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63. Tirukkadavur


Location: Tirukkadavur near Mayiladuturai, Kumbhakonam
(Chola-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Amritaghateswarar
Ambal: Abhirami
Vriksham: Vilvam
Theertham: Amrita Pushkarini
Other: Veeratta Stalam
Patikam : Sambandar,Sundarar
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: This is a vast grand temple with 5 prakarams, imposing towers and ornate mandapams - hailed as one of the 8 Veeratta Stalamsof Shiva. The eight Veeratta Stalams are Tiruvatikai, Tirukkurukkai, Tirukkadavur, Tiruvazhuvur, Tirukkovalur, Tiruppariyalur, Tirukkandiyur and Tiruvirkudi. Tiruvazhuvur is considered to be a Tevara Vaippustalam, as it has no Patikams dedicated to it.

Tirukkadavur  is located on the road linking Mayiladuturai and Tarangampaadi. Abhirama Bhattar composed his famed Abhirami Andadi here. Tirukkadavur is considered to be the 47th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri. 

Legends: Markandeya the 16 year old youth was saved from the clutches of death (Yama) by Shiva. The conquest of Yama is acknowledged through celebration of 60th & 80th birth anniversaries by hundreds of pilgrims here, . and on the 6th day of Annual Fest in Chittirai. . Muthuswamy Deekshitar's kriti Sankaram Abhirami Manoharam in Kamalamanohari praises this shrine.

The Shivalingam is hailed as a manifestation of the celestial nectar which was obtained by the Devas (and Asuras) upon churning the milky ocean, hence the name Amritaghateswarar. The Shankhabhishekam (abhishekam with a conch) is of great importance here (as mentioned in Deekshitar's kriti) , in keeping with the belief that Markandeya had performed this form of worship; and the mandapam associated with this is the Shankhu mandapam. Kaalasamhaaramurthy is the fierce form of Shiva, believed to have saved Markandeya from the clutches of Yama (Bhayankara Ghora Roopa - Yama Niigrahanugraha).

Several colorful legends are also associated with Abhirami Amman whose shrine attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year.

The Temple: This temple covers an area of about 11 acres and is under the able administration of the Dharumapura Adhinam. A huge Rajagopuram with attractive stucco images depicting the stalapuranam adorns its entrance. The Amrita Pushkarini, Kaala Theertham and Maarkandeya Theertham are all located in the temple. All of the 3 Tevara Mudalvar have sung praises of this temple. Kungiliyakkalaya Naayanar, associated with Tiruppanantaal, was born here.

On the basis of the inscriptions seen here, it is concluded that the stone base of the central shrine was in existence even during period of Raja Raja Cholan (early 11th century). During the period of Kulottunga Chola I (1075-1120), its brick walls were replaced with stone walls and the frontal mandapam came into being.

Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day here.Water required for daily rituals is brought from the Kaasi Theertham at the Tirukkadavur Mayaanam temple nearby. Virtually every other day marks some kind  of celebration or other here, as hundreds pilgrims throng here to celebrate their 60th or 80th birth anniversaries. The annual Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the month of Chittirai. As mentioned before, the Shankhabishekam in the month of Kartikai is of great importance here. Other festivals include Navaratri and Aadi Pooram.

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