Uthrapathiswaraswamy Temple is located in Tiruchenkattankudi in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu state. Lord Shiva is the patron deity in the shrine, but it is well known for its Ganesha shrines. One can find two shrines dedicated to Ganesha, in one of the shrines one can find a unique idol of Ganesha with a human head, instead of the elephant head. The other shrine is dedicated to the idol of Vatapi Ganapati.
The famous hymn Vathapi Ganapatim Bhaje, by the composer Muthuswamy Deekshitar in Carnatic music, salutes this deity.
How Did Vatapi Ganapati Come Here?
As per an oral narration, the idol of Vatapi Ganapati was stolen from the Chalukyan capital of Vatapi, which is the present day Badami in Karnataka, by Paranjothi, the commander-in-chief of the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, following the conquest of Pallavas over the Chalukyas in 642 CE.
The icon was placed in Paranjothi's birthplace Tiruchenkattankudi. However, there are no written records to support this claim, as the idol is missing from the list of the war booty brought by the Pallava general.
Ganapati is believed to have worshipped his father Lord Shiva here for the sin of having killed the demon Gajmukhasur. The elephant-faced demon Gajmukhasur, who had received a boon of immortality from Shiva, began to wreak havoc to humans from his self-made capital at Matangapuram.
The elephant-headed Ganapati, vanquished the demon with his broken right tusk after which the land here is believed to have turned red, due to the blood spilled by the demon, hence, the name Tiruchenkaattankudi in Tamil.
How To Reach
The nearest airport is located at Trichy which is around 120 odd km from here, the nearest railway station is Mayiladuthurai which is about 30 km away from the temple. There are plenty of buses which go to major towns of Nagapattinam, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, etc.
Major Festivals And Timings
In most shrines dedicated to Lord Ganapati, Ganesha Chaturthi is a major festival which is celebrated on a grand scale. The festival is celebrated for 10 days and winds up with a car festival. The other major festivals celebrated here are Shivarathri, Margazhi Sadaya Shashti, Deepavali, Pongal, etc.
The temple is open from 7:00 am to 12:00 pm for the morning pooja and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm for the evening pooja.