Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 39

BY: SUN STAFF - 1.2 2018


Arulmighu Amravaneswarar Temple Entrance

A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.


Lord Brahma at Tirumandurai

After several opening segments on Tamil Nadu Brahma temples that contained a wealth of information on historical background, sastric pastimes, etc., today we journey to a much lesser known temple. The Arulmighu Amravaneswarar (Ambiravananathar) Temple at Tirumandurai is 58th in the series of 275 Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom, north of the river Kaveri.

Located in the Lalgudi Taluk of Tiruchirapalli District, 13 miles northeast of the Trichi rail station, this ancient temple is seldom visited, compared to the many larger temples in the region. Lalgudi taluk, previously called Thiruthavathurai, lies close to the Coleroon River, and the Ayyan Vaikal River passes through it.

The temple is also known as Vadakarai Maanturai, with differentiates it from the Maanturai near Tirumangalakkudi, south of the Kaveri, which is another of the Tevara Stalams. This temple at Tirumandurai is also called Saptharishieeswarar Temple.

Temple gopuram entrance

The presiding deity here is Lord Shiva as Ambiravananathar, also known as Amravaneswarar, or Maanturaiappar. Ambal (his consort) is Azhagammai (Azhagiyanayagi, or Azhagal Vuyarnda Ammai), or Balambal (Balambigai).

The presence of Lord Brahma here is connected with the temple theertham, which is called Gayatri Nadi Theertham. This place is where Brahmadeva is said to have brought the Gayatri Nadi, which manifested at the completion of his worship here. It is also the place where Brahma was purified in the pastime of having claimed to see the top of the column of fire in which Shiva had manifested himself.

In long past, Visnu, the Sun God Surya and Chandra worshipped at this Shivasthalam, as did the Maruts, Sambandar, and the Sage Kanvar. Mrikandu Munivar (the father of Markandeya) and a deer worshipped Shiva here under a mango tree, and this pastime is illustrated in a stucco sculpture in the temple. Indra also worshipped Shiva here, to absolve himself of the sin of having deceived Akalya, the wife of Gowtama Rishi.

Amravaneswarar Linga

The main deity of the temple is an unusual linga, being a vertical wedge-like cut into the stone. The top of the linga is red in colour. The moolavar (presiding deity) is east facing, while Ambal faces the south. Lord Brahma and Durga reside on the north koshtam (sanctum wall), while Visnu resides on the west koshtam, with Dakshinamurthy on the south. It is quite unusual to find Brahma paired with Durga, rather than with his consort Saraswati.

There is also a shrine for Mother Parvati in the temple. The Tamil letter that forms the "Om" is created when one circumambulates the temple in a particular order: first taking darshan of Vinayak, then the presiding Linga, then back out to Nandi, which forms the first half of the "Om", and proceeding to visit Mother Parvati, which completes the full "Om" in Tamil script.

Vinayaka and Baladandapani (Murugan) are found standing on either side of sanctum. There are also separate shrines for Ambal and Nandi, as well as shrines for Gajalakshmi, Ganapathy, Subramaniar, Sandikeswarar, and the Navagrahas.

The Thala Viruksham (temple tree) is the Mamaram. Inscriptions from the Chola period are found here.

Temple festival horses