On 1st of January 2010, Balu & I started our tour of the temples from Madras. We visited Lalithambigai temple at Thirumeyachur in the afternoon. This place is about 20 kms from Mayavaram near Peralam on the Mayavaram Thiruvarur Road. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Meghanatha. The consort of Lord Meghanatha is Goddess Lalithambigai.
As per legend, Arunan the charioteer of Surya Bhagavan wanted to go to Kailasam to worship Lord Shiva.Â Surya Bhagavan did not allow him to go. Hence Arunan took the form of a girl and was on his way to Kailasam. On the way Surya saw this girl and outraged her modesty. Lord Shiva was very angry with Surya Bhagavan for such misbehaviour and cursed him to get darkened. The whole world plunged into darkness. A repentant Surya Bhagavan pleaded for mercy and as per His advice came to Thirumeiyachur and worshiped the Lord here. Surayan is believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva seated on an Elephant. To signify this you can see a Vimana (gajaprishta vimanam) in the temple resembling the back of an elephant. Even after severe penance, the Lord did not show mercy and Surya Bhagavan shouted in anguish. The Goddess was angered by this and almost cursed Surya Bhagavan, before being pacified by Lord Shiva. He said that the World was already plunged in darkness because Surya was dark and that he was only looking for relief. By His grace Surya Bhagavan attained papa vimochanam (absolution of sin).
He blessed her to be Shanta nayagi. In the outer praharam (circumambulatory path) of Shiva’s shrine there is a sculpture of kshetrapuraneswarar depicting this. Lord Shiva is seen holding the cheeks of his consort and pacifying Her. As you face this beautiful sculpture, and if you observe closely, you can see that from your left hand side there will be a smile on Her face and if you see from your right hand side you can see anger in Her face.
This sculpture may also signify that in a marital relationship, when the wife loses her temper the husband should stay calm and alert or vice versa. In a Hindu marriage, the mantra “Samaya Varte Savadhan“, is repeated by the groom after the priest. The meaning of this mantra is – Be cautious and act as per the situation. Only the groom is asked to chant this mantra because women, by nature, are generally calm and are expected to be so. Husband and wife should be the calming influence on each other for enjoying a harmonious marital life.
The angels called vasini emerged from Lalithambigai’s mouth and sung the Lalitha Sahasranamam (1000 names) in praise of the Goddess. You can find Lalitha Sahasranamam in Sanskrit at this link here. It is also available in Tamil and Latin(English) scripts. This stotra is found in the Brahmanda puranam. Hayagriva taught Agastya – his disciple – this stotra. Agastya then came here and sang the popular sloka Maatha jaya Om Lalithambigaye.
On the northern side of the praharam, you have the shrine of Sakala Bhuvaneswarar and His consort is Minnumegalaial. This is supposed to be an Ilam Kovil (temple within temple). Since there are two temples side by side, a unique feature of this temple is that you can see Shiva (present as Lingothbhavar) Vishnu and Brahma simultaneously from the North West corner of the outer prahara (Circumambulatory path).
On the Northern side of the outer Prahara near the Sakala Bhuvaneswarar shrine is the Asthabhujanga Durga. In the right hand of Durga is a parrot. Devotees, who want their prayers to come true, convey the same to Lalithambigai through this Durga. The parrot is supposed to be taking the message to Lalithambigai. Some lucky devotees can see that spectacle of a Parrot flying from above Durga’s shrine to the dhwajasthambam opposite Lalithambigai’s shrine!!!
There is something interesting that happened as recently as 1999. A devout woman from Bangalore had recurring dreams of Ambal asking her for gold anklet (Golusu). This woman went in search of the Goddess and visited various temples. She chanced upon the issue of Alayam magazine in which Lalithambiga Temple appeared as the cover story and immediately recognised the Ambal as the one from her dreams. She had the anklet made and visited the temple. She told the priest of her dreams and wanted the Goddess to be adorned with the Golusu. The priest said that since there is no way for the Golusu to go around Her feet it would not be possible. On her insistence, the priest decided to give it a try and to his astonishment could find a soft spot in the idol’s ankle and he could actually pass the Golusu through it!!! Later, it is said that they could find holes in Her nose which is now adorned with mookuthi (nose pin), oddiyanam(roughly translated as waist belt) around Her Waist.
Thirumeyachur is about 2 Kms from Peralam. Peralam is on Mayiladuthurai Thiruvarur Road. It is a crucial junction and the Karaikal Kumbakonam Road also passes through this twon.
The other temples nearby are
Sri KirubhaSamudhra Perumaal Temple
Mangaleswarar Temple, Sirukudi
Boarding & Lodging:
Have your travel base as Kumbakonam or Mayiladuthurai.
Temple Phone Number: 04366 239 170
- Gnayiru Gramam, Suryan Sthalam
- Thiruvidaimarudhur – Mahalingaswamy Temple
- Thiruvaneswarar Temple for Pooratadhi Nakshathiram
- Tirupattur Brahmapureeswarar Koil
- Andalakkum Ayyan temple, Thiru Adhanur