Thirukkarugaavoor Sri Garbharakshaambigai
Thirukkarugaavoor is located about 20 kms from Kumbakonam. This is a unique temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvathi who bless the world as Sri Mullaivana Naathar & Sri Garbharakshaambigai. Legend has it that thousands of years back this place was called Mullaivanam (a forest filled with Jasmine creepers). It is said that a saint named Nidhruva Rishi along with his wife Vedhika lived in Mullaivanam. They had become very depressed due to remaining childless for several years. They followed the advice of Gautama & Karthikeya Rishis and started worshiping Lord Shiva and Parvathi at the temple here.
After sincere prayers to Lord Shiva and Parvati, the couple were overjoyed to find that Vedhika had became pregnant. When Vedhika was in the final trimester of pregnancy, Nidhruva Rishi had to leave home to visit Sri Varuna. One day Vedhika was lying down and taking respite from tiring household chores and pregnancy pains. When she was half asleep, a Rishi called Urdhvapaadha came to the door asking for Bhiksha. Vedhika didn’t notice the Rishi and hence didn’t respond to him with her hospitality. Saint Urdhvapaadha, without knowing the pregnancy of Vedhika, thought that she was ignoring him and cursed her to be afflicted with a serious disease.
The curse started affecting not only Vedhika’s health but also that of the unborn baby present in her womb. The fetus got deformed and Vedhika realized that this was all due to the curse of Saint Urdhvapaadha. She prayed to Goddess Parvathi Devi at the temple for relief. The Goddess, with her fullest mercy, collected the deformed embryo in a divine pot and made it evolve into a healthy baby. Vedhika was blessed with a beautiful baby boy who was named Naidhruva. As there was no mother’s feed for the baby, the Goddess sent Kamadhenu to arrange milk for the baby. Kamadhenu appeared and scratched her legs on the ground and a milk pond was formed there on the earth just for the baby.
The pond that was formed is known as ‘Khseera Kundam’ (Milk Pot) and is the temple tank that stands today in front of this temple. Vedhika’s husband Nidhruva came back and was thrilled to hear the whole story and the mercy of the Goddess. The couple prayed to the Goddess to take abode in the same village and bless every couple who prays to her with a healthy child and a safe pregnancy. The Goddess agreed with them and settled down in Mullaivanam and goes by the name of Sri Garbharakshaambigai - the savior of fetus. From then onwards, the village also got the name Thirukkarugaavoor (Thiru – God, Karu – Fetus, Kaa – saves).
Even today childless couples and pregnant women come here to seek the blessings of Sri Garbharakshaambigai. According to the native villagers here, none of the women at Thirukkarugaavoor had ever had a miscarriage or any fatality during delivery. In this temple Ghee is offered as Prasadam for the childless couple which they have to take everyday for about 48 days. Also a Sloka (see below) is given at the temple for the expectant mother to chant everyday until delivery.
“Hey Sankara samarahaa Bramadhaadhinaadhari Mannaadha saramba sarisooda harathirisoolin Sambo sugaprasava grudh bhavamey dhayaalo hemadavi vanesa paalayamaam namaste! Himavath yudhdharey paarsvey suradhara naama yaashinee Thasyaaaa smarana maathrenaa vichalya gharbinee bhavethu!!” Transliteration : ஹே ஸங்கர ஸமரஹா ப்ரமதாதி நாதரி மன்னாத சரம்ப சரிசூட ஹர திரிசூலின் சம்போ சுகப்ரஸவ க்ருத் பவமே தயாளோ ஹேமாதவி வனேஸ பாலயமாம் நமஸ்தே! ஹிம்வத் யுத்தரே பார்ஸ்வே ஸுரதர நாம யாஷினீ தஸ்யா ஸ்மரண மாத்ரேணா விசல்யா கர்ப்பிணி பவேது!!
Castor oil is offered as Prasadam here to the pregnant women which needs to be applied on their abdomen during pregnancy to ensure a safe labor. Everyday one can witness many couples happily coming back to the temple with their new born to thank the Goddess. Also the baby is placed at Her Lotus Feet to seek her blessings. Lord Shiva here is in the form of a Lingam. It is said that the idol here is made of ant hill mud (Putru MaN) and is a Swayambu Murthy (which evolved on its own). Hence there are no Abhishekams here for the Lord. Instead a rare fragrant herb called Punugu is applied on the Lingam (Punugu Chattam).
It is believed that by offering Punugu Chattam to Mullaivana Nathar, one gets relieved of any kind of skin disease. One can still see the impression of the Jasmine creeper on the Shiva Lingam here, as this place was once upon a time full of Jasmine creepers which covered the Lingam. Another rare feature is the moon rays falls directly on the Lingam here during the Full moon day of Thamizh month, Panguni.
Sri Mullai Vananathar Thirukkoil,
Thanjavur District. Pin : 614 302. Tel : 04374 – 273423.