Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Amritakadeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Abhirami|
|Deity:||Siva||Historical name:||TirukkaDavur Veerattam|
|Vriksham:||Vilvam, Jaati mullai||Teertham:||Amrita Teertham, Sivagangai|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tirukadaiyur||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (24.3 km)||Nagapattinam (43.7 km)|
|Tiruvarur (48.4 km)||Kumbakonam (59.1 km)|
The temple is located in the town of Tirukadaiyur, east of Vaitheeswaran Koil, on the road to Poompuhar.
Sthala puranam and temple information
In addition to being a Paadal Petra Sthalam, the temple is also one of the Ashta Veeraatta Sthalams – eight places where Siva, in Bhairava roopam, performed a veera natanam after vanquishing an opposing force / enemy. At Tirukadaiyur, Siva defeated Yama, the lord of death. The temple is often colloquially referred to as the Markandeya temple.
Markandeya (son of sage Mrikandu, who opted for a child of high intelligence and short life, rather than the opposites) worshipped Siva at this temple. Yama came to take away the boy’s life at age sixteen, but Siva intervened. Yama threw away his noose in anger, binding Markandeya and the lingam. To curb Yama’s anger, Siva held him inactive. As this caused imbalance on earth (due to more births and no deaths), resulting in Bhoodevi complaining about it, Siva released Yama with a warning to be mindful in future. The murti at this temple depicts Siva holding a finger up in warning. Siva is also known as Kalantaka (destroyer of death, ie Yama) at this temple. During abhishekams, devotees can observe the marks on the Lingam created by Yama’s rope.
Lord Brahma approached Lord Siva for Gnana upadesam. Lord Siva gave a few vilvam seeds and told Brahma that He (Siva) will appear in the place where the seeds grow into a tree within an hour. As per this, Brahma came here and received gnana upadesam. Lord Siva in this form is the Adimulanathar (Vilvanathar).
Vinayakar was not propitiated before the churning of the oceans to generate the nectar of immortality, so he took the pot of nectar that the devas had hidden (which had a little quantity of nectar in it after distribution) and brought it to this place – hence the name Tirukadaiyur. Here he constructed a lingam in honour of his parents – Siva and Parvati – and poured the nectar of immortality on it. Hence the association with longevity for those praying here. Some also believe that the pot itself was upturned and propitiated as a Siva lingam.
In another associated puranam, the devas and asuras obtained the pot of nectar after churning the ocean. They decided to leave it there while they all went to take a bath to purify themselves. But when they came back, the pot had turned into a Siva Lingam, which is the one at this temple.
Vishnu prayed to Siva before distributing the nectar from the churning of the ocean. Since Parvati is required to be present for such prayers, Vishnu kept all his ornaments out to represent Parvati. The Goddess is said to have emerged from these ornaments, and so it is also considered that Lord Vishnu is the mother of Abhirami, the Goddess.
Abhirami Pattar authored the Abhirami Andadhi, a collection of 100 verses in praise of the Goddess. The poet Subramaiar (later, Abhirami Pattar), worshipped the Goddess and didn’t respect the local king. When the king was told of Subramanian’s devotion, he asked the latter what day it was. Subramanian replied that it was a full moon day, when actually, it was a new moon. When this was pointed out, Subramanian said that he’d stated it was a full moon day, and it will be so. Prior to his execution for the crime of disrespecting the king, he started singing the Abhirami Andadhi, during which the full moon appeared (legend: Goddess threw an earring to the sky which took the form of the full moon), and Subramanian was let off and honoured.
Water used for rituals at this temple comes from the tank of the nearby Brahmapureeswarar temple, and not from this temple’s own water source.
The temple’s association with longevity makes it a desired sthalam to perform Sashtiabdhapoorthi (60th birthday) and Sadabhishekam (80th birthday) functions.
Normally one can see only the Kalasamharamurti (samharakolam) but during poojas the peetam is opened to show Yama (uyirpitthakolam).
Other information for your visit
The Dutch fort at Tarangammbadi (Tranquebar) is located 9km from Tirukadaiyur, and adjacent to the fort is the beautiful beach-side Siva temple of Masilanathar.