Goddess Saraswathi Temple, Koothanur – The Temple
Ottakkoothar and his grandson Ovathakoothar established the beautiful temple for Goddess Maha Saraswathi. Goddess Saraswathi, in a penance performing posture, confers her blessings on this world as the prime deity, only in this temple. A beautiful three eyed form, with one leg folded in a yogasana pattern, is a feast for the eyes. Another special feature is that there is no veena in Ambal’s hands in the prime deity.
She is a seated on a white lotus, attired in white silk. She symbolizes her inherent presence in studies, having a palm script in her hands. The other hand has the ‘Chinmudra’; blessing devotees. Another hand has the ‘Akshamala’, signifying penance. The fourth palm has the nectar pot, conferring happiness and spiritual bliss to devotees. With her benevolent smile and eyes, she has her third eye giving us the highest form of spiritual knowledge. In short she gives all who worship her absolute bliss while giving us education, knowledge, intelligence and welfare.
The temple has shrines dedicated to Valampuri Vinayakar, Narthana Vinayakar, Lord Brahma, Lord Nagaraja, and Bala Dhandayuthapani (Lord Muruga). The Vinayaka idol in this temple is assumed to be natural with rare divinity.
The swan, Sarswathi’s vehicle, is pure white in color. It has the unique characteristic of absorbing only milk while leaving any water that is mixed in it. This is symbolic of discernment that is needed to take in only the essence and goodness of information while discarding the unwanted elements.
The uniqueness of the Koothanur temple is that there are very few temples in India dedicated to Saraswathi, the Goddess of Learning. She is represented along with other deities in most temples, but a shrine dedicated to her is very rare.