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263. Tiruvenkaadu


Location: Tiruvenkadu near Mayiladuturai, Poompuhaar
(Chola Naadu -North of Kaveri)
Shiva: Venkadar, Swetaranyeswarar
Ambal: Pann Moitta Inmozhiyaal, Bhrama Vidya Nayaki
Vriksham: Aalamaram
Theertham: Surya Theertham
Patikam : Sambandar
Travel Base: Chidambaram
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The Navagraha Temple Index

Description: This is a vast temple known for its shrine to Aghoramurthy and to Mercury - Budhan; one of the 9 Navagraha stalams. Also known as Aadi Chidambaram, Natarajar's dance here is known as Hasti Natanam. Tiruvenkadu is considered to be on par with Benares and  is located on the road linking Sirkazhi & Poompuhaar. Nearby Shivastalams include Keezhtirukkattuppalli, Tiruvalampuram, Tiruchaaikaadu, Pallavaneeswaram and Tirukkalikkaamur.

Legends: Indra, Airavatam, Budhan, Surya and Chandra are said to have worshipped here.A sage by name Swetaketu is said to have been saved from the clutches of death by the grace of Shiva here , in a legend similar to that of Markandeya at Tirukkadavur. Meikkandaar the author of Sivagnanabodham is said to have been born by the grace of Swetaranyeswarar & there is a shrine to him on the banks of the Agni Theertham. It is also believed that Shiva took the fierce Aghoramurthy form, to vanquish the demon Maruttuvan, to whom he had given his Shoolam - which he had misused.

The Temple: There are several shrines of significance in this well visited temple , including those to Durga and Kali.  The image of Natarajar here is of great beauty.Worship to Aghoramurthy - Shiva's fiery form (Veerabhadrar) is said to be of significance on Sunday nights. The Aalamaram here is referred to as Akshayavadam (infinite one, indestructible banyan tree).  Special worship services are offered to Natarajar and the associated Spatikalingam, as in Chidambaram.

The Soma Theertham and The Surya Theertham created by the Sun & the moon are of great significance here. It is believed that the Somakundam & Suryakundam referred to in Silappatikaaram refer to these tanks. Vilvam & Konrai are the other stala vrikshams here.

.Inscriptions from the time of  Aditya Chola I (870-907), Raja Raja I (10th - 11th cent) & his descendants speaking of endowments made by the Chola rulers to this temple  are found here. Vikrama Cholan built the Vikramacholan Tirumandapam (1118-1135). The  present structure of the temple as well as the beautiful bronze images in this temple are a contribution of the Great Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I. Some of these bronzes were recovered in treasure troves unearthed here.  The Ardhanareeswarar and Chandeswarar bronzes are now housed in the Chennai Museum. Natarajar, Somaskandar, Devi, Bhoga Sakthi are housed in the temple, while images of Subramanyar, Rishabhavahanadevar, Bhikshatanar, Kalyanasundarar Kannappar and others are housed in the Thanjavur Art Gallery.

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