Vairavanpatti is a quaint little town located in the Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu. It is home to the Vairavanswamy temple which is the third-largest Shiva temple run by the Nagarathar Chettiars of this famous Chettinad region. It is one of the 9 Shiva temples of the Nagarathars. They are devout Shiva worshippers and most of the daily activities revolve around their temples.

This ancient temple is said to have been in existence since the 8th century and was earlier under the care of the Pandya kings. In the 14th century, they handed over its care to the Nagarathar Chettiars. It was initially made of mud but in the 18th century, the affluent Nagarathars made it into a stone structure. The main hall of this structure is full of breathtaking sculptures and carvings. The ceiling has beautiful paintings depicting the stories of the ‘Puranas’ that will keep you enthralled for hours.

There is also a large captivating horse statue with a soldier astride it; the tale of Kannappa Nainar carved out on a single stone is another amazing sight to see. Another interesting feature here is the ‘sannidhi’ for Dakshniamurthy who is seated majestically on a seven-pillared ‘mandap’. These pillars are amazingly crafted to produce seven different musical notes or ‘raghas’. You can try out the notes for yourself!

There are some interesting legends associated with this temple where Vairavar (or Bhairavar) is worshipped. In accordance with mythology, Parvathi mistook Brahma who also has five heads, for Shiva. Parvathi worshipped him and Brahma didn’t correct her; when Parvathi realized her mistake, she told Shiva about it. Shiva then sent his general, Bhairava (believed to be another form of Shiva), to cut off the fifth head of Brahma. The incidence is believed to have taken place here; hence, Bhairava is worshipped here.

There is another interesting tale that Shiva took the form of Bhairava to destroy a demon called Sooran. He appeared hereafter that as Celestial light (Peroli) and is worshipped in this temple as Valarolinathar (meaning burning light). The Vairava Theertham (water tank) here is believed to have special medicinal powers that can cure skin and bone-related illnesses.

The temple opens from 6 am to 12 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm. It is located close to Karaikkudi, Pudukkottai and Trichy. If you are planning a visit, you could stay over at the heritage Chidambara Vilas hotel which is a renovated century-old palace in Pudukkottai, and get a taste of authentic Chettinad culture and cuisine while here. The city is also well connected with rail and roads and nearby Trichy offers the closest airport.