Karkadeswarar, Tirundudevankudi, Thanjavur

Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:KarkadeswararAmbal / Thayar:Arumarundhammai, Apoorva Nayaki
Deity:SivaHistorical name:Tirundhudevankudi

Age (years):

Timing:9 to 12.30 & 4 to 7Parikaram:

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


Temple set:



Poosam, Aayilyam

City / town:TirundudevankudiDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Kumbakonam (10 km)Mayiladuthurai (30 km)

Tiruvarur (43 km)Ariyalur (50 km)


Tirundudevankudi is located near Kumbakonam, and close to Tiruvidaimaruthur.

Sthala puranam and temple information

Once, Sage Durvasa was in deep meditation when a Gandharva came by and taunted the sage by walking like a crab. Durvasa got angry, and curse and the Gandharva, turning him into a crab living in the tank of this temple. When the Gandharva pleaded for mercy, Durvasa asked him to do Siva puja at this temple, by praying to the Lord every day with an offering of a lotus from the temple tank. Around that time, Indra was undertaking a penance to get sufficient powers to overcome the asuras. As advised by his guru, he came to this place and performed puja to the Lord every day, with 1008 lotuses. Varuna, the water god, was responsible for ensuring the necessary lotuses were there in the temple tank. However, when Indra offered them to the Lord, he noticed that every day, the offering amounted to only 1007 lotuses. He checked with Varuna, who confirmed that each day there were exactly 1008 lotuses. After a few days, Indra realized that the crab was taking one of the flowers and crawling up to the Lingam, for its worship. Enraged, Indra attempted to kill it with his sword. But the Lord opened up a hole in the Lingam for the crab to crawl into, and it was saved, and so the Gandharva was relieved of his curse. The sword hit the Lingam, and the scar can be seen even today on the Lingam. Indra was also pardoned by Lord Siva.

Since the Lord protected a crab (karkata in Sanskrit), He is known as Karkateswarar. Since Indra (also called Devendra as he is the lord of the Devas) realized his fault and was pardoned here, the place is called Tirundu-Devan-Kudi (tirundu = rectify / correct, Devan = Indra). Locally, the place is referred to as Nandu koil (nandu = crab in Tamil) or Naadan koil.

There was once a Chola king with his capital at Uraiyur, who suffered from paralysis. Since nobody could cure him, he prayed to Lord Siva and Parvati for relief. One day, an elderly couple, hearing of his ailment, visited him. They applied sacred ash on him and also gave him some of it mixed in water, for the king to drink. The king was cured overnight. When the couple visited again the following day, the king offered them anything they wanted as a reward. They asked him to unearth and renovate a temple at Tirundudevankudi, which had been buried under the earth for many centuries. Once they reached the place, the couple disappeared, and the king realized that they were Siva and Parvati. The king rebuilt the temple, but could not find the idol of the Goddess, and so installed a newly made idol as Arumarudhu Nayaki (the curative goddess). Later, while digging in another place nearby, they found what was the original idol. Since it was found under unusual circumstances, the Goddess was re-installed as Apoorva Nayaki (Apoorva = unusual).

It is believed that Lord Siva here cures any and all diseases. Abhishekam to the Lingam is done with gingili oil, which is consumed by devotees as a sarva roga nivarini.

According to the Vasishta Mahatmiyam, on the day of Aadi (July-August) Amavasya, a golden coloured crab is said to emerge from the hole in the Lingam, during abhishekam.

Because of its close connection with the crab / karkata, this temple is considered auspicious and also a parikara sthalam, for those under the Kataka rasi. Chandran at this temple is in yoga, and hence this place is also considered a Chandra dosha nivritti sthalam.

Legend notwithstanding, the construction clearly indicates this to be an early Chola temple.

Other information for your visit

While not too far from a large town such as Tiruvidaimaruthur or Kumbakonam, the logistics of this place presents a challenge for those working at and running the temple. Therefore, the temple opens at 9 am, later than normal, and closes in the evening at 7 pm (again, earlier than most temples).

About 1 km from this temple is the Yoga Nandeeswarar temple at Tiruvisanallur, also a Paadal Petra Sthalam, and auspicious for those under the Rishabha rasi.


Contact: 0435 – 200 0240, 99940 15871


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