The Nagarathar Chettiars of the Chettinad region were once a very rich and prosperous clan of merchants who have been into trading with the far shores of south-east Asian countries since as far back as 8th century CE. With the wealth acquired, they built opulent mansions and eventually became powerful money-lenders.Earlier, there were 96 settlements of these Chettiars with each village having its own temple for worship; now, only 74 of these villages remain. Karaikudi is the main town for this community and there is a beautiful temple located nearby. The temple is known as Vairavan Kovil. It’s located about 10km away on the road leading from Karaikudi to the nearby city of Tiruchirappalli (Trichy).
The temple is very handsomely constructed with artistically sculptured images of various gods and goddesses and their rides carved onto the gopuram. The interiors of the temple are beautifully done-up with colorful murals telling their own story. It even has ‘seven note pillars’ made of stone, thus denoting the expertise of the craftsmen who constructed this temple.
Behind the Vairavan Kovil temple, there is a huge temple pond, the Vairavar (or Bhairava) Theertham. The holy waters of this temple tank are believed to have miraculous powers that can cure devotees off skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and rosacea. Aside from this, regular bathing in these waters is believed to cure issues of muscles and bones joints such as arthritis.
The temple is believed to be around 1200 years old and is the third most-revered temple for the Nagarathar Chettiar clan. The main deity in this temple is Lord Saneeswara and his wife, Devi Kamakshi Ammai. Even today, the temple is given a lot of importance during religious ceremonies by the Chettiars.
There is an interesting myth associated with this temple and it goes like this: Lord Brahma was very conceited as he also had five heads like Lord Shiva; and one day when Parvati offered him her services, mistaking him for Shiva, Brahma is believed to have silently accepted without raising any objections. Later on, when Parvati found out her mistake, she complained to Lord Shiva of Lord Brahma’s deceit. In his wrath, Lord Shiva sent Bhairava (Vairavan), one of his representations, to cut off one of Lord Brahma’s heads. And he is believed to grace this Vairavan temple as Lord Bhairava.
Getting to see this temple is very easy as you can land in Trichy which is well-connected by rail, road, and air, put up at the splendid Chidambara Vilas hotel and take a ride to this temple.