Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Thanjavur - History, Timings, Festivals & Address

Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Thanjavur


Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Thanjavur

Mahalingeswarar Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Thiruvidaimarudur Town in Thiruvidaimarudur Taluk in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu. Presiding Deity is called as Mahalingeswarar / Maruthavaneswarar / Maruthavaanar and Mother is called as Perunalamamulaiammai / Bruhatsundara Gujamabika / Nanmulainayaki. This temple is considered as one of the six temples along the banks of the Kaveri which are considered equivalent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Mahalingaswamy is the centre of all Shiva temples in the region and the Saptha Vigraha Moorthis (seven prime consorts in all Siva Temples) are located at seven cardinal points around the temple, located in various parts of the state. There are 3 temples having Marudha tree (Arjunam) as their Sthala Vriksham. This place is named as Idaimaruthur as it is in between Srisailam and Ambasamudram. The Temple is considered as one of the Pancha Krosha Sthalams around Kumbakonam. The Temple is considered as one of the Sakthi Peethas, Thiruvasaga Sthalams, Thirupugazh Sthalams and Pancha Linga Sthalams. It is also considered as Saptha Sthana Temples of Thiruneelakudi.

The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Thevaram written by Tamil poet saints known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. The temple is revered by all the three Nayanmars (saint poets) namely, Appar, Sambanthar and Sundarar.This Temple is the 147th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 30th Sthalam on south side of river Kaveri in Chozha Nadu. The temple is maintained and administered by Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam, a South Indian monastic institution.

Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Legends

Brahma Hathi Dhosham

The legend of a Chola prince who killed a Brahmin and was in turn, pursued by his spirit (Brahmmahathi), is associated with the temple. The Chola prince, it is believed, entered the Mahalingeswarar Temple and prayed to Lord Shiva for relief from the clutches of the spirit of the dead Brahmin or Brahmmahathi. The Chola prince made his way out through another entrance thereby saving himself. Some sources associate the legend with Pandya king Varaguna Pandyan. It continues till day where people take the second entrance to exit the premises after worship.

There is a sculpture of Chola Brahmmahathi on the eastern premises in one of the inner gopurams (tower gateway). Pandyan King, Varaguna, who, according to tradition, lived in the seventh century A.D. Once he went for hunting in a nearby forest and when he started back home, dusk had already fallen. The horse, fatigued by the hunt, was anxious to get back to the stables, and literally flew over the path. Meanwhile an aged Brahmin, also travelling through the forest, had called it a day and was lying fast asleep under the shelter of a large tree.

Unfortunately, the path which the King’s horse took was led over the very place where the old man lay sleeping. The hooves of the horse crushed his chest, and he perished on the spot. So fast was horse that the King had no inkling of this terrible calamity. Only when the soldiers following him saw the dead Brahmin and informed him, did the King come to know of the tragedy. He lost no time in observing the penances and sacrifices ordained in the shastras for absolution from this sin; but the damage was done Brahmmahathi (spirit of the dead Brahmana) clung to him all the more tightly.

In despair, the King sought the help of Lord Sundareswarar of Madurai. One day, when he was circumambulating the shrine, a divine voice stated him that a Chola King will invade your Kingdom soon. Fight him and he will be defeated. As he flees back to his country, chase him without harming him. He will lead you to Thiruvidaimarudur where Lord Shiva himself worshipped his own image. The Sin clinging to you now will leave you by praying to Lord Shiva there. The King then visited the temple at Thiruvidaimarudur as per the divine guidance and prayed to Lord Mahalingeswarar. 

He entered the temple through the Eastern entrance and the Brahmmahathi could not enter the temple and waited outside the temple for the King to return. As advised by Mahalingaswamy, the King left by the Western Gopuram (Tower) and hence got rid of the Brahmmahathi dosham and the Brahmin’s ghost. The Brahmmahathi is waiting outside still in the south ornamental entrance (south Torana Vayil) with head disheveled and face immersed betwixt the knees. The king was relieved of his malady. So, one should make it a point to enter through the main entrance to Shiva shrine, then to Goddess shrine and return by a different entrance to get rid of one’s Dhoshams.

Lord Shiva Worshipping himself

Sage Agasthya, along with the other sages came to Idaimaruthur and performed Tapasya meditating on Goddess Umadevi. Goddess Uma also appeared before the sage. The sages accordingly worshipped the Goddess and requested that they would like to see the Lord also. Umadevi, for the sake of the sages, went in Sivatapasya. The Lord granted her wish and appeared before her and the sages. After appearing before them, the Lord began worshipping the Jyothi Lingam. 

The surprised Umadevi asked the Lord: “O Lord! It is the practice that Brahman and other deities worship thee. But, thou art worshipping thine own self!” The Lord replied: “Uma Devi! We are the Ultimate who worship and accept worship. It is because these sages have forgotten to worship us, we are worshipping ourselves. That is why I’m worshipping myself.” 

The Legend says that from that day onwards the sages performed worship according to the Kaamika Law and received great benefits. Generally, in all Shiva temples, the main deity will have a specific name but here it is called Mahalingam (Big lingam) since legend says that Lord Shiva worshipped himself here in the process of teaching and demonstrating the Saivite worship procedures to the seven great sages.

Pancha Krosha Sthalams

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. The drops of nectar are believed to have fallen onto five shrines around Kumbakonam, namely Mahalingeswarar Temple at Thiruvidaimarudur, Airavateshwarar Temple at Darasuram, Naganathar Temple at Tirunageswaram, Swaminathaswamy Temple at Swamimalai and Sundareswarar Temple at Koranattu Karuppur.

Pattinathar and Badragiriyaar

The life-history of Pattinathar and Thiruvidaimarudur temple has close connection. Pattinathar has sung many songs on the Lord Maruthavaanar of this temple. His disciple is Badragiriyaar, who was a King once upon a time, renounced everything and became the disciple of Pattinathar. Both the guru and the disciple went on pilgrimage to all the Siva temples, came and stayed at Thiruvidaimarudur.

Pattinathar never kept even a begging bowl. On the other hand, the disciple had a begging bowl and also a dog. Once, the Lord disguised as a Shiva devotee came and asked alms to Pattinathar. Pattinathar informed him that he himself was a beggar and did not have anything to offer. Further, he informed that there was a family man near the west tower of this temple, who can offer you something.

The Lord went to that place and begged Badragiriyaar, who realized and felt sad that the begging bowl and the dog had made him a family man. Thinking so, he threw the bowl on the dog. The begging bowl broke and the dog also died. The Lord then appeared before him and granted Moksha to Badragiriyaar and also to the dog. The place where this incident occurred could be seen even today. It is called the Naayatiyaar Koil in the East Maada Street. 

Jyothirmaya Mahalingam

Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared as a flame to please Agastya and other sages who were performing penance. Lord Shiva is said to have emanated from the heart of Parvathi. Since Shiva raised out as a flame to the sages, the presiding deity is also referred as Jyothirmaya Mahalingam. It should be noted that historically Shiva was worshipped as Jyothi, the sacred flame and with the course of time, Jyothirlinga temples were developed.

Thiruvidaimaruthur

Marudhur is derived from the name of the holy tree, namely Marudha. The Sthala Vriksham (temple tree) is Marudha. This temple is classified as Madhya Arjunam, called Idai Marudhu meaning central Marudhur. Thus, the place came to be called as Thiruvidaimarudur. The Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Srisailam is called Thalai Marudhu (meaning top Marudhur) and Tirupudaimaruthur Temple at Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli District is called Kadai Maruthu (meaning lower Marudhur). 

Lord Shiva appeared as Child Krishna

To the sage Kashyapa, the Lord of Idaimaruthur, Lord Maruthavaanar has appeared as child Krishna. 

First Pooja Performed to Lord Shiva here

The pooja is first performed to Mahalingaswamy in this temple and then only to Vinayakar. Here Vinayagar himself is worshipping Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva Appeared as Ardhanareeswarar to Sage Markandeya

Lord Shiva blessed Markandeya by appearing before him in the form of Ardhanareeswarar. 

Sacredness of Thiruvidaimaruthur

Once when Parvathi Devi playfully blind folded Lord Shiva, the whole universe was in total darkness and deep trouble but Thiruvidaimarudur alone was illuminating as a fire with the Jyothirmaya Sri Mahalinga Swamy.

Jeeva Samadhi of Sri Sridhara Ayyaval

Sri Sridhara Ayyaval of Thiruvisainallur, a great scholar of Sanskrit of 17th century, got into Jeeva Samadhi in the form of Jyothi Swaroopa at the sanctum of this temple.

Lord Shiva Uttered Sathyam Advaitham to Adi Shankara

When Aadhi Sankara visited Thiruvidaimarudur, he desired that the Mahalingam at the temple should itself declare the truth of Advaita so that the doubt in regard thereto lingering in the minds of some people might be dispelled. In response to the Jagathguru’s prayer, the Lord Siva appeared out of the Mahalingam, raised the right hand, and proclaimed the truth of Advaita three times thus: “satyam advaitam; satyam advaitam; satyam advaitam”. A vimana over the entrance of the local Sankara Matha was put up, and within it were installed sculptured figures of the Mahalingam with the right hand raised and of Adi Sankara with palms joined. In the central courtyard of the Matha a shrine was constructed and in it was installed Sankara-paduka.

People Worshipped Lord Shiva here

Mother Uma, Vinayaka, Muruga, Lord Vishnu, Brahma, Rudra, Lakshmi, Chandran, Saneeswarar, Saraswathi, Kaali, Vashishta, Agasthya, Pattinathar, Badragiriyaar, Romarishi, Kapila, Markandeya Rishi, Sivavakiya (Siddhar), Adi Shankaracharya, Sridhara Venkatesa Ayyaval, Bodhendra Saraswathi (59th Peedathipathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam), Varaguna Pandya, Sukeerthi, Veerasena, Chitrakeerthi, Uvanasuvan, Maandada, Vasuman, Anjatthuvasan, Nandagan, Vedas, Arunagirinathar, Karuvur Thevar, Sambandar, Sundarar, Appar, Manickavasagar and Airavata (Elephant vehicle of Indra) worshipped Lord Shiva here.

Other Names

The place was also called as called Shenbagaranya, Saktipura, Tapovanam, Muktipura etc.

Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur History

The temple is believed to be around 2,000 years old and is associated with the Pandya king Varaguna Pandian. The oldest parts of the present masonry structure were built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions, including the towering gopuram gatehouses, are attributed to later periods, up to the Thanjavur Nayaks during the 16th century. Govinda Dikshitar, the minister of Nayak is believed to have built the Pushyamantapas (halls) in this temple. 

Achyutappa also added gift of a village to the temple, the income of which was to be utilized for the temple car festival for the goddess in Adipooram day. The temple must be in existence even before 9th Century AD as the Thevarams sung by Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar pre-date the 9th century AD. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by Thiruvaduthurai Aadheenam, a South Indian monastic institution.

The east-facing temple has four Rajagopurams facing each of the four directions and three inner gopurams. The main Rajagopuram is five tiered. It is about is 204 m (668 feet) high. The western gopuram is seven tiered. The Temple has three precincts, each enclosed inside huge walls. The most notable is the second precinct built during the Vijayanagar period that has many sculptures.

The temple is rectangular in plan with East-West orientation and has four entrances in each of the four directions. The Temple covers an area of about 20 acres. The temple tank alone measures 190 m (624 feet) in length. The temple complex is one of the largest in the state. The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Mahalingeswarar, Bruhatsundara Gujamabika and Mookambigai being the most prominent.

Sanctum Sanctorum

Presiding Deity is called as Mahalingeswarar / Maruthavaneswarar / Maruthavaanar and is facing east. The presiding Deity is called as Mahalinga (Great Linga) because Lord Shiva worshipped himself. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Lingam. The Shiva Lingam here is a Swayambhu (self-manifested). The lingam is indeed majestic on a six-ft pedestal. There are two Nandhis in front of presiding deity out of which one is made of copper.

Balipeedam, Dwajastambam and Stucco Nandi can be found facing the sanctum. Stucco Nandi in front of flagstaff is bigger in size comparable to the Nandhi of Thanjavur Big Temple and Gangai Konda Cholapuram Temple. The pooja is first performed to Mahalinga Swamy in this temple and then only to Vinayakar. Here Vinayagar himself is worshipping Shiva.

Mother Shrine

Mother is called as Perunalamamulaiammai / Bruhatsundara Gujamabika / Nanmulainayaki. She is housed in a separate east facing shrine. It is considered as one of the Sakthi Peethas. Her shrine is situated on the right side of the sanctum (on the southern side). Mother shrine to the right side of Lord represents Kalyana Kolam. Mookambika Shrine is situated within the Ambal Shrine complex.

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Kalyana Kolam painting can be found in the top of Artha Mandapam. Paintings of various Ambals can be found on the walls of the prakaram of Mother shrine. An idol of Thirugnana Sambandar can be found in the prakaram of Mother Shrine. There is a shrine for Anbirpriyal in the outer prakaram of Mother Shrine. There is a rule practised in this temple that after worshipping Mother, one has to go outside and must not cross Sanctum.

Pavai Vilakku

Thanjavur Marathas ruled the region during the 18th century. Pratap Singh (1736–63) was a patron of the temple after his prayer to Mahalingaswamy to marry love was fulfilled. Ammuni Ammal (lover of Pratap Singh), donated a Pavai Vilakku (a lamp in the shape of Ammuni Ammal) and lit one lakh (1,00,000) lamps. The lamp measures 120 cm (height), 411 ¾ Cher (Weight) in brass, designed and made by Kannara Aryaputra Pathar. Her story is inscribed at the base of the lamp. The base of the lamp has an inscription indicating the gift of Marathas to the temple.

Brahmmahathi

Bas relief sculpture of Brahmmahathi (sin caused by a murder of Brahmin) is found in the south wall (South Torana Vayil) with head disheveled and face immersed betwixt the knees. It is interesting to note that those who enter through this entrance will leave only through the Amman shrine. The idea is to avoid Brahmmahathi who will not enter the shrine but wait outside to catch its victims.

Anda Vinayagar Shrine

There is a shrine dedicated to Vinayagar called Anda Vinayagar in the southern side of the temple premises. As per Hindu legend, the Vinayagar ruled the world and hence obtained this name.

Krishna Shrine

There is a small shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna (as a Crawling child) as revealed to Sage Kashyapa along with Lord Siva can be found in the temple premises.

Padithurai Vinayakar Shrine

Padithurai Vinayakar Shrine is situated at the entrance of the temple. It is believed that once the Cauvery was running this way and hence the name.

Other Shrines

Shrines of Murugan, Nataraja, Agora Veerabhadra, Sattainathar, Vel (Weapon of Lord Murugan), Iravadeswarar Nayadiyar, Athama Lingeswarar and Gnanambigai can be found in the temple premises. Idols of Pattinathar and Badragiriyaar can be found in the eastern and western gateways of the temple respectively.

Saiva Siddhantha Library

A Saiva Siddhantha library is situated inside the temple premises. it maintains palm leaf manuscripts and Saiva literature. 

Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Opening Time

The temple remains open from 5.30 am to 12.00 Noon and from 4.00pm to 9.00 pm.

Worship & Festivals

Worship & Rituals

The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. Like other Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Saivite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day; Ushathkalam at 6:00 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 10:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 8:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 9:00 p.m.
Each ritual comprises four steps: Abhisheka (sacred bath), Alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Mahalingeswarar and Pirguchuntaragujambigai. The worship is held amidst music with Nadaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument), religious instructions in the Vedas read by priests and prostration by worshippers in front of the temple mast.

Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Festivals

There are weekly rituals like Somavaram and Sukravaram, fortnightly rituals like Pradosham and monthly festivals like Amavasai (new moon day), Kiruthigai, Pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi. The most prominent festival of the temple, Thaipoosam, is celebrated for ten days during the Tamil month of Thai. The festival deity of Mahalingeswarar and his consorts circumambulate the temple and the streets in the village in different vehicles. The festival ends with Theerthavari on the last day. During the Tamil month of Vaikasi, Thirukalyanam (sacred marriage), Ambal Tapasu (penance of Ambal), Ambal Thannai Thaane festivals are celebrated.

Thiruvadhirai, Aadippooram and Karthigai are celebrated in a significant manner. Skanda Sashti, Vasantha Utsavam, 1,008 Sanghu abishekam (during Karthigai Somavaram) and Shivarathri are the other festivals celebrated here. During Skanda Sashti, unlike in other temples, here Lord Muruga receives the `vel' (lance) from Siva. On the important festivity days like Deepavali, Pongal, Tamil / English New Year Days, special poojas and Abhishekam are performed.

Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Prayers

By worshipping the Prime Deity, Lord Mahalinga Swamy, one’s sorrow and unhappiness are alleviated. Those who wish for good marriage can perform prayers here. Moreover, one can pray for job attainment, enhancement in business and promotion in the job. The Lord definitely grants their wishes. Abhishekam can be performed to the Lord with ingredients like milk, curd, panchamirtha, rice flour, honey, rosewater, soft coconut water, sandal paste, Vibhuthi, rice powder and tamarind powder.

Devotees in large numbers come and worship the Mookambigai shrine, since it is considered to be powerful. The married couples worship intensely that they should conceive without any problems and beget babies. Likewise, women pray for safe delivery. This kind of worship significantly prevails in this shrine.

Devotees who circle methodically the big prakaram and then worship the Prime Deity are surely relieved of mental aberration, psychic depression, madness and sickness. That they enjoy great relief and happiness could be seen even today. Devotees offer new dhoti for Lord, Mother with new sari and offer food to the devotees who come to the temple.

Also, they offer Naivedyam to the Lord and distribute it to the devotees. Those who can afford can donate to the temple renovation. Those with Anusha star can be relieved of their afflictions in this place. This is a Parihara sthalam for Brahmmahathi dosham.

How to Reach Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Thanjavur?

The Temple is located at about 1 Km from Thiruvidaimarudur Bus Stop, 1 Km from Thiruvidaimarudur Railway Station, 3 Kms from Thirubuvanam, 3 Kms from Govindapuram, 4 Kms from Aduthurai, 6 Kms from Thirunageswaram, 10 Kms from Kumbakonam, 10 Kms from Kumbakonam Bus Stand, 10 Kms from Kumbakonam Railway Stattion, 10 Kms from Thiruvavaduthurai, 27 Kms from Mayiladuthurai, 51 Kms from Thanjavur and 105 Kms from Trichy Airport.

Thiruvidaimarudur is situated to the north of Kumbakonam city on the road to Mayiladuthurai. All the buses pass via this route with a stop closer to the temple at Thiruvidaimarudur. Town buses are available from Kumbakonam. The route numbers are 1,27, 33, 54, & 64. Autos / Taxies are available to reach this Temple from Kumbakonam.

Mahalingeswarar Temple Thiruvidaimarudur Address

Mahalingeswarar Temple,
Thiruvidaimarudur – 612 104,
Thanjavur District
Phone: +91 435 246 0660 / 246 1946
Mobile: +91 97905 25781

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