Located at Vaitheeswaran Kovil in the Tamil Nadu state, Vaitheeshwaran Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Shiva is worshipped as Vaidyanathar or Vaitheeswaran meaning the “God of healing” and it is believed that prayers to Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases. Vaitheeswaran is a Tamil derivative from vaidya (Doctor) and Ishvara (God/Master). Facing towards West the presiding deity is Sri vaidyanathan is the God of Healing. When pronouncing in Tamil, it sounds like “vaideeswaran”. It is one of the nine Navagraha (nine planets) temples and is associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka).
Legend of the Vaitheeshwaran Temple
During the Ramayana period, Rama, Lakshmana and Saptarishi have worshipped the deity in this place. There is a pond at this temple called Jatayu kundam (pot of Jatayu having holy ash of Vibhuti). One of the nine planets, Angaraka (Mars), suffered from leprosy and was cured by Vaidhyanathaswamy and from then on it is treated as one of the Navagraha Temples for planet Angaraka. Parvati, the consort of Shiva, asked her son, Subramanya to appear with one face from his regular appearance of six faces. When he did so, she was pleased and presented him with vel (a weapon) to slay the demons. Subramanya overcame the asura Surapadman (a demon) and in the war, his army was severely injured. Shiva came out as the healer Vaitheeswaran and cured the wounds. As per another legend, Shiva came as Vaidya, a doctor, and cured the leprosy of a staunch devotee named Angahara.
History of the Vaitheeshwaran Temple
The temple received contributions from various rulers of the region such as Vikrama Chola, Vira Rajendra Pandya, Achuthappa Nayak (1560-1614 AD), and Prince Maratha Thulaja. The temple has five inscriptions that mainly belong to the Kulothunga Chola I period (1070-1120 CE). The inscription on the steps of Subramanya shrine records the shutter of the sluice at Sattainathapuram measures 35 inches in length and 8 inches in breadth.
Architecture of the Vaitheeshwaran Temple
The temple has a five-tiered gopuram (temple tower), two inner gopurams and large precincts. The central shrine is that of Vaitheeswaran present as lingam in the inner most sanctum. The first precinct around the sanctum has the metal image of Subramanya, worhsipped here as Muthukumara Swamy. The other metal images in the sanctum are of Nataraja, Somaskanda, Angaraka and stone sculptures of Durga, Dakshinamoorthy, Surya (Sun god), Jatayu, Vedas, Sampati.
Festivals of the Vaitheeshwaran Temple
- Brahmotsavam (annual festival) (28 days) is celebrated during the Tamil calendar months of Pankuni .
- Thai festival (10 days) is celebrated during months of January–February.
- Karthigai festival during November is also celebrated with pomp and glory.
- Kantha Sashti, a festive occasion for Subramanya, is celebrated in the shrine of Muthukumaraswamy.
Temple Timings of the Vaitheeshwaran Temple
The temple is open from 06:00 AM to 11:00 AM in the morning and 04:00 PM to 08:30 PM in the evening.
How to Reach the Vaitheeshwaran Temple
The nearest airport to Vaitheeswarankoil is Pondicherry Airport which is 91.1 km away. Other nearby airports include Tiruchirapalli (122.1 km), Madras (203.6 km), Coimbatore (294.6 km) and Bengaluru (312.8 km).
From Chennai side, take Cholan Express (train no:16853/16854) to Vaitheeswaran Koil. From Coimbatore or Madurai side, take any train that goes to Mayiladuthurai. There is a direct train from Mysore/Bangalore and Coimbatore that goes up to Mayiladuturai, 14 km from Vaitheeswaran Koil. Temple is 1.3 km from Vaitheeswaran Railway station.
There are frequent buses to this place from Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam.