Temples of Tamilnadu
Beliefs and Legends >> Shiva
Mucukunda Chola 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
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.
Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur
The Somaskanda Legend