Vinayaka Chathurthi

Thiruvalanchuzhi Swetha Vinayakar

The fertile Cauvery delta abounds in places of worship and Thiruvalanchuzhi, near Kumbakonam, is a tiny, nondescript hamlet situated on the southern banks of the Cauvery. But its claim to fame is a beautiful shrine dedicated to Lord Vinayaka.

Presiding deity – Swetha Vinayakar, Senjadainathar

Puranic lore

When the Devas and Asuras churned the Milky Ocean – Parkadal - poison – nanju - came out of it. The Devas were upset with the development and Devendran, the ruler of Indra Loka, attributed this to the negligence on the part of Devas to propitiate Vinayaka before embarking on the divine mission.

Thus, Indra created an icon of Valampuri Vinayaka from the froth of the sea waves. Called Swetha Vinayaka in north India, the Lord is called Vellai Varnam Pillaiyar in the Tamil-speaking areas. After worshipping Vinayaka, the churning of the Milky Ocean was completed successfully.

Desire of Indra

Indra wanted to instal Lord Vinayaka in Deva Loka and worship him there. But every one wanted to worship him and so, he was worshipped in different places in different yugas in Krita yuga – Mt Kailash, Treta yuga – Vaikuntam, Dwapara Yuga – Sathya Loka, and in Kali Yuga he was taken to Deva Loka.

Due to Indra’s misconduct with Ahalya, he undertook a pilgrimage to the Earth to redeem his curse and carried the Lord with him.


Indra undertook a pilgrimage to the shrines on the banks of the Cauvery. At one place, Lord Shiva appeared in front of Indra in disguise, as a youth. Indra wanted to have a bath and handed over the icon to Vinayaka and requested him to hold it until such time he returns. Indra returned and found the youth missing and the icon was installed on the ground. He tried to uproot it, but could not do so.

Indra now requested the celestial sculptor to design a chariot and placed Vinayaka on it and tried to pull it. Lo and behold! Vinayaka refused to budge. The place where he stayed back is now called Thiruvalanchuzhi.

River Cauvery, before she went underground, circumambulated the Lingam and thus this place is called Thiruvalanchuzhi and the deity is called Thiruvalanchuzhinathar. The hallowed spot is called Santhavanam, Thiruyanavartham and Dakshinavartham.

The five-tier temple gopuram is a mammoth structure.

The temple has five praakaaras and the pillars are a treasure trove of sculptures. Brahma and Indra worshipped the deity here.

Since Bhairavar plucked Brahma’s head he was cursed with Brahmahathi dosham. Bhairavar was redeemed of the curse after taking a bath in the tank and worshipping Vinayaka here.


The 10-day festival during Vinayaka Chathurthi is carnival time here. Devotees throng the temple to have a holy communion with the Lord.

The temple is situated near Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam-Thanjavur road.

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