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Shiv temples in Tamil Nadu

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Shiv temples in Tamil Nadu

Shiv temples in Tamil Nadu
Nataraja at Aalangadu
The temple features:

  • This temple is in Vadaaranya kshetram, 16 kms in the south-west direction from Thiruvallore.
  • Temple's carpet area is 3,16,800 sqft with the sanctum facing east.
  • It has a 5-stage Raja gopuram (kingsize entrance tower) and five pragarams (corridors). The Lord's image is said to be self-incarnated.
  • The consort of the lord Devi Vandaar kuzhali has a seperate sanctum. The main idol of Nataraja is called "Oordhava Moorthi" and he is facing south. The temple tank is called "Mukthi theertham".
  • The temple tree is Jackfruit tree.
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambandhar, Thirunavu-karasar and Sundarar sang in praise of the lord.
  • There are 52 stone inscriptions here praising the kshetram.


  • Legend:

    Once sage Moonjikesa Karkotaka did penance for a long time to lord siva. The sage was an ardent devotee of siva. When he was doing penance the Lord appeared before him and asked the sage what boon he wanted. The sage prostrated before the Lord and said that he wished to see Siva's dance once again in that place. Siva pleased with the sage's penance raised his right leg and his shoulders and performed the "oordhava thandavam" Sage was very happy and requested the Lord to be installed there in the same pose. The Lord graciously agreed.This place became one of the five 'sabhas' of Sri Nataraja. This is called 'RATHNASABA'. An old lady called Karaikkal Ammaiyar, a devotee of Siva came to this kshetram. She saw 'lingams' every where on her path. Hence not to tread on them she walked on her head and hands and did Oordhava moorthy's darshan.

    Thirupuranthagar at Koovaram
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located in Koovaram, seventeen kms from Thiruvalur.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 1,20,400 sqft and is built on the southern side of the koovam river bank.It has a flat tower and two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Thirupurandhagar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose.
  • The lord's consort Devi Thirupurandhagi has separate sanctum also in the east facing pose.
  • The temple tree is Bilvam and the theertham is called koovagni.
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambandhar.


  • Legend:

    When the Lord went to destroy the 3 demons Tharukashan, Kamalakshan and Vidyumali the axis of his chariat broke. Henceforth this kshetram came to be called Koovaram.(axis means koovaram in Tamil language) This place has another name Thiruvirkolam because the lord is holding a bow and arrows. Once there was a dance competition between the Lord and Devi in Thiruvalankadu. Devi met the competition with frenzy and she became black in color. The Lord also performed vigorously but could not match devi. The vibrations of the dances shook the entire universe. Sri Vishnu wanted to stop this and indicated to the Lord to raise his legs up till his head while dancing. Lord shiva did accordingly. Devi could not raise her leg up too and so was defeated. The lord called her Kali (because she became black in color) and said that he would perform "Raksha Nadanam" (dance of protection) in Koovaram. So she should be there as Raksha devi Goddess to protect the people. The Goddess graciously agreed. The wonder here is the lingam becomes white in color if excess rain is forecast and in the same way if any thing bad was to happen the deity would become reddish in color. This magnificent change in color is seen even today.

    Pasoornadhar at Thiru-pasoor
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located in Thiru-Pasoor, five kms from Thiruvalur.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 2,32,800 sqft and is built facing north. It has a 5 stage tower and two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Pasunadhar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose.
  • The lord's consort Devi Pasupathi Nayaki has separate sanctum also in the east facing pose.
  • The temple tree is Bamboo and the theertham is called Chola-theertham.
  • There are 16 stone inscriptions here giving details of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-Navukarasar.Thirugnana-Sambanthar and Sundarar.


  • Legend:

    Once upon a time the world was completely submerged in water. Where one saw there was only water. At that time Sri Vishnu was in Yoga-nidra (means spritual sleep) reclining on the five hooded snake. Out of his navel came Brahma at the end of a stem to take over creation. Two evil demons came and tried to kill Brahma the creater. As Vishnu was in yoganidra Brahma did not know what to do and started to pray to Yogamaya Shakthi.(Nidra-devi). Devi Yogamaya came out of Sri Vishnu's body and she gave the energy to the Lord to kill those evil demons. War started and lasted many years. At last those two were defeated. Even in defeat they were defiant and offered a boon to Lord Vishnu. Accordingly the Lord asked that the boon he wanted was that he should be able to kill them. They agreed but said "it is water all around and you can kill us only on the land". Sri Vishnu agreed and he spread his thigh like a piece of land and laid them both on his thigh and killed them. Thus he destroyed the evil ones and from that time this place is called Medhini (means earth.) But to wash away the sin of killing the two demons (Brhama-hathi-dosham) Lord vishnu came to this place and had a holy dip in the Theertham ( temple tank ) and did deep penance for a long time. The Lord Siva appeared before him and bestowed his blessings on Vishnu washing away his sin. According to Sri Vishnu's request the Lord Siva took abode in this place.

    Vanmeega-nadhar at Thiru-otriyur
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located in Thiru-otriyur in Chennai.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 2,32,800 sqft and is built facing east. It has a 5 stage tower and two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Van-meega-nadhar and it is said that it is self incarnated in a anthill in the east facing pose.
  • The lord's consort Devi Vadivudai Nayaki has separate sanctum in the south facing pose.
  • The temple tree is Mahilam and Atthi and the 'theertham' is called Brahma-theertham. The inner tower is called Gajaprushta-Vimanam. There are many stone inscriptions here giving details of the kshetram
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Appar, Thirugnana-Sambanthar, and Sundarar.


  • Legend:

    Once there was a deluge in the world and it was sinking. No one could save it. Brahma was confused. At that time there was an aerial voice which asked brahma to do penance. He was searching for a place to do panance flying around sitting on his mount hamsa (Swan). At last he found the place. The lord came down here and sat under a Mahila tree and did penance to Lord Siva for many years. The Lord Aadhi-puratheeswarer appeared before Brahma. Brahma told the Lord about the deluge. The Lord Siva brought the flood under control and granted the boon to the creater to continue his work of creation. From that time this place is called Otriyur (means: controlled) Another legend says that Kaliya-nayanar owned many oil mills. He was a devotee of Lord Siva. Every day he used to light all the "deepams" to the Lord with oil. the Lord wanted to test his devotion. So he ordained that Kaliya-nayanar should lose heavily in his oil business. The Nayanar could not continue to light the deepams. But he did not lose courage. But lit the lamps in his imagination with great devotion. This process also was intererrupted. Hence he wanted to sell his wife as a slave and get some money. Bbut no one wanted to accept his wife as a slave. At last he was vexed and wanted to cut his head with his scimitar. But he could not t because every time he tried to cut his head the scimitar changed into a garland and fell on his neck. Suprised he raised his head and saw the Lord Siva before him and held his hand. The Nayanar prostrated many times before the Lord and sang a hymn on the Lord. Happily the Lord granted a place in the heaven in that very place to the couple.

    Valleesanadhar at Thiru-vallidhayam (This place is now called Padi)
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located in Thiruvallidhayam otherwise known as Padi in Chennai.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 78,400 sqft and is built facing east. It has a 35 ft tower in 3 stages. The temple has two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Valleesanadhar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose.
  • The lord's consort Devi Jagadhambal has seperate sanctum facing south.
  • The temple tree is ' Padhiri 'and the 'theertham' is called Bharadwaja-theertham. The inner tower is called Gajaprushta-Vimanam. There are 14 stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thirugnana-Sambanthar


  • Legend

    Once sage Bharadwaja changed as a bird called Valliyan and worshiped the Lord in this place. Henceforth this place came to be called Thiru-Vallidhayam. Guru Viyazha-bagavan (Jupiter) did penance to the Lord here and he suceeded in getting rid of sensual pleasures in this place. Sage Agasthiya killed the demon Vathabi. Hence to wash away the sin incurred in killing a person the sage came here and did panance for a long time. The Lord Valleesa-nadhar appeared before him and granted the boon of washing away his sins and gave the sage liberation achieved through God realization. Long time ago the Musim invaders broke the Devi idol. Later after independence a devotee of the lord made a new idol for the devi and installed it in this temple. Even today one can see the broken idol kept outside the sanctum.

    Sri Masilamanieeswarer at Thiru-Mullivayil
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located 20 kms from Chennai.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 70,000 sqft and is built facing south. It has a tower in 7 stages. The temple has two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Masilamaneeswarer and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose.
  • The lord's consort Devi Kodiyidai-Nayaki has seperate sanctum facing east. The temple tree is ' Mullai 'and the 'theertham' is called Pallaru subramanya-theertham. The inner tower is called Gajaprushta-Vimanam. There are 23 stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Sundharar


  • Legend

    says that sages from Neimisaranyam, Brugu, Brahma, Vasishter, Chandran, Suriyan, Sri Rama and Lakshmana, Lava and Kucha, Doorvasar, Indrani, Sri Krishna, and other devas worshiped this deity. Once upon a time there was a king who came hunting to this place. When he was riding a branch of dry flower-climber got stuck in his elephant's legs. To withdraw from the junk the king cut them with his sword. When he was cutting the dry plants he noticed that blood was exuding from that place. Immediatly he descended from the elephant and cleared the bush. He saw there was a Siva Lingam with blood oozing from its forehead. The king felt very sad and went to his kingdom and ordered his minister to clean up the place and arrange to build a temple for the deity. The minister obeyed the king's orders and built a temple and instaled the icon. The king endowed much wealth to the temple for daily rituals and feltivals. even now one can see a cut mark on the deity's forehead .

    Sri Kapaleeswarar at Mylapore
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located at Mylapore in Chennai.
  • The carpet area of the temple is1,02,400 sqft and is built facing east. It has a tower in 9 stages. The temple has two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Kapaleeswarar installed by the creator Brahma in the west facing pose.
  • The lord's consort Devi Karpagambal has seperate sanctum facing south. The temple tree is ' Punnai '. There are some stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sammandhar and Thirunavu-k-arasar


  • Legend

    says that Devi worshiped the Lord taking the form of a peacock. So peacock is the temple bird. Hence this place is called Mylam- Mylapore.(Meaning: Mylam is Peacock in Tamil Language) Once there was a merchant family living in Mylapore. They had a beautiful daughter. They were proposing to marry her to Thiru-gnana-sammandhar. The saint Thiru-gnana-sammandhar when he was on his tour to Mylam the merchant told him about his proposal.The saint said that he was going to north on a pilgrimage. When he returns back he would tell his plans. Years passed. One day the girl went to the garden to bring flowers for his father's pooja . But when she was plucking the flowers a snake bit her and she died. The merchant very sadly he did all the cremation ceremonies and he collected her bones and kept them in a pot safely. In the mean time Thiru-gnana-sammandhar finished his tour of the north and came to Mylam. The merchant invited the saint and told him the painful story about his daughter's death. Hearing the story he asked the merchant to bring the pot in which he had kept the girl's bones. Sambandar sang a hymn on the deity to give back life to the girl and he sprinkled some water on the bones. The girl came back to life. The saint named her 'Poom-Paavai' The merchant was very happy and requested the saint to marry her. But the saint refused and told to him 'I am like her father; because I gave her life. Hence I cannot marry her.' So saying Gnana-sambandar went on his way to other Siva-sthalams.

    Sri Marundeeswarar at Thiruvanmiyur
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located at Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai.
  • The carpet area of the temple is about 1,82,400 sqft and is built with two enterences facing east and west. It has a tower in 5 stages. The temple has two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Marundeeswarar in the west facing slightly slanting pose.
  • The lord's consort Devi Thirupurasundari has seperate sanctum facing east. The temple tree is 'Vanni'and Theertham is Paabanasini. There are 7 stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thirunavu-k-arasar.


  • Legend

    Legend says that the Lord did dance performence on a full-moon day for Sage Valmeegi in this place. Markandayar did penance for long years and the Lord appeared before him as 'Rishabaroodar' ( Bull is Rishabam in sanscreet language) and fullfiled all his desires in this place There are Five threerthams: They are: Janma-nasini, Paaba-nasini, Kaama-nasini, gnana-dhayini and Moksha-dhayini There was a sage called Bringi. He was a deep devotee of lord Siva alone. He never worshiped Sakthi. Once the devi wanted to test his devotion to Siva. Hence she appeared as " ardhanareeswara" (Half man and half woman) But the sage took the form of a bumble bee and did 'parikrama' drilling a hole in between the deity. Sakthi got very angry with him and she cursed that he should be like a skeliton with-out energy. He became very weak. Somehow he managed to enter this place and he saw a small mount. But he could not climb on top. So he realized his mistake and he worshiped shakthi also. There was an invisible voice which said that the sage should do penance. Accordingly he did penance for long years on the hill near by. The lord appeared with his consort before him and cured his skeleton like form and gave him much energy. From that time the deity is colled Marundeeswarar (means the diety that gave medicine ). Because the sage sat and did penance on the hill it was called Bringi mount (Bringi-malai). The name got currupted over time and now it is called Parangi_Malai.

    Ekambareswarar at Kanchipuram
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located in Kanchipuram 80 kms from Chennai.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 21,43,200 sqft and is built south facing . It has a tower in 9 stages and 172 ft in height. The temple has five corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Ekampareswarar in the east facing pose.It is said the deity is self incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Kamakshi has seperate temple facing east.
  • The temple tree is 'Mango'. It is said this ancient tree is about 3500 years old. This tree has only 4 branches (as four vedas) The temple has five theerthams Punniya-theertham, Ishtasiddhi-theertham, Kappudaiya-theertham, Satva-theertham, Ulagani-theertham,
  • This sthalam is one of the 'Pancha-bootha-sthalams. (Pritvi sthalam ie earth) There are many stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Sundarar, Thiru-navu-k-arasar and Thirugana-sambandhar.


  • Legendry description

    Once the devi closed the lord siva's eyes for fun. But all the universe became black as night. Hence all the work including the creation work was stoped. The Lord siva got angry with devi and told her that she should go to the earth and she should follow all the 32 duties. some for example : Deva-yagam, Pithir-yagam, Bootha-yagam, Manusha-yagam, Brahma-yagam, Upadhesam, Parnasala-dhanam, Boomi Dhanam, Swarna-dhanam, Kannika-dhanam, Anna-dhanam, Vayodhiga seva, Sivabakthi Etc Sakthi did all the duties according to the lord's instruction. She was doing penance under a mango tree. One day Lord whished to test Sakthi's devotion to him and he created a deluge. Afraid of the floods devi embrased the lord. The lord felt the imprint of devi's bangles and breast on him. Siva was pleased with her and appeared before devi. He married her again which was happily witnessed by all the devas and the people of the world.

    Thirumagaleesar at Maagaral
    The temple features

  • This temple is located at Maagaral sixteen kms from Kanchipuram.
  • The carpet area of the temple is about 1,40,500 sqft and is built facing the east. It has a 5 stage-tower and two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Thirumagaleeswar and it is said that the deity is self incarnated in the east facing pose. The lord's consort Devi Thirupuvana-nayaki has separate sanctum also in the east facing pose.
  • The temple tree is Lemon and the theertham is called Agni.
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambandhar.
  • This deity looks like a desert lizard's tail. This temple has many stone incriptions proclaiming it's history.


  • Legend

    Once the creater Brahma was very proud of his creations. To control this nature Lord siva took back all his powers. Brahma realized this he did siva-pooja for long years and got back all his power in this place. Happly when he was returning to his place he planted a jackfruit tree. That tree was yielding one fruit every day. Noticing this wonder Monarc RajaRaja Chozlan was sending this fruit to Chidhambaram for abishagam to Lord Nataraja and he used to get the prasadam from there. This was the daily routine. One day the priest got annoyed and cut that tree. The monarc came to know about this and he ordered to his minister to expel the prietst from the kingdom. The king also accompanied the minister. When he returned to his country he saw a golden desert chameleon and it disappeared into an anthill. The king ordered to destroy the anthill to find the chameleon. But he found blood from a chameleon's tail. When the king saw this he became unconscience. He heard an ariel voice that asked the king to build a siva temple. Accordingly the king built a big siva temple here and endowed much wealth to it.

    Vedhagreeswarar at Thirukazhu-kundrum
    The temple features

  • This temple is located in Thirukazhu-kundram about 30 kms from Chennai.
  • The deity is called Vedhagreeswarar in the east facing pose.It is said the deity is self incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Chokkamman has seperate sanctum facing north.
  • The temple tree is 'Banana'. The temple has a theertham called Pakshi theertham(meaning Pakshi is bird) This deity in this sthalam was worshiped by eagles in sucessive 'yugams'. Sandan and Prasandan worshiped this deity in the first 'yugam'. Sambadhi and Jatayu worshiped in the second. Sambukutthan and Makutthan on third. The last and fourth were eagles named Thumbu and Aathithan. Hence this hill is called Kazhugu-Kundram (meaning the eagle hill)
  • The legendry incription says that the four yugas e 4 vedas Rig,Yajoor, Sama,and Adharvana There are 98 stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Sundarar, Thiru-navu-k-arasar, Thirugnana-sambandhar and Manikkavasagar.


  • Arunachaleswar at Thiruvannamalai
    The temple features

  • This temple is located in Thiruvannamalai about 180 kms from Chennai.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 9.7 hectares and is built east facing . It has 9 towers. The temple has 6 corridors.(Pragarams) The main tower has 11 stages and its base is 217 fts in height.
  • The deity is called Arunachaleswarar in the east facing pose.It is said the deity is self incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Abeetha-kuchala-ambal has seperate Sanctum facing east.
  • This temple has a theertham is called Siva-gangai theertham. Apart from this around the mountain there are Ashta theerthams ashta lingams and ashta Nandhis in all eight directions (meaning: ashta is 8 in tamil language)
  • This sthalam is one of the 'Pancha-bootha-sthalams. (Agni sthalam ie fire) There are 119 stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Sundarar, Thiru-navu-k-arasar, Thirugana-sambandhar. and Manikka-vasagar


  • Legendry description

  • Situated at the foot of a range of hills and extending about 9.7 hectares of ground, this massive temple is associated with the popular spectacle of the Kartigai deepam. On Kartigai day in December / January a huge fire is lit up on a hill near the temple.One can see the flame for kilometers around. There are two legends on this holy historic temple - those of Lingod-bhava and Ardha-nareesvara. Lord Siva appeared as a flame before Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, who each considered Himself supreme. To resolve this dispute they decided that Vishnu should go down and see the legs of Siva and Brahma would go up to see the head of the Lord.
  • Vishnu took the form of a boar and dwelved deep into the earth. Hence it is called swedha varaha.(meaning: swedha is white and varaha is bore in sanskrit language) Lord Brahma flew up sitting on his mount swan into the upper space. Lord Vishnu failed to find Siva's feet and returned. But Lord Brahma, brought a piece of a floral fibre (ďthazhambu") and lied that he found it on siva's head for forty thousand years.
  • Siva got very angry, severed the head of Brahma and cursed him that there would never be a temple for him in this world. The Linga sculpture is called Lingod-bhava with a swan on top of the Linga and a diving boar at the bottom. This is found in all siva temples on the walls of the sanctum.
  • Another legend says: Once goddess Parvathi playfully covered Lord Sivaís eyes with Her hands. Immediately all the creations stopped. To expiate for the sin goddess Parvathi went to Kanchipuram. But Lord Siva advised her to go to Tiruvannamalai and do penance which she did.
  • During this priod she killed the demon Mahishasura. The day he got killed was 'Karthigai' day. On that day Siva appeared as a Flame and he adored Parvathi on his left side giving her equal part with himself. This incarnation is called Ardha-nariswara (Half Man and Half woman).This incident is to show the human beings that man and woman are the equal.
  • This temple has no early history. It is known that Sambandar visited this temple and sang on Lord shiva . From the seventh century this temple became famous and grew in size stage by stage. In the begining this temple had five prakaras and It was extended in the ninth century.
  • There are nine towers. The oldest one is called the parrot tower. The base was constructed about one thousand years ago. The Raja Gopuram (the King tower) is the tallest one and is located on the eastern side. It was built by Krishna Deva Raya of Vijaya Nagaram.
  • The main Annamalai shrine is in the first 'prakara'. Goddess Abeetha-kuchalambal has a mandapam. There is a brillant divine gallery of artistic images and symbols in the mandapam. Many pillars bear sculptures of Ashta Lakshmi and many other divinities. There are also paintings in other parts of the temple and in the ceilings in the second corrridor. One of them a warrior fighting a big tiger is beautiful. In another part there are handsome figures of Rathi and Manmatha. There are many other artistic designs close to Rati Manmadha figures.
  • Important days to visit this temple are: all full moon days and the Karteeka Poornima in Nov-Dec- every year. The perambulance (Pradhakshanam) of the mountain on fullmoon day's is meritorious for the life time. The walk around the hill is about 14 kilo meters. It is said that there are 'Ashta dik-lingas' (eight lingas ) installed around the hill. There is a belief that sages, saints, and hermits are living there even now though invisible. That's why when people go round the mountain they shoud go on their right side because the sages may go round for a darshan of the Lord on the other side of the road. The idea is we should not bother them or cross their path. This is the rule to follow when one goes for the perambulance of the Annamalai mountain.


  • Kacchabeswarar at Thirukachure
    The temple features

  • This temple is located in Thirukachure about 12 kms from Chenglepet
  • The carpet area of the temple is about 45,600 sqft and is built facing east . It has a flat tower and has 2 corridors.(Pragarams) The deity is called Kachabeswarar and is in the east facing pose.It is said the deity is self-incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Anjanakshi amman has a seperate sanctum facing south.
  • This temple has a theertham called koorma-theertham. There are many stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns here on the Lord: Sundarar


  • Legendary description

    When the mountain Mandara was used as a churning rod and the great snake Vasuki as the rope for churning the devas grasped Vasukiís tail and the Demons grasped Vasukiís head. But as the churning began, the mountain Mandara which had no base, began to sink into the ocean. Lord Vishnu came to this temple to have lord Shiva's darshan to get strength to support the mountain. Siva appeared before vishnu and said "Narayana you will have all the power to incarnate in any form to save the world and devas. I too will take part in your efforts " Giving this boon Siva disappeared. Vishnu was happy and he took form of a turtle and balanced the mountain on his back. Because Sri Vishnu took the form a turtle in this place hence forth this place came to be called Kachure.(kacchi is turtle in sanskrit language) This temple's other name is Vaigal Madakovil. Also this is the one of the Tyagesar Sthalams and this deity is called Amirdha- Tyagesar.

    Veerateswarar at Thiru-koviloor
    The temple features:

    This temple is located in Thiru-koviloor about 100 kms from Chennai. The carpet area of the temple is 1,36 800 sqft and is built west facing . It has a tower 70 ft tall. The temple has 2 corridors.(Pragarams) The deity is called Veerateswarar in the west facing pose.It is said the deity is self incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Periyanayaki has seperate Sanctum facing west. There are 10 theerthams as follows: Pethir-theertham, Rudra theertham, Kannuva theertham, Rama theertham, Parasu Rama theertham, Yama theertham, Saptha Rishi theertham, Then-pennai nadhi, Surya theertham and Agni theertham The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-navu-k-arasar, Thirugnana-sambandhar.

    Legendary description

    Lord Siva did 8 valourous deeds in 8 differant places. This is one of them. The Lord killed a domon called Andhakasura in this place. Hence this temple is one of the Ashta- Veera lakshnam. There was an Asura called Andhakasura who was giving lot of trouble to devas & Rishi's . They could not bear his misdeeds. Hence devas and Rishis went to Lord Siva's abode Kailash and they told all their grivences to Him. Lord shiva told them " go to thiru-kovilore and do penance. Then I will come in time to that place and rescue all of you from the dangerous demon." Accordingly all Devas and Rishis did penanace for a long time. Siva appeared and he killed the demon. Andha-kasura and saved devas and Rishis. Lord siva blessed them and bestowed them with plenty of boons From that time the Lord here is called Andhakanthar. This temple has many stone incriptions proclaming its vast history.

    Krupa-pureeswar at Thiruvennai nalloor
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located at Thiru-vennai-nalloor, seventeen kms from Thiru-kovilure.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 4,32,000 sqft and is built south facing. This temple has a tower and two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Krupa-pureeswar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose. The lord's consort Devi Mangalambikai has separate sanctum also in the east facing pose.
  • The temple tree is Bamboo and the theertham is called Dhanda-theertham.
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-navu-k-arasar and Sundarar.


  • Legend:

    In Krithayuga there was a war between the devas (gods) and the daityas (demons) and the gods lost this war. They prayed to Vishnu for their rescue. Vishnu appeared before them and told Brahma and the other gods that they should have a temporary agreement with the demons. The two sides should get together to churn the ocean. The truce was agreed upon and the two sides got ready to churn the ocean. The mountain Mandara was used as a churning rod and great snake Vasuki as the rope for churning. The devas grasped Vasukiís tail and the daityas grasped Vasukiís head. As the churning continued, terrible poison named 'Alakala poison' emerged from the depths of the ocean. All devas and demons were wondering what to do with this terrible poison. They all prayed together to Lord Siva to save them from the danger Siva appeared before them and swallowed the poison. Immediatly devi Mangalamba appeared and caught hold of Shivaís throat to protect him. The poison he swallowed froze with in the range of his throat. Because of devi's act lord's throat became blue.He is therefore known as 'Neelakanta' (blue of throat.) Then devi came to this place, built a fort with vennai(butter) and performed the panchaagni penance for her consort Lord Siva that the poison he took should not give any more trouble to him. From that time this kshetram is called Thiru-Vennai-Nalloor.

    Viruda-giri-easwarar at Virudhakasi
    The temple features:

    This temple is located in Virudhakasi on the banks of river pennai (present Virudhachalam) about 20 kms from Ulun-door-pet The carpet area of the temple is about 1,82,400 sqft and is built east facing . It has four towers. The temple has 4 corridors.(Pragarams) The deity is called Virudha-giri-easwarar in the east facing pose.It is said the deity is self incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Virudhambigai has a seperate sanctum facing east. This temple has five theerthams called Manimuttharu, Nityanandha koobam(koobam is well in sanskrit language) Varuna-theertham, Agni Theertham, and Chakkara-theertham. This temple has four towers called 'Raja-gopuram' in all four directions There are 72 stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram The saint who sang hymns here on the Lord: Thiru-ganasambandhar, Message There are 1008 Siva kshetrams. But this sthalam is one of the four important ones. Chidhambaram deity is famous for dance performance. In the same way this diety is known for 'kamiya virudhantam' (for peace of mind). This temple has 28 Aagama lingas.

    Legendary description

    Lord siva first established this temple and named it Virudha-kasi. Human beings, animals, birds etc when they come here at the last moment in their lives and die the Lord himself would chant the 'pancha-aksharam' for them to liberate their soul and the devi too would bless them. Because of this Virudha kasi is holier than Varanasi.

    Chandrasekarar at Thiruvakkarai
    The temple features

  • This temple is located in Thiruvakkarai on the banks of river Varaha about 15 kms from Thindivanam
  • The carpet area of the temple is about 1, 36,800 sqft and is built east facing . This temple has a tower about 87ft in height in 7 stages.It has 3 corridors.(Pragarams) The deity is called Chandrasekar with three faces in linga-swaroopam in the east facing pose.It is said the deity is self-incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Vadivambigai has a seperate sanctum facing east.
  • This temple has three theerthams called Chandra-Brahma-Suriya pushkarini,Bilva-theertham and Punniya-theertham. There are many stone inscriptions in this temple giving the history of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambandhar, In this temple there is a sanctum for Ashtabuja Kali devi.


  • Legendary description

    The deity in this temple is with three faces for chandran, Vishnu and Brahma. All the trees in this temple look like stones.

    Mani-gandeswarar at Hari-chakkara-puram
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located in Hari-chakkara-puram, 12 kms in the south western direction from Kanchi.
  • The carpet area of the temple is 64,800 sqft and the entrance is built on the eastern side. It has a five stage tower and two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Manigandeswarar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose. The lord's consort Devi Anjanashi has separate sanctum in the south facing pose.
  • The temple tree is Bilvam and the theertham is called Chakkara-theertham.There are 80 stone inscriptions here giving details of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambandhar and Thiru-navukarasar


  • Legend:

    Once Sri Vishnu fought a war with Sage Dhudesi for his devotee king Kuban. It was a long war. Finaly sri Vishnu lost his patience and launched his Sudharsana Chakkaram on sage Dhudesi. But the sage had very strong powers because of his true penance and the chakkaram (Disc) became stilted. Lord vishnu was defeated in the war and he was very sad about his disc. Then Vishnu came down to the earth and did Puja with lotus flower to the Lord Siva in this place. Every day he used to do puja with one thousand and eight lotus flowers and it was going on for long years. One day Lord siva whished to test the dovotion of Vishnu and hence he hid a lotus from his plate. Vishnu was doing puja and found there was one flower missing. Lord vishnu without further thought just plucked off one of his eyes and did puja with it instead of the Lotus flower. Lord siva called Vishnu as Kannan(Kann means eye in tamil laguage)and appeared before him and also gave back the chakkaram to him. Because of this incident this place is called Hari Chakkara puram and the Deity of Vishnu is called 'Kamala nayana perumal' (kamala nayanam means lotus eye in sanskrit language) here.

    Jalanadeswarar at Thakkolam
    The temple features

    This temple is located in Thakkolam, 13 kms south east of Arakkonam. The carpet area of the temple is,2,73,600 sqft and is built on the southern side of the banks of the river Kuchathalai. It has a three stage tower and two corridors.(Pragarams) The deity is called Jala-nadeswarar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose. The lord's consort Devi Girijambal has a separate sanctum in the north facing pose. The temple tree is Thakkolam and the theerthams are called Parvathi-theertham and Satyagangai.There are many stone inscriptions here giving details of the kshetram The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambandhar and Sundarar

    Legend

    Once this place was like a desert. People were suffering for water. A sage called Udhathi came to this place to do penance. All the people went to him and told their grivances. The sage felt very sad and consoled them.He did penance to Siva for many years to bring ganga to that place. The Lord appeared before the sage and asked him for the purpose of this penance. The sage expressed his wish to the lord "Jagat-Rhakshaga in this country the people are suffring without water. Hence I request you on behalf of this people that you should let out ganga here to make this town prosperous". The lord happily agreed and sent Ganga through the mouth of his mount Nandhi. The country side again became green and the people prosperous. The sage was delighted and did pranams to the Lord and asked him to be here as he appeared before him. The lord granted his wish. The sage attained 'Moksham' in this place.Even now one can see the water comming from Nandhi's mouth and also there is perennial oozing of water from underneath the Shivalingam in the Sanctum.This is the reason this place is called 'Thiru-ooral'-(in Tamil 'ooral' means oozing)

    Palai-vana-nadhar at Paba-vinasam
    The temple features

  • This temple is located in pabavinasam (the present name is pabanasam,) 10 kms in the north eastern direction from Kumbakonam.
  • The carpet area of the temple is,1,36 800 sqft and is built on the eastern side of the banks of the river Kudamuriti. It has a five-stage tower and two corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Pavalai-nadhar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose. This deity has another name called Ramalingar. The lord's consort Devi Thavala venna-gaiyal has separate sanctum also in the east facing pose. The consort devi also has another name Parvadha-vardhini.
  • The temple tree is bilvam and the theerthams are called Palai-theertham, vasistha theertham ,Indira theertham Imaiyatheertham and Kaveri theertham.
  • There are eighteen stone inscriptions here giving details of the kshetram The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-navukarasu


  • Legend

    After washing away the sin of killing Ravana in Rameswaram Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman together were walking along the eastern side. While they were traveling there a demon called Karadooshanan gave them trouble on the way. Hence Rama killed the demon . So to wash that sin Rama wished to estabilish a Siva temple there.For this purpose Rama sent Hanuman to Kasi to bring a Sivalingam. Incidentally Sita took wet sand from river Kudamuriti and started to make sivalingams and finished 107 lingams. Rama got excited and devotionaly he started pooja to the linkams made by sita even before Hanuman brought the lingam from Kasi. At last hanuman came from kasi with a sivalingam but saw that pooja was already going on. Maruthi got upset and he did not know what to do. Finally he installed the lingam that he broght from kasi on southern side of all other lingams. Hunuman could not contain his angerand wished to throw away all the lingams made by Sita devi. So he tried to drag them out with his tail but his tail got cut and he was thrown out on the northern side of the pooja hall. (That place is named Hunaman-Nallore) Anjaneya realised his mistake, became calm and went to Rama and Sita to beg their pardon. Rama forgave Hunuman and announced "any one wishing to have dharshan of the lingams made by Sita should have darshan of the lingam on the southern side which was brought from Kasi by Hanuman.Then only the kshetradanam will be fulfilled". Sri Ramachandra moorthy estabished this kshetram and installed 108 lingams(icons) to wash away his sins.So this sthalam is a divine paragon.This place is called Papa-vinasam.

    Kalayana-Sundareswar at Nallure


    The temple features

  • This temple is located in Sundaragiri 5 kms in the eastern direction from Pabanasam. The carpet area of the temple is 1,82,400 sqft and is built on the south side of the banks of the river Kudamuriti. It has a five-stage tower and three corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Kalyana sundaraswar and it is said that it is self incarnated in the east facing pose. The lord's consort Devi Kalyana-Sundari has a separate sanctum also in the east facing pose.
  • The temple tree is bilvam and the theertham is called Sapta-sagaram
  • There are twenty three stone inscriptions here giving details of the kshetram
  • The saint who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambadhar


  • Legend

    The miracle in this temple is that the deity changes it's color every 2 1/2 hours in five differant hues. There was a sage called Bringi who was a great devotee of Lord siva alone. He never worshiped any God other than siva. Once devi parvathi whished to test his devotion to her consort Siva. Hence she appeared as Ardha-nareeswara. The sage did not like this. So he took the form of a bumble bee and bored his way in between the Lord and Devi and thus did parikrama to the Lord only. In that operation of Bringi the Lord's developed a number of holes and the Icon became gold in color. It is said that any one who takes a dip in the Saptha-Sagara-theertham in the all the 12 steps he would be free from diseases.

    Mahadevar at Thiru-Adhikai
    The temple features:

  • This temple is located in Thiru-Adhikai(present name is Bunrooti) about 25 kms from Vizhupuram
  • The carpet area of the temple is 3,42,000 sqft and is built facing southeast.It has a tower 110 ft tall. The temple has 3 corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Mahadeva Veerat-eswarar and has 16 polygonal sides in the east facing pose.It is said the deity is self incarnated. The lord's consort Devi Thirupura-sundari has seperate Sanctum facing west.
  • There are 2 theerthams as follows: Chakkara soola-theertham, Garuda theertham
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-navu-k-arasar, Thirugnana-sambandhar. and Sundarar
  • There are many stone inscriptions proclaiming details of this kshetram.


  • Legend

    Lord Siva did 8 valourous deeds in 8 differant places. (called Ashta- Veera lakshnam.)This is one of those places. Demon Tharuga who was tormenting the Devas was killed by Lord Karthikeya. Tharuga had three sons called Vithunmali, Tharugakshan, and Kamalakshan. These three to take revenge on devas for the killing of their father did deep penance to the creatar Brahma.Years passed. The devas and people on the earth could not tolerate the heat of their penance. Atlast Brahma appeared before the brothers and asked them the purpose for their penance. They pleaded to the lord that they should not meet their death at any time and under any circumstances. For that they asked for three flying towns made of Iron, silver and Gold.Brahma granted them their wish and gave them the three towns built by Viswakarma the divine builder. Vithunmali the one who had the iron town was flying all over the world every day smashing everything on his way. No one could do their day to day puja in the temples. All the people and hermits were suffering. The Devas too were facing trouble from them. Hence they did Yagam to Brahma,(Brahma yagam) who appeared before them and said he could do nothing about the demons and advised them to do penance to Vishnu. Again the people did puja to Lord Vishnu. He appeared before them and advised that they all should install a Sivalingam and do puja to the Lingam. The people requested Vishnu to install the lingam and perform the puja for them. Lord vishnu did the same as they requested. Siva ganas appeared at the end of the puja. Vishnu told them to go and kill the demons. But the Ganas refused to kill them because they were devotees of lord Siva. Vishnu could not do anything and he asked the devas to do penance to Lord Siva. Vishnu too went to a separate place and did penance. A sprit appeared from his node and it changed as a 'purusha'. Vishnu was very happy and created four more people as the purusha's disciples.

    Naradha came to that place. Vishnu asked the five of them along with Naradha to stop Siva worship of the demons. They went to The demons town.As soon as the demon Vithunmali saw Naradha he respectedly gave a seat and asked Naradha the purpose of his visit to him. Naradha said that " Vithumna I saw these preachers and I thought they would be useful to all of you. So I brought them here.Vritunmali brothers received them well.The preachers diverted their attention from their devotion to siva and turned their thoughts in some other direction. In the due course the demons completely turned away from Siva worship. Mahavishnu prayed to siva and the Lord appeared before Vishnu. Siva said there was no need to wait for long to kill the Demons and to make a chariot to wage a war with the demons. Vishnu asked visvakarma to make a chariot for Siva. The devas themselves changed into the various parts of the chariot as follows: The Sun and moon(Surya and chandra) into two wheels. Asthagiri and udhayagiri(giri is hill) into the two axles. Mandhara giri took the form of a chariot. The Sky became the kalasham on the vertex of the chariot. All stars became the decorations to the chariot. Mount Vindiya became the Umbrella to the chariot. Lord Brahma as the 'saaradhi' (charioteer) of the chariot. Pranavam took the form of the whip to the charioteer. All four vedas took the form of the four horses to the chariot. Mount meru took the form of a bow. Snake Vasuki took the form of the string of the bow. Saraswathi took the form of the jingling bells at the ends of the bow Sri Vishnu became the arrows. Nandhi Lord Siva's mount took the form of the Magazine of the arrows. All devas prayed to Siva after the chariot was ready. The Lord Siva appeared as the warrior.All were praising the lord and did obeisance. Devi the consort of Siva also came and sat near the lord to see the Thrupura-samharam. Lord siva Ordered brahma to start the chariot to go to the towns of the demons to kill them. On reaching there he stuck an arrow in his bow and launched it on to the demons towns. Miraculously the three towns merged together. Lord siva opened his third eye and burnt all the three towns at once and killed entire group of the demons including Tharugakshan virthuman and Kamalakshanan. All the Devas and the people of the world attained happy by the killing of those Demons and praised the Lord. Devas and Devi all together requested the lord Siva to incarnate in that place. Accordingly Sri Sankara took abode in Adhigai in linga swaroopam. The diety is named Thiru Adhigai Mahadevar.

    Yogeeswar at Thiru-Korkai
    The temple features

  • This temple is located in Thiru-Korkai(present name is Kurukkai) about 8 kms from Mayooram(Mayiladu-thurai)
  • The carpet area of the temple is 1,14,000 sqft and is built facing south. It has a tower in five stages. The temple has 2 corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Yogeeswar in the west facing pose and it is said the deity is self incarnated.
  • The lord's consort Devi Poorani has seperate Sanctum facing south.
  • There is a theertham called sthoola-theertham and it is located opposite to the temple.
  • The temple tree is Kadukkai-viruksham
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-navu-k-arasar,
  • There are twenty one stone inscriptions proclaiming details of this kshetram.
  • Significance of this temple is that Lord Siva did 8 valourous deeds in 8 differant places (called Ashta- Veera lakshnam.)and this is one of those 'sthalams' where Lord Siva burnt Manmadha.


  • Legend

    Once Demon Tharagan did penance to Brahma for a long time in his garden with his two hands raised upward and standing on one leg. The Lord did not appear before him. But he did not give up his efforts . Again he supported himself on one big toe with the other leg folded up and did penance to the lord for many years. Even then he did not succeed. Atlast he did penance standing on Panchagni for many years. As he was doing the penance there was a fire ball that rose from his head and went all over the universe. All devas and people of the earth suffered from the heat. Every one prayed to Lord Brahma and requested him to grant what-everboon Tharuga wished for.Brahma appeared before Tharuga and asked him the purpose of his aggressive Penance? The demon bowed to Brahma and pleaded to the Lord that "I should not be killed either byDevas or human beings.If I have to die it should be only at the hands of Lord siva's son".Brahma granted the boon as he wanted. Demon Tharugan happily returned home. Hearing the news about Lord Brahma's boon all other demons arrived at Demon Tharugan's place and they made him as their supreme. In due course Tharuga showed his true nature and conquered the world. Devas and hermits and oridinary people of the earth became his slaves. Devas were vexed by the demons torture. So they prayed to Brahma and appealed to the creater about the demon's cruelty. Brahma said that he could do nothing about this problem because he gave a boon that Tharuga could be killed only by Lord Siva's son. Siva was in deep meditation on fire(Yogagni) No one could interrupt him . So Indira got an idea. He called Manmadha and told him that he was seeking an help from him. Manmadha was ready to help. Indira said to Manmadha "Magatyeya you have to interrupt Lord Siva's Meditation" In the begining Manmadha was reluctant but later he acceded to Indira's instructions on the Lord's meditation. He went to Siva's place and found that the Lord was in deep 'Dyan'. Manmadha was a little scared but he had to fulfill the word given to Indira. So he fired an arrow of love on to Lord Shiva. With this The lord became a little confused and was very upset because his meditation was disturbed. Angrily he looked around and found Manmadha standing near him. The Lord could not control himself and opened his third eye and burnt him. Manmadha met his fate because he did not realise Lord shiva's prowess.From this all should learn that one should not undertake deeds unless the openents strength is known. It is another legends when Lord Shiva's son Karthikeya killed the denmon Tharuga.

    Veerateswarar at Dhaksha-puram
    The temple features

  • This temple is located in Daksha-puram (present name is Pariyaloor) about 18 kms from Mayooram(Mayiladu-thurai)
  • The carpet area of the temple is 24,000 sqft and is built facing south. It has a tower in five stages. The temple has 2 corridors.(Pragarams)
  • The deity is called Veerateswarar in the west facing pose and it is said the deity is self incarnated.
  • The lord's consort Devi Ezhang-kodi amman has seperate Sanctum facing south.
  • There is a 'theertham'(holy water source) called Pushkarini-theertham.
  • The temple tree is Jack fruit 'viruksham'
  • The saints who sang hymns on the Lord: Thiru-gnana-sambandhar,
  • There are 3 stone inscriptions proclaiming the details of this kshetram.
  • The significanc
    e of this temple is that Lord Siva did 8 valourous deeds in 8 differant places (called Ashta- Veera lakshanam.)and this is one of those 'sthalams' where Lord Siva killed Dhakshan (Dhaksha Samharam)
  • .

    Legend

    King Dhaksha had many daughters and Sathi(another name is Dhakshayini) was one of those daughters. Dhakshayini was engaged to marry Jagatpathi Rudra and the king was very happy. One day Sage Naradha visited King Daksha and told him that Dakshayani his daughter was the incarnation of Goddess Parvathy -the sakthi devi. Also he said that Sakthi and Sivam (Object and energy) were both essential for the existence of the world. Without Sakthi, Siva was powerless. On hearing this Daksha became very proud of his daughter Dhakshayini and ordered all 'Siva-lingas' to be removed and cast off. Dhakshayini could not tolerate her father's action and told him not to insult Lord Shiva. Also she said to her father that there was no need for her to go to Kailash for the Lord to get his powers. "If I touch the lingam he would have all the powers". Dhakshan did not accept her advice and he was going to throW OUT the lingam that Dhakshayini was worshiping.But she embraced the lingam and submerged with the same.king Dhaksha was very angry with his daughter and he grew enmity with Lord Siva and Sakthi. After some time King Dhaksha organised the performance of 'Brahma-yagna' in a grand manner. He invited all the devas, gods and goddesses except Siva and sakthi.( who according to Vedic rites should be given the first offering made into the sacrificial fire.) However Dakshayani his daughter, though uninvited went to attend the 'yagna' to give advise to Daksha about the importance of inviting her consort. When she saw that the first offering in the fire was not given to Siva, angrily Dhakshayini immolated herself in the 'yagna-pitfire' in protest. When Siva came to know about this he was highly enraged and sent Veerabadra who emerged from his body to kill Daksha. Veerabadra killed the king Dhaksha in this place.

    Shiva temples in Tamil nadu

    Know more about the special temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in Tamil nadu and their unique design as well as interesting legends associated with it....