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Beliefs and Legends >> Shiva

Mucukunda Chola Legend

Legend has it that Vishnu presented Indra the King of the Devas with the image of Somaskanda which he had created and held in worship. Indra held this image in great reverence.

Mucukunda Chakravarty was a valorous king who ruled over the earth. So great was his valor that Indra the King of the Gods had to seek his help to destroy a powerful demon Vaalaasuran.

Full of gratitude for the king;s help, Indra implored him to ask for anything that he wanted. The king promptly replied that he wanted to receive from Indra the image of Somaskanda that had been held by him in worship - i.e. the very same image that Vishnu had held in worship.

Indra was in a dilemma. He did not want to go back on his word and he did not want to part with the image either. He therefore had six other identical images made and sought the king to guess which the right one was.

Divine intervention prompted the king to pick the right image. An overwhelmed Indra blessed the king and urged him to keep all of the seven images.

Mucukunda Chakravarty brought back all of the 7 images of Somaskanda with him to the Chola kingdom and had them installed at 7 different places (in and) around Tiruvarur. The image housed at Tiruvarur is the one that was held in worship originally by Indra and Mahavishnu. The seven shrines collectively are known as the Sapta Vitanka Stalams.

Also see:

Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur
Saptavitanka Stalams
The Somaskanda Legend
Somaskanda Iconography