Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu

Thevara Paadal Petra Shivasthalam

What is a Paadal Petra Sthalam?.

The Nayanars, also known as Nayanmars, were a group of Tamil Hindu saints who lived from the 6th to the 8th centuries CE. They were devoted to the Hindu deity Shiva and played a significant role in the Bhakti movement in early medieval South India. Alongside the Alvars, who were devoted to Vishnu, the Nayanars contributed to the religious and cultural development of the region. Among the 63 Nayanars, the primary three were Tirugyanasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar (also known as Appar), and Sudarar. They composed hymns dedicated to Shiva, collectively known as Thevaram, which are compiled in the Tirumurai. The Tevaram consists of sets of ten songs, referred to as pathikam in Tamil.

Paadal Petra Shivasthalam - The temples where these hymns were sung praising the deity Shiva are known as 'Thevara Paadal Petra Shivasthalam', which translates to 'The shivasthalam that received the song'. These 274 unique temples, which have at least one Pathigam composed in their honor, are commonly referred to as Paadal Petra Sthalangal or Shivastalams in general. Out of these 274 Shiva temples, 266 are located in Tamilnadu. .

The primary Nayanmars, namely Thirunavukarasar, Thirugnanasambandar, and Sundarar, expressed their devotion to God Shiva by composing songs after visiting various temples. Despite the challenges they faced while traveling across Tamilnadu in search of these temples, the Nayanmars and their followers persevered. In some instances, God Shiva himself guided them to the temples, enabling them to compose the Pathigams. These Pathigams, written in classical Tamil, hold great significance in Tamil literature.

Saivite Tirumurai have been grouped into 12. The first 7 Tirumurai consists of the Pathigams composed by Thirunavukarasar, Thirugnanasambandar and Sundarar and are collectively and popularly known as Tevara Paadalgal. These Tevara Paadalgal convey one message clearly - that the temples referred in the Pathigams were in existence a 1000 years before.

Lord Shiva is believed to have expressed his opinion on the services provided by the first three Nayanmars in a well-known Tamil saying

Gnanasambandan thannai paadinaan
Thirunavukarasan ennai paadinaan
Sundaran Ponnai paadinaan

which means that Gnanasambandan composed the songs in the praise of god bringing him also into the picutre, Thirunavukarasar composed the songs purely in the praise of god, whereas Sundarar composed his songs in the praise of god and at the same time requesting the god for wealth.

ThirunavukarasarNo. of Sivasthalams

Pathigams composed, after visiting the temple


Pathigams composed, but did not visit the temple


Pathigams not composed by Thirunavukarasar

SambandarNo. of Sivasthalams

Pathigams composed, after visiting the temple


Pathigams composed, but did not visit temple


Pathigams not composed by Sambandar

SundararNo. of Sivasthalams

Pathigams composed, after visiting the temple


Pathigams composed, but did not visit the temple


Pathigams not composed by Sundarar

site logo
Ohm Namasivaya

To improve site content and user functionality, this website has been redesigned and converted into a responsive website ensuring that users have a good experience regardless of what device and screen size they use to browse the web. Kindly browse the website and write your comments / feedback.

Paadal Petra Shivasthalam - Map