The temple of Swetharanyeswarar ("lord of white forest") in the town of Thiruvenkadu near Sirkazhi, Tamilnadu. The main deity is Shiva - Swetharanyeswarar and the goddess is Brahma Vidya ambal. There is a separate Sannidhi for Budha (mercury). This Shiva temple is one of the 6 most sacred places on the banks of river manikanigai and Cauvery which is an equivalent to the temple at Varanasi. The other 5 sacred shivasthalams are Thiruvaiyaru, Chaayaavanam, Mayiladuturai, Tiruvidaimarudur and Tiruvanchiyam. All four important Saivite saints Appa, Manikavasagar, Thiru gnanasambandar and Sundarar have sung in praise of this lord. The temple represents one of the 5 faces of Lord called "Agora Murthi". The village of Thiruvengadu village is also famous for its unique structure of pools in temples. It has 3 pools, 3 Gods. Devotees take bath in all these pools, to be free from their problems like diseases, delay in marriage, etc.
About the temple
The temple is among the six most sacred places on the banks of River Manikanigai and Cauvery, which is considered to be an equivalent to the temple at Varanasi. The other five Shivasthalams are were Indiran, Airavatam, Budhan, Sun God Sooriyan and Moon God Chandiran are said to have worshiped God Shiva here. From the stone inscriptions found inside this temple, it is seen that the earlier Chola kings Aditya Chola and Rajaraja Chola have made a lot of contributions to this temple. There are several shrines of in this temple, including shrines for Durga and Kali. The idol of Natarajar is beautiful. Worship to Aghoramurthy - (Veerabhadrar) is said to be of significance on Sunday nights in this temple. As found in Chidambaram, there is also a shrine for God Vishnu near the shrine for Nataraja. This is Adi (first) Chidambaram because before dancing Shiva in Chidambaram he done the first dance here. The temple sits in the center of the town, Thiruvenkadu, which is the Tamil equivalent of the Sanskrit ""Swetharanyam"". The entrance is through the Rajagopuram on the east and inside you see the Kodimaram, the altar, Nandikeswara and Vinayaka. One can also see Agnitheertham, the Agneeswara temple, the Oonjal Mandap and the Meikandar temple beyond this. In the prakara one can see Suryatheertha, Suryakoil, temple office at the outer prakara, granary and flower garden. At the western prakara, there is a temple for Aarumuga, a hundred-pillar ""mandap"" and a Shivalinga, called Veerapandiyan. Inside there are temples for all deities and many sculptures. God Nataraja in various dance poses are important here. The main deity has a separate shrine and he is called Aadavallaan in various inscriptions. There is a Linga in spatika (alum) with a secret sthala - Known as the Aadhi Chidambaram, to which 4 Abishekam are done every day. It is said that the 14-bead ""kaappu"" at his ankles symbolizes the 14 earths and the 16 matted hairs, the 16 arts."
About the deity
Aghoramurthy is special here - God Shiva took this form to destroy Maruthuvan, a demon. He is seen walking with his left foot forward. He is dark and imposing and holds weapons in 7 of his 8 arms and wearing a red robe. He has a fiery ""third eye"", protruding canine teeth, 14 snake garlands along with a necklace of beads. Several shrines are important here - Like those of Durga and Kali. The Natarajar statue here is famous. Sunday worship of Aghoramurthy - Shiva's fiery form (Veerabhadrar) is important. The banyan tree here is called Akshayavadam (infinite one, indestructible banyan tree). Special pujas are done to Natarajar and Spatikalingam, just as in Chidambaram.
An asura known in the name of Marutwasura, was disturbing the Rishis and the populace of Thiruvenkadu. The individuals appealed to Shiva who sent Nandi (Bull) to battle the Asura. In the battle that ensued Marutwasura was crushed by Nandi and tossed into the ocean. Marutwasura through his penance acquired Sula (Trident) – from Lord Shiva. The asura then came back with more noteworthy force to assault the blameless individuals. At the request of the devotees, Lord Shiva sent Nandi once again to destroy the asura. Nandi couldn't battle the devil as the evil presence had the Sula of Shiva. The asura inflicted wounds on Nandi's back with the Sula. The idol of Nandi which bears scars on its body is seen here. A furious Shiva opened his Third Eye and murdered the evil spirit. The symbol of Aghoramurthy, an appearance of Shiva's indignation, is introduced in Thiruvenkadu. Worshiping Aghoramurthy, particularly on Sunday evenings is viewed as vital and uncommon. There is likewise another story of Swetaketu connected with Thiruvenkadu. Swetaketu's story is like that of Markendaiyan. Swetaketu was bound to bite the dust toward the end of his eight year yet the Lord kept Yama from taking his devotees' life.
The temple is opened from 06:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 04:00 pm to 09:00 pm.
The most important festival is the float festival which is celebrated on the last day of 12 day celebrations in the Tamil month of Maasi (February – March). Wednesdays are special at this Temple.
Prasad and Offerings
Offering Bhudan with full green moong dhal, white flowers and green cloth is believed to bring Sastra Gnanam to devotees. Rice mixed with moong dhal or moong dhal powder are popular Neivadya offerings and Prasadhams at this temple.
God Shiva is known to have performed his seven forms of dance or Tandavam viz Ananda tandavam, Sandhya tandavam, Samhara tandavam, Tripuranta tandavam, Urdhva tandavam, Bhujanga tandavam and Lalita tandavam here. The three holy tanks here, known as Agni Theertham, Surya Theertham and Chandra Theertham are believed to have been created out of the three drops which fell from God Shiva’s eyes when he was dancing. Another rare feature is that the deity is present here with five faces viz Easanam, Tatpurusham, Aghoram, Vamadevam and Sadyojatam. They represent direction and an aspect of God Shiva. Easanam is facing the sky and represents purity, Vamdevam faces north and represents sustenance, Tatpurisha faces east and represents spirituality that has destroyed the ego, Aghoram faces south and represents the destructive and regenerative aspect of Shiva, Sadyojatam faces west and represents creation.
The native of a horoscope may suffer from lack of progeny, nervous problems and may not do well in academics and other arts, if Budhan is unfavourably placed. Worshiping Budhan on Wednesdays here will alleviate the problems occurring out of Budhan dosham. Malefic effect of Budhan can cause problems related to respiration like asthma and bronchitis, speech impediments and nervous disorders. Budhan is considered as the wisest of all the planets. Budhan is associated with intellect and knowledge; hence those who are not doing well in studies should worship Budhan here. Budhan blesses one with good education, knowledge, eloquence, music, astrology, mathematics, sculpture, medicine, scholarship in languages. Offer Green cloth and Full Green Moong Daal (pachchai paruppu) to Budhan here. People pray here for getting blessed with children, to be strong in arguments, to get a clear wisdom / in philophies.
How to reach Swetharanyeswarar Temple at Thiruvenkadu
Swetharanyeswarar Temple is situated 23 kilometers away from Mayiladuthurai, on the Sirkali – Poompuhar linking road. The temple is 10 km from Sirkazhi and 59 km from Kumbakonam. Shiyali Railway Station, Thanjavur is the nearest railway station, about 9 km from the temple. Thiruvenkadu is accessible by road from Vaitheeswaran Koil railway station and Semponnar Koil railway station as well.
Temple’s full address:
Sri Suvedharanyeswarar Swami Temple,
Thiruvengadu, Sirkazhi Taluk,
Tamil Nadu, India, Pincode - 609114
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.