thiruveezhimizhalai is a small village located about 28 kms to the south east of kumbakonam in nagappattinam district. it is also 30 kms from thiruvarur and 24 kms from mayavaram aka mayiladuthurai.
other famous temples in the vicinity include koothanur sarasvathi temple about 12 kms to the east , thirunallar saniswaran temple about 25 kms to the east, srivanjiyam , nannilam , karuveli, chirukudi, kadagampadi, koondhalur and numerous other temples.
a big temple with 4 prakarams with a big pond right outside the main east entrance.
thiruveezhimizhalai ought to be very special to attract all the thevaram singers with nothing but the allure of lord shiva himself…
moolavar also called as veezhinatheshwarar,viliyalagar,nerthirarpaneshwarar
urchavar – kalyanasundaranar
iraivi – sundaragujambikai
nethra in sanskrit means eye and since vishnu worshipped with his, the lord came to be called nethra arpaneswarar. arpanam means offering.
vishnu it is said got his chakraayudha from the lord here. vishnu once went to shiva and requested that he get a more powerful chakrayudha similar to which shiva used to killed jalandra asura. shiva told him to go to the dejini forest , veezhi in tamil to do penance.
vishnu obliged and started his penance here and was worshipping the lord with 1000 lotus flowers a day. the lotuses would come from the lotus pond he created using a tributary of cauvery river and the other stream called muttai aaru which used to flow near the sannidhi itself.
one day shiva hid a flower and upon seeing one missing , vishnu plucked his right eye and used as the missing flower. a pleased shiva appeared before vishnu and gave the chakra weapon. the name of the place is often confused for vizhi ( nethra – eye ) with veezhi which is a plant.
the name veezhi mizhalai and veezhinathar comes from the sthala vruksham or temple tree which is called veezhi in tamir and dejini in sanskrit. in thretha yugam sandalwood tree used to be the sthala vruksham , in dwapara yugam shenbaga tree , in the present kali yugam veezhi plant is the sthala vruksham. it is said in the next yugam jackfruit tree will be the sthala vruksham !
Bhoo Kailasam, kalyanapuram, panchakarapuram, dhakchinakasi, shanmangala thalam, aakashanagaram, panasaranyam, nerthirarpanapuram, dejineevanam
worshipped by bramma and many other rishis.
kathyayani marriage to shiva
kathyayana rishi worshipped the god and goddess here with his wife forming a parnashala near the banks of the theertha pushkarini or holy tank near the temple. he was childless. he prayed to the goddess and when the goddess appeared before him to grant a wish, he requested that she herself should come as his child. goddess granted the wish and appeared as a beautiful child on one of the neelorpalam flowers on the holy tank.rishi and his wife happily named the child kathyayani and raised her.
when the child attained the age of marriage , he prayed to the god again to marry kathyayani. shiva said to him that he would comeo on the magam nakshtra on a chithirai month. fulfilling the rishi’s desire, shiva came with vishnu , bramma and all the devas and bootha ganas to marry kathyayani. the marraige happened in a grand manner.
rishi by now had a doubt whether it was the lord himself. shiva knowing this appeared before the rishi with the eye of vishnu in one hand as a lotus flower , a vilampazham ( a local fruit that only grows in india and other tropical places ) in full bridegroom ( maappillai in tamil ) attire. this pose became known as the maappillai swami and is the primary urchavar in the temple.
swetha kethu becomes a chiranjeevi
in north india there used to be king by name jayanthan. since he didn’t have a child , he worshipped lord shiva and as a result got a beautiful male child and named it swetha kethu. but it was written in his horoscope that he would live only until his 16th birthday just like markandeyan. to overcome that, the king got advise from rishis that the kid would have to go south and worship in the dejini vanam and the lord will take care of him. swetha kethu obliged and was worshipping shiva.
the rest of the story goes like markandeyas story in thirukkadaiyur where yama comes to get the child and the kid hugs shiva and the leash covers both. shiva kills yama and then resurrects him upon request so he continues with his job.
sibi chakravarthy brought 500 brahmans to this place and had them live and worship the lord here and it is said while he was offering food to the 500 , the lord himself came as one of them to get it. chidambaram has 3000 brahmans , aakkoor has a 1000 , thiruveezhimizhalai has 500 and aavudaiyar koil had 300 such brahmans in old days.
mizhalai kurumbar , kamadhenu and manu
one of the 63 nayanmars named mizhalaikkurumbar offered a vilangani each day to the lord and got his mukthi. kamadhenu came to the sthalam along with vasishta rishi and worshipped the lord with its milk. the milk became known as muttaiyaru in thamir and joined the arisil aaru river near the lord’s sanctum. it can be seen even today.
manu came to worship the lord here and created his own lingam about 5 kms to the south east of this place. the place came to be known as manu thavam cheri meaning the place where manu did his penance. today colloquially it is known as marudhavaanjeri.
appar and gnanasambandhar
both the nayanmars stayed and worshipped the lord here for a long time. once during then, the area faced a draught. both nayanmars were worried and went to sleep. in their dreams lord appeared and said he will give a gold coin each day to both and they can buy their groceries with that. felt blessed, gnansambandhar got his coin in the east side and appar in the west side.
one can see the peedams where the coin was given even today.
they would give the coin to their disciples and have them buy groceries and cook. it went on. one day sambandhar noticed that it took time to cook in his group while the devotees in appar’s group ate on time. for that the cook said appar’s coin is bright and shiny and ours is not and it is checked before being paid. sambandhar then sung ‘vaasi theerave kaasu nalguveer’ meaning please give us a better coin so disciples can have food and worship on time.
sambandhar went to shiva and asked why. for that the lord said , appar consciously overcame all difficulties before coming to me and you are a blessed child. so i am giving such coin to show the world his devotion. he was glad with the answer.
lord showing the sirkazhi vimanam to sambandhar
one day sambandhar wanted to go back to sirkazhi his birth place to see thoniyappar . knowing this the lord showed him the vimanam ( the tower over the sanctum ) to sambandhar and said i will show you the temple here and you don’t have to go. so there is a coinage kaazhi ( as in sirkaazhi ) pathi ( half ) veezhi ( as in thiruveezhimizhalai ) paathi.
other legends and details
tirugnasambandar,tirunavukarasar,sundarar,manikavasagar,senthanar & arunagirinathar have sung in praise of nethrarppaneswarar.
1.the kalyana mandapam inside the complex is an engineering feat where bats cannot hang.
2.there is a staircase on the east side to go to the south side of the maha mandapam and it has seven steps. it represents the week and a staircase from the south side to go to the front hall. the 12 steps on it represent the months and the 9 step on the north side represents the navagraha.
3.this sthalam has twenty three sacred inscriptions including daevaram -1st – tirumurai