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7. Ambar Maakaalam

அம்பர் மாகாளம் 

Location: Ambar Maakalam near Tiruvarur, Poonthottam
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri )
Shiva: Maakaala Nathar, Kaalakandeswarar
Ambal: Bayakshaya Nayaki
Theertham: Amritavaavi
Patikam : Sambandar
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: This Shivastalam is located near Poonthottam on the Peralam Tiruvarur railway line. This temple is noted for its shrine to Kali and to Kaalakandeswarar. Ambar is 3 km southeast of Poonthottam, while Ambar Maakaalam is 1 km east of Ambar. Ambarmaakaalam is considered to be the 55th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri. 

Legend has it that the demons Amban and Ambaran were vanquished by Kaali here. Kaali took the form of an enchantress, accompanied by Vishnu in the guise of an old man and through chicanery caused Amban to kill Ambaran, and then devoured Amban herself. To rid herself of the sin of having killed, she prayed to Shiva here, hence the name Ambar Maakalam.

Vishnu in the form of Veetrirunda Perumaal is worshipped in a shrine nearby. There is an image of Kali the enchantress in the Vishnu temple. Shiva (Tyagaraja of Tiruvarur) is said to have appeared as a Chandala in a yagnam conducted by Somaasi Maaranaar. (The image above, is that of Tyagaraja at Tiruvarur). Sundaramoorthy Nayanar is said to have attended this sacrifice.. This event is commemorated in the month of Vaikasi - Ayilyam. 

The temple covers  an area of 6 acres and has several towers with attractive stucco images. Ambar is yet another Shivastalam near Ambar Maakalam, and Somaasi Maaranar's Yagasalai is located between the two temples . An image of the Chandala form of Shiva is seen in the Ambar Makalam temple.

A number of inscriptions from the period of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120) are seen in this temple, speaking of endowments made to the temple. It was during his period that the Ambal shrine was built. The stone structure of the sanctum is also attributed to him. The prakaram and the surrounding walls were built during the rule of his son Vikrama Cholan.


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