Vaitheeswaran Koil Temple, also known as the Sri Vaitheeswaran Kovil, is a significant Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The presiding deity, Sri Vaidyanathan, is worshipped as Vaitheeswaran, the “God of healing”. According to local belief, prayers to Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases, and the temple is known for its healing properties.
The temple is located in the village of Vaitheeswaran Koil, about 7 kilometers from Sirkazhi, in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is one of the nine Navagraha temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). The temple complex includes the Siddhamirtham tank, which contains holy water believed to cure all diseases. The village is also known for Naadi astrology, and the temple is revered in the Tevaram hymns of the 7th-century Saiva Nayanars. With its rich history and association with healing, Vaitheeswaran Koil Temple is a popular destination for devotees and tourists alike.
The Vaitheeswaran Temple has several legends associated with it, which are deeply rooted in Hindu mythology. One of the most popular legends is related to Angaraka or Mars, one of the nine planets in Hindu astrology. According to the legend, Angaraka suffered from leprosy and was cured by Lord Vaidhyanathaswamy, the presiding deity of the temple. From then on, the temple is considered one of the Navagraha temples associated with the planet Mars.
Another legend involves Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, who requested her son Subramanya to appear with one face instead of his usual six faces. Pleased with his compliance, Parvati presented him with a weapon called the vel, which he used to defeat the demon Surapadman. During the battle, Subramanya’s army was severely injured, and Lord Shiva appeared as Vaitheeswaran to heal their wounds.
There is also a legend that Shiva came to the temple as a doctor, Vaidya, to cure the leprosy of a devotee named Angahara. It is said that Jatayu, Muruga, and Surya, the Sun god, also worshipped at the temple.
The name of the temple, Pullirukkuvelur, is believed to have originated from a combination of the names of the entities that worshipped there – Pul (Jatayu), Irukku (Irukkuvedam), Vel (representing Muruga), and Ooor (place).
Overall, the legends associated with the Vaitheeswaran Temple highlight the healing powers of Lord Shiva and the temple’s significance as a place of pilgrimage for those seeking spiritual and physical healing.
The Vaitheeswaran Temple has a long history and has received contributions from various rulers of the region, including Vikrama Chola, Vira Rajendra Pandya, Achuthappa Nayak, and Maratha prince Thulaja. The temple has five inscriptions mainly belonging to the period of Kulothunga Chola I. The temple is also revered by the Tevaram hymns of the 7th Century Saiva Nayanars. There are inscriptions from the period of Vikrama Chola (12th century CE), the Nayakas (16th century CE), and the Mahrathas (18th century). The temple is maintained by Dharmapuram Adheenam, a Saivite mutt or monastic institution located in the town of Mayiladuthurai. As of 1987, there were a total of 27 Shiva temples under the control of the adheenam.
The temple covers a total land area of 10.7 acres and has a 5-tier gopuram (temple tower) and large precincts. Lord Vaitheeswaran is present as a lingam in the innermost sanctum. The shrine of Thaiyalnayaki, who stands with medicinal oil to cure the diseases of the devotees, is present in the second precinct facing south. The temple also houses metal images of Subramanya, Nataraja, Somaskanda, Angaraka, and stone sculptures of Durga, Dakshinamoorthy, Surya (Sun god), Jatayu, Vedas, and Sampati. The temple is guarded by Bhairava on the East, Veerabhadran on the west, Karpage Vinayagar on the South, and Mother Kali on the north. The Navagrahas are in a row and Chevvai is present in two forms. The temple has several mandapams and four rajagopurams, and a significant feature in its construction is that the western tower allows the rays of the Sun to fall on the Shivalingam (Shiva Linga) for a few days every year.
The Vaitheeswaran temple is famous for its worship and festivals. During the Thirukalyanam festival, devotees take a holy dip in the temple tank before worshipping Vaitheeswaran. Local beliefs suggest that dissolving jaggery in the water can cure skin diseases. The temple is also known for the tonsure ceremony, where children are shaved for the first time to promote proper growth. The practise of jamming salt and pepper in front of the temple mast and the pot near the temple tank is also followed. Each priest in the temple associates themselves with the devotees and perform worship on their behalf, unlike other temples in South India. The holy soil rounded with ash and the medicine given with chandan and saffron are believed to cure all diseases. The annual Brahmotsavam festival is celebrated during the Tamil calendar months of Pankuni and Thai (January–February), while the Karthigai festival is celebrated during November with great pomp and glory. Additionally, the shrine of Muthukumaraswamy celebrates the festive occasion of Kantha Sashti for Subramanya.
Vaitheeswaran Koil Temple Timings:
The Vaitheeswaran Koil Temple is open to visitors every day with specific timings. The temple opens at 6:00 AM and remains open until 1:00 PM in the morning. In the evening, the temple opens again at 4:00 PM and closes at 9:00 PM.
How to reach
Vaitheeswaran Koil can be reached by various modes of transportation:
The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport, which is around 170 km from Vaitheeswaran Koil. Another option is Chennai International Airport, which is around 235 km from the temple.
The Vaitheeswaran Koil temple is located around 1.3 km from Vaitheeswaran Railway Station. Other nearest railway station is Mayiladuthurai Junction, which is around 16 km from Vaitheeswaran Koil. From the station, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
Vaitheeswaran Koil is well-connected by road. It is located on the National Highway 32 and can be easily reached by car or bus. Buses and taxis are available from major cities in Tamil Nadu to Vaitheeswaran Koil.