This week, we are going to know about one important temple that is dedicated to Our Tamizh Kadavul, Murugan. Yes, It’s the Navanideeshwarar Temple in Sikkal. The main God of this temple is Lord Shiva. A separate shrine for Lord Muruga as Singaravelan is also found inside the temple premises. This is one of the most popular temples that is dedicated to Lord Muruga and is unofficially considered as the 7th Padai Veedu of Lord Muruga. Moreover, this temple is one of the Paadal Petra Sthalam located to the South of Cauvery (Chozha Naadu).
The place Sikkal is located some 5kms from Nagapattinam and the temple was constructed by the King Muchukunda Cholan in 4th Century. The place was once called Mallikaranyam since the area had an abundance of jasmine flowers.
As per the Sthala Purana, the divine Cow Kamadenu descended to earth due to some curse and it stayed in this place to perform penance to get rid of the curse. She used to take bath in one of the tanks and drain all its milk in the tank. Hence the tank got filled with milk completely. So the tank was called Milk Tank or Parkulam. At that time, Sage Vasishtar came to this place. He was surprised to see a lake full of milk. So he decided to stay at the place for the evening and offer his evening prayers. He slowly gathered the butter floating on the lake and he made a Shiva Linga out of it. He then offered his prayers to Lord Shiva. Once the prayers are done, he tried removing the Linga from that place but he could not do that. So this place is called “Sikkal” (Sikkal means Stuck or problem). Lord Shiva is also known by the name “Thiru Vennai Nathar” (Vennai means butter) since he was made up of butter. Lord then gave darshan to both the sage Vasishtar and Kamadenu. The Cow Kamadenu then got relieved from all its curses. Even today, the Shiva Linga of this temple has the finger impressions of the Sage Vasishtar who made the Linga.
There is another interesting story related to this temple. As we all know, Lord Shiva created Lord Subramanya for the sole purpose of destroying the demon Surapadman. Once Lord Subramanya reached the suitable age, he came to this very place and meditated upon His parents, to pray for sufficient mental and physical strength to overcome the demon. Goddess Parvathi was pleased with her son’s prayers created a Vel herself and presented it to Skandha along with her heartfelt blessings for his success. Since the Vel was given by Shakthi, the Vel is known as “Shakthi Vel” and the Goddess of this temple is known as Velnedunkanni – Means the Goddess whose eyes are as sharp as that of the Vel.
Yet another interesting legend associated with Sikkal. It is said that the same sculptor who carved the Lord Muruga of this Sikkal temple has carved the other Murugan idols in Ettukkudi and Enkan. He has excellently carved the idol of Sikkal Murugan with every detail of his 6 faces, separate earring holes, hands, weapons, peacock standing on its single leg with distinct claws etc. The king, Muchukunda Cholan, who ruled that place did not want to have any replica of this sculptor. So he cut off his Thumbs. Even after losing his thumbs, the sculptor created a replica of this Lord Murugan at Ettukkudi. On hearing this, the king then ordered to remove the eyes of the sculptor. After this, it is believed that the sculptor was directed by a divine voice to make a still detailed idol of Lord Muruga at the temple at Enkan. When the sculptor followed the instruction, he got back his vision and the thumbs at Enkan Temple.
The most famous festival that is celebrated in this temple is Maha Skandha Sashti which comes in the month of Aippasi (Mid October-Mid November). This festival is celebrated for six days and on the fifth day of the festival, Skandha receives his Vel from his mother Velnedunkanni. This is known as the “Vel Vaangum Thiruvizha” and this is the highlight of the festival that is celebrated in this temple in a grand manner.
The amazing fact is that when Lord Muruga receives his Vel, the Utsavar idol of Singara Velavar breaks out into profuse sweating. It is believed that this is because of the tension and the anger of the Lord who is ready to kill the Asura. The priests continuously wipe the idol’s face with silk cloth but the idol sweats profusely. This is known as the “Sweating Wonder!!” Then the sweat is sprinkled as Divine Theertha on the crowd gathered to witness this miracle. The sweating subsides only when the Lord returns to his sanctum. On the sixth day, the Soorasamhaaram takes place. But this event was not celebrated as grand and large as it is celebrated at Thiruchendur.
Apart from these many significances, there is yet another important legend associated with this temple. Have you ever wondered why the Lord Muruga of this temple called by the name “Singara Velavar” – Meaning Handsome Vel Bearer ?? And here is the answer to the same. After the Soorasamharam in Thiruchendur, Lord Muruga was stuck with Brahhmahathi Dosha. So He returned back to Sikkal and again performed meditation. He was instructed by Lord Shiva to take bath in the Holy temple Pond, Ksheera Theertha (the milk pond). When He took bath, Lord Muruga emerged out without any war wounds and as shining as a star. Hence is known as Singara Velavan!!