– By Dr. A Panesh
Patanjali Manoharar temple is a temple of Lord Shiva, located about 7 kms from Tiruvarur town. Driving on Tiruvarur- Tanjavore road, we hit a T-Junction of Vilamal. Continue and take left at a Peepul tree, opposite bus stop and an immediate right- you are in Patanjali Manoharar temple.
The temple is more than 1000 years old. This ancient temple is 90th Shiva temple in Thevaram hymns. Here lord Shiva is facing east and the goddess Madhurabhashini, facing south.
It is believed that lord Shiva was worshipped by Saint Patanjali said to be an incarnation of Adi Shesha, depicted here as snake body with human head and Saint Vygradhar, as tiger body with human head. The worship of Shiva by these two saints has been inscribed on the southern wall of the temple.
Southern wall of the temple has an Idol of Dakshina Murty and Ganapathi at the South west corner.
Western wall of the temple has an Idol of Narayana and a small shrine for goddess Lakshmi is located in front of Narayana idol.
Northern wall of the temple has an idol of Brahma and goddess Chamundeshwari.
North eastern corner of the temple has a shrine for Sri Bhairavar
The temple has been remarkably improved by Swami Chandrasekhar Shivacharya, a saint who resides in the temple. He always welcomes the pilgrims with a smiling face and blesses them whole heartedly. It is believed that whatever he says comes true.
The important feature of this temple is Idadhu paada darshanam, which is viewing the left foot of lord Shiva. When in Ardhanarishwara form (half Shiva and remaining half Devi), the left half of lord is Devi and hence the viewing of left foot is essentially the foot of Devi herself. This special viewing of the foot is on Thiruvadirai, which is the Nakshatra or the Star on which day Lord Shiva and Devi merged to become Ardhanarishwara. According English calendar, it falls somewhere between mid December to first week of January.
There is a pond in front of the temple known as Agni theertham. The temple ceiling has some old paintings depicting the history.