By Saravanan Iyer
Vasishteswaraswamy temple, a very ancient temple situated in the village "Thittai" near Thanjavur. As the village is situated south of river Cauvery, its also called "Thenkudi Thittai".
The presiding diety is Swayambootheswarar and the Godess, Ulaganayaki. As the main diety is a Swayambu Lingam he got the name "Swayambootheswarar".
The main diety is also called as Vasishteswarar as he was worshipped here by Saint Vasishtar.
"Thittai", the name of the village means "Thittu" in Tamil, (i-e) a Mound. When the whole world was surrounded by water because of "Pralayam", Brahma & Vishnu worshiped the Lord Maheshara for protection. After wandering much for a safe place, they found this only mound, which did not drown in the Pralaya waters, where there was a Shiva Lingam.
They performed Pooja to the Lingam and worshiped Lord Shiva, who appeared before them and delegated their duties of Creation and Protection. Its believed that this is the only place, which was not destroyed even during Pralayam.
Unlike many other temples, here the complete temple is built using the stone. Not only for the main deities, but also all other Sannidhi's are constructed using stones, right from floors, pillars, walls and roof.
An unique feature of this temple is a drop of water falls on the Lingam (Main Diety) exactly every twenty four minutes (1 Naazhigai) from the roof. But for a small hole, there is no source of water or anything, on the Vimana of the main deity.
Two stones "Suryagaanthakkal" and "Chandragaanthakkal" which are placed at strategic points above the Vimana are the reasons for the droplets of water which falls on the deity.
These 2 stones absorb moisture from the atmosphere, convert into 1 water droplet, performing a natural Abhishegam to the deity, every 24 minutes (1 Naazhigai), be it the day or night.
A small piece of yellow cloth (Dhothi) which covers the Lingam is always wet because of this. If one can wait patiently, they can view this amazing act.
That shows the scientific and architectural brilliance of our ancestors who have made this temple.
Another special here is that the "Guru Bhagavan" has a temple inside this temple itself. Even in the Gurusthalam Aalangudi, one can see that Dhakshinamurthy facing South in the Praakaaram is worshiped as Guru.
But this is probably the only place in the world where Guru Bhagavan has a separate Sannidhi and separate Vimana between Vasishteswarar and Loganayaki Sannidhis. This is the only place where you can see Guru Bhagavan who is the Raja Guru, in standing posture with 4 hands holding his weapons and a book. Chitra Pournami & Guru Peyarchi are most important festivals here.
Thenkudi Thittai - Guru Bhagavan
One can take a bus or cab from Thanjavur. The temple is situated on Thanjavur - Melattur Road on the way to Thirukkarugavur, at the 10th Km from Thanjavur. A 'must see' place for temple lovers.