chandikeswarar Shrine can be seen in his usual location. Mother is called as Pandhadu Nayaki / Kanthuga Greedambal. She is housed in a separate south facing shrine. She is depicted in a playful posture. Mother Goddess Pandhadu Nayaki (Goddess playing with a ball) is so named as she is tossing a ball under her feet, indicating that she would toss the sufferings of her devotees as that of a ball.
Mother shrine has a separate corridor.This corridor has many beautiful carvings engraved on its walls. Also, there are many beautiful sculptures in various places in this temple.A beautiful relief depicting the story of Chola king Manu Neethi, who kept his son under his chariot’s wheels and ran over his body to give justice to a cow, can be seen in the second entrance of this temple.
Lord Murugan is praised as Kodi Subramaniyar and can be seen with his consorts Valli & Deivanai in the inner corridor. Lord Murugan (in the name of Dhandayudhapani) can be seen at the entrance of the temple. The idol of Vinayakar here contains many small images of Vinayakas on it. This Vinayakar is believed to be self-manifested (Swayambhu) and is praised as Kodi Vinayakar. It is believed that at the time of renovation, the idol could not be removed. Even after digging for 20 feet its base could not be found.
The UtsavaVinayakar with his consorts resembles that atTiruvalanchuzhi which is also located close by. Goddess Durgai is depicted with eight hands (Ashtapuja Durgai) and her right leg a step forward.There is a separate shrine for Heranda Maharishi in the front hall where he is seen in a meditative posture.
The idols in the Navagraham here are big in size, very beautiful and unique. All the lords are depicted along with their respective mounts. Suryan and Chandran are seen on chariots pulled by horses.There are shrines and idols of Gajalakshmi, Nataraja, Somaskanda, Mahalakshmi, Bhairavar. Jurakeswarar, Saneeswarar, Suryan Chandran, Lingams, Maha Sastha, Naalvar and Pancha Lingam can be seen in the corridors.
Sthala Vriksham is Castor Oil Plant (Aamanakku). Theertham associated with this Temple are River Cauvery and Kodi Theertham (AmudhaWell).This temple’s holy water (Kodi Theertham /AmudhaVVell) is believed to have been created by Sage Heranda for the purpose of the Lord’s Abhishekam.This well never dries up. Devotees believe that sprinkling water from this well on their body will purify their mind and cure many diseases.
The temple priests perform the puja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis.The temple rituals are performed four times a day; Kalasanthi at 7:30 a.m., Uchikalam at 11:30 am., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m. and Arthajama at 8:00 p.m. Each ritual comprises four steps: abhisheka (sacred bath), alangaram(decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for Koteeswarar and Pandhadu Nayagi.
Kottaiyur Kodeeswarar Temple Festivals
There are weekly rituals like Somavaram (Monday) and Sukra Varam (Friday), fortnightly rituals like Pradosham and monthly festivals like Amavasya (new moon day), Kiruthigai, Pournami (full moon day) and Chathurthi.Vinayakar Chaturthi in the Tamil month of Avani (Aug-Sept),Annabishekam in the Tamil month of Aippasi (Oct—Nov),Thiruvadhirai in the Tamil month of Markazhi (Dec-jan), Shivrathri in the Tamil month of Masi (Feb-Mar). Panguni Uthiram in the Tamil month of Panguni (Mar-Apr) and Arrow festival during Purattasi (September – October) are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
It is believed that those who worship the Lord Shiva here will get the benefit of worshiping the lord in one crore Shiva temples. It is believed that any good deed (Punniyam) or bad deed (Pavam) done here will be multiplied one crore times. Devotees pray for relief from evil aspects and to have a loving appearance. People bathe in this place and spill the water on their heads to have a beautiful appearance. This is a sacred place offering good progress in education.
Mother Goddess Pandhadu Nayaki (Goddess playing with a ball) is so named as she is tossing a ball under her feet, indicating that she would toss the sufferings of her devotees as that of a ball. Sports men and women worship the Goddess to win games and medals. Spilling the water of the holy spring, Amudhakinaru, ensures not only external purity but purifies the mind too, the belief goes. The spring ensures good education and good traits to the devotee.
There was a proverb that those placing their feet in Kottaiyur will become Kattai (dead) meaning that sinners cannot enter this place. If they do so. their sins multiply to a crore.The benefits of good deeds also would multiply in crores.As many wicked people were afraid to come to the temple, it is said that Goddess Pandhadu Nayaki assured them protection by tossing their sins as a ball and reform them. Now, many people come here with the obvious aim of seeking the pardon of the Goddess for what they did in the past and lead a righteous life.
How to Reach Kottaiyur Kodeeswarar Temple?
The Temple is located at about 4.5 Kms from Kumbakonam Bus Stand and 5 Kms from Kumbakonam Railway Station. Kumbakonam is well-connected by road and rail with the rest of India. Kumbakonam is located at about 6 Kms from Thirunageswaram. 8 Kms from Patteeswaram. 9 Kms from Thiruvidaimarudur, 9 Kms from Nachiyar Koil, 15 Kms from Papanasam. 34 Kms from Mayiladuthurai, 35 Kms from Thiruvaiyaru, 40 Kms from Thanjavur, 42 Kms from Thiruvarur, 88 Kms from Trichy, 101 Kms from Trichy Airport and 283 Kms from Chennai.
The Temple is situated to the north — west of Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam — Swamimalai Road. Town bus from Kumbakonam to Swamimalai passes through this place.There are regular government and private bus services to Chennai, Thanjavur, Mannargudi, Trichy, Chidambaram, Tiruppur, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Coimbatore, Palani, Thoothukudi, Madurai, Sivagangai, Puducherry and Tirunelveli. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates daily services from Bengaluru and Mysuru to Kumbakonam.