Did a mini trip to Patteeswaram and Pazhayarai in March 2014. We all know about Patteeswaram, but not too many of us know about Pazhayarai. It is a Thevarasthalam, and more importantly a historically significant place.
During a period of time, the Chozha kings used Pazhayarai as a temporary capital, while building/rebuilding the Tanjore fort. The semi-fictional story of Ponniyin Selvan describes Pazhayarai as a grandiose capital city with huge maaligais (palaces). During the ages when Buddhism was rampant in the South, it is said that the Buddhist monks had sealed this temple and raised their monasteries along the tall walls of this temple. The great saint Appar sang and sat in ‘dharna’ outside the temple, until the then-emperor re-opened the temple. Pazhayaarai is also the birth place of one of the 63 Naayanars – Mangayarkarasiyaar. She also plays a big role in Periya puranam – by inviting Sambandhar to come and influence her husband (the then Pandiya king) back to Hinduism from Buddhism.
It is sad that the temple is almost in ruins now. I did see some development though. It looks like there is some renovation happening. Sivan here is named Somanathaswamy.
Main gopuram – half razed
The road to Patteeswaram and Pazhayarai are typical of Tanjavur Jilla roads. One FB friend of mine described my travel in these roads as the “Travels of the modern day Vandhiya Devan” – Read the Ponniyin Selvan to get more background 🙂
The Road Ahead
All images shot with the Samsung Galaxy Grand (yes, you read that right!). Images were post processed using the Snapseed app. Commonly used filters were Drama and HDRScape.