Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sankaran Kovil


1 Introduction


Sankaran kovil is home to the famous Sankara Narayanar temple. The temple is also known as Sankaranayinarkovil.


This temple is a representation of fusion of two faiths SAIVISM AND VAISHNAVISM. This temple is one of the big temples that can be found in the district of Tirunelveli and this is also one of the important shrines of Lord Siva in south India. The main deities in the temple are of Lord Shiva (southern portion inside the temple) and Goddess Parvathi in the name of Gomathi Amman (northern portion) with separate sanctums. There is another deity in between these two that is of Sankara Narayanar.


The legend has it that Lord Siva appeared, on the request of His consort Parvathi, revealing Lord Vishnu in Him on His right side half to prove that Hari (Lord Vishnu) and Hara/Haran (Lord Siva) are one and same. To commemorate this and to emphasize the oneness of Hari and Haran ideology the deity of Sankara Narayanar (the deity depicts Siva on the right side and Vishnu on the left side) was installed. The temple therefore is also known as Sankaranarayakovil.


2 Temple deity and other details


Main Deity: Sankaralingeswarar, Sankara Narayanar.


Goddesses: Gomathi Amman.


Theertham: Nagasunai.


Holy tree: Punnai.


Sankaran koil is home to the famous Sankara Narayanar temple. It is situated at Thirunelveli District and 56km away from Thirunelveli City.


Parvathi went on penance on the earth to see "Lord Shiva" & "Lord Vishnu" together hence known as Sankara Narayanar. The right portion of the idol has sandal and indicates Lord Siva, with cobra around his neck & moon above his head. The left side of the idol indicates Lord Vishnu having "Sanghu" in his hand. It is very famous for "Adi Thabasu" festival.


3. History


It is known from the stone inscriptions that the construction of this temple was commenced at 1022 A.D. by Pandya king Ukkiraman. The temple tower raises to 125 feet with 9 floors. The sacred pot on the top of the tower measures 7 feet and 4 inches. There are various others deities of lower strata installed in the corridors of the temple. One can also find beautiful paintings and stone carvings adorning the temple walls and ceiling.


My note- On those  days of my working at Sivakasi, the Quilon – Chennai mail was given a stop at Sankaran kovil, after the municipality assured water for the steam engine at Sankaran kovil. While the train stop, I could see while travelling,  the glittering tall  Thazika kkudam over the tower while the train stop for watering…


4. Mythological back ground


Once, a Deva  by the name Manikkireevan took birth as a Paraiyan after being cursed by Goddess Parvathi. He was known as Kavarparaiyan. He demolished a snake pit which was inside the forest garden that he was looking after and found a snake and a Sivalingam inside the pit.


Panicked by this sight he rushed to inform King Ukkirama Pandya who was visiting the nearby forest during his usual visit to Madurai for worshipping Lord Shiva and Meenakshi. On the same day, the King's elephant collapsed on the floor after piercing the floor with its tusk and it was at this time  he had gone to king.


King was filled with bewilderment Kavarparaiyan brought the news of the snake and Sivalingam found in the snake pit. Following this the King heard the voice of Lord Shiva ordering him to construct a temple at the spot.


5 More on deities


Lord Siva appeared, on the request of His consort Parvathi, revealing Lord Vishnu in Him on His right side half to prove that Hari (Lord Vishnu) and Hara/Haran (Lord Siva) are one and same. To commemorate this and to emphasize the oneness of Hari and Haran ideology the deity of Sankara Narayanar (the deity depicts Siva on the rightside and Vishnu on the left side) was installed. The temple therefore is also known as Sankaranarayakovil.


Gomathi amman is one of the manifestation of Adhi shakthi. The temple is popularly known as sankaranayanar kovil and she is the consort of vanmikanathar and seen along with sankaranarayanar(the unification of shiva and vishnu).


5a  Legend about Sankara narayanaswamy with details


The goddesses is a yogini who was performing her penance on the tip of the needle to please lord shiva and merge with him. Two snake kings namely "SANGAN" AND "PADMAN" were also worshipping along with. Sangan was worshipping lord shiva and padman was worshipping lord narayana. One day they had a quarrel on who is great whether lord shiva, the destroyer or Narayana, the protector. They were trying to prove their own power and finally went to the yogini and pleaded her to give them a proper judgment.


The yogini grew out of her grace pleaded the almighty to show his universality form so that not only the snake kings but also fro every human being. By the intense penance lord shiva appears before the yogini in the form of half shiva and half vishnu showing the world that they are equal and it is with love and sacrifice they could reach them.


Hence sangan and padman worshipped the lord and prayed to the yogini for showing them a way to attain the god and they stayed with her. the yogini was none ther than goddesses gomathi. Gomathi means repositary of wealth.


6. Free from snakes


Since the snakes stayed with the goddesses, this place is free from all venomous creatures and praying to this goddesses can eliminate the fear of venom.


One of the 18 siddhas, the great pambatti siddhar worshipped this goddesses as valai kumari and he regarded this goddesses to be the great serpent power which can make miracles in taking aspirant in yogic transformation. Pambatti  siddhar samadhi is seen behind the temple.


The deity Gomathi ambal is very powerful. Many  experience wonders in their  life praying to Gomathi amman. If we tell about our problems to her , she will clear it, and make us very happy. There are so many wonder's were took place in that temple. It's a very powerful temple. Gomathy Amman a petite statue with pleasing facial features, not more than 3-feet tall in appearance,


My note- Gomathy Amman, is  family deity for many


During the month of Aadi Gomathy Amman does a penance "Aadi Thavasu" and at the end of the 10 days the lord presents himself in the "Sankaranarayana" form, half Shiva and half Vishnu, and this alankara is unique to witness.


There is a Srichakram it is believed that the hole (Srichakram ) before Gomathi Amman Sanadhi cures people affected with black magic. Even the temple tank has got lot of significance. For many people Gomathi Amman is the Kula Deivam (protecting deity of the family). It is believed that worshipping Gomathi Amman in this temple can cure many ailments and childlessness.


There is a snake pit inside the temple and it is believed that applying the sand/mud from the snake pit on one's body can cure various diseases. Those who come visit this temple also offer miniatures of snake, scorpion and other reptiles to get rid of curses.


These miniatures are sold outside and inside the temple premises. The putthu sand has healing properties . Maavilakku is an important offering in this temple


7 Pooja Timings


Thiruvanandhal           6.00 am    


Vizha Pooja                            6.30 am    

Siru Kaala Santhi                   8.30 am    

Kaala Santhi                           10.30 am  

Uchikkaalam                         12.30 pm  

Saaya Ratchai             5.30 pm    

Artha Jaamam            9.00 pm    


7b Worship Time         


Morning - 5.30 am to Afternoon - 12.15 pm 

Evening - 4.00 pm to Afternoon - 9.30 pm    


7c Contact Ardress                        


Assistant Commissioner / Executive Officer

Arulmigu Sankaranaaraayana Swamy Thirukkovil,       

Sankarankovil - 627 756     

Tirunelveli District, TAMILNADU    



Email Id:       

Phone: 04636 – 222265       


8 Details of deities etc.


God : Arulmigu Sankaranaaraayana Swamy


Arulmigu Sankara Linga Swamy


Goddess : Arultharum Gomathi Amman


Holy Tank : Naaga Sunai


Sthala Viruksham : Punnai Tree(Calophyllum inophyllum)


Other Names : Poo Kailaayam, Punnai Vanam, Seeraasapuram, Seeraasai, Vaaraasaipuram, Koozhai Nagar


Arulmigu Sankaranarayanaswamy Thirukkovil is located in Sankarankoil Town, Tirunelveli Distirict. Sankarankoil is situated in the train route from Chennai to Quilon and shencottai.


From Tirunelveli to Sankarankovil - 56 KM in North

From Madurai to Sankarankovil - 120 KM in South

From Coutralam to Sankarankovil - 50 KM in South west

From Kovilpatti to Sankarankovil - 48 KM in East


9. Mythology


One time Goddess Umadevi requested Lord Siva to remove the difference among the devotees, who is the powerful god, whether Lord Siva or Hari. Then the lord Siva appeared as SANKARANARAYANAR.


10 Specialty of the temple


When the people find snake or scorpio or other insects in their homes, they will pray Lord to remove them from their homes by offering these insects made up of silver in hundials as kanikkai. Even though it may appear to be a superstitious belief it is giving wonderful results because after the prayer, no such insects were being found in the homes of devotees who offered prayer to the lord.


It is believed   if the people wear the puttumann (Ant hill soil) found in Amman Sannathi daily with belief, it will cure, cancer, skin diseases and all other incurable disease. The soil is giving miraculous results if it is worn with belief.


My note- Recently some friend of my wife  visited Gomathiamman and brought picture and puttumon. It comes to my memory now.


11 History


In the 11 th Century king Ukkirapandia ruled over Ukkirankottai. He used to go over to Madurai for dharsan of Lord Arulmigu Somasundarar. One day when he was proceeding to Madurai for worship God Arulmigu Somasundarar, The Elephant tusked the earth on the way and plunged into a pit. At that time Manikireevan, the watchman of Punnai forest came there and told the king "Oh king! Here is an anti-hill in the middest of Punnai forest. When the anti-hill was demolished there appeared a TAIL LESS COBRA. It's might is unexplainable. It belongs to the god. On hearing this the king rushed to the Punnai forest and saw the Sivalingam by the side of the ant- hill to his over whelming happiness. Then he had a bath in the Nagasunai (holy tank) and worshipped the God.


Later on according to history, the king destroyed the forest in the vicinity of the ant – hill, constructed this Temple with Mandapams, Gopuram (Tower) and Compound walls.


In the 12 th Century king Seevalaramapandian constructed the Rajagopuram (big tower) and front Mandapam. This temple has three important sannadhis with in its premises.


 11a Nagasunai


There is a Nagasunai (holy tank) inside the temple premises, which was said to have been dug by serpent kings named Paduman and Sangan. People who take a bath in this holy tank, adore ant-hill earth on their body and offer holy prayers to the presiding deities of this Temple have a permanent relief from all sorts of dreadful diseases.


My note- During the visit with my son, I had sprinking of water from the tank after washing feet from away tap.


11b Holy tree


Tree for the Temple is Punnai(Calophyllum inophyllum) Tree. Once upon a time this area covered by these trees. In this temple this tree is in Western Prahaaram.


Sankaranaarayanakovil have 125 feet raja gopuram. This gopuram contains nine storeys. It's top part length is 56 feet, width is 15 feet. Kumba kalasam on the top is 7 feet 4 Ankulam. 1• 


12 Books on deities


Gomathi Satharathinamalai (This book contains hundered poems about Goddess Gomathi, Author – Tirunelveli Pettai A. Eswaramurthy Pillai).


2•  Gomathi Pillai Tamil – Author Uthumalai Samasdhana Vidwan Puliangudi Muthu Veerappa kavirayar.        


There is a cut stone inscription at Thachanallur Swamy Vedamoorthi Mutt in Tirunelveli District. This stone described about the various temple renovation works done by various kings and their period of rule.


13 Temple Administration  


This is a senior grade temple having an annual income of about Rupees One crore.  The administration of the temple is being carried on by a Fit Person and an Executive Officer in the grade of Deputy Commissioner, H.R.&C.E Admn. Dept., Tamil Nadu.


14 Notable Festivals  


April / May Chitthirai Bramorshavam Festival        10 Days     


July / August      Aadi Thapasu Festival          15 Days     


September/October Navarashtri Festival     10 Days     


October     Kandhasasti Festival   7 Days       


October-திருக்கல்யாணதிருவிழா Aippasi Thirukkalyaanam Festival      12 Days     


December/January   Thiruvempavai Festival        11 Days     


February    Theppam Floating Festival ( Thai Last Friday) 10 DaysAnnadhaanam  

15 Anna danam scheme


The Annadhanam scheme is being conducted in this temple. By this scheme noon meals are being provided for 100 devotees daily. Meals, sambhar, rasam, mour, kuttu or porial of Vegetables pickles are distributed for devotees every day by the Ubayadhar who are paying Rs.2000/- for this. With Paysam paying Rs.2500/-.


One day (Birthday, Anniversary days) who are paying Rs.25,000 as kattalai for preparing one day meals on any of the day in the year at once.


16 Rooms 


There are 3 rooms with comfortable facilities in this temple. And also there are 21 Modern Staying rooms maintained with Temple Administration Control for devotees.  


17 Marriage


Details regarding conduct of marriage and registration of marriage:-


Male's age should be above 21& female's age should be above 18. Both should submit corresponding certificate for their age proof. Both male and female should submit first marriage certificated received form their village Administrative officer .


Both male and female should submit 2 recent photographs.Should have to pay Rs.20 for marriage application.Deputy Commissioner/Executive officer of this temple is the marriage registration officer.


I have compiled this part for the information of those who want to conduct marriage in Gomathi Kula deivam temple .


17 Maintanance of Gosala Details      


In the Gosala the number of cattles are as follows cow-2, yielding cow-4 Calb-4 Bullock-2     


18 Maintanance of Elephant Details   


One Female Elephant (Gomathi) is at the temple aged 19  


19 Offering         


When the people find snake or scorpio or other insects in their homes, they will pray Lord to remove them from their homes by offering these insects made up of silver in hundials as kanikkai. Even though it may appear to be a superstitious belief it is giving wonderful results because after the prayer, no such insects were being found in the homes of devotees who offered prayer to the lord. 


19a Offering Fee - Structure         


Archanai Details         Rates.                 


Ashtothra Archanai    Rs.5.00       

Trisathai                                   Rs.10.00     

Sahasranamam           Rs.20.00     

Coconut breaking rate        Rs.4.00       

Mavilakku Kattanam  Rs.2.00       

Marriage Fees              Rs.500.00  

Tulabara Fees              Rs.50.00     

Ula by Gomathi in Golden chariot        Rs.2001.00

Wearing of Golden petticoat to Ambal         Rs.501.00  

Ambal Sannathi Special     Rs.10.00     

Swamy Sannathi special entrance fee          Rs.10.00


20 Some information about Sankarankovil


Sankarankovil is a second largest municipality in the Tirunelveli district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Sankarankovil is home to the famous Sankara Narayanar temple. It is situated at Tirunelveli District and 56 km away from Thirunelveli City. Sankarankovil is the second largest town in the district. It was formerly called Sankaranayinar kovil. As of 2011, the town had a population of 69,277.


Sankarankovil is home to the famous Sankara Narayanan temple. It is situated at Tirunelveli District and 56 km away from Thirunelveli City. Sankarankovil is the second largest town in the district. It is very famous for "Adi Thabasu" festival.


Once upon a time a "Devan" (Angel) called "Manikkeerivan" was cursed by Goddess Parvathi. Because of which, he had to come to earth and work as gardener in a beautiful garden.


One day while he was clearing a snake pit, the snake tail was also cut. He found a Sivalingam next to the snake. He went and informed about this to his king Ukira Pandiyan. The king considered it to be the god's wish to stay there and constructed the temple and a city around.The Puthu Maan in the temple is taken as a holy sand which could cure lot of disease by all devotees.The snake pit (Ant Hill) is called "Vanmeekam" (Tamil:வன்மீகம்). Hence the deity Sri Sankaralingar is also called "Vanmeeganadhar" (Tamil:வன்மீகநாதர்)


Like every other temple, Sankarankovil has its own interesting story. Once the devotees of Lord Hari (or Vishnu) and Lord Shiva quarreled with each other to determine whose god is powerful. Then Lord Shiva appeared as Sankaranarayanar to mark his devotees to understand that both Hari and Shiva are one and the same. So it is held sacred by Saivites and those Hindus who believe that Siva and Vishnu are a single deity one in one and accordingly, desire to worship the two gods into one form. Srivaishnavites of Tamil Nadu who worship Lord Vishnu only, have not accepted the mingling of Siva and Vishnu thus, and therefore, they reject this deity of this temple which depicts the concept of Hari and Haran being one God.


It was built by Ukira Pandiyan AC 900.It houses the deity by the name Sankara Narayanan, which is half Lord Shiva and the other half Lord Vishnu.The deities of this temple are Sri Sankareswarar, Sri Gomathi Amman and Sri Sankara Narayanar.


The general belief is that the Holy Sand "Puttrumann" (Puttru = Ant Hill, Mann = Sand) that one gets from this temple is capable of curing all the diseases. Devotees believe that Sankarankovil's Nagasunai (sacred tank) have been dug by serpent kings named Paduman and Sangam which has a miraculous power to heal those who bath there.


21 Economy- Sankaran Kovil


There are many industries in Sankarankovil. Apart from agriculture  business, this town is well known for its textiles. NEARLY ABOUT 4000 POWER LOOMS IS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN PRODUCING VARIOUS KINDS OF TEXTILE PRODUCTS LIKE TERRY TOWEL, COTTON SAREES, LUNGIES, HAND KERCHIEFS,VINAYAKAR TOWEL ETC. The produced product are marketed all over India directly. Subbulapuram, a village 14 km away from sankarankovil, is popularly known as "TERRY CITY". TERYY TOWEL are largely manufactured in these places.


22 General Information:     


Lord Sri Sankaranarayana is the main deity in the temple.  Vinayaka is  Anugnai Vinayaka.  The temple has a 9 tier Rajagopuram.  The ant-hill sand is offered as Prasad which the sick consume along with water for cure.  Devotees facing problems due to the presence of poisonous creatures in their houses as lizards, scorpions and snakes offer silver pieces embossed with the images of such creatures for solution.


The festival of Lord Shiva seated on His bull vehicle Nandhi granting Darshan to 63 Nayanmars takes place during Chithirai (April-May) and Margazhi (December-January) months.  Adhikara Nandhi is at the entrance with His consort Suyajadevi and the Nandhi before the sanctum is under a Rudraksha Pandal-tent.


23 Prayers


Devotees pray here to develop the quality of love for all promoting unity and to be simple and austere in nature.


24 Thanks giving:        


Devotees offer abishek, vastras and nivedhanas to Lord Sankaranarayana and Mother Gomathi.     


25      Greatness Of Temple:


Aadi Thapasu festival: Thapas means penance.  Mother Parvathi took to penance to have the darshan of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu combined as Sankara Narayana.  This is the festival called Aadi Thapasu running for 12 days.  As this is a festival exclusively for Ambica, She alone comes in the car procession.  On the last day, Ambica goes to the Thapas Mandapa with a bag of sacred ashes – Vibhuti.  Lord Sankaranarayana grants darshan to Ambica in the evening and enters the temple on the elephant vahan together.


While Annabishekam is performed in Shiva temples in Aipasi-October-November, this takes place here on the first day of Aipasi and also in Chithirai-April-May with a prayer that the year should begin without shortage of food grains in the beginning of the year (Chithirai is the fist month of Tamil year) and Aipasi happens to be the beginning of auspicious days.


It is also noteworthy that Vaikunda Ekadasi in December-January is celebrated with equal festivity as in Vishnu temples for which A SORGA VASAL IS CONSTRUCTED IN THE TEMPLE.  LORD VISHNU GRANTS DARSHAN IN A PALANQUIN IN RECLINING FORM.


There is a shrine for Lord VANMEEKA NATHAR in the Shiva prakara.  Lord Shiva in this shrine appears in an ant-hill form, his true form.  It is designed as if He is sitting on a serpent with its head above Him as an umbrella.  Vanmeekam means ant-hill.  As Lord Shiva is in the Vanmeekam, He is praised as Vanmeekanathar.  Those afflicted with adverse snake planet aspects, pray in the shrine spraying  turmeric powder.  There are five Naga idols before this shrine.  Devotees perform abishek to these idols with milk.


26 Yoga Narasimha:


As a tradition, Lord Lingodhbava or Lord Vishnu grace on the goshta wall around the sanctum.  In this temple, this slot is occupied by Lord Yoga Narasimha.  Those suffering from tooth ache pray here with abishek for relief from pain.  Special pujas are offered here on Purattasi Saturdays in September-October.


27 Sarpa Vinayaga


There is a shrine for Lord Sarpa Vinayaka – Vinayaka with a Serpent in hand.  Those facing adverse effects serpent planet Ragu, worship here at Rahu Kalam time (4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.) on Sundays. 


To protect children from poisonous bite, devotees offer Arugampul (a variety of grass) garlands with Milk porridge (Payasam) as nivedhana to Lord Sarpa Vinayaka.     


28 Lord Muruga


As a custom, on the Skanda Sashti festival of destroying demon Surapanma, Lord Muruga appears with a single face only in the Subramanya form.  He graces with six faces that day in this temple.  The wedding festival of Deivanai is celebrated the next day.


29 Appearance of Sankara Narayana


Lord Sankaranarayana shrine is in between the shrines of Lord Shiva and Mother Gomathi.  The right side of the deity belonging to Lord Shiva has Agni the fire, Ganga, crescent moon and the turf, ear ring, Rudraksha on the chest, Mazhu the weapon of Lord Shiva and tiger skin clothing in waist.  Sangan is holding the umbrella in the Tiruvasi – the frame around the Lord.  On the left, belonging to Lord Vishnu, appears with His gem studded crown, a hanging ear ring-Kundalam-tulsi bead and Lakshmi mala in chest, a conch and the silk-peethambara around the waist.  Paduma is holding the umbrella in this side. 


Lord Shiva is fond of Abishek-bathing while Lord Vishnu is fond of attractive dressing. Lord Sankaranaraya always appears in His best Alankara-dressing. 


Abishek in the shrine is offered to Lord Chandramouleeswara the Spatika Linga-crystal Linga.  Pujas are offered to Him on Shivrathri and new moon days.  He comes of the shrine to grant darshan to Ambica on Aadi Thapasu festival day.


30 Tulsi Teertham and Vibhuthi


Tulsi theertha is offered as Prasad during morning pujas.  Vibuti the sacred ash is offered during other pujas.  Garlands of Tulsi and flowers are offered during the pujas.  Vilwa for Shiva and Tulsi for Vishnu are used in pujas.


31 Gomathi Amman


Gomathi:  Go means cow and Mathi Moon in Sanskrit.  Maidens from the celestial world came along with Ambica in the form of cows to help Her penance.  With a face as radiant as the Moon and being owner of cows, Ambica is called Gomathi.  She is also praised as Aavudayambikai being the Tamil version of Gomathi.  MOTHER IS DRESSED WITH FLOWERS ON MONDAYS AND GOLDEN SKIRT ON FRIDAYS. 


Those facing problems in wedding efforts and concern about children's welfare pray to Mother Gomathi lighting lamps made of rice flour mixed with ghee.


32 Sree Chakra


Sri Chakra, personifying the glory and power of Shakti is installed either under the peeta bearing Ambica or in front of the peeta.  Here, Sri Chakra is installed in the Mandap before Ambica.  This is called Agna Chakra.  THOSE WITH DEPRESSION AND CONFUSION SIT ON THIS CHAKRA AND PRAY TO AMBICA.  They believe they would be freed from confusions.