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158. Tirunallur


Location: Tirunallur near Kumbhakonam .
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Periyandeswarar, Kalyana Sundareswarar
Ambal: Kalyanasundari
Theertham: Saptasagara Theertham
Patikam : Sambandar, Appar
Travel Base: Thanjavur
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Description: This Shivastalam is a Maadakkovil built at an elevation and this hillock is referred to as Sundaragiri. It is located at a distance of 6 km from Kumbhakonam. The Shivalingam here is believed to manifest itself in five different colors in a day (hence Panchavarneswarar). Aavoor Pasupateeswaram is considered to be the 20th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri. 

Legends: Agasthyar is said to have been blessed with a vision of the marriage of Shiva here. Bhringi Muni and Narasimhar are said to have worshipped here. Tirunallur is also referred to as Dakshina Kailasam; and it is related to the legend of the trial of strength between Vayu and Adisesha where a peak of Mt. Meru (Sundaragiri) fell at Nallur and formed a Shivalingam. Legend also has it that Kunti the mother of the Pandavas bathed at the Saptasagara theertham; there is an image of Kunti in the temple. It is also believed that Mucukunda Chola associated with Tiruvarur, placed the image of Tiruvarur Tyagaraja at this shrine (enroute to Tiruvarur) for a three day period and offered worship here.

The Temple: An image of Kalyanasundareswarar and his consort are seen in the sanctum behind the Shivalingam. Two worship services are offered here each day. During the annual festival, festival images of deities from nearby towns converge to participate. The practice of placing an icon containing the imprint of the deity's feet on the heads of devotees is carried out here like in Vaishnavite temples, commemorating Appar's surrender at the deity's feet here at Tirunallur. The image of Natarajar here is of great beauty. Inscriptions from the period of Rajaraja I and from the period of Uttama Chola are seen here, in addition to several from later years.

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