Lord Subramanya as Singaravelar allures his devotees with his bewitching smile at Sikkal, a holy shrine near Tiruvarur in Tamil Nadu. Let us explore the genesis of the temple.
Sikkal was also called Mallikaranyam in olden days as the area had jasmine flowers in abundance. A curse befell on Kamadhenu the celestial cow who descended to the earth to perform penance to get rid of the curse. Thus she chose Sikkal, drained her milk which formed into a tank and she took the form of a tiger and roamed aimlessly in the fragrant forest.
Sage Vasishta and Kamadhenu
One day Sage Vasishta was passing through the forest and since it was time for his ablutions he searched for a pond where he could have his bath and perform the rituals. The sweet scented fragrance of the flowers pervaded the atmosphere and the sage felt the presence of God there. He bumped into the holy pond of milk took a dip and did his ablutions. Meanwhile Kamadhenu in the form of a tiger came in contact with the sage and was redeemed of her curse. She regained her original form.
Since the sage wanted to worship Lord Shiva he made a model of Shiva Lingam, infused life into it and meditated. Pleased by his devotion Shiva appeared in a invisible form and a voice was heard which declared ”I have been caught.” The invisible voice transformed into a visible figure which was the Lord himself. Thus he is called Navaneeteswarar as he emerged from the cream. His consort is Vel Nedunganni Ambal. Later on devotees constructed a temple which is the present shrine.
The holy spot is called Sikkal as the word in tamil means catch. Since God was caught here the place is called Sikkal. There is an interesting story as to why Sikkal came to be synonymous with Singaravelar
One of the foremost shrines dedicated to Lord Subramanya, Sikkal attracts the devout multitude from far off places. Lord Subramanya waged a battle against a demon Padmasura and in order to vanquish him the Lord came to Sikkal . Here he acquired a divine power to kill the demon. He sat in deep meditation propitiating Goddess Sathyayatakshi -Parvathi happy with devotion presented him a single headed spear-Vel to kill the demon.
Subramanya killed the demon after a fierce war and since the demon was a Brahmin the Lord was cursed with brahmahatthi dosha. He lost his color and became black. He got rid of the curse by taking a holy dip in the milky pond and regained his original color. Sikkal has been sanctified by the presence of Subramanya.
Subramanya is called Singaravelar because as Singara in tamil means -beautiful and since he is adorned with a spear -Vel in his hand, he is called Singaravelar.
Visit of the sages
Many sages like Viswamithrar, Vasishta, Agasthya, Karthikeyanar and Naradar worshipped the deities.
Goddess Neduganni Ambal flashes an enchanting smile and blesses the devotees. Worshipping her vouchsafes health , prosperity and progeny. Since the eyes of the Goddess are in the shape of Vel she is called Vel Neduganni ambal. There is a separate sanctum sanctorum for lord Thyagaraja in a sitting posture.
There are a myriad holy ponds in the vicinity of the temple. They are Amirtha pushkarini-Milky pond, Gaya theertham, Lakshmi ambal kulam and Cauvery.
It is believed that having a holy dip in the ponds will wash off our sins.
Skanda shasthi is carnival time here.
Sikkal is a vibrant sacred spot near Tiruvarur.