Legend has it that, thousands of years back this place was called Mullaivanam (forest filled with Jasmine creepers).
There lived a saint by name Nidhruva Rishi along with his wife Vedhika in Mullaivanam. They remained childless for years which was making them depressed. They took the advice of Gautama & Karthikeya Rishis and started worshipping Lord Shiva and Parvathy at the temple here.
Out of sincere prayers Vedhika became pregnant. The couple were too happy. When Vedhika was in the final trimester of pregnancy, Nidhruva Rishi had to be out of home to visit Sri Varuna.
One day, after a tiring house hold chores and the pain due to pregnancy, Vedhika was lying down and taking rest. When she was half asleep, a Rishi called Urdhvapaadha came at the door calling for Bhiksha. Vedhika didn’t notice the Rishi and didn’t respond to him with her hospitality. Saint Urdhvapaadha, without knowing the pregnancy of Vedhika, thought that she is ignoring him and cursed her to be affected with a serious disease.
The curse started spoiling not only Vedhika’s health and also the baby in her fetus. The fetus got deformed and Vedhika realized that it was because of the curse by Saint Urdhvapaadha. She prayed Goddess Parvathi Devi at the temple for rescue. The Goddess with her fullest mercy collected the deformed embryo in a divine pot and made it to evolve as a healthy baby.
Vedhika was blessed with a beautiful male baby and they named him Naidhruva. As there was no mother’s feed for the baby, Goddess sent Kamadhenu to arrange milk for the baby. Kamadhenu appeared and scratched her legs on the ground and a milk pond formed there on the earth, for the baby.
The pond then formed is called as ‘Khseera Kundam’ (Milk Pot) which is today’s temple tank in front of this temple.
Vedhika’s husband Nidhruva came back and was thrilled to hear the whole story and the mercy of the Goddess. The couple prayed the Goddess to take abode in the same village and bless every couple who pray them, with the child and safe pregnancy.
The Goddess agreed to them and settled down in Mullaivanam in the name of Sri Garbharakshaambigai (meaning the savior of fetus). From then, the village also got its name as Thirukkarugaavoor (Thiru – God, Karu – Fetus, Kaa – saves).
Even today Sri Garbharakshaambigai blesses the childless couples with the child and also the pregnant women for safe delivery of baby. According to the native villagers, to their knowledge, none of the women at Thirukkarugaavoor has ever had a miscarriage or any fatality during delivery.
In this temple Ghee is offered as Prasadham for the childless couple which they have to take everyday for about 48 days. Also a Sloka (given below) is given at the temple to be chanted by the expectant mother to pray Sri Garbharakshaambigai, everyday till delivery.
Mannaadha saramba sarisooda
harathirisoolin Sambo sugaprasava
grudh bhavamey dhayaalo
hemadavi vanesa paalayamaam namaste!
Himavath yudhdharey paarsvey
suradhara naama yaashinee
Thasyaaaa smarana maathrenaa
vichalya gharbinee bhavethu!!”
ஹே ஸங்கர ஸமரஹா ப்ரமதாதி
நாதரி மன்னாத சரம்ப சரிசூட
ஹர திரிசூலின் சம்போ சுகப்ரஸவ
க்ருத் பவமே தயாளோ
ஹிம்வத் யுத்தரே பார்ஸ்வே
ஸுரதர நாம யாஷினீ
தஸ்யா ஸ்மரண மாத்ரேணா
விசல்யா கர்ப்பிணி பவேது!!
Everyday, one can witness many couples happily coming back to the temple with their new born to thank the Goddess and seek her blessings by keeping the baby at her Lotus Feet.
Lord Shiva here, is in the form of Lingam. It is said that the idol here is made of ant hill mud (Putru MaN) and is a Swayambu Murthy (which evolved on its own). Hence there are no Abhishekams here for the Lord. Instead a rare fragrant herb called Punugu is applied on the Lingam (Punugu Chattam).
It is believed that by offering Punugu Chattam to Mullaivana Nathar, one gets relieved of any kind of skin diseases.
One can see the impression of the Jasmine creeper on the Shiva Lingam here, as this place was full of Jasmine creepers which were covering this Lingam.
Another rare feature is the moon rays falls directly on the Lingam here during the Full moon day of Thamizh month, Panguni.
Sri Mullai Vananathar Thirukkoil, Thirukkarugavur, Papanasam Taluk.Thanjavur Distict. Pin : 614 302. Tel : 04374 – 273423.