Thirukadaiyur is a very famous temple in Nagapattinam district. The presiding Deity is Amrthakadeswarar His consort is Abhirami. This temple is associated with the stories of Markandeya and Abhirami Bhattar.
This holy place is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva saved Markendeya from Yama (the God of death). This is one of the Ashta Veeratta sthalams. The eight temples are as follows
Mrigandu Maharishi, a staunch devotee of Shiva led a simple life of worship and penance. He and his wife Marudhamathi had no children. The couple prayed to Lord Shiva to bless them with a child. Pleased with their prayers Shiva appeared before them and granted them their wish but asked the couple to make a difficult choice. Shiva asked them to choose between a hundred children who would not be virtuous but would live a long life & one son who would be the epitome of virtuousness and have the divine blessing, but would live only till the age of sixteen. The couple chose the latter and thus Markandeya was born to them.
Markandeya was very pleasing in his manners and behaviour, and was liked by one and all. He was intelligent too. At that young age the boy mastered all the scriptures. His parents were proud of his achievements. However, they suddenly remembered that this boy will live only until the age of sixteen. This realization worried them. When Markandeya inquired them of the reason, his mother could not hide the truth any longer and informed him of the conditional boon which Shiva had granted. Markandeya was very confident that Shiva would protect him.
He made a Lingam out of the wet sand on the banks of Cauvery and started his penance. He was determined to continue until Lord Shiva appeared before him granted him the boon of immortality. As Markandeya entered his sixteenth year, Yama came to take back his life. But Markandeya refused to go along with Yama. Yama threw the noose around Markandeya and since he was hugging the Shivalingam, the noose fell around the Shivalingam also. An angry Shiva killed Yama. Markandeya then implored Lord Shiva to bring back Yama to life. Shiva pleased with Markandeya’s selflessness blessed him to be immortal.
The Shiva Lingam is swayambhu (Self manifested). The mark made by Yama’s noose is seen on this Lingam. Some believe that this Lingam is part of the pot of nectar that came out of the Paarkadal or Celestial Ocean. Devas had not invoked Vinayaka before the churning of the Ocean. An angry Vinayaka wanted to teach them a lesson and stole the pot of nectar from the Devas. Vinayakar is called KallaPillayar here, as he had stolen the pot of Nectar from the Devas.
As death was conquered at this holy temple at Thirukadaiyur, Sasthiabdhipoorthi (Completion of sixty years), Bheemaratha Shanthi (Completion of 70 years) and Sadhabishegam (Completion of 80 years) are celebrated here.
This is the place where Brahma got Gnaanopadesam from Lord Shiva. Shiva had given Brahma few Vilva seeds and told him that wherever the seeds germinate, He (Shiva) would do the Gnanopadesham. After failing at various places, it was finally at Thirukadaiyur that the seeds germinated. Hence the place is also known as Vilvaaranyam or Vilva forest.
Abhirami Bhattar was a staunch devotee of the Goddess. Once King Sarboji visited the temple and saw Abhirami Bhattar who was immersed in his thoughts of Goddess Abhirami. The king inquired with the Bhattar what Thithi it was and Bhattar absent-mindedly replied that it was Pournami or full moon day, while it was actually a New moon day. The furious King ordered Abhirami Bhattar to be burnt to death. When he came back to his senses, a shocked Bhattar pleaded to the Goddess to save him. Bhattar was made to stand on a wooden platform that was being slowly lowered into the fire below. He started singing a hundred verses in praise of the Goddess. As soon as Abhirami Bhattar recited the 79th verse, the Goddess threw one of her earrings in the sky which shone as bright as the Full Moon on a Full Moon day. Ashamed of himself, the King apologised to Abirami Bhattar. The hundred verses that Abhirami Bhattar sang that night is the famous Abhirami Andhadhi. Andhadhi means that a particular verse starts with the ending of the previous verse. In fact, Abhirami Andhadhi can be said to have no beginning or ending. The first verse starts with “uthikkindra senkathir uchchi thilakam….” and the 100th verse ends with ” …… eppothum uthikindrave”.
The main festival in this temple is the 18 day long Kaalasamhara thiruvizha in the month of Chithirai (April-may) when the entire episode of kalasamharam is enacted.
Thirukkadaiyur is siruated in Nagapattinam district between Mayiladuthurai and Porayar. It is 22 Kms from Mayiladuthurai and 8 Kms from Porayar. This is well-connected with Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai.
Boarding & Lodging:
There are a few options available here for an overnight stay. Hotel Sadhabishegam is a famous hotel here that offers both boarding & lodging.
Other Temples Nearby:
Ananthamangalam Anjaneyar Temple
Thirukadaiyur Mayanam which is behind this temple and 2 kms from here is the original temple on the sea-shore. The Brahmapureeswarar temple has an incomplete gopuram. It is said that this is the original temple at Thirukadaiyur.
Temple Timings: 6 AM to 1 PM and 4Pm to 9PM
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