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Sevvai

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Mangala is the god of Mars, the red planet. Mars is also called Angaraka (‘one who is red in colour’) or Bhauma (‘son of Bhumi’) in Sanskrit. He is the god of war and is celibate. He is considered the son of Prithvi or Bhumi, the Earth Goddess. He is the owner of the Aries and Scorpio signs, and a teacher of the occult sciences (Ruchaka Mahapurusha Yoga). He is of Tamas Guna in nature and represents Energetic action, confidence and ego. He is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident, club, lotus and a spear. His Vahana (mount) is a ram. He presides over ‘Mangal-var’ or Tuesday. There is a famous pilgrim place Mangalnath (in Ujjain,Madhya Pradesh, India). People who suffer from troubles related to Mangal Graha in their horoscope visit there on Tuesday. By worshiping & satisfying Mangal Graha, devotees get blessings & mercy of Mangal Devta. Only two temples of Mangal devata in India, of which one is in Amalner(Maharashtra) and another in Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Tamilnadu.

Vaitheeswaran Temple or Pullirukkuvelur is a Hindu templededicated to the god Shiva located in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Vaitheeswaran or the “God of healing” and it is believed that prayers to Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases. It is one of the nineNavagraha (nine planets) temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). The village is also known for palm leaf astrology called Naadi astrology in Tamil. It is located 7 kilometer from Sirkali , 235 kilometer from Chennai, 27 km from Chidambaram, 110 km from Thanjavur and 16 km from Mayiladuthurai.

The holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex contains nectar and a holy dip is believed to cure all diseases. The temple is revered by the Tevaram hymns of 7th century Saiva nayanars – Tamil saint poets and is also classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam (temple revered by the nayanars).

Legend

During the Ramayana period, Rama, Lakshmana and Saptarishi have worshipped the deity in this place. It is believed that Rama and his brother Lakshmana cremated the vulture king Jatayu who was killed byRavana when he tried to prevent the abduction of Sita) at 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 theNavagraha 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. Like Panneer ilai Vibhuthi of Tiruchendur Temple,The “Tiruchaandu Urundai” (called in tamil) which is covered with Vibhuti of deity heals various incurable diseases.It can be procured at the temple.

The Temple

The temple has a 5-tier gopuram (temple tower) 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.The shrine of Thaiyalnayaki who stands with the medicinal oil to cure the diseases of the devotees is present in the second precinct facing south. The large precinct also has a small shrine to Dhanvantari and shrine of Angaraka in stone sculpture. The southern gateway from this precint leads to the temple tank and directly faces the Thaiyalnayaki shrine. The Sthala Vriksha (temple tree) is margosa (Azadirachta indica) which possesses medicinal properties. It is located in the eastern gateway of the temple. The eastern gateway also has the shrine of Adi (original) temple that has a smaller replica of the main shrines. There is a fine metal image of Gangavisarjanar inside the temple.

Description: This Shivastalam is a well known, well visited shrine with towering Gopurams; hailed as one of the 9 Navagraha Stalams, sacred to Mars – Angarakan it is visited by thousands. It is located in close proximity to Sirkazhi and Chidambaram. The Singaravelar – Subramanya shrine is also of importance here. There are several literary works about this shrine. Ramalinga Adigalar has sung its praises. Tiruvenkaadu is also located near Vaideeswaran Koyil.

This temple is rich in legend and tradition. There are several works in Tamil dedicated to this shrine. It was visited by Tirugnanasambandar, Appar. Arunagirinathar’s Tiruppugazh hymns also speak of the glory of this shrine. So do the hymns of saints such as Kumaragurupara Swamigal and Ramalinga Adigalaar. Poems of Kaalamega Pulavar and Padikkasu Tambiran also speak of the glories of this shrine.

Legends: Shiva is considered to be the Divine Healer Vaidyanathar. His consort Thaiyalnaayaki is said to accompany him with a vessel containing medicinal oil. There is also a shrine dedicated to Dhanwantari here. The prasadam offered at this temple goes by the name Tiruchaandu Urundai and it is considered to be a panacea capable of curing many ailments. It is made of ashes taken out of the homa kundam in front of the Subramanya shrine. Rituals are performed where a mixture of earth and ashes from the homakundam are shaped into pills and placed at the Thaiyalnayaki shrine and distributed.

Another prasadam offered here is sandal paste mixed with saffron again at the Murugan shrine here. It is referred to as Nettirapidi Chandanam.Offereings of salt and pepper are made in this shrine. Offerings of unrefined sugar are placed in the temple tank Siddhamrita Theertham.

Rig Vedam (Irukku), Jatayu (Pull), Sambadi, the Surya (Oor) and Skanda (Vel) are said to have worshipped Shiva here and hence the name PullirukkuVelur..Rama Lakshmana and the Saptarishis are also said to have worshipped Shiva here. It is also believed that Rama performed the last rites to Jatayu here. The nectar with which the Sidhas worshipped Shiva is said to have flown into the Sidhamrita Theertham.

The Temple: This is a vast temple with several mandapams and gopurams. The Navagrahams are in a single file as in Tiruvarur and a few other places.

Deities: Vaidyanathaswamy and ThaiyalNayaki are the presiding deities of this temple. TheSelvamuthukkumaraswamy shrine here is also considered to be of importance. There are Shivalingams said to have been worshipped by Rama, Jatayu, Skanda, Surya and Angaraka.

Angaaraka: The Angaaraka shrine here is also of great significance and is indeed unique to this temple. A bronze of image of Angaaraka is housed in this shrine and is taken out in procession on a goat mount every Tuesday. Angaaraka represents the planet Mars and is described as one with a fiery red complexion attired in red and as the overlord of the zodiac signs of Aries and Scorpia and as being the strongest in the zodiac sign of Capricorn.The Dharumapuram Adhinam has made several endowments to this temple.

Inscriptions from the period of Vikrama Chola (12th century CE), the Nayakas (16th century CE) and the Mahrathas (18th century) are seen in this temple.

Worship: Six worship services are offered each day. Kartikai is celebrated in great splendour here. The final worship service (arthayama puja) is offered to Skanda before being offered to Shiva.The annual Bhrahmotsavams are celebrated in the months of Pankuni and Thai. Skanda Sashti is celebrated with grandeur here.

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