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175. Tirunellikka


Location: Tirunellikka near Tiruvarur .
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Nellivananatheswarar, Amalakavaneswarar
Ambal: Mangalanayaki
Vriksham: Nelli
Theertham: Bhrama Theertham
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: This Shivastalam in a picturesque locale in the vicinity of Tiruvarur is one of the 5 'Kavu' shrines, the others being Tirukkodikka, Tirukkolakka, Tirukkurakkukka and Tiruvaanaikka. This shrine is regarded as the 117th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola Region south of the river Kaveri.

Legends: Legend has it that Shiva blessed Durvasa Muni and enabled the latter to shed his limitation of short temperedness. Legend also has it that Vishnu, Chandra, Saneeswaran, Surya and Bhrama  worshipped here. Hence the names Arunaapuram and Bhramatheertham. It is also believed that a gandharva worshipped Shiva here and was relieved of his leprosy, and hence the name Kushtarogaharapuram. Other names here include Panchaksharapuram, Panchatheerthapuram and Amrita Vidyapuram.

The Temple: Rajaraja, Rajendra and Uttama Chola are associated with this shrine. .The sanctum faces west, and the temple has a five tiered Rajagopuram. The sun's rays at sunset illuminate the sanctum twice a year for seven days, commencing on Deepavali in Dakshinayanam and the 18th day of Pisces in Uttarayanam. The Bhrama Theertham tank is to the south of the temple while the Surya theertham is to the north.

A five tiered 80 feet high Rajagopuram adorns the entrance to this temple which has 3 prakarams. The 12 pillared hall in the outer prakaram has paintings related to the stalapuranam of the temple.

Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day, and the Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the month of Chittirai. Other festivals celebrated include Navarattiri and Skanda Sashti. Tirukkalyanam is celebrated on the first Friday in the month of Avani..

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