Tirumeeyachur Lalithambika Temple (Sthala puranam and kumbishekam details)
Lord Meganathaswami is a swayambulinga. Those chanting Lalitha Sahasranama and Lalitha Navarathna Mala sitting in the Mother’s shrine are bestowed with all grace and prosperity in life. This is the birth place of Garuda, Aruna the charioteer of Sun, Vali, Sugriva, Yama and Saneeswara. Hence, people perform Ayush Homa and Mrutyunjaya Homa in this temple for longevity. They also offer Pirandai Rice nivedhana placed on a lotus leaf to Lord and eat it for cure from diseases.
Sun worshipped in the temple for relief from a curse and got back His glittering power. Mother Kali had worshipped Lord and Mother here.
Sage Kashyapa had two wives Vinatha and Karthru. They prayed to Lord Shiva seeking child boon. Lord gave them an egg each and asked them to keep it safe for a year. Garuda was born from the egg of Vinatha. Later Garuda became the Vahan of Lord Vishnu. As nothing came out from her egg, Karthru hurriedly broke it only to find a disfigured child. She sought the pardon of Lord Shiva for her hasty action. Lord Shiva not only pardoned her and blessed the child to become the charioteer of Sun bearing the name Aruna and the Sun rise would be called Arunodhaya.
Aruna became a Shiva devotee and performed severe penance for His darshan. Sun mocked at Aruna that one with physical defects cannot reach Kailash for Darshan. Aruna did not give in his efforts and succeeded finally. Lord Shiva granting darshan to Aruna, cursed Sun too to lose his shining. Shocked Sun placed Lord Parameswara and Mother Parvathi on an elephant, worshipped them and got back his shining power. That Lord Shiva is Lord Meganatha in this temple under the Gajabrushta Vimana designed as the back part of an elephant. There are three Kalasas on the Vimana. The name of the place Meeyachur has the story of Sun recovering his shining power.
Presiding deity Meganatha Swami is facing east. Mother Lalithambika, also praised as Soundarya Nayaki is seated on the Sri Chakra throne majestically as an empress. As Mother Meenakshi in Madurai and Sri Andal in Srivilliputhur, Mother Durga in this Meeyachur temple is holding a parrot. Durga with a parrot is rare in temples.
Durga in Tirusuhula Nathar temple in Chennai Tirishulam and in Chinnamanur Manickavasagar Temple in Theni district have this feature. Mother Durga with 8 hands in Tirumeeyachur temple is praised as Sukha Brahmma Durga Devi. Proably, this name ought to have been derived after the name of Sukha Brahmma Rishi with a parrot nose, son of Sage of Veda Vyasa. She looks all smiling though standing on demon Mahishasura – a Shanta Swarupini. It is believed that this parrot is taking the message of the devotees to Mother Lalithambika through Durga Matha. Even today, devotees can see a parrot flying from Durga shrine to Lalithambika shrine during evenings.
Lord Hayagriva is the disciple of Mother Lalithambika. He taught the greatness of Lalitha Sahasranama to Sage Agasthya. Sage asked Hayagriva which was the suitable place to chant this great hymn. Lord said that the sage should visit a place on earth where Mother graces in the name of Manonmani. Sage, with his devout wife Lopamudra came to Tirumeeyachur and chanted Lalitha Sahasranama before Mother Lalithambika. Pleased with his devotion, Mother appeared before the sage and his wife in the form of Navaratnas-nine precious stones. Sage Agasthya worshipped Mother with his own hymn Lalitha Navaratna Mala.
There are two Shiva shrines in the temple. Lord is in Linga form. Saint Tirugnana Sambandar had sung the glory of Lord in the shrine under the Rajagopuram and Saint Tirunavukkarasar had praised the Lord in the Ilankoil in the north prakara of the temple. This is a temple of Mother importance. Yama the God of death and the deity of Sadhya Star worshipped Lord Shiva performing abishek with 1008 conches. These conches have the power of granting longevity. Yama brought the sacred plant Pirandai belonging to the creeper category to earth. He offered rice nivedhana prepared with this pirandai to Lord. This is followed now by devotees for relief from diseases and for longevity.
Though Mother Lalithambika was dressed with all jewels as an Empress, one jewel, anklets at Her feet were absent. A devotee woman had a dream as if she was fixing the anklet to Mother. She immediately offered the anklets to mother. Following this incident, now, devotees seeking wedding, child and education boons offer anklets to Mother Lalithambika.
The devotee can have the darshan of the shrines of Lords Brahmma,Vishnu and Lingodhbava (Shiva) standing in between the two Vimanas. Lord Chandikeswara graces with four faces. The sculpture of Kshetra Puraneswara is very beautiful. The Mother part of the sculpture appears angry from one side and smiling and soft from the other side.
Dreaded demon Pandasura was harassing sages and Devas. They surrendered at the feet of Mother Parasakthi for protection. Responding to their appeal, Devi rose from a Yaga Gunda, mounted on the Sri Chakra Rath with the name Lalithambika, waged the war against the demon and destroyed him. She was very furious then. Lord Shiva asked Mother to go to Earth, assume the name Manonmani and perform penance and shed her fury. Mother came to this place and became soft and merciful. She created Vak Devathas-deities ruling words- and asked them to sing Her praise with 1000 names. This became the holy Lalitha Sahasraname beginning with the words, Sri Mathre meaning “Mother of prosperity”.
Devotees perform special pujas and Homas dedicated to Lord Meganathaswami on their birth star days for longevity. 60th and 80th birth days are celebrated in Lord’s shrine. Women awaiting marriage pray to Lord Kalyana Sundarar with garlands for early happy results. Those suffering from diseases offer Pirandai rice on lotus leaf as nivedhana and eat it as Lord’s Prasad for relief.