Presiding Deity: - Mullaivananathar
Vinayaka: Karpaga Vinayaka
Holy tree: Mullai
Holy spring: Palkulam (Milk Tank)
Sung by: Thevaram saints
Scriptural name: Karugavur
Those who do not have children even after years of marriage surrender here for the boon and pregnant women pray to the Goddess for safe delivery. This is the temple noted for this special prayer for children. Women suffering from menstrual complications and of uterus problems come here seeking the cure. Those whose marriages are delayed seek the blessing here for early alliances.
Those who suffer from skin diseases offer Punugu, a cosmetic paste to the Lord. The temple is a resort to men and women for relief from diseases. Mullaivananathar ensure a peace of mind, employment opportunities, business development, promotion and other benefits in life.
During the Pradosham days of the full moon period, in the evenings, people visit the temple in large numbers and apply Punugu to the Lord.
Devotees offer rice, fruits, jaggery, sugar crystals, money equal to their weight, a commitment called Thulabaram.
Devotees offer new Saris and sandal paste to the Goddess. Abishek is offered with turmeric powder, cosmetic oil, milk, tender coconut, panchamirtham (made of fruits) lime, honey etc. Sankabisheka is offered (with conch water) during Mondays in the month of Karthikai (November-December). Wealthy people offer liberal donations to the temple for the maintenance of daily pujas, and renovation projects.
Virgins awaiting marriage which is delayed for some reason or other, those who not have children even after years of marriage, visit the temple, clean the Sannidhi of the Goddess with ghee, draw rangoli and perform archanas. Sooner they are blessed with the boon of a child, they place cradles in the temple.
Women seeking a child, consume the ghee placed at the feet of the Goddess with the mantras. They do this fasting for 48 days. Even if the husband could not follow this, the wife must follow without fail for 48 days. There are no other diet restrictions during the fasting period. Pregnancy is ensured, if the fasting is followed in all faith.
For safe delivery, castor oil is placed at the feet of the Goddess with mantras pertaining to the prayer. The castor oil thus given in the temple is applied on the stomach when the labour pain occurs. The delivery becomes very safe and without any after effects which occurs in some cases. Even for any abnormal or false pain occurring during pregnancy, the oil is applied on the stomach.
The Linga in the temple a swayambu that it exists of itself and not sculpted. The Linga is of anthill sand. That is why no abishek is directly done on the Linga, only punugu paste is applied.
The whole place was once a forest of Mullai plants (Mullai belongs to the family of Jasmine). They were grown on the Lord and these scars are still visible on the Linga. Both the God and the Goddess are so merciful to protect the pregnancy of women and bless them with a beautiful child. The Linga, Vinayaka and Nandhi are all swayambus. While the Linga is of Sand, the Vinayaka and Nandhi are idols of stone.
Lord Muruga appears in between the God and Goddess as Somaskanda and he blesses his devotees with good intelligence.
All the planets (Navagrahas in the temple are facing the Sun. Generally, in other temples the planets face different directions (Vakramurthys)
The Speciality is that Goddess Karukathanayaki, (Garbarakshambika) has her hand on the stomach, as if she is protecting the pregnancy. The history of the temple goes back to the 7th century sung by saints Thirugnanasambandar and Thirunavukkarasar.
Thirukaruhavur is 20 kms from Kumbakonam, 25 from Thanjavur, 60 from Trichy. Accomodation is available in plenty in Kumbakonam, the charges ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 600. There are also hotels in the district headquarters Thanjavur, otel Tamilnadu, phone No Hotel Tamilnadu, phone o. 21421, 21024, and 21325; Hotel Ganesh, phone No. 22789; Hotel Sangam, 24896; Hotel Parisuddham, 212466; Hotel Oriental Towers, 31467, the charges ranging from Rs. 200 to Rs. 2000.
Festivals:Vaikasi Visakam, a 10 day festival during April-May, Brammotsavam, flag hoisting. Purattasi Navarathri (October-November) 10days, Laksharchana, Adipooram (August-September), six abishekas to Lord Nataraja, Annabishekam, Skanda Sashti, Mondays during the month of Karthikai (November-December) Monthly Pradosha days, Deepavali, Pongal New Year Days of both Tamil and English Calendars are very devotionally observed and celebrated drawing huge crowd.
Thirukaruhavur was once a jungle with Mullai creepers. The couple Niddhuruvar and Vedhikai worshipped Mullaivananathar and Karukathanayaki to bless them with a child. The Lord and the Goddess so blessed them and Vedhika became pregnant. When the husband was on outing, Vedhikai developed natural weakness physically and could not help Muni Oordhuvapada who sought alms from her. The angry rishi cursed her for not responding to his call resulting in an abortion. Vedhika went to the Goddess for a remedy. Karukathanayaki protected the pregnancy in a pot until such time it was to come out in all healthy shape. The Goddess gave the full beautiful child to Vedhika. The mother begged the Goddess that she should be a protector of pregnancy to all in the world. The Goddess is protecting the pregnant women from then on.
Thirukaruhavur is the choice maternity healthcare destination headed by the Divine Gyneacologist Sri Garbarakshakambika attending on expectant mothers invisibly.