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80. Tirukkalukunram


Location: Tirukkalukunram near Mahabalipuram, Chingleput
(Tondai Naadu)
Shiva: Tirumalaiyaludaiyar, Vedagireeswarar
Ambal: Tirumalai Chokkanayaki, Tripurasundari
Vriksham: Vaazhai
Theertham: Pakshi Theertham
Patikam : Sambandar, Appar, Sundarar
Travel Base: Chennai
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Description: This  Shivastalam located near Mahabalipuram is a well visited group of 2 temples with grand towers & walls. Tirukkalunkunram is very well known and revered, and it is of great historical and religious significance. Bhaktavatsalar is the presiding deity of ground temple while Vedagireeswarar adorns the hill temple. This is the 28th of the 32 Tevara Stalams in the Tondai region of South India.

Legends: The four hills represent the four Vedas. Indra and Vishnu were blessed by Shiva here, hence the names Indrapuri & Narayanapuram. Several other legends abound here, so do the number of names for this shrine. Two devotees in the form of birds are still believed to partake food offerings atop the hill at a specific time each day. This hill is also believed to be a part of the Sanjeevani hill brought by Hanuman.Lightning strikes adorn the temple, per tradition.

History: Manikkavacakar has visited this temple and composed verses in its praise. Sundaramoorthy Nayanar was blessed with material wealth here & this is enacted even today. Inscriptions from the Pallava period are seen here.

The Temple:  The temple occupies an area of about 12 acres, and the hill temple can be reached by a flight of 500 steps. There are several shrines to Vinayakar here.The Sanga theertham is of great significance & a Pushkaram is celebrated once in 12 years, when Jupiter enters Virgo. There are several fine mandapams dating back to the Pallava period, as well as gopurams from later periods. There are 12 theerthams, several colorful festivals and traditions here.

Festivals: Four worship services are performed each day. It is believed that a conch shell appears once in 12 years in the temple tank. It is also believed that Indra worships at the hill temple, in the form of lightning.The annual festival is celebrated in the month of Chittirai. The Pushkaram festival is celebrated once in 12 years in the Sanga Theertham.

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