Ponvaithanathar Temple / பொன்வைத்த நாதர் கோயில், Thiruchitremam, சித்தாய்மூர் / Sithamoor, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu.
This is the 223rd Thevaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 106th Sthalam on the south side of river Kaveri in Chozha Nadu. The place was called as Chitremam during Thevaram period and now called as “Sithamoor” and locally called as Chithaimur.
In Periyapuranam Sekkizhar records that Thirugnanasambandar came to this temple after worshiping Lord Shiva of Thirukalar. In that he didn’t mentioned this temple in particular, but mentions other temples on the way to Thirumaraikadu.
மற்றுஅவ்வூர் தொழுதுஏத்தி மகிழ்ந்துபாடி
மால் அயனுக்கு அரியபிரான் மருவும்தானம்
பற்பலவும் சென்று பணிந்து ஏத்திப்பாடி
பரவுதிருத் தொண்டர்குழாம் பாங்கின் எய்தக்
கற்றவர் வாழ்தண்டலை நீள்நெறி உள்ளிட்ட
களகமதில் திருக்களரும் கருதார் வேள்வி
செற்றவர் சேர்பதி பிறவும் சென்று போற்றித்
திருமறைகாடு அதன்மருங்கு சேர்ந்தார் அன்றே
Thirugnanasambandar and Vallalar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple.
Moolavar: Sri Swarna Sthabaneswarar, Sri Ponvaithanathar
Consort: Sri Akilandeswari
Some of the salient features of this temple are…..
The temple is facing east with a 3 tier Rajagopuram. Balipeedam, Rishabam are after the Rajagopuram. In Koshtam Vinayagar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbavar, Brahma and Durgai.
Urchavars are Velavar, Somaskandar, Aadipoora Amman, Pradosha Nayagar, Chandrasekar, Sambandar and a Chettiar with his wife.
In prakaram Kanni Vinayagar, Murugan, Mahalakshmi, Brahmarishi, Ayyanar, Bhairavar, Shaniswaran, Suriyan and Viswanathar.
The Temple complex consists of sanctum sanctorum, antarala, artha mandapam and a maha mandapam, A two tier Vimana is on the sanctum.
HISTORY AND INSCRIPTIONS
Since Thirugnanasambandar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple, the original temple might have existed before 7th century. Latter the same was reconstructed as a stone temple during Chozha period and further expanded by Nayakas.
The Inscriptions recorded from this temple belongs to Chozha Kings,Madurai Konda Koparakesarivarmar, Rajakesarivarmar, Rajendra Chozha, Thiribhuvana Chakravarthi Rajendra Chozha, Pandya Kings Varaguna Pandya, Srivallabha alias Veera Panya, Maravarman Sundara Pandyan and vijayanagara Kings Venkatapathy Rayar.
As per the inscriptions this place was in “Rajarajavalanattu VettraRRu nattu Puntrirkootrathu Thiruchitremam”. This place was called as Thiruchitremam, in ( 1459 CE ). Lord Shiva was called as Thiruchitremamudayar, Pazhayavanaththambiranar, Pazhayavana Perumal, Pazhayavana Thambiranar and Thiru(va)aathitha Eswaramudayar.
Kulothunga Chozha-III’s 35th reign year inscription records the endowment of some gifts by the Muppathu vattathu Brahmins. Inscription last portion was not available.
Rajendra Chozha-III’s 6th reign year inscription records the endowment of burning a sandhi lamp, for the same gold coins was received by the people working with the temple. There is a word "Pittukku man sumantha”, which denotes the “Thiruvilayadal purana”. More details couldn't be obtained since the inscription was badly damaged.
Two nos of 12th century fragment inscriptions records some endowments and the donations were made, in terms of Land etc.
A damaged 17th century Thanjavur nayaka’s inscription records the endowment of burning a sandhi lamp for which 150 kasu was handed over to Siva Brahmins and they agreed to do the same.
A 19th to 20th Century inscription recordsthat 25 veli land at Alangudi was belongs to the Thiruvaimur Thambiranar. ( This inscription is not available at present ).
The inscription at Temple mandapa pillar records that the pillar was gifted by Muthranraman alias Mudiyal puriyal. Veera Pandya Devar period and Inthiyur Sabha peoplegave gifts to this temple. A Channel was excavated to bring water to the kulam / tank during Thiribhuvana Chakravarthy Rajarajadevar ( II or III ) period
As per sthala purana, a Merchant Sankaran Chettiar went on business after his wife was confirmed pregnant. She was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and used to worship him daily. Lord Shiva helped for livelihood in the form of gold coin for a Chetti Lady. She used to sell the gold coin and lived. When her pregnancy was in an advanced stage, she prayed Lord Shiva, Ambal A Akilandeswari came in the form of mother helped her for delivery. In the mean time the Chettiar returned back. Her neighbours and relatives told ill about his wife. She prayed Lord Shiva in public to prove her innocent. To her prayer Lord Shiva proved by opening the Sanctum door automatically, to shift the Aathi tree to the front of the temple and move the Rishabam to go behind the balipeedam. Thus Lord Shiva showed Chettiar wife’s innocence.
As per another legend A place called Mutharasapuram was ruled on the north side of this place Thiruchitremam. A pot of milk used to be carried to his palace through this place. On many occasions the pot used to fell on a particular place and broke. When the king came to know this, wanted to know why it happens at a particular place. So he asked his people to excavate that particular place and found out a Shiva Linga. Latter The King constructed a temple for this Shiva Linga. During the process of excavation a scar was made due to hitting of the excavation tool, which can be seen even now.
Honey comb is seen in the artha mandapam. It is believed that Brahma Rishi worshiped Lord Shiva of this temple as honey bee during artha jama pooja. One day, when, he came to the templeafter the artha jama pooja and doors were closed. The maharishi took the form of honey bee, went inside and worshiped Lord Shiva.
POOJAS AND CELEBRATIONS
Apart from regular poojas, special poojas are conducted on Vaikasi Visakam in the month Vaikasi ( May – June ), Aadi Fridays and pooram in the month Aadi ( July – Aug ), Vinayagar Chathurthi in the month Avani ( Aug – Sept ), Skanda Sashti in the month Aippasi ( Oct – Nov ), Thirukarthigai in the month Karthigai ( Nov – Dec ), Thaipoosam in the month Thai ( Jan – Feb ), Maha Shivaratri in the month Masi ( Feb – March ) and monthly pradoshams.
The temple will be kept opened between 08.00 hrs to 12.00 hrs and 17.00 hrs to 20.00 hrs.
The mobile number +91 94427 67565 may be contacted for further details.
HOW TO REACH
On the bus route Thiruvarur to Thiruthuraipoondi get down at Alathambadi from there Sithamoor is 3 KM.
The temple is 15 KM from Thiruthuraipoondi, 25 KM from Thiruvarur, 34 KM from Mannargudi, 65 KM from Kumbakonam, 72 K M from Thanjavur and 347 KM from Chennai.