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
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
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
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.
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.
Bhramotsavam in the month of Vaikasi was rejuvenated through the efforts of the