Thirugokarnam Temple, Pudukottai
Thirugokarnam or Gokaraneeswarar Temple is located in the heart of Pudukkottai city. The chief deity of the temple is Lord Shiva worshipped as Gokarneeswarar and his consort Goddess Parvathi is worshipped as Bragadambal. This rock cut temple, built by Pallava king Mahendravarma is one of the oldest temples in South India dating back to the 7th century A.D. Later additions to the temple were made at different periods of times by Pandyas, Cholas and Thondaman Dynasty.
Legend behind the Temple
The Lord here is known as Gokarneswarar, meaning ‘the Lord of the cow’s ears’. According to the legend of the temple, it is believed that Kamadhenu, the holy cow on being cursed by Lord Indra started worshipping Lord Shiva at this place. She used to bring water from Ganges by holding it in her ears and perform Abhishekam (ablution of deity) to Lord Shiva.
One day, while she was bringing Ganges water in her ears, she was confronted by a tiger that was determined to kill her. When she pleaded with the tiger to let go of her, the tiger agreed on the condition that she would come back after performing Abhishekam to the Lord. Kamadhenu returned as promised, only to see that the Tiger was transformed to Lord Shiva and Parvathi. She was blessed by them and attained salvation after which she returned to Heaven.
More Facts about the temple
- The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is rock cut which hosts the chief deity of the temple Lord Gokarneeswarar in Lingam form.
- Another main deity of the temple is Lord Vakulaveneswarar or the Lord of Vakula tree.
- The Goddess Bragathambal shrine is east facing and is relatively a recent one.
- Just before entering Lord Gokarneswarar’s shrine, to the left is the images of the Saptha Kannigal (the seven virgins in the world).
- The entrance of the temple has Lord Ganesha as is customary for every Hindu temple, after which follows a long corridor that is decked with carved pillars and sculptures.
- The pradakshina veranda (circumambulation path) has idols of 63 Nayanmars and shrines of Maha Gnapathi, Rishaba Rudra and Kasi Lingam.
- The temple has an upper tier that houses shrines of Lord Subramanya, Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Annapurani, Rudraksha Lingam, Brahma, Bhairava, Surya and Nalvars (Gnanasambandar, Thirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar).
Thirugokarnam Temple Timings
The temple is open for devotees from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM in the morning
and from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM in the evening.
Thirugokarnam Temple Festivals
The major festivals observed in the temple include-
- Thai Poosam – in the Tamil month of Thai (January-February)
- 10 day Chithirai Festival – in the Tamil month of Chithirai (April-May)
- 11 day Aadi Pooram Festival – in the Tamil month of Aadi (July-August)
- Vinayakar Chaturthi – in the Tamil month of Aavani (August-September)
- 10 day Navarathri Festival – in the Tamil month of Purattasi
- Skanda Shasti Festival- in the Tamil month of Aippasi
- Karthigai Deepam Festival – in the Tamil month of Karthigai
How to reach Thirugokarnam Temple
The temple is located at the heart of Pudukkottai town that is well connected by road to major cities in Tamil Nadu. The nearest railway station is at Pudukottai (3 kilometres away). The nearest airport is at Trichy (around 45 kilometres away).