Haridwaramangalam is one of the Pancha Aranya Kshethrams and is just about 3 Kms from Avalivanallur, which is also one of the Pancha Aranya kshetrams. Aranyam means forest. The five temples which collectively make the Pancha Aranya Sthalams are
Haridwaramangalam was once a dense forest of Vanni trees. Vanni is the sthala vriksham at this temple. The theertham is Brahma theertham. This temple is also one of the Padal petra sthalams. The Shiva Lingam here is a swayambhu.
The worship benefits at this temple include relief from debts. There is no shrine for Durga as Goddess Alankara Valli is also seen as Durga here. She protects Her devotees from all evil. She is facing east which is considered very auspicious and She clears the hurdles in getting married and blesses the childless with progeny.
The name of the diety is Paathaaleswarar (Paathala meaning the netherworld) and Alankara Valli is His consort. There is supposedly a pit in the sanctum sanctorum, now covered with a stone, which is believed to have been made by Vishnu and hence the name – Hari (Vishnu) dwara (pit) mangalam (holy place).
The legend goes thus. Once upon a time Brahma and Vishnu were having an intense fight as to which one of them was superior. Alarmed at this, the other gods pleaded with Lord Shiva to bring peace. Lord Shiva wanted both of them to realise their folly. He assumed the form of a flaming Lingam in between Brahma and Vishnu and challenged both of them to find the beginning or the end of the Lingam.
The Lingam was very huge, so Brahma and Vishnu set out to find one end each. Whoever returned first after reaching the end would be declared superior to the other. Lord Brahma embarked on his swan and set out to find the top of the Lingam while Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Varaha or a boar and started digging into the earth to find the bottom of the Lingam. Both continued their search for a long time but neither could find the end. Vishnu became too tired to continue and decided that it was a futile exercise and returned. He admitted to Lord Shiva that he could not find the end. Brahma meanwhile, came across a Ketaki flower (thazhampu) which was falling down from the top of the Lingam. He enlisted Ketaki’s support as a witness and made the flower lie that Brahma had reached the top of the Lingam. Brahma thus told Vishnu that he was superior to Vishnu. Shiva who was witnessing this became very angry. He cursed Brahma for make a false claim and Ketaki (thazhampu) for the false testimony. He cursed Brahma that there would be no temple for Him. He cursed Ketaki flower (thazhampu) that it would not be henceforth used as an offering during worship or any religious activity. Both realised their folly. Shiva then told them that both Brahma and Vishnu are part of Him.
This happened on the 14th day of the waning moon period or Chaturdasi of Krishnapaksham in the tamil month of Panguni or Phalgun month. This day is celebrated as Mahashivaratri.
Bus services are available from Kumbakonam and Tanjore to Haridwaramangalam.
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8 am to 12.30 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm
Arulmigu Paathaaleswarar Alayam
Thanjavur District 612 802
Temple Phone No: + 91-4374-264 586, 91-4374-275 441, 94421 75441.