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Monday, April 22, 2024

Sri Garbarakshambigai Temple

Sri Garbarakshambigai Amman temple is situated in Thirukarukavur (Thirukkarugavur), a small village in Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, South India. This is an ancient temple of Bhagwan Shiva dedicated to Sri Mullaivananathar and Sri Garbarakshambigai Amman. Appar, Sundarar and Sambandhar, the three famous Naayanmaars have celebrated the glory of this temple in soul stirring verses.

The remarkable feature which distinguishes this temple from the other shrines is that, Goddess Sri Garbarakshambigai Amman here cures infertility related problems to women, blesses them to conceive and also helps them for safe and trouble free delivery.

Sri Mullaivananathar swamy is worshipped for better health and well being.


Thirukarukavur is a village situated in Thanjavur District, Tamil Nadu, South Bharat. This village is 6 kms south of Papanasam, a town in between Thanjavur and Kumbakonam main road.

How to Reach Thirukarugavur Temple:

Thirukarugavur is situated 6 kms south of Papanasam, a town in between Thanjavur – Kumbakonam main road. Devotees from Southern (Kaniyakumari, Madurai, Theni etc) and western parts (Trichy, Salem, Coimbatore etc) of the state have to reach Thanjavur and from there to Papanasam which is 25 kms from Thanjavur and then to Thirukarukavur 6kms from Papanasam.

History (Thalavaralaru)

Greatness of the Goddess Arulmigu Garbarakshambigai:

In the distant past two sages by the name of Gowthama and Gargeya did penance at this place called ‘MULLAIVANAM’ ie. (Jasmine Forest). A couple by name Nidhruva and Vedikai stayed in the same ashram and rendered service to the sages. Since the couple had no children they represented this to the sages. The sages advised the couple to worship Sri Garbarakshambigai. The couple did that with intense devotion and their prayers got answered. Vedikai got conceived.

During her later stage of pregnancy and while her husband Nidhruva was away from home she was in a faint state due to the strain of pregnancy. At this moment, a sage by name Sri.Urdhuvapada came to her abode and asked for alms. Due to her unconscious state of mind, she did not respond to that sage’s request. The sage was enraged at this apparent indifference and cursed her without knowing the exact reason for her silence.

Due to the curse, her fetus got disintegrated and descended. Shocked Vedikai prayed to the Goddess in great distress. The Goddess appeared before her, protected the fetus, preserved it in a sacred pot until it developed into a male child and presented it to the devoted couple. The parents named their child as ‘Naidhuruvan’.

Struck by this great act of benevolence of the Almighty Goddess, the immensely grateful Vedikai prayed to the Goddess to remain in this place and protect women and their foetus as she had done in her case. The Goddess accepted her prayer and remains here as ‘Garbharakshambigai’ meaning ‘savior of foetus’. Due to this fame this place came to be known as ‘Thirukarukavur’ i.e., the place where pregnancy is protected and also the place where childless couples are blessed with children.

Later while Vedikai had no mother’s milk to feed her child Naidhuruvan, answering her prayers Goddess sent ‘Kamadhenu’ the divine cow to this place to feed the child. Kamadhenu scratched the earth in front of the temple with her hoof and milk came out in plenty from the ground and it formed into a ‘Milk Tank’. This Tank exists even now in the name of ‘Ksheerakundam’

Thus at this sacred place childless people who worship the Goddess with devotion and faith are blessed with pregnancy. Those pregnancies are well protected and the women are blessed with safe and trouble free deliveries.

Greatness of Bhagwan Sri Mullaivananathar:

The Lord of this place is called ‘Mullaivananathar'(meaning lord in jasmine forest). Even today everyone can see the impression of jasmine creepers which once covered it. Linga here is a ‘Swayambu’ i.e. Self Manifested. This Linga is made up of ant hill mud. Hence abishekam to Linga using water is avoided. Instead, the Linga is merely pasted with a kind of must called ‘Punuhu’ during valarpirai Pradosham.

People who are afflicted with incurable disease come to this place to offer ‘Punugu Chattam’ to the Lord and get themselves cured from the diseases. This is a fact which is actually verified even today.

The following festivals are being conducted in this temple.

  • Pradoshams
  • Vaikasi Brahmotsavams
  • Aadi Pooram
  • Navarathiri Kolu
  • Navarathiri Theppam (Float festival)
  • Thirukkarthigai
  • Karthigai Somavaram
  • Margazhi utsavam (Thanur month)
  • Aarudhra Dharisanam
  • Mahashivarathiri
  • Panguni Uthiram

Worship timings:

Morning- 5:30 am to 12:30pm.

Evening- 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.


Blessed Ghee for pregnancy

Couples yearning for a child have to come in person to this temple, obtain ghee from the counter, light 11 ghee lamp and must do step smearing (Padi Mezhuguthal) in sacred Ambal Sannadhi and pray for their child. After returning to their home they should buy quality ghee for 1/2 kg and mix them with the sacred ghee obtained from this temple. Before going to bed couples should take a teaspoonful of the ghee for next 48 days. Women should avoid consuming this ghee during their periods, while men should continue without break. We advice the couples to recite the mantras which will be given to them in a book form during their visit to this temple. This is a belief that is backed up by the experience of many.

Persons who are unable to visit this temple in person can obtain blessed ghee from this temple through post or courier.  After receiving the ghee prasadam the couples should buy 1/2 kg of ghee and mix them with the sacred ghee obtained from this temple and follow the procedure detailed above. 

Blessed castor oil for easy delivery

Pregnant woman in third trimester has to obtain blessed oil from this temple. It is not necessary for the woman to come in person while her husband or any family member can come and obtain the blessed oil. The oil must be applied in the lower abdomen of the woman during pain. We advice the woman to recite the mantras meant for safe and trouble free delivery

Punugu sattam

Sri Mullaivananathar Swamy is worshiped for better health. The Swamy here is swayambhu i.e, self manifested. He is made up of hardened mud and there is no Abhishegam for this God. Instead Punugu sattam is being offered on the Valarpirai Pradosham day, the eleventh day after new moon. This Punugu is believed to have healing power and it is being sent as prasadam for the peoples who suffer due to incurable skin diseases, cardiac diseases and surgery.


Abishegams are performed during these timings. Monday to Saturday : 8.00 am Abishegams are not performed during evening, Sundays and Festival days. Pre-bookings are made for abishegams. Devotees are expected to be present 1/2 hour before abishegam. Delay causes discomfort to other devotees.


“Annadhana is the best form of dhana”. Annadanam improves strength, sharpness of brain and divinity to both the donor and receiver. Among all gifts of charity, providing food to the hungry is the greatest of all gifts as food gives life, longevity, light and energy. This temple is located in a remote village, where quality mid-day meal is unavailable to the devotees who arrive after a long travel. Therefore the temple administration provides free mid-day meal to 100 persons daily. Donate liberally for Annadhanam scheme.

Kattalai Archanai

Kattalai archanai is one type of archanai which is being done on particular date or star, which the devotee prefers. It is done for a particular period (minimum 1 year) or for life time. You have to send stipulated amount for the period you wish to do archanai. Prasadams will be sent to you in monthly basis. Pregnant women opt for kattalai archanai up to their pregnancy period.  

Navakodi Ghee lamps

All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion. Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness – ignorance. The Lord is the “Knowledge Principle” (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.

The traditional ghee lamp has a further spiritual significance. The ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the sin. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the sin too finally perishes.

In this temple, people who pray for pregnancy, are advised to light up eleven lamps (one for Sri. Vinayagar, one for the Lord Mullaivananathar and nine for Almighty Sri. Garbarakshambigai) and who pray for safe delivery are advised to light 5 lamps (one for Sri. Vinayagar, one for the Lord Mullaivananathar and three for Almighty Sri. Garbarakshambigai).

Sandana Kaapu:

Sandalwood paste plays an integral part for rituals and ceremonies in Hindu religion. It gives a cooling effect to mind and soul. Therefore devotees offer Sandalwood paste smearing (Sandana Kaapu) to Goddess Garbarakshambigai to bless their wish. The Sandana Kaapu pooja is offered on Friday evenings. The cost is Rs.5000 for both Indian and overseas devotees and you are requested to contact temple office for the date of booking.

Thanga Thottil

In this temple we have one unique way of Thanking Goddess Garbarakshambigai for her benevolence. It is called Thanga Thottil prarthanai. Blessed couple having child after praying to Goddess Garbarakshambigai can thank her by placing their child in Thanga Thottil (Golden cradle) and circumventing Amman Praharam with their child. Photos and videos are allowed to be taken and can be posted in social networking sites. The cost of the Prarthanai is Rs.550. There is no pre-booking for it.


This is an age old tradition which is followed in many temples. Placing your child in one plate of the weighing scale and balancing the other with goods is called Thulabharam. We accept all kinds of materials like Ghee, oil, food grains, fruits, currency coins, gold, silver etc in Thulabaram.

Those who cannot come in person to light ghee lamps can use the temple service to do so. Lighting ghee lamps up to the number of their age is a common occurrence here.

Earboring and Tonsure prayers

Ear boring of your child can be done in this temple. You are requested to call this temple office earlier and make arrangement for the gold smith to the present during your visit.

Similarly for Tonsuring head prayers please call this temple office earlier and make arrangements for it.

-by S Sekar

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