Thirupanandaal, the Miracle of the Leaning Lingam

My paternal forefathers hailed from Thirupanandaal and later moved to Therazhandhur. That’s all I knew about this place. Since it was not a big deviation we chalked out our plan to visit during our #RoadtripJuly2023.

An imposing seven storey Rajagopuram welcome us in. The temple had been recently renovated, because the Kumbabhishekam was said to be in August 2023. The ceilings had beautiful paintings of the legends of this temple.

The Main deity is Aruna Jadeswarar and the Goddess is Periya Nayagi.

The Thadaga Legend:

In ancient times, there lived a revered woman saint named Thadaga who devoted herself to the worship of Lord Shiva. One day, while offering a garland to the Shiva Lingam at Thirupanandaal, an unexpected mishap occurred. As she attempted to place the garland on the sacred Lingam, her sari’s pallu slipped from her grasp. Undeterred, she held the pallu with one hand and the garland with the other, still unable to reach the Lingam.

Moved by her unwavering devotion, Lord Shiva graciously inclined His neck towards Thadaga, enabling her to place the garland around the Lingam. This divine gesture left a lasting mark as the Shiva Lingam remained in a slightly leaning position thereafter.

Centuries later, during the reign of the Chola king Veerasenan, efforts were made to renovate the temple. The king’s artisans and labourers attempted to straighten the leaning Lingam, employing various methods, even enlisting the strength of mighty elephants, but all their endeavours were in vain.

It was during this time that Kungiliya Kalaya Nayanar, one of the illustrious 63 Nayanmars, visited the sacred site. Witnessing the Lingam’s leaning posture, he was determined to rectify it. To show his devotion, Kungiliya Kalaya Nayanar offered fragrant Kungiliya Incense to Lord Shiva and devised a unique plan. He tied a rope around the shaft of the Lingam and secured the other end as a noose around his own neck.

With unwavering faith and determination, Kungiliya Kalaya Nayanar began to pull the Lingam, pleading with Lord Shiva to straighten it. Touched by the sincere devotion and sacrifice of his devotee, Lord Shiva responded to his plea and miraculously made the Lingam stand straight once more.

The Chola king, witnessing this divine intervention and the Nayanmar’s devotion, was filled with gratitude and joy. It was a testament to the enduring faith and the divine connection that devotees shared with Lord Shiva at Thirupanandaal.

Important aspects

  1. The temple is administered by the Dharmapuri Adheenam.
  2. In the contest known as “Adi Mudi” between Brahma and Vishnu, a significant event transpired. During this encounter, Brahma falsely claimed to have witnessed the crown, or head, of Lord Shiva. In response to this untruth, Lord Shiva, cursed Brahma for his deception. Lord Shiva directed Brahma to seek redemption at the sacred site of Thirupanandaal. The Lord instructed Brahma to cleanse his soul by taking a purifying dip in the holy Theertham (sacred waters) of Thirupanandaal. Having got relieved of his curse Brahma conducted a grand Yaga here. It is believed that Brahma, as a part of his penance and repentance, visits this sacred place in the month of Chithirai, annually to conduct this Yaga personally.
  3. Naga Kanni Therrtham: It is said that Sumathy the daughter of the divine serpent Vasugi and her husband Arithuvasan worshipped the Lord here. When Kungili Nayanar’s son died and his body was taken for the creamation Lord Vinayagar intercepted them and advised them to bathe his son in the waters of the Naga Theertham. Miraculously he was restored back to life.
  4. There are lots of inscriptions in this temple. This temple must have existed as a brick temple but it was Nakkan Dharani who built this temple in granite. Lots of renovations were done by Raja Raja 2, Kulothunga 1, as well as during the Nayak period.
  5. Lord Chandran is said to have worshipped in this place so devotees throng here on Mondays.
  6. This is the place where Lord Shiva gave his Upadesam to the Goddess. Hence the Lord Shiva is also called Gnana Guru. Gnana is depicted in the form of matted locks which is present in the Lingam.

In one part of the temple, beneath two majestic palm trees from which the place derived its name, we witnessed a remarkable sight. In the soft glow of the evening, stucco depictions of the divine stories of Thadaga and Kungili Nayanar adorned the space below these palms. The scene was ethereal reminiscent of the divine union of Shiva and Shakthi.

Suddenly breaking our reverie were melodies of the Nadhaswaram, which played a Pann (பண்) known as Panjamam. It was a composition I had recently learned, the Thevaram of Thiruchenkattankudi Painkottu Malar punnai.

Drawn by this enchanting music, we followed the sound to the Aruna Jadeswarar sannidhi, eager to discover the source of the harmonious vibrations. There, we encountered a scene of profound beauty and devotion: a resplendent statue of Saint Manikavasagar, intricately adorned, was being carried around the temple. It was a procession led by a group of devout individuals who sang Thiruvasagam in unison, their voices harmonizing in a powerful chorus. The procession was headed by the revered Guru of Thirupannadaal Adheenam.

We felt truly connected to the spiritual essence of the place, where history, art, and faith converged in a profound and moving display of devotion.

The temple will be kept opened between 06.30 hrs to 12.00 hrs and 16.00 hrs to 21.00 hrs.

Contact: +91 94431 16322, +91 99658 52734 and +91 435 245 6047 may be contacted for further details.

Thirupanandaal is 18.7 kms from Kumbakonam viz the NH 36.

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