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126. Tirukkolili


Location: Tirukkuvalai near Tiruvarur .
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Sundareswarar, Tyagarajar
Ambal: Meenakshi
Theertham: Bhrama Theertham
Patikam : Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: Tirukkolili is one of the 7 Saptavitanka shrines of Tyagarajar, enshrining Avanivitankar; the natanam here is  Bhringa Natanam. The seven Vitankastalams are Tiruvarur, Tirukkuvalai, Tirukkaaraivaasal, Tirumaraikkaadu, Tiru Naagai, Tirunallaaru and Tiruvaimur.  This shrine is regarded as the 123rd in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola Region south of the river Kaveri.

Ettikkudi, a shrine dedicated to Subramanya is located nearby. Kundaiyur is a shrine located nearby, on the other shore of the Chandra Nadhi river. 

Legends:  Tyagaraja here is associated with the Muchukunda Chola legend of Tiruvarur. (The image above is that of Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur).  The image of Tyagarajar is believed to be one of the 7 from which Indra is believed to have asked Muchukunda Cholan to pick the original image of Somaskandar worshipped by Mahavishnu. . Muchukunda Cholan is believed to have picked the right one, and Indra is believed to have rewarded him with all of the 7 images, which the latter installed at 7 different places within his territory, and it is these 7 temples which constitute the 7 Vitankastalams.

Bhrama is said to have worshipped here prior to commencing the act of creation, hence Bhrama Tapovanam, Bhramapureeswarar. Since the sins of the 9 celestial bodies (Kol) were forgiven here, the name Tirukkolili came into being. The Navagrahas are enshrined in a straight row here as in Tiruvarur.

Bhima is said to have prayed for forgiveness for having slain Bakaasuran. Sundarar was blessed with rice grains here and this vast supply of grains was miraculously transported to Tiruvarur. This is commemorated in the Maasi Magam festival. An aged devotee from Kundaiyur intent upon travelling to Madurai was blessed with a vision of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar here.

The Temple: This temple covering an area of under 2 acres has two prakarams and is administered by the Dharumapura Adhinam. The temple entrance is crowned with an imposing Rajagopuram. The Bhramma Theertham tank is situated in front of the temple. The Shivalingam is a Prithvi Lingam (of fine white sand) as in Tiruvarur.

There are inscriptions here from the period of the Imperial Cholas and Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan. Sundaramoorthy Nayanar with Paravai Nachiyar face Tyagarajar as in Tiruvarur. The Bhrammapureeswarar, Tyagarajar and the Ambal shrines face east. Agasthyar is said to have worshipped Shiva here, and this lingam is enshrined in a separate temple in the complex.

Images of Ardhanareeswarar, Mahavishnu, Natarajar, Nartana Vinayakar and those of the stalapuranam, depicting Bhramma worshipping Shiva - on the temple walls are of great beauty. Also of great beauty are the bronze images here.

Festivals: The annual Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the month of Vaikasi, while the Sundarar Utsavam is conducted on the day of Maasi Magam.

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