Seerkazhi is known by various names in the Hindu ‘puranam’ or mythology. The deity is known as Brahmapureeswarar and the goddess as Thirunilai Nayaki. There are other deities known as Thoniappar and Sattainathar worshipped here. This is also the birthplace of the famous saint Gnanasambanthar.
Seerkazhi is situated in the district of Tanjore between Chidambaram and Mayavaram on the Southern Railway. Busses ply from Chidambaram, Mayavaram and Kumbakonam. The nearest airport is in Trichi.
The temple is in the middle of the village with four tall ‘gopuram’ on each side with a high wall surrounding the temple premises. There is a large ‘theertham’ within the temple compound next to which there are two shrines, one for the Goddess Thirupurasundary and the other for Gnanasambanthar. The shrines to Thoniappar and Sattainathar are reached by climbing the steps on the rear of the main temple.
When Sambanthar was three years old he accompanied his father to the temple. The father Sivapatha Iruthayar, got into the water in the temple ‘theertham’ for his ablution before commencing ‘pooja’ in the temple. He immersed himself in water and was absorbed in his prayer. Young Sambandar became alarmed when he did not see his father for a long time and called out, “Ammah, Appah”. His father did not hear the call from Sambanthar and continued with his prayer. When his father did not appear Sambanthar started wailing. At this moment Lord Shiva appeared with his consort. The Mother Goddess produced some milk in a golden vessel and gave it to Sambanthar to console him. When the father came out of the water he saw milk in the corners of the child’s mouth. He was first intrigued but later became angry as he suspected that someone of a lesser caste had fed his son with milk in violation of the practice among their creed. He demanded the child to reveal the identity of the person who fed him with milk. Sambanthar then opened his mouth and sang a hymn in praise of Lord Shiva pointing at the direction of the temple. Sivapatha Iruthayar realised that his son had not only received milk from the almighty but also ‘gnanam’ (wisdom) by the grace of God. From that day he was known as Gnanasambandar. After this incident Gnanasambanthar was revered as a great soul and was taken to all the holy places where he sang in praise of the deities installed in those temples.
Opening Hours and Festivals
There are six daily ‘pooja’, three in the forenoon and three in the evening. The Brahmotsavam takes place in the Tamil month of Chiththirai. There are other festivals for the Goddess, Gnana-sambanthar and Sattanathar.
The temple is open from 6am till noon and then from 4pm till 9pm.