Goddess : Mahasaraswathi
Respect : Gnanapeetam (a place of wisdom)
Other name: Kalaimagal – (Goddess of wisdom)
Height: 5 feet
Reputation : The shrine is known as Dakshina Triveni
Holding : Akshara Mala – Chain made of letters
Place : Koothanur
District : Thiruvarur
People aspiring wisdom, knowledge and education come to this shrine seeking boons of name and fame.
Children are admitted to schools after performing Pujas to Mahasaraswathi in the temple. Also those aspiring higher education, art and crafts, music visit the temple to get their desires fulfilled.
Those worshipping Mahasaraswathi during the Purattasi (September-October) Navarathri festival and Vaikasi (May-June) gain Her grace. Even couples separated from each other join and start a new happy married life.
According to the scriptures, those who perform rituals for the ancestors here on the banks Arasalaru river, starting from Koothanur to Rudraganga during the Thai month (January-February) gain great benefits from the blessing of their elders.
They also gain employment, profit from business development, promotion in jobs.
Devotees bathe Mahasaraswathi with honey, milk, pure oil, turmeric water, curd, ghee, fruit juices and offer white dresses. The Nivedhana offered to the Goddess is distributed to the visitors.
Goddess of Wisdom Mahasaraswathi appears facing eastward with a book in the lower left hand, showing a protective symbol called Chinmudra in the lower right hand, the Akshara Mala (Chain of letters) in the upper right hand and the pot of Nectar in the left upper hand. Her eyes showers grace and the third eye showering knowledge and wisdom to the devotees. He wears the crystal white dress and is seated on the White Lotus.
The Akshara Mala represents the philosophy of creation, the pot of Nectar the penance and the consequent achievement of wisdom and bliss, the book indicates that learning never ends and a continuous process. The Chin Mudra protecting people from ignorance.
The Swan, pure white in colour has the strange characteristic of absorbing only the milk and leave the water mixed in it. This teaches the lesson that the subject chosen for learning should be so noble and wise and wrong reading should be avoided.
The Koothanur temple is dedicated exclusively for Mahasaraswathi. This is a Gnanapeetam meaning a shrine of wisdom and is known as Dakshina Triveni. The Vinayaka in the temple is a swayambu. There are also shrines for Valampuri Vinayaka, Baladandayuthapani, Nagar, Brahmma, Brahmmapureeswar, Swan.
Ottakoothar, Ovathakoothar, Purushothama Bharathi are the great poets who gained scholarship by worshipping Mahasaraswathi in this temple. According to history, this temple was donated by Rajaraja Cholan II to poet Ottakoothar. The temple also graced the grandson of one Sarangapani of Kumbakonam with speech skills. The 15th Verse in Sankara’s Soundaryalahari speaks the grace of Mahasaraswathi of this temple. Soundaryalahari in verses 14, 15, 16 and 75 assures the devotee of skills of speaking and writing with such words so sweet as grape and honey.
The temple can be contacted on telephone No. 91-4366-239909.
Koothanur is 21 kms from Mayiladuthurai and 19 from Thiruvarur. There are private lodging houses in Mayiladuthurai and Tiruvarur, the charges ranging from Rs. 250 to Rs. 600. There are also lodges in Thanjavur.
Hotel Tamilnadu – phone No.21421, Hotel Ganesh – 22789, Hotel Sangam – 24895, Hotel Parisuddham – 212466, Hotel Oriental Towers 31467. Charges are between 200 to Rs. 2000.
Bus facilities are available from Mayiladuthurai and Tiruvarur route. The pilgrim should reach Poonthottam and then reach the temple. Nearest railway station is Mayiladuthurai and airport Trichy.
Navarathri is celebrated for 18 days in the temple and on the Vijayadasami day special Pujas are celebrated especially for children beginning their education. During Poornima-full moon days – Moola star day special pujas are performed. The crowd would be more during Wednesdays as the day belongs to planet Mercury, the authority of knowledge. Also Tamil and English new year days are celebrated in the temple.
Once a dispute arose between Brahmma and Saraswathi in the Brahmma Loka. Saraswathi claimed that the place looked very beautiful only because of her presence which Brahmma disputed. As the quarrel reached heights, the situation became worse and both cursed each other. They were born in the Earth. As they were born to a single couple they became brother and sister. When parents began arrangements for their marriage, they recalled their earlier relationship and approached Lord Shiva for the solution. Lord Shiva made Saraswathi as part of the Ganga river and brought her toKoothanur as Arisal river also named Rudraganga. She became the Abishek Water for Lord Shiva. She also was blessed with a temple for Herself in Koothanur. Both Brahmma and Saraswathi were relieved of their problem, thus goes the history.