Shiva temples of Tamilnadu

Thevaara Paadal Petra Sivasthalangal
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Location of the templeTiruvidaimarudur
Lord Shiva known asMahalingeswarar, Marudhappar
Female deity known asBruhath Sundarakusaambaal, Nanmulainayagi, Perunalamulainayagi
PathigamThirunavukarasar, Sundarar
How to reach This famous sivasthalam is located 9 Kms from Kumbakonam en route to Mayiladuthurai. Town bus facilities are available from Kumbakonam. There is also a railway station at Tiruvidaimarudur on the Kumbakonam - Mayiladuturai section of the Southern Railway.

Temple: The Shivasthalam at Tiruvidaimarudur on the banks of river Cauvery is one of the 6 most sacred places on par with Varanasi (Benares). The other 5 sivasthalams are 1. Tiruvenkaadu, 2. Mayiladuthurai, 3. Tiruvaiyaru, 4. Tiruchaaikkadu (Chaayaavanam), and 5. Tiruvanchiam.

This Shiva temple at Tiruvidaimarudur is about 1200 years old and is a big temple with lofty gopurams and lengthy corridors. This sivasthalam is popularly known as Madhyaarjunam. The term Madhyaarjunam tranlates into "Idaimarudhu" in Tamil language. Arjunam refers to Marudhamaram, the sthalavriksham of this temple. The temple has 3 prakarams ( corridors) and according to many legends associated with the temple, it is considered highly auspicious to do a pradakshinam (a circumambulatory walk through the corridors) on these 3 corridors.

  • Aswamedha praharam: This prakaram or corridor is the outermost prakaram and doing pradhakshinam in this praharam will give the effect of doing Ashwamedha yagam.
  • Kodumudi praharam: This is the middle corridor and doing pradakshinam in this prakaram will give the effect of visiting Mount Kailash - the Abode of Lord Shiva.
  • Pranava praharam: This the innermost corridor and doing pradakshinam in this prakaram will give mokshaa (salavation).

This temple is also known as Panchalinga Sthalam as the main deity is surrounded on four corners by temples dedicated to Vishwanathar, Aatmanathar, Rishipureeshwarar and Chokkanathar.

Because of the glory and importance of the temple at Tiruvidaimarudur, some nearby temples in the vicinity of Tiruvadiamarudur are referred as Parivara Devatha shrines. They are

  • Tiruvalanchuzi - Vinayakar
  • Swamimalai - Murugar (one of the 6 Abodes of Lord Muruguar)
  • Tiruvarur - Somaskandar
  • Chidambaram - Natarajar
  • Alangudi - Dhakshinamoorthy
  • Tiruvavaduthurai - Nandhikeshwarar
  • Tiruchaignallur - Chandikeshwarar
  • Srikazhi - Bhairavar
  • Sooriyanar Koil - Navagrahams

Significance: This temple is associated with the life of King Varaguna Pandian of Pandiya Naadu. The king was once returning to his capital after a hunting trip to nearyby forests. It was after sunset and the king was riding on a horse. He unwittingly killed a brahmin riding over him. Thus he was afflicted with Brahmahathi dosham (the sin of killing a brahmin) and further was possessed by the spirit of the dead brahmin. The king was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and offered prayers to the God to free him from the Brahmahathi Dosham. One day Lord Somasundarar of Madurai appeared in his dreams and advised him to visit Tiruvidaimarudur. Accordingly the king Varaguna Pandian visited Tiruvidaimarudur and when he entered the temple, the spirit of the dead brahmin did not have the courage to enter the sanctum of Lord Shiva and stayed behind hoping to catch the king once again when he came out of the temple. But the king was directed by Lord Shiva to exit through the west gate of the temple and was thus relieved from the Brahmahathi dosham. Even today the practice of entering the temple through the main entrance and exiting through the west gate is followed by all the visitors and devotees to the temple.

Lord Shiva gave darshan and appeared in the form of Arthanareeswarar to sage Markandeyar as desired by the sage at this sivasthalam. A separate shrine for Mookambikai, situated to the south of the shrine for presiding female deity, is of special importance at this temple. It is to be noted that shrines for Goddess Mookambikai are only at two places in India, one at Tiruvidaimarudur and the other one second at Kollur in Karnakata state.

Great Saints like Agasthyar, Adi Shankaracharya, Pattinathar, Sridhara Venkatesa Ayyaval, Bodhendra Saraswathi (59th Peedathipathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam), Badragiriar, Arunagirirnathar had visited this shrine and worshipped the lord. It is believed that when Adi Shakara worshipped, the Lord Mahalingeshwarar uttered "Sathyam Advaitham" three times. It is also believed that Sridhara Ayyaval a great Shiva bhatka has merged with the Lord as a joyti (light). Sri Bodhendra Saraswathi's jeeva samadhi is also situated in Govindapuram near Tiruvidaimaruthur.

Tiruvidaimarudur temple photos