Aavoor Pasupatheeswaram

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Aavoor Pasupatheeswaram
Image of the Gopuram
Aavoor Pasupatheeswaram is located in Tamil Nadu
Aavoor Pasupatheeswaram
Aavoor Pasupatheeswaram
Location in Tamil Nadu
Coordinates 10°29′N 78°41′E / 10.483°N 78.683°E / 10.483; 78.683Coordinates: 10°29′N 78°41′E / 10.483°N 78.683°E / 10.483; 78.683
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Thanjavur
Location Aavoor
Primary deity Pasupatheeswarar (Shiva)
Consort Mangalanayagi, Pangajavalli
Temple tank Brahma Theertham
Temple tree Arasa Maram
Architectural styles Dravidian architecture
Number of temples 1
Inscriptions 1
History and governance
Creator Kocheng Chola

Aavoor Pasupatheeswaram or Aavoor Pasupatheeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva, located in the village Aavoor, located 12 km south of South Indian town, Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. The temple is one of the 70 madakoil built by 2nd century Chola king, Kochengat Chola. The temple is known for the Panchabairavar, the five images of Bhairavar. The temple is reverred in the verses of Tevaram, the 7th century Tamil Saiva canon by Tirugnana Sambandar.


Image indicating the legend

Pasupatheeswarar indicates God of cows. Shiva is believed to have descended for the holy cow Kamadenu that prayed to him by ablution with their milk on the Shivalingam to get relief from the curse of sage Vashista.[1][2] A sculpture indicating the legend is present in the walls of the second precinct of the temple. Another legend associates the temple with the saivite saint Tirumular (6th century CE).[3] Tirumular saw a herd of cows lamenting the death of their herdsmen. Being a siddha, he entered into the body of dead herdsman, came back alive to serve as the herdsman and sung 3000 verses in praise of Shiva.[3] The legend is closely associated with Gomukteswarar temple at Tiruvadurai, but is also associated with other temples like Thenupuriswarar Temple at Patteswaram and Tirukogarnam near Pudukkottai.[3]


Kochengat Chola was a Chola king and one of the 63 nayanmars (saivite saints) of saivism.[4] He is believed to have attained spiritual rebirth of a spider that fought with an elephant in its previous birth over the worship of the Hindu god Shiva.[4] He had red eyes during birth as he remained in his mother’s womb a little longer. His mother, looking into the babies red eyes said Kochengkannano (in Tamil ko=king, cheng=red, kan=eyes), which literally means king with red eyes and hence he was named Kochengat Cholan.[4] After becoming a king, he followed saivism and built 70 Maadakovils, temples with elevated structure where elephants cannot reach the sanctum, in the Chola empire.[4][5] The temple has an inscription (181 of 1911) dating from the 3rd year of the rule of Rajendra Chola III (1246-1279 CE) indicating grants of land to the temple.[6]

The Temple[edit]

The temple is located 10 km away from Kumbakonam, 6 km east of Tirukarugavoor and 30 km south of Thanjavur. The temple has a five tiered Rajagopuram with an elevated structure for the main shrine. The images of the presiding deity, Pasupatheeswarar, in the form of Shiva lingam occupies the main sanctum. The consort of Pasupatheeswarar, Mangalanayagi and Pangajavalli occupy twin sanctums facing west. The images of Panchabairavar, the five Bairavar statues are found in the corner facing the main sanctum. The second prakaram downstairs has a separate shrine for the Hindu god Murugan in the form Dhanush Subramaniyar. Muruga sports a dhanush (bow) instead of his regular weapon, the vel. The temple has a small tank called Braham Tirtham located outside the main entrance.[1]

Literary Mention[edit]

The temple is revered in the verses of Tevaram, the 7th century saivite canonical work by the three saint poets namely, Appar, Campantar and Cuntarar. The temple is reverred by Campantar in the first Tirumurai in eleven verses.[7] He refers to the temple as Avoor Pasupatheeswaram.[7][8]

"புண்ணியர் பூதியர் பூதநாதர் புடைபடு வார்தம் மனத்தார்திங்கட்
கண்ணிய ரென்றென்று காதலாளர் கைதொழு தேத்த விருந்தவூராம்
விண்ணுயர் மாளிகை மாடவீதி விரைகமழ் சோலை சுலாவியெங்கும்
பண்ணியல் பாடல றாதவாவூர்ப் பசுபதி யீச்சரம் பாடுநாவே."[7]

translating to

This is the place where the blessed devotees of Shiva
who are rich and where Shiva has raised in the temple in such a place called Avoor Pasupatheeswaram.
The place is surrounded by beautiful gardens, palaces and where Shiva's name is frequently uttered.
Let my tongue praise Avoor Pasupatheeswaram".[8]