theerthandathanam is a small village on the shore of bay of bengal about 12 kms north of thondi on east coast road in tamir nadu. it is 61 kms from ramanathapuram and 113 kms from rameswaram , a major pilgrimage center in tamir nadu.
periyanaayagi sametha sarvatheertheswarar shiva temple is a gem in the midst of the village.
theerthandathanam is associated with the legend of ramayana as with other temples around the rameswaram region.
when an exhausted rama and lakshmana came here dying of thirst while tracing to lanka , sea lord varuna created them a pond called sarva theertham with fresh water and quenched their thirst. hence the place came to be known as theerthanda thaanam in tamir. the pond is still here to the north of the temple.
hearing rama is here , sage agasthya came to see him from nearby thiruppunavasal , a temple sung in thevaram and inquired about his quest. upon knowing that rama is going to lanka to fight ravana , agasthiyar said it is impossible to beat a staunch shaivite like ravana unless rama worshipped shiva with the sacred namashivaya mantra.
rama happily obliged and worshipped shiva who gave them the kailash darshan. upon seeing this varuna consecrated a temple and requested the lord to fulfil the wishes of devotees who take a dip in the holy sarva theertham and worship him. shiva is gracing everyone looking west towards thiruppunavasal.
shiva is big majestic idol and so are the rest of the sculptures in the temple. the temple doesnt see much visitation on normal days . the temple security lives in a nearby house and he will be glad to show us around.
it is sad to see the pond dry though it has never occurred in the past as per a local person accompanying us to the temple. he said it would always have water though other ponds and rivers in the area dried. such a severe drought. we could see locals buying water from a truck. what an irony ?!