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Pregnant Women Find Solace At Garbha Rakshambika Temple in Tamil Nadu

Sri Garbarakshambigai Temple, also known as Garbharakshambika or Garbha Rakshambika temple, is situated at Thirukarukavur near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu and is visited by childless couples for blessings, pregnant women for safe deliveries and for the protection of the unborn baby. 

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is the Shakti present here that is believed to protect the unborn babies. ‘Garbha' here means ‘uterus’ and ‘Ambika’ is an incarnation of Shakti who is believed to take care of pregnant women.

There is also a Garbharakshambika Shloka, which pregnant women and childless couples chant.

Garbarakshambigai Temple is located at Thirukarukavur and the place is 20 km east of Thanjavur and 20 km southwest of Kumbakonam.

Main Deities In The Temple

Goddess Garbarakshambigai - Incarnation of Mother Goddess Shakti
Lord Mullaivananathar - Lord Shiva

Meaning of Garbharakshambika: The Mother Who Protects the Womb.
Meaning of Mullaivananathar: King of jasmine garden.

The main Shivling in the temple is Swayambhu (self manifested). Even today one can see the mark of jasmine vine on the Shivalingam.

The Shivling is made of anthill mud.
There is no water abhishekam on the Shivling.
The Shivling is pasted with a kind of musk called "Punuhu" in Tamil.

Moon rays fall on the Shivling on the full moon day in Panguni Month (late March or early April).

Importance Of The Temple And Pregnancy

  • Goddess Sri Garbarakshambigai protects the unborn child.
  • She blesses couples who are unable to conceive with health children.
  • She cures women who have pregnancy related problems.
  • Pregnant women take the blessing of the deity for an easy and incident free delivery. 
  • It is believed that Shiva here protects devotees from various skin diseases.
  • People with incurable skin diseases find relief after offering prayers here.
  • No women in the vicinity of the temple have suffered miscarriage or pregnancy related problems.

Sri Garbarakshambigai Temple

  • The temple is located in a huge piece of land and is noted for towering gopurams and water tank. The main Rajagopuram is one the east. There is another entrance on the south side too.
  • The main sanctum is reached after waking past the water tank.
  • The sanctum sanctorum faces east. Shiva is worshipped in the form of Shivling.
  • The shrine of Goddess Garbh Ambika is located to the east of the Shiva shrine.
  • The nandi worshiped in the temple is swayambhu (self manifested).
  • Ganapati worshipped in the temple is known as Karpaga Vinayagar. This is also swayambhu.
  • The other shrine in the main sanctum is dedicated to Lord Muruga.
  • The temple is more than 1500 years old. 

Murti of Garbarakshambigai

  • Goddess Garbarakshambigai is Goddess Parvati and here she is completely in her motherly form – she represents Motherhood.
  • The murti of Garbharakshambika is 7 feet tall. She appears dressed in Kanchipuram Saree and beautiful jewelry. She is adorned with the flowers.
  • The smile on the murti of Garbharakshambika provides hope and positive energy.
  • Imposing and motherly grace of murti will wet the eyes of devotees.

Story of Garbharakshambika

Once there lived Sage Naidhruva and his wife Vedhika. The couple prayed fervently for a child and finally Vedhika became pregnant.

When Vedhika was in the final month of her pregnancy, Sage Nidhruva had to attend a yajna conducted by Lord Varuna. Sage left for the yajna leaving the wife at the ashram.
The next day a tired Vedhika was taking rest inside the ashram. Sage Urdhva Pada visited the ashram but a tired Vedhika did not hear or notice the arrival of the Sage.

Sage Urdhva Pada thought Vedhika was deliberately insulting him. He was not aware about the pregnancy and cursed her with a serious disease that ate all her vital organs.
Vedhika who realized about the curse prayed to Goddess Parvati.

Mother Parvati did not ignore her prayers. She preserved the embryo in a divine pot. The fetus was saved by Mother Goddess and it developed into a healthy male child.

The newborn was protected by Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The newborn child was given milk by Kamadhenu.

The child was named Naidhruvan.

When Sage Naidhruva returned, he understood all that had happened. He performed intense penance to the divine couple – Shiva and Parvati.

The divine couple blessed the sage with their presence in the ashram.

As Goddess Parvati protected the womb of a woman she came to be known as Garbharakshambika.

From that day onwards pregnant women worship the deity in the temple for safety of the child in their womb.

Special Offerings at Garbha Rakshambika Temple - Ghee - Oil

  • Ghee is offered to Garbharakshambika. It is returned to couples who wish to conceive. If the Ghee is taken for 48 days, it is believed that the couple will become pregnant.
  • Castor Oil is offered to Goddess by pregnant women. Women apply it on the abdomen when they have pain and this helps in an easy delivery.
  • Special pujas are performed in the name of women
  • Pushpanjali is offered
  • Coconut, banana, betel leaves and betel nuts are offered.