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Tripura Samhaaram - Destruction of the three evil citadels
Beliefs and Legends >>Shiva

This legend relates to the destruction of the three evil cities Tripura, by Shiva. There are eight such legends narrating Shiva's role as the destroyer of evil.

The demon Taraka had three demon children Taarakaaksha, Kamalaaksha and Vidyunmaali. These demon princes performed severe penances towards Bhrama  and won the gift of immense power. The boon that they received, granted them that they would live for a thousand years in three invincible, moving cities or forts (Tripura) and that they would be destroyed only by a cosmic arrow that would merge the three forts into one, and set them to fire. The demons, armed with this boon, wreaked havoc on the universe. At the end of the the stipulated time period, Shiva created a bow and an arrow and a charriot with the various gods and goddesses and components of the universe. With Bhrama as the charioteer, he sped across, and shot a single arrow of fire which destroyed the three cities.

Tripurantaka, is the manifestation of Shiva as the destroyer of the Tripuras. Tripurantaka is enshrined at Tiruvatikai near Chidambaram. The Veeratteswarar temple here is one of the 8 Veerata stalas celebrating Shiva as the destroyer of evil forces. Tripurantaka is also enshrined at Tiruvirkolam (Koovum) near Chennai.

See Also All about Shiva