The Sri Veeratteswarar Temple / Amritaghateswarar Abhirami Temple is dedicated to the god Shiva in his manifestation as Kalantaka (Destroyer of Death) and his wife Parvati in her form as Abhirami (Lovely One) located in Thirukkadaiyur(Thirukadavur), 21 km East ofMayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu in India. This temple is particularly associated with Shiva saving his devotee Markendeya from death and the tale of saint Abirami Pattar, a devotee of the presiding goddess. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where three of the most revered Nayanars (Saivite Saints), Appar, Suntharar and Tirugnana Sambhandar have sung the glories of this temple. This is the 47th Shiva temple on the southern bank of Cauvery praised in Thevaram hymns.
About the Temple
The temple is constructed in the style of the Chola dynasty, occupies a very vast area of 11 acres (45,000 m2), with five courtyards, several imposing temple towers, and large and spacious mandapas. Though the details of the king who consecrated the temple are uncertain, it can be ascertained from inscriptions in the temple that it has been in existence since at least the tenth or eleventh century, during the reign of Raja Raja Chola I. It was during the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1075–1120) that the brick walls of the temple were replaced with stone walls and the mandapam in the front was constructed. The rajagopuram, or the front entryway of the temple, is replete with images made of mortar, depicting various legends associated with the temple. There are three temple tanks, or teerthams, known as 'Amrita Pushkarini', 'Kaala Theertham' and 'Maarkandeya Theertham'. There is a separate shrine dedicated to Abhirami. The Shakta saint Abhirami Pattar is believed to have rendered the Abhirami Anthathi in the front hall of the shrine. The temple also maintains a separate shrine for Markandeya worshipping Kalasamhara Murti. Although Thirukadaiyur is a Shaiva temple, it contains an old Vaishnava temple. The gods in this temple are Amrita Narayana (Vishnu) and his consort Amrita Valli (Lakshmi). In a shrine, Mother Parvathi appears with Lord Muruga in Her right lap, praised as Guhambika. Lord Kalla Varana Pillayar appears with the nectar pot in his hand. Lord Brahmma, Sages Agasthya, Pulasthya, Serpent Vasuki, Mother Durga had worshipped Lord in this temple. The procession deity is Lord Kala Samhara Murthy. Those seeking longevity throng the temple.
About The Deity
Presiding Lord in the temple is a swayambumurthy. The main deity is called Amritaghateswarar. Of the Atta Veera Sthalas, Thirukadayur is one where Yama was hit by Lord Shiva. Though there is only one Linga in the sanctum sanctorum, a close look will show another Linga too in shady form. The scar caused by the Yama’s rope is visible on the Linga only during abishek times.
Legend and Stories
Legend has it that Sage Mrikandu and his wife prayed to Shiva for a child. Shiva gave them a choice they could have a foolish son with a long life, or a short lived, but intelligent child. They chose the latter, and soon had a smart child, who came to be known as Markandeya. When, just before his 16th birthday, he learnt that he would die soon, he left home, and stayed in the temple, praying to Shiva, who was the one who had brought him to life. At the appointed hour, Yama (or Kaala) arrived to take his soul, and threw his noose of death over the child. Markandeya at once embraced the Shiva lingam, and the noose fell over the lingam. Shiva was furious and came out of the lingam, kicking Yama to death, thus stopping all death and saved Markandeya. However, with Yama’s death, there were no more deaths on earth, and Bhoomi Devi could bear the burden no more. Finally, Shiva yielded to their prayers, resurrecting Yama, and giving Markandeya eternal youth.
Another legend says that Lord Brahmma went to Kailash to have the Gnana Upadesa (wisdom learning). Lord Shiva gave the seeds of Vilwa tree to Brahmma and asked him to sow them in earth in various places. Where the seed germinates within one hour into a tree shall be venue of teaching, said Lord Shiva. It happened in Thirukadayur. Shiva the teacher of Brahmma is worshipped as Adhi Vilwa Vana Nather in the temple having His own shrine. The Devan began to consume the nectar without offering prayers to Lord Vinayaka who simply hid the pot. They realized their folly and prayed to Vinayaka, got it from Him and placed it in this Thirudayur for Shiva Puja. When opened it was Shiva Linga. As Lord Shiva appeared here as a Swayamnu Linga from the Amirtha-nectar pot He is worshipped as Amirtha Kadeswarar.
The 18 day Yama Samharam in Chithirai month – April-May starting on the Magam Star day with Lord's parade every day, Kalasamhara Murthy darshan on the sixth day; Karthikai Monday abishek with 1008 conches; Purattasi Navarathri in September-October; one day Margazhi Vishi Padam celebration in December-January; Aadi Pooram in July-August; Aipasi Skanda Sasti in October-November; Maha Shivrathri in February-March and Panguni Uthiram in March-April are the celebrations celebrated in the sanctuary. The sanctuary takes after a reverential routine of Andhadhi Parayanam and worshipping the Moon on the New Moon day of Thai month – January-February. Devotees swarm in the sanctuary will be gigantic on Pradosha days. Other general celebrations as Deepavali, Pongal, Tamil and English New Year days are additionally seen in the sanctuary with exceptional abisheks and pujas.
A majority of the devotees perform their birth days, Sashti Aptha Poorthi (completing 60 years) Ukra Radha Shanti (completing 59 years) Beemaradha Shanti (completing 70 years), Sathabishekam (completing 80 years) seeking Lord and Mother blessings. Devotees completing their 60 years for celebrating their Sashti Aptha Poorthi called Mani Vizha in Tamil, include not only those from Tamilnadu but from states of India and countries of the world. People celebrate their 50thwedding day and for relief from adverse aspects of planets.
Mother Abhirami is all merciful and powerful. She grants boons of prosperity, wedding, child and distinction in academic pursuits. People worship Lord Kalasamhara Murthy for longevity. Many pray to Lord Amirthaladeswarar for mental peace and relief from confusions. They also pray for job opportunities and profits in trade and industry. Those seeking wedding boon offer Wedding garlands. Some offer their child in adoption for child boon and perform Rudrabishekam. Those suffering from diseases of serous nature, perform Conch Abishek (Sangabishekam) for cure. Patients facing heart related problems conduct the Mrutyunjaya Homa (conquering the God of Death). Many devotees with staunch faith had survived even serious heart attacks. Devotees perform abishek to Mother Abhiramai with sandal, rice flour, cosmetic powders, oil, milk, curd, green coconut, Panchamirtham, lime juice, honey. Women scared of the safety of their Mangal Sutra (fear of widowhood) use to place a new mangal sutra at the feet of Ambika wear it, leaving the old one at Her feet. Many undertake Annadhanam-feeding. Many contribute liberally for the renovation of the temple. They also offer Sari to Mother.
Nearby Places to Visit
1. Kayaroganeswarar Temple
2. Thanthondreeswarar Temple
3. Neelakandeswarar Temple
4. Pallavaneswarar Temple
5. Aranyeswarar Temple
6. Naganathar Temple
The nearest airport is in Tiruchi. The nearest railway station is at Mayiladuthurai. Thirukayur is 26 km far from Mayiladuthurai on the Nagapattinam road. Frequent bus facility is available. From Sirkali it is 30 km.
Sri Veeratteswarar Temple / Amirtha Kadeswarar Temple,
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.