People from all over southern India visit the Vaitheeswaran Koil in Tamilnadu to worship Lord Vaidyanathar/ Vaitheeswaran (Lord Shiva) and seek remedies for various health problems. Lord Vaitheeswaran is considered as the “God of Healing”. Hindus believe that praying to Lord Vaitheeswaran can cure all diseases and also bring mental peace. Vaitheeswaran Koil is sought after by devotees for getting relief from adverse planetary effects. People perform Parihara Pooja here for job opportunities, progress in business and career, marriage, promotions, and child boons. Vaitheeswaran Koil is a Paadal Petra Sthalam (temple revered by the Nayanars). It is also praised in the Thevaram hymns of saint poets of the 7th century, Thirunavukkarasar and Sambandar. Let’s see some interesting facts about this temple.
Angarakan Navagraha Sthalam
Vaitheeswaran Koil is one of the Navagraha temples associated with Planet Mars/Angaraka/ Chevvai and is a popular Angarakan Navagrahasthalam. Legends say that it was here that Planet Mars was cured by Vaidyanatha Swamy (Shiva) when he became afflicted with leprosy. Since then, the temple has been an Angarakan Navagrahasthalam. Hence, he remained in Vaitheeswaran Koil and came to be called “Vaitheeswaran,” or the Lord who heals. The Angaraka shrine here has a bronze idol of Angaraka (Planet Mars) which is mounted on a goat and taken out in procession every Tuesday, an auspicious day to worship Mars. Devotees worship Angaraka with great devotion, seeking a cure from illness.
Cradle of Nadi Astrology
This temple is the cradle of Nadi or Palm Leaf Astrology. Nadi Astrology is based on the idea that the past, present, and future lives of all human beings were foreseen by ancient Hindu seers with their yogic powers. They also wrote these predictions on palm leaves, using Vattezhuthu, an ancient Tamil script that only expert Nadi Astrologers can decipher.
Each Nadi or set of leaves is written with a sharp, nail-like tool called ezhuthani. It is said that the life of each person who lived, is living, and is yet to be born is inscribed on these palm leaves. These predictions were supposedly written by the Tamil sage, Agathiyar, who had divine revelations. The Nadi Leaves are preserved in Tanjore Saraswati Mahal Library. But most of them were auctioned during British rule. The families of astrologers in Vaitheeswaran Koil got custody of these leaves, and they were passed on from one generation to the other. Thus, Vaitheeswaran Koil is said to be the birthplace of Nadi astrology.
Supposedly, not just Indians, but people of other nationalities, religions, and creeds too can find a Nadi leaf that corresponds to them. A person’s palm-leaf inscription is identified using their thumb impression. There are around 108 types of thumbprints, and the Nadi Palm Leaves are arranged based on these types. Nadi readers identify the types of lines on the thumb and ask their questions in a manner that helps them to find the correct set of palm leaves. They make predictions and also offer remedies to resolve problems in the person’s life.
The “Tank Of Nectar” that Cures Skin ailments
The waters of the Siddhamrutha Theertham, the large temple tank here, contains nectar. Its holy waters, mixed with medicines in the form of herbs, Siddhamrutha Theertham, is said to have healing properties. A holy dip in it supposedly cures all diseases, especially skin problems. Legends say that Angaraka’s leprosy was cured after a dip in the holy waters of this Theertham. The waters of this temple tank have a sweet taste like cane juice and are called Ikshusara and Goksheera because the divine cow, Kamadhenu’s milk flowed into this tank when she did Abishekam to the deity here with it. Another legend says that Jatayu had his bath here, and hence the Theertham is also called Jatayu Theertham.
Remedy for Chevvai Dosham
The unfavorable position of Mars in a horoscope causes Chevvai Dosham (malefic effect), which manifests as aggressiveness, quarrelsome nature, or jealousy in the person. It can also cause loss of money, turbulent family life, delayed marriages, emotional upheavals, accidents and injuries, abusive and violent fights with the spouse, etc.
Chevvai Dosham can be rectified by performing Parihara Poojas to Angaraka. Worshipping Mars here and performing Angaraka Pooja is the best remedy for this Dosham as it helps in neutralizing the adverse effects of Angaraka. People offer red cloth and Bengal gram to Mars here. Tuesdays are special for Angaraka.
Thiruchandu Urundai Prasadam for Curing Diseases
Thiruchandu Urundai is the prasadam that is offered to devotees at Vaitheeswaran Koil. It is said to be a cure for almost all kinds of ailments. It is made of medicinal clay obtained from the temple pond, neem leaf essence, neem bark-powder, and the holy ash from the Homa Kundam (sacred fire).
Vaitheeswaran Koil has a five-tiered gopura or tower and large enclosures. Interestingly, all the five towers of the temple are in a straight line. The temple’s western tower houses the Shiva Lingam. The temple has been built in such a manner that the western tower allows the Sun’s rays to fall on the Shiva Lingam directly for some days every year. Inscriptions of King Vikrama Chola (12th century), the 16th century Nayaks, and also the 18th century Marathas can be found here.
Vaitheeswaran Koil is near Mayiladuthurai in Nagapattinam district, Tamilnadu. Shiva and his consort, Parvati, are the main deities here. They are worshipped as Vaidyanatha Swamy and Thaiyalnaayaki. Thaiyalnaayaki has a separate shrine where she stands with medicinal oil to cure the devotees’ diseases. A small shrine for Dhanvantari, the divine physician, and Angaraka is also found here.
Many devotees come here and perform Vaidyanatha Swamy Pooja, seeking relief from various ailments. The temple is a beacon of hope for those who are beyond the help of science and medicine and who believe that faith can work miracles when everything else fails.
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