Thiruvidaimarudhur Sri Mahalinga Swamy Temple

Visit to Thiruvidaimarudhur Jyothirmaya Sri Mahalinga Swamy Temple


Thiruvidaimarudur is located at around 8 k.m northeast of Kumbakonam en route Mayiladuthurai.

Recently I hade been to Trichy and Kumbakonam along with a family group and visited many temples in that area.  Thiruvidaimarudhur and Thirubhuvanam temples were not in our list originally since I thought these were just like many other temples around that area and we had just 1.5 days for both Trichy and Kumbakonam. Thanks to Balaji for informing me about the magnitude of these temples, we included them at the last minute. How ignorant I was. We were totally amazed with these temple and frankly never expected that these will be so vast, beautiful, sacred and majestic. I felt a little ashamed off with the fact that I (and most others in our group as well) am visiting these two temples for the first time in my 50+ age, in spite of being a native of Kumbakonam. What temples these are!  With the google map I found the distance from the Rajagopuram to the main deity alone is 204 m (668 feet); the temple tank alone measures 190 m (624 feet) in length. It’s mind blowing to imagine what an amount of human energy, time and money would have gone in bringing up these temples and how skilled were our people!  Everyone should visit these temples atleast as a mark of respect to those who spent their time and energy. Even for non-believers these two have plenty in store. Many of us think that Kumbakonam is only the nine Navagraha temples for all our dhoshams and a little more but actually it is much much bigger indeed! Please reserve  a whole half-a-day for these two temples alone when you plan.

Outer  Entrance Outer Entrance IMG_0384 IMG_0386 IMG_0385 View from Amman shrine IMG_0435 IMG_0387 IMG_0440 IMG_0441IMG_0426 Amman shrine entrance to main shrine to main shrine 1 IMG_0395


  • Generally in all Shiva temples, the main deity will have a specific name but here it is called Mahalingam (Big lingam) since legend says that Lord Shiva worshipped Himself here in the process of teaching and demonstrating the Saivite worship procedures to the seven great sages.
  • The Shiva Lingam here is a swayambhu (self manifested) facing east. This is referred to as Madhyarjuna Kshetram and is said to be on par with Varanasi (Kasi). The main deity is called Mahalingeswarar or Madhyarjunar. The pooja is first performed to Mahalingaswamy in this temple and then only to Vinayakar. Here Vinayagar Himself is worshipping Shiva.
  • Once when Parvathi devi playfully blind folded Shiva, the whole universe was in total darkness and deep trouble but Thiruvidaiarudhur alone was illuminating as a fire with the Jyothirmaya Sri Mahalinga Swamy
  • This huge temple, in a sprawling campus of 20 acres, bejewelled with 7 lofty towers, 7 praharams and many ornate mandapams is one of the greatest Saivite shrines in Tamilnadu
  • The Ambal Shrine is one of the Sakthi Peetams and is on the right side of the Swami shrine, that is on southern side as a KALYANA KOLAM – a rare one. Chakara Maha Meru is installed here.
  • Uma, Vinayaka Muruga, Thirumal, Lakshimi, Saraswati, Kaali (Deities);
    Vashista, Agasthya, Pattinathar, Badragiriyar, Romarishi, Kapila, Markandiya rishi, (Saints);
    Sivavakiya (Siddhar);
    Varagunadeva, Sukeerthi, Veerasena, Chitrakeerthi, Uvanasuvan, Maandada, Vasuman., Anjatthuvasan (Kings);
    Nandagan (Brahmin);
    Vedas, Airawatha (Elephant vehicle of Indra) and others were bestowed with grace by the Lord.
  • Lord Shiva blessed Markandeyan by appearing before him in the form of Ardhanareeswarar.
    The saints Appar, Sundarar, Manikkavasakar and Sambandar visited and praised the Lord.
    Also Pattinathar and Karuvoor Thevar Sung Psalms about the Deity.
  • Parivaara Devata’s Shrines: Usually, a temple will have a Linga in the sanctum and Parivara Devatas in the temple around. Such is the grandeur and glory of this temple that it is considered that some of the grand temples by themselves in the vicinity constitute the parivara devata shrines of this temple. For instance, this temple is flanked by:
  • Tiruvalanchuzhi with its grand temple dedicated to Vinayaka,
  • Swamimalai with its revered shrine to Subramanya,
  • Thiruvarur the greatest of the Vitanka Stalams with Somaskandar,
  • Tiruvavaduthurai with its shrine to Nandikeswarar,
  • Sirkazhi with its shrine dedicated to Bhairavar,
  • Thiruseingalur (Thiruvoypadi) with its shrine to Chandikeswarar,
  • Suryanar koil with shrines to the nine celestial bodies Navagrahas
  • Alangudi known for its Dakshinamurti
  • Thirukkadaiyur for Ambal
  • Thirunallar for Saneeswaran
  • Patteeswaram for Durgai and
  • Chidambaram for Natarajar shrine respectively,

thus the entire Chola Nadu is treated as one temple

    • There are 3 temples having Marudha tree (anjanam) as their Sthala vruksham. They are:
      Malligarjuna (Thalai-top) at Srisailam, Andhra;
      Madhyarjuna (Idai-middle) at Thiru-Idai-Marudur (here) and
      Sputarjuna (kadai-end) at Thiruppudaimarudur Ambasamudram (Thirunelvelli Dt).
      This place is named as Idaimarudur as it is in between Srisailam and Ambasamudram. It is also called Shanbagaranya, Saktipura, Tapovana, Muktipura etc.

Marudha tree -  Sthala Vruksham Marudha tree - Sthala Vruksham

  • One of 275 Thevara Padal Petra sthalams
  • The temple has three famous praharams:
    (i) Aswamedha pradhakshina praharam – Going around this will give the effect of doing Ashwamedha yaga. This should be at least half a KM and is quite divine and popular here like Thiruvannamalai girivalam. Those in ill health believed to have been caused by evil spirits, are said to find relief through prayers offered in this shrine and through circumambulation of this outermost prakaram.
    (ii) Kodumudi praharam – Going around this will give the effect of going to Kailash.
    (iii) Pranava praharam – Going around this will give Moksha.
  • Sri Sridhara Iyyaval of Thiruvisainallur, a great scholar of sanscrit of 17th century, got into jeeva samadhi in the form of Jyothi swaroopa at the sanctum of this temple.

Worship procedure


There are as many as 35 Theerthams associated with this temple.

    • There are 3 places where a sacred well is in the form of a lion (Singa kinaru). Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Vrinchipuram and this place. It is called KrishnaKupam

Singa Kinaru (Lion well)Singa Kinaru  (Lion well)

    • Karunyamitra theertham on the east side of the temple, where Chittirai vizha Festival is important is the best known theertham.

Temple tank

  • Bana theertham on the north east  of Banapuram established by Rama where a bath in Vaikasi Pournami is very holy
  • Parachara theeertham (pidari kulam is its present name) at the junction of north and east streets where a bath in Marghazi is sacred
  • Soma theertham (now called Ayyanar Theertham) to the east of Karunyamitra theertham where a bath in Somesvara removes all sins
  • Rudra Theertham to the south of the sanctum
  • Kalyana theertham is the river Kaveri where the Idiols are bathed during “Thai Poosam”
  • Padma theertham to the south east of Somatheertham
  • Indhra theertham to the south of the temple
  • Pandava Theertham (Not traceable), Agni theertham, Kanaka theertham and Ganga Kupam are some of the several holy theerthas that adorn this town.

Inner Praharam 2 Inner Praharam 3 Inner Praharam 1 Sunlight peeping through the ceiling
IMG_0400 LingothbavarSir Durgai Sri Dakshinamoorthy IMG_0401


    • This temple is surrounded on four corners by lingams dedicated to Viswanathar, Rishipureeswarar, Aatmanathar and Chokkanathar and hence the name Pancha Linga stalam. One of the interesting beliefs held here is that an abhishekam performed to Chokkanathar to the accompaniment of the megaraagakurinji raaga would result in a bountiful monsoon.
    • There are also Lingams dedicated to each of the 27 nakshatrams (Birth Stars).  All these 27 birth stars installed a Lingam each and worshipped Lord Shiva here.  This is the temple for performing parihara pooja (remedial pooja) for the malefic effects of the Birth stars.
      Note: Apart from this, I have seen individual lingams for every star in Thiruvotriyur (North Chennai) temple

Star Lingams - Legend 1Star Lingams - Legend 2
Star Lingams 2

  • Apart from these, there are Agashya lingam, Kasyapa lingam, Romesa lingam, Chola lingam, Chera lingam, Sahasara Lingam and Pancha Bhuda lingam


The consort of Shiva is worshipped as Perumulai Naayaki or Brihad Sundara Kuchambal. The Ammbal Shrine is one of the Sakthi Bheetas. Chakkara Maha Meru is installed here.  Within the Ambal shrine complex, there is a separate shrine for Mookambika in the posture of doing penance built in the North Indian style. She is mentioned as Pidari Parameeswari in inscripitions. The main Mookambika temple is in Karnataka on the banks of the river Chowparnika and the other is, this one on the banks of the river Cauvery. Though the structure has been built in later days the goddess must have been there in olden times.
IMG_0434 Kasi Viswanathar and Moohambigai shrines Way to amman shrine

Brahma hathi Dhosham

Once Varaguna Pandiya’s horse accidentally trampled upon a Brahmin and killed him. The sin due to this, Brahma hathi (Hathi- sin caused by a murder) followed him wherever he went. The King prayed to Somasundarar at Madurai seeking relief from this sin.  Lord Somasundarar appeared in the King’s dream and directed him to pray Him at Thiruvidaimarudhur for relief.  Thiruvidaimarudhur was under Chola rule and they were bitter enemies of the Pandyas.  There was a war between the two in which the Cholas were defeated.  The King then visited the temple at Thiruvidaimarudhur as per the Divine guidance and prayed to Lord Mahalingeswarar. He entered the temple through the Eastern entrance and the Brahmahatti and the ghost could not enter the temple and waited outside the temple for the King to return.  As advised by Mahalingaswamy, the King left by the Western Gopuram (Tower) and hence got rid of the Brahmatti dosham and the Brahmin’s ghost. The Brahmahathi is waiting outside still in the south ornamental entrance (south thorana vayil) with head dishevelled and face immersed betwixt the knees. The king was relieved of his malady.
Brahma Harthi brahmaharthi
Varaguna Pandian
The colossal Nandi here merits mention also.
IMG_0391 IMG_0392
Puranas and Hymns

  • There are two Puranams – Sthala purana written by Sivakkolundu Deshika of Kottaiyar, Marudavana Puranam.
  • There is an Ula written by Mahavidvan Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai.
  • The Thevaram, Thiruvasagam, Thiruvidaimarudur Mummanikkovai, Thiruppazh, Thiruvidaimaurudur Pathirruppathanthathi, Thiruvidaimaurudur Kalambakam, Thiruvidaimarudur Nondi Natakam contain sufficient information about the temple.
  • Kandapuranam, Lingapurana, Brahmavaivartham and Sivarahasya mention the glory of the Lord. Sambandar has sung the glory of Samba Dakshinamurthy who is also enshrined here along with his consort.

From the life of Sri Aadhi Sankara (Thanks to Sri R.Janakiraman for informing this)

When Aadhi Sankara visited Thiruvidaimarudhur, he desired that the Mahalinga at the temple should itself declare the truth of Advaita so that the doubt in regard thereto lingering in the minds of some people might be dispelled. In response to the Jagadguru’s prayer, the Lord Siva appeared out of the Mahalinga, raised the right hand, and proclaimed the truth of Advaita three times thus: “satyam advaitam; satyam advaitam; satyam advaitam”.

A vimana over the entrance of the local Sankara Matha was put up, and within it were installed sculptured figures of the Mahalinga with the right hand raised and of Adi Sankara with palms joined. In the central courtyard of the Matha a shrine was constructed and in it was installed Sankara-paduka.

Pavai Vilakku

Ammuni Ammal, lover of Maratya king Pratap singh lit laksha deepam (1,00,000 lamps) and donated a Pavai Vilakku, a lamp in the shape of herself. The lamp measures 120 cm (height), 411 ¾ cher (Weight) in brass, designed and made by Kannara Aryaputra Patther. Her story is inscribed at the base of the lamp.
Pavai Vilakku - Legend Pavai Vilakku


Six worship services are offered during the course of a day. The Taippoosam festival in the month of Capricorn (January 15 through February 15) is of great significance here. The Bhramotsavam in the month of Vaikasi was rejuvenated through the efforts of the Tiruvavaduturai Aadeenam.

This temple is being maintained by Thiruvavadudurai Adheenam.


It is one of the biggest Thers (Temple Car) of Tamilnadu. It measures 89 feet from top (tip of the Kalasams) to bottom (ground level).The octagonal lower part of the ther, measuring 14½ feet (length) and 14½ feet was carved beautifully. The axles (cuboids) on the outer surface of the wheels measure 29 feet (length), 1¾ feet (width) and 1¾ feet (height). The rampant wooden horses which fastened in front of the Ther measure 25½ (length) and 8 feet (circumference of the body). The Kodimaram (flag post) on the Ther measures 24 feet (height). The inner large rope (Ul vadam) tied around the Ther measures 800 feet. The outer cable (large rope- Vadam) used to pull the Ther by 5000 people (man power) measures 1000 feet. The pedestal on the Ther measures 14½ x 14½. The wooden sculptures such as Panchamurtis, Kayilayakkatchi, Narasimhamurti, Bairava, Chandra, the worship of Mahalingeswara (seated beneath the Maruda tree) by Vinayaka and Ambikai, His Holiness Gurumaha sannidhanam and other sculptures are worth mentioning here. The Ther was donated to the temple by Amarsingh’s son Pratap singh(Simha) in 1800 AD. He had presented a silver Ratha (chariot) also. There is a small wooden Ther for procession during the Tamil month Adi.


  1. The matter by Sri Janakiraman, about Aadhi Sankara has been told to me also by my mother who hailed from Kadavasal and her ancestors were Scholars in Tiruvisalur.
    This fact “satyam Advaitam” has not been brought out in the Tamil Nadu Govt;s book by HR&C in the Thala Puranam, purchased in 2013 during my visit to the temple. I have seen the sculpture of one hand coming out of the linga at the sankara mutt pillar at the enttrance.
    May be the Aadheenams want to differentiate between Saivam and Advaitam?

  2. in November 2013 Pujya Sri Swami Dayanada Saraswati Swamigal conducted ” THIRUMURAI ODHUVAR MAANADU” for three days here at Thiruvidaimaruthur Temple successfully. It is also noted that Swamiji has involved to rejuvenate the Temple car and help to run it regularly.

  3. Great coverage and even better pictures. A very detailed sthala puranam. God Bless you and please continue this stellar service.

  4. Guruve Saranam

    Request all devotees to take note of the below :

    Vishnupathi Pooja Celebration : It happens once in three months. First of karthigai, Maasi, Vaigasi,Aavani.

    Place : Ammani Chatiram 27kms from Pattukottai. It is a seashore – in the ECR from Nagapattinam to Rameswaram route.

    Date : 16th Nov Tuesday Timing 3 am to 10.30 am. Thirumanjanam, Homam, Mass Tharpanam, Anna Dhanam will be done.

    Significance; Mother Sita invented Umbrella here and adorned it to Lord Rama & Lakshmana when they were returning from Lanka. Out of sheer Joy Great Hanumanji called her Ammani…first time here in the world….Chatram means kodai..umbrella..

    Also Ippaisi thula snanam and mudavan muzhukku can be done in Cauvery as it is true that mother Ganga gets rid of her pain
    by taking bath in Cauvery as Per Guru Agasthiar

    For clarifications pls Cnt 9380291999 or


  5. Sir,
    WE have been regularly visiting your blogs and very much enjoying all ( since I am above 55).
    One small doubt. I have been frequently visiting this temple , which got Kumbabishekam recent years. People used to say very freighteningly about “Bramahathi” and normally we do not see that shrine. Your foto session starts with that.
    I came to know that this was the first Temple to rent out for film shootings ( Initially only outer
    Praharams for non Tamil films).
    In my humble opinion this temple needs to be highlited by all in a grand way, since this temple has features , which no other Temple has.
    The Aadheenam is also very humbly requested to keep all Praharams opened , since many times I found that inner Praharams have been locked.
    We have also to thank Adheenam for having a small Guest House at the entrance for the pilgrims who can stay here and have a round for Temples.

    R Swaminathan

  6. Good description. Very vivid and beautiful photos. You could have added the links of Thivavaduthurai Adheenam with this temple also.

  7. Though I was born and brought up in Coimbatore I have been living in various places in Gujarat and Mumbai for the last 40 years. I accidentally came across this website and was immediately overwhelmed by the photos and the write up. For people like us, living away from home, this website will certainly kindle the nostalgic memories. How I wish I were there! Om namashchivaayaa.

  8. I have been brought up in Thiruvidaimaruthur for some years when I was a young boy. My Great Grand Parents lived in Thiruvidamaruthur till their end of their life. In fact my great grand father was the Temple Astrolger (Asthana Josiyar) and still his siblings are living in Thiruvidamaruthur. I recollect the days I had visited the grand temple without knowing its significance and having come to know the temple’s values, I feel that everyone who is living in Thiruvidaimaruthur or visited the temple are gifted souls. In fact the temple needs much attention from the Aadheenam and from the public. Let us all do our best to protect our heritage.

  9. Dear Raju Sir,

    Every post of yours is a delight to read. It is a treasure trove of information not just on the temple, but the history, architecture, the persons involved and all the components that gives a wholesome idea about the temple. Before I read your blog on thiruvidaimaruthur, the only information I had about this temple was the Brahmahathi dosa nivarthi wherein devotees enter through one way and leave through the other. But a kaleidoscope of pictures and information provided not just by you but so many other followers of your blog has kindled a deep desire to visit here very soon.
    If time permits please read my latest posts and offer your valuable feedback

  10. Sir,

    I am immensely pleased to see the photos of the temple , since my childhood days have been there.
    Old Saying is Thiruvidaimaruthur Theru Ashagu.
    The Town is the 4 madavilagams and 4 Veethis of the Temple. In fact , in this temple only, Four Gopurams Entrance will be busy.
    The Thirumanjana Veedhi is straight Main Road Crossing the Kumbakonam Mayavaram Highway
    running more than 500 meters leads to river Cauvery.
    One of the oldest Taluk Headquarters , said to be Donated by King Sarfoji to HH Govinda Dikshithar
    and HH Govindha Dikshithar ruled and his big residence is in delapilated state, near Thirubhuvanam border.
    All the Places with the word “Ayya” – ayyavaadi, ayyankulam, AND with the word “Govinda” Govindapuram,Govindakudi etc are the places of HH Govinda Ayyaavaal. Poojyashri Paramacharyaal belongs to his Clan .
    Hearty Thanks for an opportunity for the sharing of views.
    Padma Swaminathan
    ayyankoil AND

  11. Dear Mr. Raju,

    Excellant coverage. This one temple is which I always feel very closest to my heart by its sheer elegance and rich vedic & puranic history. My heart goes with this temple by the mere fact that at this very place Sridhara Iyyaval of Thiruvisanallur merged himself with the Mahalingam. please do add that this temple is also very much associated with the lives of Pattinaththar, Badhragiriyar, Baskaracharyar….

  12. Really wonderful! and so much information! I have visited this temple once, but in a hurry, since the temple was about to close. I realise only now how much I have missed seeing! Now, I have to make another trip to see all that!

  13. Excellent report with relevant pictures of

    Sri Mahalingaswami temple which is otherwise

    called Madhyarjunam. Kanchi Periyava once

    vividly described the location of this temple as

    te Moolavar in any Siva Temple with Sri Vinayar

    in south-west i.e. Thiruvalanchuzhi, Swamimalai

    in West,Suryanayanar Koil to the north-east and

    the temple famous for Nandi (I forget the name)

    to the east of Thiruvadaimarudur. I found this

    exp;lanation very interesting and I thought I

    could share this with all like minded people.

  14. You always cover the temples with utmost care, without missing any of the details. We pray to almighty, to bless you and give enough strength to caover all temples

  15. Dear Sri Raju,

    Thanks a lot for the nice roundup on the holy visit to Sri Thiruvidaimaruthur Mahalingaswamy temple. I want to mention 2 points.

    1. In one of the photoes, a vimanam is shown in North Indian style. (Top right photo after the ‘Ambal’ paragraph – to the right of vimanam in South Indian style). I wonder if there is any significance to this.

    2. While reading the Adi Sankara’s life history, I remember having read about an incident when Sri Mahalingaswamy of Thiruvidaimaruthur cleared the doubts of those who doubted the Advaita philosophy. A hand appeared from the Moolavar and ‘Sathyam Advaitam’ was heard three times as a voice from the Moolavar. If deemed fit, this may also be added here for the benefit of readers.

    Please see the following links for the above incident :

    Click to access Sankara2.53121913.PDF

    (Page 39-41)

    (At around 3 pages before the end of the article)

    I pray God for a long and healthy life for you so that you may undertake many more such holy yatras.

    With Regards,

    R. Janakiraman.

    • The one in North Indian style is of Moohambigai shrine and that of South Indian style is Kasi Viswanathar shrine.

      • sir i am regular visiter of your blog i would like to know benefit of worshipping SAHASRALINGSM(1008 LINGAMS in 1 LINGAM) thank you sir

    • I am always inspired by the blogs of Sri.Raju and have been in awe of his excellent reports.
      The advaitham sivam sivalingam is housed nearby in the Kanchi kamakoti peetam vedapatasalai at tiruvidaimarudhur to the left of the main temple complex.The patashla was being renovated when I visited it a couple of years ago and on the roof of the building , an eager student took me up.I also found an intresting plaque in the mutt which was installed by my wife’s grandfather in the memory of his mother many years ago and this was a real divine revelation to all of us.!! so i will always remember this quaint sivalingam

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