Vaitheeswaran Temple or Pullirukkuvelur is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva located in Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Vaitheeswaran or the "God of healing" and it is believed that prayers to Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases. It is one of the nine Navagraha (nine planets) temples associated with the planet Mars (Angaraka). The village is also known for palm leaf astrology called Naadi astrology in Tamil. It is located 7 km from Sirkali, 235 km from the Chennai, 27 km from Chidambaram, 110 km from Thanjavur and 16 km from Mayiladuthurai. The holy waters of the Siddhamirtham tank within the temple complex contains nectar and a holy dip is believed to cure all diseases. The temple is revered by the Tevaram hymns of 7th century Saiva nayanars - Tamil saint poets and is also classified as a Paadal Petra Sthalam (temple revered by the nayanars).
During the Ramayana period, Rama, Lakshmana and Saptarishi have worshipped the deity in this place. It is believed that Rama and his brother Lakshmana cremated the vulture king Jatayu who was killed by Ravana when he tried to prevent the abduction of Sita at this place. There is a pond at this temple called Jatayu kundam. One of the nine planets, Angaraka (Mars), suffered from leprosy and was cured by Vaidhyanathaswamy and from then on it is treated as one of the Navagraha Temples for planet Angaraka. Parvati, the consort of Shiva, asked her son, Subramanya to appear with one face from his regular appearance of six faces. When he did so, she was pleased and presented him with vel (a weapon) to slay the demons. Subramanya overcame the asura Surapadman and in the war, his army was severely injured. Shiva came out as the healer Vaitheeswaran and cured the wounds. Like Panneer ilai Vibhuthi of Tiruchendur Temple,The "Tiruchaandu Urundai" (called in tamil) which is covered with Vibhuti of deity heals various incurable diseases. It can be procured at the temple.
The temple has a 5-tier gopuram (temple tower) and large precincts. The central shrine is that of Vaitheeswaran present as lingam in the inner most sanctum. The first precinct around the sanctum has the metal image of Subramanya, worhsipped here as Muthukumara Swamy. The other metal images in the sanctum are of Nataraja, Somaskanda, Angaraka and stone sculptures of Durga, Dakshinamoorthy, Surya, Jatayu, Vedas, Sampati. The shrine of Thaiyalnayaki who stands with the medicinal oil to cure the diseases of the devotees is present in the second precinct facing south. The large precinct also has a small shrine to Dhanvantari and shrine of Angaraka in stone sculpture. The southern gateway from this precint leads to the temple tank and directly faces the Thaiyalnayaki shrine. The Sthala Vriksha is margosa (Azadirachta indica) which possesses medicinal properties. It is located in the eastern gateway of the temple. The eastern gateway also has the shrine of Adi (original) temple that has a smaller replica of the main shrines. There is a fine metal image of Gangavisarjanar inside the temple.
The temple has five inscriptions mainly belonging to the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1070-1120 CE). The inscription on the steps of Subramanya shrine records the shutter of the sluice at Sattainathapuram measures 35 inches in length and 8 inches in breadth. The one on the right of the temple tank indicates the tank, Nachiyar shrine, and its hall were completely renovated when Kanderayar was governing the Sigali Simai, and during the management of the temple by Muthukumaraswami Tambiran, a disciple of Sivagnanadesikar-Sambandar of the Dharmapuram Adheenam. On the wall of the second precinct, the inscriptions state that the courtyard of Thayalnayagi shrine, the sacred steps and Tattisuri hall were built during Tamil year 4868 correspoding to 1689 CE. On the floor near accountant's seat registers a deed granted by Sankarabaragiri Rengopanditar by Ambalavanatambiran, an agent of the temple. The Easter gateway inscription indicates the gift of taxes from Manipallam in Tiruvalipparu.
Worship And Festivals:
- Worship: Devotees take a holy dip in the temple tank before worshipping Vaitheeswaran in the temple. It is also a local belief that dissolving jaggery in the waters cures skin diseases. Tonsure ceremony of getting children shaved for the first time to promote proper growth is a very common practise. Mavilaku ma (litting lamp in rice cakes) is a form of worship practised. The practise of jamming salt and pepper in front of the temple mast and the pot near the temple tank is also followed. Unlike other temples in South India, where each shrine has a priest, each priest in the temple associates themselves with the devotees and perform worship on their behalf. The holy soil rounded with ash is treated as medicine and believed to cure all the diseases. Another medicine given is chandan with saffron. Devotees also donate carved silver plated body organs in the Hundi (vessel for offering) to cure the diseases.
- Festivals: Brahmotsavam (annual festival) is celebrated during the Tamil calendar months of Pankuni and Thai (January–February). Karthigai festival during November is also celebrated with pomp and glory. Kantha Sashti, a festive occasion for Subramanya, is celebrated in the shrine of Muthukumaraswamy.
Nadi astrology is a form of Hindu astrology practiced around the temple. It is based on the belief that the past, present and the future lives of all humans were foreseen by Hindu sages in ancient time. The texts are mainly written in Vatteluttu, which is an ancient Tamil script. There are different schools of thought as to the author of these leaves. They are believed to be written by a Tamil sage called Agathiyar who is said to have had divine revelations. These Nadi leaves were initially stored in the premises of Tanjore Saraswati Mahal Library of Tamil Nadu. The British rulers later showed interest in the Nadi leaves concerned with herbs and medicine and future prediction, but ironically left most of the leaves to their loyal people. Some leaves got destroyed and the remaining were auctioned during the British rule. These leaves were obtained and possessed by the families of astrologers in Vaitheeswaran temple and was passed down the years from one generation to the other.
The temple is located between Sirkali to Mayiladuthurai State Highway. Frequent bus services are operated by Tamil Nadu government. There is a Railway station which is located between chennai to mayiladuthurai railway road. Karaikal is the nearest proposal airport located around 40 kilometer from temple.