Thiruvaiakavur is 17 Kms from Kumbakonam, 45 from Thanjavur and 7 from Swamimalai. Praying to Vilvavaneswarar, the devotee achieves relief from depression and peace of mind. It is believed that praying in this temple on the day of Shivaratri wards off the fear of death. This was a unique temple with four Nandis (the sacred Bulls ) all facing the entrance Gopuram, with the backs facing The Lord.
Once in the town of Thiruvaikavur, there lived a hermit who meditated upon Lord Shiva. One day when he was in penance at the temple, a deer ran upto him and sought refuge from the hunter who was following it. The hermit took pity upon the deer and prayed to Lord Shiva to save the deer.
As per his devotees’ wish the Lord sent a tiger to attack the hunter. Now it was the hunter’s turn to run and he ran for dear life from the tiger. Spotting a tree, the hunter climbed up the tree and sat on the tallest branch. But the tiger never left the tree. It sat underneath the tree waiting for the hunter to get down. Night fell but the tiger sat there. The hunter was now worried that he would fall from the tree if he fell asleep. So he began plucking a leaf off the tree to keep himself from sleeping throughout the night.
Now that night was Shivaratri and the hunter covered the sleeping tiger with the leaves from the Bilva tree on which he was sitting. In the place of the tiger there was a shiva linga. Since he had spent the whole night dropping the leaves on the linga, the Lord decided to bless him. According to fate, the hunter was destined to die the next morning, but Lord Shiva is said to have taken the form of Dakshinamurthi and blew away the advances of Lord Yama, the god of death. Nandi also followed suit when his master blew Lord Yama with wind from his nostrils.
Thus the hunter was saved from death. The temple in Tiruvaikavur has Nandi looking out at the entrance, unlike other temples where Nandi sits looking at his master.
Specialities of the Temple:
Goddess grants. She is all blessingful called Valaikainayaki – protector of all beings. The devotees should submit their grievances to the Goddess on Fridays and Tuesdays between 6.00 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.and perform Archanas. You can tell her your problems, standing by the side of Sri Chakra Yanthra and one can feel the response from the Mother.
The priest who is performing the puja in the Lord’s section, will come to the devotee here to say that the aspiration of the devotee would be fulfilled within a certain time and many have experienced the effect, it is said. The Vedas are in the form of Vilwa leaves. According to belief, the Vedas surrendered to the Lord to protect them from destruction when the world comes to end – Oozhi Kalam. They have taken the form Vilva trees as advised by the Lord. Hence the name Vilvaranyam to the place and Vilvavaneswarar to the Lord. The Lord is swayambu here, not sculpted. A temple that began the Sivarathri festival and followed then in all Shiva Temples then. Nandhi faces the opposite direction here. No place for the Navagrahas. The Dwarabalakas (watch and ward) are but Vishnu and Brahma themselves.
As the Trimurthys are here, the temple has special significance. As the couples sit face to face during their wedding, the Lord and Goddess are facing each other in this temple. The other significance is that Dakshnamurthy here is in a standing position with a cane in hand. Bathing or spilling the water of the tank theertha here assures relief from illnesses. They are also relieved from bad spirits. This is the temple where Saptha Madhas (seven maidens) worshipped. Lord Muruga has six faces here. The Vel, peacock, the hand lines (rekhas) nails are very clear in the idol made of a single stone. The peacock is turning on the left side. Built by the Chozha king, the temple is praised by the Thevaram saints and Arunagirinathar. The temple is 2000 years old. Siva and Parvathi stays here with all affinity. Thiruvaikavur is a place where there will be no fear of Lord Yama the God of Death.
Abishek offered in oil,milk, curd, tender coconut etc. Devotees offer dhotis to the Lord and sarees to the Goddess. The preparations offered to the Gods are distributed to the visitors. General pujas are done. The wealthy offer donations for the maintenance of the temple.
2 days Masi Maha Sivarathri (February-March) – Theerthavari on Amavasya days – Procession of Panchamurthis at night in a chapparam (The Rishab, the deity, Goddess all made of palm leaves only) – Arudra Dharsan in December- January – more famous is the Thiruvadirai, Vijayadasami, Thirukarthikai – The crowd will be huge during Pradosham days – Deepavali, Pongal and Tamil and English New Year days are also celebrated devotionally with special pujas in the temple.
How To Reach Thiruvaikavur
Thiruvaiakavur is 17 Kms from Kumbakonam, 45 from Thanjavur and 7 from Swamimalai.Thiruvaikavur is on the Kumbakonam-Thiruvaiyyaru bus route near Andakudi has bus facilities from Kumbkonam. For those coming from other places, car journey would be convenient. Nearest Railway station is Kumbakonam, the airport Trichy.