|Architecture and culture|
|Architectural styles:||Dravidian architecture|
Panchavarnaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, located in Woraiyur, a suburb in the town of Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is believed to portray five different colours, giving the name of the presiding deity, Panchavarnaswamy. Panchavarnaswamy is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the nayanars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.
It has several inscriptions dating back to the Chola period. The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and three yearly festivals on its calendar. The annual Srivari Brahmotsavam (prime festival) is attended by hundreds of thousands of devotees from far and near. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Etymology and legend
Panchavarnaswamy, the presiding deity of the temple, derives its name from Tamil word panchavarnam, meaning five colours. As per Hindu legend, Shiva is believed to have appeared for sage Udanga in five different colours in five parts of the day. The temple is also called as "Tirumukkiswaram" or "Kozhi". The 7th century Saiva canonical work Tevaram by Tirugnanasambandar mentions the place as "Tirumukkiswaram".
Panchavarnaswamy temple complex has three prakarams (outer courtyard) and a five-tiered rajagopuram (gateway tower). The central shrine faces east and holds the image of Panchavarnaswamy (Shiva) in the form of lingam made of granite. The granite images of the deities Ganesha (son of Shiva and god of wisdom), Murugan (son of Shiva and god of war), Nandi (the bull and vehicle of Shiva) and Navagraha (nine planetary deities) are located in the hall leading to the sanctum. As in other Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, the first precinct or the walls around the sanctum of Panchavarnaswamy has images of Dakshinamurthy (Shiva as the Teacher), Durga (warrior-goddess) and Chandikeswarar (a saint and devotee of Shiva). The second precinct is surrounded by granite walls.
Worship and religious practises
The temple priests perform the puja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. Like other Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Shaiva community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day; Ushathkalam at 5:30 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 10:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 8:00 p.m. Each ritual comprises four steps: abhisheka (sacred bath), alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Panchavarnaswamy and Amman. The worship is held amidst music with nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument), religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred texts) read by priests and prostration by worshippers in front of the temple mast. There are weekly rituals like somavaram (Monday) and sukravaram (Friday), fortnightly rituals like pradosham and monthly festivals like amavasai (new moon day), kiruthigai, pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi.
- "Sri Panchavarneswarar temple". Dinamalar. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- Soundara Rajan, Kodayanallur Vanamamalai (2001). Concise classified dictionary of Hinduism. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company. p. 75. ISBN 81-7022-857-3.
- V., Ganapathy (4 November 2004). "Siva temple of yore". The Hindu. Retrieved 2013-09-09.