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Tirukalukundram temples in Tamilnadu Temple of Solace Best Tourist places in Tamilnadu
This article is about the two temples in Tirukalukundram of the the Lord Vedagirishwarar temple. Get the details also about the Lord Bhaktavatsaleshwarar temple and where Tirukalukundram temples in Tamilnadu located.
Tirukalukundram temples in Tamilnadu
Tamilnadu is a land of temples. Temples are spread out in every nook and corner of the state. They are a living testimony to the rich heritage, grand history, and marvelous architecture of the Tamils in an ancient bygone age. One such place is Tirukalukundram that has two great Siva temples adorning it like a pair of divine jewels. Let us explore these magnificient temples in detail.
Where does Tirukalukundram temples in Tamilnadu located
The temple town of Tirukalukundram is located in Kanchipuram district. It is at a distance of 16 km from Mahabalipuram and 69 km from Chennai. To travel from Chennai, take the NH45 that goes via Tambaram, Maraimalai Nagar, Chengalpattu. NH45 is commonly referred to as "GST road" by the locals. After passing Mahindra World City, you will come across the first toll booth. Half a km ahead, take the left turn that goes through Chengalpattu and then onto Tirukalukundram.
Tirukalukundram town in Tamilnadu - Tirukalukundram temple town
Tirukalukundram is a small panchayat town in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is like any other typical Indian small town with dusty roads and decrepit atmosphere. It is well connected by buses and roads leading to it are normally in good condition. There are no decent hotels for food or lodging. Apart from two famous temples, there is no other significance attached to this place that is worth mentioning. The two temples are Lord Vedagirishwarar temple on a hillock and Lord Bhaktavatsaleshwarar/Goddess Thirupurasundari temple at the base of the hillock and near the bus station. The two temples can be covered in a couple of hours.
About Lord Vedagirishwarar temple
Lord Vedagirishwarar temple is at the top of a small hillock with 565 steps leading to it. The steps are not steep except a small stretch. There are two ways to the temple, one paved with stones and another just a mud path. People use the paved steps for ascending and the mud path for descending. The descending path is not as steep as the ascending path. So if there is no crowd, you can use the descending path for climbing up. After climbing a few steps, you will come across the junction where both the paths diverge. On the path for descending there is a rock structure called "oru kal mantapa" which is a rock cut Siva cave temple built at the time Mahendravarman I AD 610 - 640. It is maintained by the Department of Archeology. Beware of monkeys in the hill which are roughish. It is advisable to go with a large enough stick to keep them at bay and do not carry anything on hands. You have to leave the footwear at the base. Walking barefoot on the stone-paved steps under hot sun and over scorching stones will be an inconvenice. But all agonies will disappear when you stand before the serene, divine, graceful Lord Vedagirishwarar.
The presiding deities in this temple are Lord Vedagirishwarar and Thirumalai Chokkanayagi. This hillock is called Vedagiril Hill. The temple is built 1,300 years ago by the Pallavas. There are actually four hillocks and it is said the four vedas have taken these forms. The name Vedagirishwarar means the lord of the vedas.
Tirukalukundram = thiru + kalugu + kunram. Translated from Tamil into English the name means respected + eagle + hillock. According to Hindu legend, eight brahmaputras or rishis of the Hindu pantheon prayed to Lord Siva in order to achieve Sarupya Mukti (the sacred state wherein a departed soul acquires the form of the Lord). When Lord Siva appeared before them to grant their boon, they changed their mind and asked for Sayujya Mukti (oneness with the Lord or merging with the Supreme Brahman). This angred the Lord and he cursed them to be born into the world as eagles. The rishis realizing their mistake begged for forgiveness and the Lord reciprocated saying that they will be born as eagles, two each in every yugam which is an epoch of the Hindu calendar and attain Sayuja Mukti by worshipping Lord Siva devoutly. It is believed of the eight rishis, six were already born as eagles and had achieved their salvation. The remaining two rishis were born in this kali yugam as eagles. It is said they take bath in the Ganges in the morning and come to Tirukalukundram in the noon and sit on the rock on the hill where the priest feeds them with temple prasadam made of rice, wheat, ghee, and sugar. They then reach Rameswaram by evening to worship at the temple there and then retire to Chidambram for the night. This is believed to be happening for centuries. However, the eagles were seen at the temple last in 2000 and were not seen thence. It is believed they do not appear due the presence of sinners among the onlookers.
One special characterstic of this Siva temple is that there is no Nandi in front of the deity. However, the Nandi is said to be placed on the steps of the pond in Lord Bhaktavatsaleshwarar temple in the center of the town. This Nandi faces the hillock and the temple on top of it.
At the base and towards the south-east, there is a temple pond which is called as Sangu Theertham. Sangu in Tamil means conch in English. It is said this pond produced a conch every 12 years and is the only fresh water body that produces conches. Nowadays the pond is shabbily maintained and is filled with filth. The water is used by locals for washing clothes, taking baths, brushing teetch, etc. It is high time someone restores the original sanctity of this beautiful and sacred pond.
About Lord Bhaktavatsaleshwarar-Goddess Thirupurasundari temple
This is another Siva temple inside the town of Tirukalukundram. The goddess here is believed to cure our illnesses. She is believed to have appeared on her own in suyambu form through mud. Since she is in mud form, abishekam is performed only three times in a year. The temple has four gopurams in four directions. The sculptures in the temple are living testimony to Pallavas' architectural skills. Within the compound wall of the temple is a nice pond and on whose steps is a Nandi that faces Lord Vedagirishwarar temple atop the hill.
Tirukalukundram is as holy as the cities of Kasi and Varanasi. A must visit location for bhakthas.
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