Patteeswaram Temple

Sri Dhenupureeswarar Temple

Sri Dhenupureeswarar temple is in Patteeswaram, 8km from Kumbakonam, in the tiruvaiyaru-Thanjavur-Kumbakonam temple belt.  Entry can be through two ways, through the five-tiered Rajagopuram, housing Sri Durga temple, or through the seven tiered Rajagopuram that leads to Sri Dhenupureeswarar's shrine.  Sri Dhenupureeswarar is an aspect of Shiva.  His divine consort, Sri gnanambika, is in a separate shrine, off the main sanctum.

The Patteeswaram temple is a vast complex, with 5 towers and 3 prakaras.  It is said that Parvati chose this secluded place for panance.  The celestial, cow, Kamadhenu, then sent her daughter, Patti, to help Parvati during Her stay here.  Pleased with Her penance, Shiva appeared before Parvati.  Following this, Patti fashioned a Lingam from sand and began to worship it.  Siva then gave Her darshan and consented to reside in the Lingam.  Since Patti was instrumental in making toe Lord reside here, it came to be known as Patteeswaram.  There are several shrines here, dedicated to Mahalakshmi, Nataraja, the Navagrahas, Ganesha and Subramanya.  There is another Lingam here, known as Ramalingam, which Sri Rama installed and consecrated to get rid of the taint acquired from killing the monkey hero, Vaali.

It is said that saint Tirugnana sambandar, who had come to visit the temple, almost collapsed and took shelter outside, his energy sapped by the searing heat.  The Lord, however, was so eager to see His devotee that he bade Nandi to move a little so that He could catch a glimpse of Sambander.  There are three sacred theerthas here, one of which, the Gayathri theertham, owes it origin to sage Viswamithra, who is said to have received the Gayathri mantra from Goddess Gayathri.  The sage, it is said, was admitted to the august assembly of Brahma Rishis at Patteeswaram.  Inscriptions found here refer to the grants made to the temple by the Vijayanagar rulers and their Nayak successors. 

The presence of the Durga temple, at the northern entrance, is an interesting story.  It is said that She was worshipped as Kotta vaayil Durga (Mother Goddess at the Fortress Gate) during the Chola rule.  Long before this, Sri Rama is said to have worshipped Her, before proceeding to Lanka for His war against Ravana.

Seated on Her vehicle, lion, feet on the demon, Mahishasura, the goddess is depicted with eight hands, three eyes and is bejewelled.  She holds in her hands the conch, discus, bow, arrow, sword, shield and a parrot.  Despite this paraphernalia, She looks benign (devotees).  The powerful deity had guarded and guided the Cholas, who reined supreme for nearly five centuries.  The Cholas, it is further said, would worship this Goddess before taking important decisions or going into battle.  After the fall of the Cholas, the deity was shifted to Sri Dhenupureeswarar temple, at a specially erected sanctum.  The Durga shrine, in fact, now completely overshadows the original temple for Sri Dhenupureeswarar and Goddess Gnanambika.

How to get there:

Patteeswaram can be accessed via Swamimalai or from Kumbakonam.  Buses and autos are aplenty.
Accommodation:  Kumbakonam or Swamimalai.

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