Shiva Temples of Tamilnadu

Thevaara Paadal Petra Shivasthalangal

Vedhagireeswarar temple, Tirukkazhukkundram

Temple Information
Location of the templeTirukkazhukundram
Lord Shiva known asVedagireeswarar
Female deity known asThiripurasundhari
PathigamThirunavukarasar, Sambandar, Sundarar
How to reachThis temple is located on the Chengalpattu-Mahabalipuram route, 14 kms from Chengalpattu and 10 Kms from Mahabalipuram.
Temple addressArulmighu Vedagireeswarar Temple
Tirukkazhukundram Post
Tirukkazhukundram Taluk
Kancheepuram District
PIN 603109

Reading Time - Minutes

There are a total of 44 Paadal Petra Shivasthalams, which have been praised in hymns composed by the three trinities - Tirugyanasambandhar, Tirunavukkarasar, and Sundarar. Among these 44 temples, one of them is Tiukazhukundram. This place is renowned as Vedhagiri because the Sacred Vedhas are believed to have manifested as mountains here. Tiukazhukundram is also known by other names such as Vedhachalam, Kathalivanam, and Kazhukkundram. There are two Shiva temples in this area, one situated on the hilltop and the other in the panchayat-town of Tirukazhukundram. The hill temple is called Tirumalai, while the town temple is known as Thazhakoil. The main deity of Tirumalai is Vedhapureeswarar, and the presiding deity of Thazhakoil is Bhakthavathsaleswarar. According to the Sthala purana, the four Vedhas - Rik, Yajur, Sama, and Atharvana - have taken the form of large rock hills, with the deity Vedhapureeswarar situated on top of the hill of Atharvana Vedha.

The temple hill, which has a circumference of approximately 4 kilometers, stands at a height of 500 feet. Perched on top of the hill is a temple with a single prakaram and a majestic Rajagopuram. To reach the temple, there are well-laid steps that lead up the hill. The main deity of the temple is Vedhapureeswarar, a self-manifested 'Swayambhu Linga' in the shape of a banana flower. The female deity, Chokka Nayaki, is also known as Pennin-nallall ammai. This sacred place is called Kazhukkundram, as it is believed that eagles (known as Kazhugu in Tamil) worshipped the deity here to attain salvation. Throughout the four yugas, different pairs of eagles worshipped the deity and achieved their salvation. These pairs include Shandan and Prashandan in the first yuga, Shambathi and Jatayu in the second yuga, Shampuguththan and Maguththan in the third yuga, and Shambu and Adi in the fourth yuga. It is worth noting that until recently, two eagles would visit the temple during noon to feed.

Descending from the steps that ascend to the mountain temple is one way to reach the bottom. However, an alternative route exists for those who wish to explore further. By taking this path, you will stumble upon a remarkable cave temple from the Pallavar Mahendravarman period, which dates back to 610 AD - 640 AD. There is a Shiva Linga within this cave temple.

Thazhakoil - The sprawling shiva temple covers an extensive area of 12 acres, boasting four towers and 3 concentric prakarams surrounding it on all four sides. The primary tower, known as rajagopuram, stands tall on the eastern side with 7 tiers, serving as the main entrance. Upon entering through the eastern gateway, visitors are welcomed by a four-pillared hall. Adjacent to this hall, to the right, lies another mandap, which serves as the administrative office of the temple, showcasing a stunning sculpture of Durga with Eight hands on its stone wall. Moving to the left of the four-pillared hall, another mandap adorned with 16 pillars, each intricately carved with beautiful sculptures, captures our attention. Further along the four-pillared hall, another gopuram emerges, flanked by vinayaka and Subramnya on either side. As we walk along the outer prakaram in a clockwise direction, 'Nandi theertham' is on the northern side, with a nandi statue positioned gracefully on its bank.

Upon crossing the second gopuram and entering the inner layer, we find ourselves in the second prakaram. As we make our way through this corridor, we are greeted by a multitude of shrines dedicated to various deities. Among them, we can find Athmanathar, Manikkavasakar, Ekambaranathar, Vanduvana Vinayaka, Jambukeshwarar, Arunalachaleshwarar, and Arumukha, each housed in their own individual temples within the second prakaram. Within this prakaram, we also come across the sannidhi of the female deity Thripurasundari, which is adorned with a beautiful madap as its front elevation. The sannidhi is surrounded by a pathway that facilitates 'pradakshina', the ritual of circumambulation. Goddess Thripurasundari is glorious in a standing posture facing east. The ritual of 'Abishekam', which involves the pouring of sacred substances on the deity, is performed only to the feet of the Goddess. However, it is important to note that on three specific days: aadi pooram, the 9th day of navarathri, and the night of panguni uthiram, the entire form of the Goddess is anointed with the sacred offerings, adding to the sanctity and significance of these particular days.

Opposite to the sannidhi of Thripurasundari is Prathyaksha Vedhagireeshwar sannidhi. Next is Nataraja Sabha. After completing the circumambulation of the 2'nd prakaram at the wooden flagstaff and offering our prayers to Akora Veerabadrar and to the 'Dwarapalakas' we enter the innermost prakaram. Here, we see Surya, the deity representing the sun, followed by Vinayaka, the 63 nayanmars, and 7 shiva Lingas, all arranged in a row as we walk around the inner most prakaram in a clockwise direction. The presiding deity in the name of Bhakthavathsaleshwarar is on a square 'Avudayar' facing east. Goshta images include Vinayaka, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbhava, Brahma and Goddess Durga. Bhairavar and Chandikeshwarar are in dedicated shrines.

Located at the far end of the road that stretches along the eastern gateway lies the renowned pond known as 'Shangu Theertham'. This sacred body of water holds a fascinating phenomenon, as once every 12 years, a new conch shell emerges from its depths. These conches, are carefully collected and placed within the temple. Legend has it that during a time when Markandeyar lacked a vessel to perform rituals for worshipping the deity, God himself appeared before him and bestowed a conch. Since then, every 12 years, a new conch is said to be born in this very pond. It is firmly believed that by partaking in a bath within the pond during the early hours of the morning and engaging in the spiritual practice of 'giri valam' - circumambulating the hill - one can find solace and healing from various ailments.

Tirukkazhukkundram Temple photos

Tirumalai View
16 pillared hall
Eastern Gopuram
Bird's eye view
Shangu Theertham