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34. Tiruvidaimarudur

 திரு இடை மருதூர் 

Location: Tiruvidaimarudur near Kumbhakonam .
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Marudavaanar, Mahalingeswarar
Ambal: Perunalamaamulaiyaal, Brihadsundarakuchambika
Vriksham: Marudamaram
Theertham: Cauvery
Patikam : Appar, Sundarar
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: Of great religious significance, this Shivastalam in the vicinity of Kumbhakonam is known as Madhyarjunam and is said to be on par with Benares. Its sprawling campus is bejewelled with lofty towers and ornate mandapams. Several inscriptions are found here. This shrine is dedicated to Mahalingeswarar or Madhyarjunar. The collossal Nandi here merits mention. This temple is associated with Kulottunga Chola I, Varaguna Pandyan etc. Tiruvidaimarudur is considered to be the 30th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri. 

Significance: This huge temple is one of the greatest Saivite shrines in Tamilnadu and is referred to as Madhyarjuna Kshetram and is said to be on par with Chidambaram and Varanasi. Madhyarjunam translates into 'Idai Marudu' in Tamil. Marudu stands for the stala vruksham maruda maram. Kings from as far away places are said to have visited this shrine.

Legend has it that Shiva was worshipped by Saraswathi, Lakshmi, Kaali, the VEdas, Vasishtar, Skanda, Vishnu and Agastya. Those in ill health believed to have been caused by evil spirits, are said to find relief through prayers offered in this shrine and through circumambulation at the outermost prakaram.

This temple is surrounded on four corners by temples dedicated to Viswanathar, Rishipureeswarar, Aatmanathar and Chokkanathar and hence the name Pancha LIngastalam. One of the interesting beliefs held here is that an abhishekam performed to Chokkanathar to the accompaniment of the megaraagakurinji raaga would result in a bountiful monsoon.

The presiding deity here is Shiva as Mahalingeswarar. Such is the glory of this temple  that it is considered that some of the grand temples in the vicinity constitute the parivara devata shrines of Tiruvidaimarudur. For instance, this temple is flanked by Tiruvalanchuli with its grand temple dedicated to Vinayaka, the well known Swamimalai with its revered shrine to Subramanya, Tiruvarur the greatest of the Vitanka Stalams with Somaskandar, Tiruvavaduturai with its shrine to Nandikeswarar, Sirkali with its shrine dedicated to Bhairavar, Tiruseingnalur with its shrine to Chandikeswarar, the Suryanar temple with shrines to the nine celestial bodies Navagrahas and Alangudi known for its Dakshinamurti, and Chidambaram known for its shrine to Nataraja shrine respectively.

Sambandar has sung the glory of of Samba Dakshinamurthy who is also enshrined here along with his consort.Stone inscriptions that are about 1200 years old are found in this temple.

Architecture: This is a huge temple constructed in the Dravidian style with lofty towers and sprawling circumambulatory paths. There are four prakarams, the outermost being known as the Aswamedha Prakaram. The inner prakarams are known as Kodumudi prakaram  and Pranava prakaram. The consort of Shiva is worshipped as Perumulai Naayaki or Brihad Sundara Kuchambal. There is a Shakti temple within the temple complex dedicated to Mookambika built in the North Indian style. There are as many as 35 Theerthams associated with this temple of which the Karunyamrita Tirtham is the best known.

Worship: Six worship services are offered during the course of a day. It is said that in order to demonstrate the Saivite worship protocol, Shiva is said to have offered worship to His Self in this shrine. The Taippoosam festival in the month of Capricorn (January 15 through February 15) is of great significance here. The Bhramotsavam in the month of Vaikasi was rejuvenated through the efforts of the Tiruvavaduturai Aadeenam.

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