Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vedapureeswarar||Ambal / Thayar:||Balambigai, VaerkaNNi Ammai|
|Vriksham:||VeN Velamaram||Teertham:||Veda Teertham|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Paadal Petra Sthalam (Tondai Naadu)||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruverkadu||District:||Tiruvallur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Chennai (20 km)||Tiruvallur (30 km)|
|Kanchipuram (65 km)||Vellore (135 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This ancient temple is located on the banks of the Cooum river. Tiruverkadu was once known as Vada Vedaranyam (Vada, to distinguish it from Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district), because it is believed that the four Vedas worshipped Siva here in the form of Vela trees. In fact, there is some doubt as to whether this could have been Vela-kadu or Veda-kadu in the past, before its name being corrupted to Ver-kadu (the Tiru being an honorific).
The biggest celestial event – the wedding of Siva and Parvati at Kailasam – drew such a crowd that the world tilted. So Siva requested sage Agastyar to go down south, to balance the world. As a result, the sage missed attending the wedding. In return for his great service, the sage was granted a vision of the celestial wedding at every temple he worshipped at and requested for such a vision. Similarly, at this temple, Siva and Parvati gave Agastyar and his wife Lopamudra, a vision of their wedding, in their wedding attire. There is a bas relief in the temple that depicts Siva and Parvati in their wedding posture, behind the moolavar Lingam, inside the garbhagriham.
There are two stories connecting Murugan with this temple. One, it is considered to be one of the places where Murugan received His weapons for his battle against Soorapadman. The other is that after Murugan imprisoned Brahma for not being able to explain the meaning of the Pranava Mantram, Siva intervened, and after having Brahma released, instructed Murugan to worship at this temple to be absolved from the sin of imprisoning Brahma.
Vishnu was watching Vinayakar play in Tiruparkadam (ocean of milk) when His conch slipped from his hand and fell in the ocean. He was able to recover it with the grace of Siva, and at this time, Adiseshan also worshipped Siva at this temple, promising that he would not bite anyone here. For this reason, Tiruverkadu is referred to as Visham Teendaa Pathi (the place where venom doesn’t touch anyone).
In addition to the Vedas, the Navagrahams and also the ashta digpalakas (guardians of the eight cardinal and ordinal directions) have worshipped here. The Navagraham here are installed on a special lotus-shaped pedestal (padma peetham). Each of the ashta digpalakas installed and worshipped a Siva Lingam in the vicinity of this temple, which are either separate temples, or inside another temple (I will write about these separately).
In addition to this being a Tevaram Paadal Petra Sthalam, the temple also finds mention in the Tirumandiram (Tirumoolar’s treatise on Saiva Siddhantam) and Manikkavasagar’s Tiruvasagam. In addition, Murugan here is extolled by Arunagirinathar in his Tiruppugazh.
Tiruverkadu is also the avatara sthalam of Murka Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars, and the temple celebrates him as well. This Nayanar’s story is quite interesting. He would spend all his money offering food to Siva’s devotees, and after his entire wealth was spent, he would gamble and then spend his winnings to serve the devotees! What’s more, he used violence to recover dues from those who tried to cheat him. Despite all this, because his purpose was lofty, he was recognised by the Lord Himself and given the name Murka (meaning violent, in ancient Tamil), and is regarded as one of the 63 Nayanmars. The Nayanar’s birth is celebrated every year on the day of the Moolam nakshatram in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November-December).
The original structural temple is Chola, and it is estimated that some parts of the core temple belong to as early as the 9th century. The temple was almost entirely reconstructed in 1973, owing to its state at that time. The temple is administered today by the nearby Karumari Amman temple, which is famous in its own right, and is said to be the shrine of Renuka Devi (Parasurama’s mother, when the sage, along with his father Sage Jamadagni and mother Renuka Devi, came to worship Siva at Tiruverkadu).
The temple has a gaja-prishta (apsidial) vimanam, where the garbhagriham itself and the vimanam over it, are shaped in a semi-circular fashion, much like the back (prishtha) of an elephant (gaja). This feature seems to be almost unique to temples in Tondai Nadu (though some temples such as the Tirumeyachur Meghanathar-Lalitambigai temple, down south, have this feature as well).
Balambigai Amman here is regarded as especially powerful. It is believed that those who worship Jagadambika at Padi, Vadivudai Amman at Tiruvotriyur, and Balambigai at this temple on the same day, will receive all the blessings in this life and the next.
Because of the association with Siva’s wedding, this is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married. It is also favoured by devotees, for conducting Sathabhishekam (80th-81st birthday), much like at Tirukadaiyur.
Other information for your visit