The town of Tiruchenkaatankudi near Nannilam near Thanjavur
in Tamilnadu is home to the Tevara Shivastalam
Ganapateeswaram. It has been revered by the hymns of the Tamil Saivite Saints of the 1st
This temple also hosts an image of Vatapi Ganapati, an
image of Ganapati brought back from Badami, the Chalukyan
capital then known as Vatapi - by Sirutondar, a general
of the then Pallava monarch (circa 7th century CE).
The famous kriti Vatapi Ganapatim Bhaje by the composer Mutthuswamy
Deekshitar, in the Karnatic music idiom salutes this deity.
Legend has it that Ganapati worshipped
Shiva here for the sin of having killed the demon Gajamukhasuran. The
elephant faced demon Gajamukhasuran, who had received a boon of
immortality (subject to certain caveats) from Shiva,
caused untold suffering to humans from his self made capital at Matangapuram.
The elephant faced God Ganapati,
vanquished the demon with his broken right tusk. The land here is believed to have turned
red, thanks to the blood spilled by the demon, and hence the name Tiruchenkaattankudi
in Tamil. Although the presiding deity here is Shiva, Ganapati receives
the first place of honor.
Ganapati's worshipping Shiva is enacted in the form of a grand festival in
the tamil month of Margazhi.