History

Thappalampuliyur is a small village situated 5 km south east of Thiruvarur in Tamil Nadu, India.Located near Thanjavur in Tamilnadu, Thiruvarur is an ancient shrine steeped in mysticism. It is rich in legend, history and tradition. Thappalampuliyur village has a one thousand year old Siva temple. Lord Shiva is known as Vyagrapureeswara and Goddess Parvathi is known as Nithya Kalyani Amman. There is a east facing Saniswara Bhagavan Sannadhi which is unique in the temple. EKa Patha Rudrar sannidhi facing north is another speciality in the temple. There is a big tank in front of the temple. The temple also has Lord Nataraja carved in granite stone. It is one of the 9 Vyagrapurams where Sage Vyagrapadar installed Lord Shiva and commissioned a temple. All the 9 villages have names ending in Puliyur.

The Siva temple at Thappalampuliyur is one of the 9 conscecrated by ancient Sage Vyagrapada. The unique feature of these installations are that the name of these villages end in Puliyur and there is an idol of Lord Nataraja carved in stone in these temples.

The age of the original Siva temple is unknown but about 900 years ago the present granite structure of Lord Siva sannidhi was built by Vikrama Chozha, the great great grandson of Emperor Raja Raja Chozha, who built the famous Big temple at Thanjavur. Vikrama is son of Kulothunga Chozha I, who was the first king of the Chalukya Chozha dynasty and who inherited the throne from the medieval Chozhas.  The village is known for the year round festivities and celebrations which enabled the locals to bond together.

Dr Nagaswamy and his team of Archeological Survey of India, in the 1970s, decrypted the writings on the wall and found that Vikrama Chozhan had built the temple and allotted abundant funds and lands – both wet and dry – for the upkeep of the temple.They also opined that original structure stopped with the Shiva sannidhi with the architectural pillars and Kalyani Amman sannidhi and the adjoining structures were added later. Perhaps the goddess was housed in the sannidhi adjacent to Lord Vyagrapureeswara, where the Nataraja bronze idol used to be kept. It is also possible that there was no separate sannidhi for the Goddess, as was the practice in Chozha temples in those days. The Lord & His Consort were worshiped in unison in those days. One can notice the distinctly different archeological styles and differences in materials of construction between the older Shiva structure and that of the Goddess. Another key factor in coming to this conclusion is that there is a Nandhi idol within the older structure and the bigger Nandhi idol outside must have been added later when the temple was expanded.

It is also to be noted that there is no ‘Navagraha Sannidhi’ in the temple. As per the old Chozha practice, there are idols of Surya and Sanneswara baghawans only. Incidentally Lord Saneeswara is placed alongside Lord Shiva in the front, facing east. Such a combination is found only in Tirunallar, the famous abode for Lord Saneeswara and a few other sites like Tirunellikkaval and Thiru Kollikkadu. The idol in the temple is also equally powerful and benign. Lord Saneeswara, facing East is known as ‘Anugraha Moorthy’. Poojas on Saturdays and lighting of special lamps with Sesame (Ellu) packed in small bundles and soaked in oil.

The Durga idol installed in the northern periphery of Siva temple is also special. She is known as Vishnu Durga having Changu and Chakram in Her hands and special abhishekama/poojas are offered to Her, including the rare Durga Sahasranamam.


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