Alangudi Guru Temple, Thanjavur
The Alangudi Guru Sthalam or Apatsahayeswarar Temple is located in the village of Alangudi in Tiruvarur District of Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshipped as Apatsahayeswarar (Moolavar) and represented by the Lingam. Goddess Parvathi (Thayaar) is worshipped as Elavarkuzhali. The historical name of the temple is Tiru Irum Poolai. The place is famous for being the Holy Sthala and is surrounded by three holy rivers – Cauvery, Kolidam and Vennaru.
The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Govt. of Tamil Nadu.
Historical Significance of the Temple
Lord Shiva, to protect the world, is said to have gulped the toxic poison of the celestial snake “Vasuki”. And hence, Lord Shiva is affectionately called “Abathsayeswarar” meaning “the rescuer who consumed the poison and protected the earth. The Lord of this temple is Swayambhu (self manifested form). The temple is also abode of Guru Brihaspathi or the planet Jupiter. The temple is one of the nine Navagraha Temples for planet Jupiter (Guru).
Though belonging to the ancient times, there are no proper historical documents that could trace the date of temple’s origin but it is stated that the temple was built by Amuthokar, minister of King Masukantha Chakravarti and devotee of Lord Shiva.
Reference to the Literature
The temple has been admired by Tirugnana Sambandar, in the 7th century Tamil Saiva sacred works, the Tevaram. The temple is revered as Paadal Petre Sthalam, one of the 275 temples that finds a place in Saiva canon.
Architecture of Alangudi Temple
The temple exhibits the distinct architecture of the Chola period. The Alangudi temple covers two acres of area and has two gopurams – the five-tiered Rajagopuram facing the main deity and the other gopuram facing North. The temple is surrounded by two Prakarams (outer part around the sanctum).
Deities of the Temple
The Alangudi Guru temple houses shrines of many Gods apart from the main deities Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati in the form of Elavarkuzhali. The temple is renowned for worship of Lord Guru in the form of Sri Dakshinamurthy, also known by the name Brihaspathi.
The other deities include Daksha (father of Mother Parvati with goat head), Sukravara Ambika, Kalangamal Katha Vinayaka, Lord Murugan, Lakshmi, Kaasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi, Sage Agasthya, Nalvars (Gnanasambandar, Tinuvanukkarasar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar), the authors of Thevaram and Tirunavukkarasar hymns (Suriyeasar, Somesar, Gurumaswarar, Somanathar, Sabtharishinathar, Vishnunathar, Brahmmesar).
Temple and Pooja Timings
The temple is open from 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 8:30 PM
The temple offers Annadhanam (mid-day meals for 100 devotees).
The temple rituals performed during the day are:
|Irandam kalam||9:00 AM|
|Irandan Kalam||7:30 PM|
Festivals observed in the Temple
The major festivals celebrated in the temple are:
- Pancha Paruva Utsavam
- 1008 Conch Abhisekha Festival
- Chitra Pournami Brahmotsavam (10 days festival)
- Guru Bhagavan car festival
- Thursdays in the Tamil month of Masi (February-March)
How to reach Alangudi Guru Temple
Alangudi is 40 kilometres from Tiruvarur on the Mannargudi route. Frequent buses are available from Tiruvarur and Kumbakonam. Kumbakonam is the nearest railway station (14 kilometres). Nearest airport is at Trichy (93 kilometres).
One can avail lodging facilities at Kumbakonam.
Alangudi Guru Temple is one of the most visited temples in the district of Tanjavur. It is a holy place that reminds us of our values based on the philosophy of Matha (Mother in the form of Goddess), Pitha (Father in the form of Lord Shiva) and Guru (Teacher in the form of Guru Dakshinamurthy).