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Vedaranyeswarar, Vedaranyam, Nagapattinam


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:VedaranyeswararAmbal / Thayar:VeeNavAda Vidushini
Deity:SivaHistorical name:TirumaraikkaDu
Vriksham:VanniTeertham:Veda Teertham (Sea)
Agamam:

Age (years):

Timing:6 to 11 & 5 to 8.30Parikaram:

Temple group:Paadal Petra Sthalam (Kaveri Then Karai)
Sung by:

Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar

Temple set:

Sapta Vitanga Lingam sthalam

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:VedaranyamDistrict:Nagapattinam
Maps from (click): Current location Nagapattinam (53 km)Thiruvarur (63 km)

Kumbakonam (101 km)Mayiladuthurai (104 km)

Location

Vedaranyam is located on the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, about 40km from Nagapattinam. Further south are Agastiyan Palli and Kodiakkarai, also home to Paadal Petra Sthalams, and the Kodiakkarai bird sanctuary.

Sthala puranam and temple information

In Tamil, Marai refers to the Vedas, and Kadu is for Aranyam (forest). Maraikadu is literally, Vedaranyam, and that is because the Vedas are supposed to have originated at this place, and worshipped Lord Siva here. The temple was built by Aditya Chola I, and is one of many temples built by him on the banks of the Kaveri river, to commemorate his victory at the battle of Tiruppurambiyam.

The Vedas used to stay in the nearby Naluvedhapathi (home of the four Vedas) and conduct puja to Lord Siva using flowers plucked from the pushpavanam, and entered the temple through the main (eastern) entrance. With the onset of Kali Yuga, the Vedas told Lord Siva that they have no more work on the earth and left the temple after locking the main entrance. So, people used the side entrance to enter the temple. Once, Appar and Sambandar visited the temple together. At Sambandar’s request, Appar sang 10 pathigams (beginning with Pannin Ner Mosiyal), requesting the Lord to open the doors, which was duly done. After darshan, Sambandar sang the pathigam (beginning with Chaturam Marai), which closed the door permanently.

When they were at this temple, Sambandar was called to Madurai to help cure the ill king Koon Pandiyan. Appar, thinking about the dangers to Sambandar, told him that the planets were not aligned properly and it may be a risk to leave then. In response, Sambandar sang the Kolaru Pathigam here, which states that for the devotee of Lord Siva, there can be no adverse effects of the planets (Navagrahas) or indeed, any other negative forces.

Rama is said to have visited this temple to absolve himself of the sin of killing many people during the war in Lanka. When Rama was chased by veera hatthi, the ghosts of the warriors he killed in Lanka, it was kicked away by Vinayakar here, which gave him his name Veera Hatthi Chetha Vinayagar. Similar to Rameswaram, Rama’s footprints are maintained in a nearby place called Ramar Padam.

Sage Agastya had darshan of Siva and Parvati’s wedding here. The Kalyana Kolam is carved on the wall behind the moolavar in the sanctum.

Brahma worshipped at this temple prior to commencing creation on earth. Sage Viswamitra worshipped here on his way to gaining the status of Brahmarishi.

The pancha lingam are said to have been installed by the Pandavas.

This temple is also regarded as one of 64 Sakti Peethams (Sundari Peetham).

Once, the deepam in the temple was about to go off. Lord Siva told Parvati that anyone who rekindled the lamp would become the Lord of the three worlds. A rat climbed on the lamp to drink the ghee and in the process, pulled the wick, causing the lamp became bright again. Lord Siva kept up his word, and the rat was reborn as king Mahabali.

This is one of the Sapta Vitanga Sthalams which house one of the maragatha Lingams that Muchukunda Chakravarti was able to obtain after his trials with Indra.

Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar have all sung pathigams at this temple. Arunagirinathar has sung Tiruppugazh verses here. Sundarar visited this temple along with Cheraman Peruman.

Paranjothi Munivar (not to be confused with Siruthondar), who compiled and sang the Tiruvilaiyadal puranam, was born here.

Amman Vedanayaki is said to have a voice sweeter than the music of the veena, and hence Saraswati is seen without the veena in her hand.

Due to its proximity to the sea, Vedaranyam’s residents get salty water at their homes. However, the water in the temple is sweet, and so the entire town gets their drinking water from this temple.

The sea shore east of the temple is called Aadi Setu, and bathing here is considered the equivalent of 100 baths at Rameswaram. This is a popular place for devotees on amavasya day in the Tamil months of Thai, Aadi and Mahalaya.

As per inscriptions, the temple was consecrated by Chola King Aditya I, son of Vijayalaya Chola. There are epigraphical records from Parantaka Chola I, son of Aditya I in addition to later kings.

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