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Sri Saatchinatheswarar Temple, Tiruppurampayam

Sri Saatchinatheswarar Temple, Tiruppurampayam

Saatchinatheswarar Temple or Tiruppurampayam Temple is also one of the ancient Shivasthalams dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the Tiruppurampayam, Tamil Nadu, India. Tiruppurampayam is also known as Tiruppirampiyam.

Glory of the Temple

The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Thevaram, the 7th century great Tamil literature and is the 46th in series of “Paadal Petra Sthalam”, the 275 temples revered in the verses sung by the most prominent Tamil poet-saints, the main Nayanmars (servitors of the Lord), namely Thiru Gnana Sambanthar, Appar, and Sundarar.

It has also been mentioned as “Purambayamadhanil Aram Pala Aruliyum” in “Keerthi Thiruvagaval” of “Thiruvasagam” by Manikkavacakar. This shrine also has been mentioned in Tiruvacakam of Mannikavasagar, Pattinathar’s work and in the ‘Tiruvilayadal Puranam.”

 The Legacy

Rich Sculpture Heritage of Saatchinathar Temple

Dating back to the 5th century A.D., the presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva in his incarnation as Dakshinamurti (one who is facing south), the first-ever guru, who imparted the ultimate spiritual instruction in silence to the four great saints, “Sanakadi”– Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanat Kumara under the banyan tree on the banks of the Brahma Teertham, facing South.

The temple is one the rare 24 shrines among the “24 Guru Sthalams” (24 centers of the original Guru) specially dedicated to the primeval Master, Lord Dakshinamurti and is surrounded by Manniyaru, Kollidam and the Kaveri.

It is believed that the child-incarnation Tirugnana Sambandhar, one of the four visionary poet-saints of the Saiva Siddhanta tradition, performed a number of miracles at this ancient temple, sanctifying and energizing the space. The poet-saint Appar is also said to have sung many Thevarams (hymns) in praise of Lord Shiva at this temple, and hence it is known as a “Devara Sthalam”, being the 46th in series.

Lord Brahma, one of the divine holy trinity of Gods, is also said to have worshiped Shiva here. A certain King of Magadha Desam (country) was cured of the ‘Muyalaka’ disease at this shrine.

Saving the World from the great Deluge

Lord Ganesha as Pralaya Kaala Vinayakar consecrated by Lord Varuna made from sea shells, special oceanic herbs

The temple also has a very special Ganesha deity called Pralayamkatha Vinayagar. The temple’s legend has it  that during the Krita yuga or the Satya Yuga (the Golden Age of Truth), Lord Shiva asked his son, Lord Ganesha to save the world from the great deluge. Ganesha created a well on the east side of the temple tank (Teertham) and channeled all the seven seas into that well, controlled the deluge and saved the world.

Lord Varuna, the god of the oceans, created an idol of Lord Ganesha from sea shells and other materials obtained from the sea and worshiped him as Pralayam Katha Vinayakar. Remarkably, even today this Ganesha deity is majestically seated, proving true this extraordinary happening.

As the temple’s shrine stayed unaffected by this great deluge, the name “Purampayam” came into being (puram- meaning outside), and the Vinayakar (Ganesha) is revered to as “Pralaya Kaala Vinayakar”. 

On the night before Vinayaka Chathurthi, a day specially dedicated to Ganesha, a special abhishekam (sacred oblations) with 100 kgs of honey is done to this Ganesha. The abhishekam with honey is performed throughout the night. It is said that all the honey that is poured during the abhishekam is absorbed by the deity. No abhishekam is performed during the rest of the year.

The well that drank the 7 seas to save the world by Lord Ganesha, Vinayakar

Another pronouncing proof to this grand feat is proven by the temple well that still remains in the temple complex, reminding us to be established in the faith for the divine’s grace and protection for any situation.

Praying and offering worship to this “Pralaya Kaala Vinayakar” naturally brings us under the protective divine umbrella removing any dangers, negativity, obstacles from our life.

 The Temple

Sri Sakshinatheswar Radiaiting His Divine Grace as Presiding Deity

 The present name of the presiding deity Lord Shiva is “Saatchinathar” and His eternal consort, “Kuraivialla Azhagi” (beauty unsurpassed). Legend has it that Shiva appeared here as a witness (meaning ‘Saakshi’) to defend and protect his devotee, hence the name.

The sanctum of the consort was built by Rajaraja Chola I. The sanctum wall contains beautiful sculptures of Parivara Devatas (other family deities of Shiva temple). Lord Ganesha, the elephant God is performed honey ablution on the day of Vinayagar Chaturthi and all honey passed is absorbed.

The Amman (cosmic mother) shrine is housed in the 2nd Prakaram while Shiva’s sanctum is reached past the Mahamandapam (the great stage) housing all the relevant Parivara Devatas. Dakshinamurti’s shrine is located on the southern bank of the temple tank. There is also a shrine to Sattanathar here.

Most of the inscriptions here go back to the days of the Imperial Cholas (Parantaka I & descendants), detailing the grants that were made to the temple. There are inscriptions also from the Raja Raja’s and the Vijayanagar period.

Tiruppurampayam was the fierce battlefield of “Purampaya war” in the 9th century deciding the bright future of the Cholas dynasty. Victorious Chola king Aditya I revived the brick temple into a blue metal stone temple in the sweet remembrance of the turn of the tide in his favor and renamed it as Aditeshwaram. Also this purampaya temple has about 230 acres of agricultural and horticultural farms said by a stone inscription researcher V.Sadhaasiva Pandara in the Sthala history of Purampayam. His writings about the history of “Thirupurampaya Devasthanam” was published in the year 1946. Also Sadasiva Pandaraa belongs to the same Puranam.

Lord Shiva as “Saatchinathar”

The Garba Graha, Sanctum of "Ever-witness" Lord Saatchinathar as 292nd and 293rd Pontiffs offer their worships

Once a trader who was returning to Madurai from Kaveri Poompattinam died because snake bite. As per the prayers of a trader woman who was accompanying him to the lord in this temple, the trader was graced by the Almighty back to life. Also He conducted the marriage of both traders and was a witness to his whole happening. After returning to Madurai with his new wife, his 1st wife abused him and did not accept his 2nd wife. To clear her doubts and show his causeless mercy on His devotee, the Purampayathu Lord Himself appeared along with the whole set up of the Vanni tree, the well and the temple Madapalli and told the truth as it is and declared himself as a witness to this incident. So, He isSaatchinatheswarar Swami, the witnessing God in this temple.

This whole witnessing divine play has been mentioned in the epic Silapathihaaram as “Vannimaramum, Madapalliyym saantraga munniruthi kattiya moikuzhalal”, and also wonderfully described in the Perumpatrapuliyar Nambi’s “Thiruvilaiaadar Puranam 62″ and Paranjothi Munivar’s “Thiruvilaiaadar Puranam 64”.

This incident is older and different from the similar incident of bringing life to a dead person bitten by a snake, a miracle played by Thiru Gnana Sambandhar at Thirumarugal himself.

Thiruvilaiyadar Puranam quotes these two above said incidents with much devotion. Purampaya incident happened before Thirugnana Sambandhar’s period as it is mentioned in Silapathihaaram. Thirumarugal incident happens in Gnana Sambadhar’s history. Purampaya incident is even mentioned in “Thirupurampaya Puranam.

“Festivals:  There are 4 worship services performed here daily. The annual Brahmottsavam is celebrated in the Tamil month of Maasi and the annual Vinayakar festival is observed in the Tamil month of Avani. Kartikai Deepam, Arudra Darisanam, Vishu, Aadipooram, Navaratri, Skanda Shashti and Thaippoosam are celebrated here.

Temple Facts

Lord Shiva worshipped as – Punnaivana Nathar, Sakshinathar

Ambal (Devi, Shiva’s Consort) – Karumpadu Solli (Kuraivila Azhagi)

Vriksham (Sacred Tree) – Punnai

Teertham (sacred water body)– Saptasagara Teertham (well)

Pathikam (10 glorifying verses) by – Gnana Sambandhar, Appar, Sundarar

Travel Base – Thanjavur district

Location: Saatchinatheswarar Temple is located near Innambar, Tiruvaiyaru. It is also on the northern banks of Manni river, some 8 kms distance from northwest of Kumbakonam (Chola Nadu, north of Kaveri).


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