Nara Mukha Vinayakar


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Swarnavalli sametha Mukthiswarar temple is located at Thilatharpanapuri 2.6kms from Koothanur. Koothanoor is near Poonthottam which is on Mayavaram -- Tiruvarur Road. Here you can see a Vinayakar with a Human face.

The name Thilatharpanapuri comes from two words thil meaning Gingely and tharpana is the Hindu ritual of performing pithru karmas (ritual of paying tribute to ancestors) to ones ancestors. It is also known as Sethalapathy. There are 7 sthalams for performing these rituals viz. Kasi, Rameswaram, Srivanchiyam, Thiruvenkadu, Gaya, Thiriveni Sangamam and Thilatharpanapuri. It is said that Sri Rama performed tharpanam for Dasaratha at this place. This place is considered equivalent to Kasi or Rameswaram. Performing tharpanam here on Amavasya day is considered special. This is a Mukthikshetram.

The shrine for Aadhi Vinayakar (also known as Nara mukha vinayakar) is just outside the main temple. Here you can see Ganesha with a human head and hence the name Naramukha vinayakar.


The story of Shiva beheading Naramukha Vinayaka who was created by Parvati and then replacing the head with an elephant head is well known. What is less known is, Shiva had instructed his troops to fetch the head of anyone found sleeping with his head placed towards North. They found this elephant sleeping with its head towards North. Shiva named the boy Ganapati meaning commander of his troops and granted a boon that Ganapati shall be worshipped by everybody before starting anything new.

This is the only type of Vinayagar where He has a human face. This is supposed to be the First Vinayagar that Goddess Parvathi created.

Temple address: Sethalapathy, Poonthottam P.O, Nannilam Taluk, Thiruvarur District, Tamilnadu - 609 503.

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