Even though there are many Shiva Temples within India and abroad, the temples in Tamilnadu have special significance and importance. Of these, there are 275 temples that are the called as “Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalams” (The temples that are sung in the verses). These Shiva temples gain more importance because they are been sung/mentioned in Tamil Thevaram hymns. The Thevaram Hymns were composed by the 3 Nayanmars namely Thirugnanasambandar, Thirunavukkarasar, and Sundarar, who lived between 7th and 9th century A.D. The Thevaram hymns are believed to be on the sets of ten songs called Pathigam. Like the 108 Divya Desams of Vaishnavites, these 275 Shiva Temples are considered as “Holy Shiva Shrines”.
These greatest Shiva Temples are believed to be more than 1000 years old since the reference to these temples are found in the Thevaram Hymns that are written in 7th and 9th Century A.D. Most of the Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalams are found in South India especially in TamilNadu and a few are found in North India. The Major divisions where these temples are found are,