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229. Tirumaraikkaadu


Location: Vedaranyam near Nagappattinam, Tiruvarur
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Maraikkaadanaar, Vedaranyar
Ambal: Panmozhi Ammai
Vriksham: Punnai
Theertham: Manikarnika Theertham
Patikam : Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar
Travel Base:Thanjavur
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Description:  This vast temple is one of the 7 Saptavitanka Shrines special to Tyagarajar - associated with the Mucukunda Chola legend: Bhuvani Vitankar - with Hamsapada Natanam. This is also one of the 64 Sakthi Peethams (Sundara Peetham) of India. This shrine is regarded as the 125th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola Region south of the river Kaveri.

The seven Vitankastalams are Tiruvarur, Tirukkuvalai, Tirukkaaraivaasal, Tirumaraikkaadu, Tiru Naagai, Tirunallaaru and Tiruvaimur.  

Legends: Rama is said to have bathed in the sea and worshipped Shiva on his victorious return to Ayodhya. Bhrama is said to have worshipped Shiva prior to commencing his work of creation. Agastyar was blessed with a vision of the divine marriage here. The doors of the temple which had remained shut for ages, reopened when Appar composed his Patikam and shut themselves upon Sambandar's request with a Patikam. Viswamitrar worshipped Shiva to work his way towards the status of Bhrammarishi.  It is believed that Rama attempted to build a bridge to Sri Lanka from Vedaranyam first and was directed by Shiva to proceed to Rameswaram to build a bridge from there on.. The Pandavas are believed to have installed the Pancha Lingams here.

The image of Tyagarajar at Tiruvarur   is the foremost 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 (the image at Tiruvarur) , 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.

The Temple: This vast temple abounds in sculptural wealth. Pillared halls with interesting images, Yaalis with stone irremovable - rolling pillars in their mouths, images of the 12 zodiac signs and the 27 asterisms are some of the interesting features here. The structure of this temple resembles that of the Tiruvarur temple.

Veerahatti Vinayakar here was worshipped by Rama. Sundarar visited this shrine with Cheraman Perumaal and Sambandar with Appar.

There is an image of Uma Maheswarar behind the Shivalingam in the sanctum. Agasthyar is said to have obtained a vision of Shivas marriage here. There is also a separate temple for Durga here. There are inscriptions here from the Chola, Vijayanagar and Maratha periods here.

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