Sri Mayuranathar Temple, Mayiladuthurai
Patikam : Sambandar, Appar
This is a vast and well maintained temple with a beautiful tank, several
gopurams and mandapams in the town of Mayiladuturai (Mayuram). This is a
temple of great religious significance, and is a hub in the temple belt of
Tamilnadu. Several Shivastalams are located in the vicinity of
Mayiladuturai.Legend has it that Dakshayani (Parvati) took
the form of a peacock after her father's Daksha Yagnam, worshipped Shiva
here; Shiva is said to have taken a peacock form, performed the Gowri
Tandavam and united with her here. Mayuranathar is believed to have quelled
the Kaveri floods to make way for Sambandar and 4 of the Vallalar shrines in
the vicinity are said to be manifestations of Mayuranathar. Interestingly,
Veerattam where the Dakshayagnam is believed to have been
performed, is located at a distance from 8 km from this temple.
Mayiladuturai is in the midst of several shrines with puranic significance.
The Sapta Matas are said to have worshipped Shiva at 7 of the temples in the
vicinity including Vallalaar Kovil. Dakshinamurthy's shrine in the nearby
Vallalaar (Gurumoorthy - Vadhaanyeswarar) Koyil is of great significance. On
the banks of the Kaveri, near the bathing ghats is the Kasi Viswanathar
temple with vimanams along the lines of those at Benares.
This temple spread over 350000 sq feet has 5 prakarams, a 9 tiered
165 feet high Raja Gopuram, pillared halls with interesting sculptural work
as well as 14 vimanams withseveral stucco images. Inscriptions from the
Imperial Chola period are found here. The temple is managed by the
Tiruvavaduturai Adhinam, while the Vallalar Koyil and Kaasi Viswanathar
temple are managed by the Dharumapura Adhinam.
This temple was reconstructed with stone, during the period of Sembiyan
Mahadevi (10th century); however renovations from the 19th century have
destroyed the older structures and the inscriptions. Thankfully fine stone
sculptures of Vinayakar, Natarajar, Siva-Uma-Alinganamurthy, Dakshimamurthy,
Lingodbhavar, Bhrama, Ganga Visarjanamurthi, Durga and Bhikshatanar from the
period of Sembiyan Mahadevi have been well preserved in their niches. From
available inscriptions it is inferred that the Avayambal shrine came into
existence during the period of Rajaraja Chola III (13th century). Till then,
there must only have been a Bhogasakthi bronze image in the sanctum of
Mayuranathar, as was the practice till separate Ambal shrines were
introduced during the reign of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120).
Festivals: Thousands of
pilgrims converge here during the Thulaa (Libra) festival. A noteworthy
feature of the Mayuranathar temple is the daily processional ritual to the
banks of the Kaveri throughout the monsoon month of Libra. Shiva's dance is
enacted at the Aadi Sabhai on the 7th day of the grand festival in the month
of Libra. The annual festival Bhrammotsavam is observed in the Tamil month
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