Lord Shiva Temple, Tiruvottiyur

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Location : Tiruvottiyur, 8-Kmouth Of Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Deity Worshipped: Lord Shiva
Houses: Panchabhutasthala Lingas, Two Tanks And Two Sthala Vrikshas


The Lord Shiva temple at Tiruvottiyur, 8-km south of chennai, is a much-venerated Tirukkovil claiming many awe-inspiring episodes that occured in the lives of devotees of this powerful Adipureeswar (Lord Shiva). Besides the divine miracles performed by the Lord, His adorers too demonstrated their Daiva Shakti through miracles of infinite variety that made sceptics into real theists.

Here in this temple campus there lie the "Panchabhutasthala" lingas, like Aakasalinga, Tejolinga, Jalalinga, etc. Ekapadeswar, an odd representation of Lord Shiva is beautifully carved on the wall of the main temple and it is attracting the reverent attention of the visitors. Here there are many sculptural adornments deserving ardent worship.

This temple has two tanks and two "Sthala Vrikshas", besides the Sahasralinga -a tall, huge, black, granite linga (also spelt as lingam) that lifts our soul at its mere sight. There are several other lingas here. This Lord was worshipped by Kalianayanar (also spelt as Kalianayana), Sundarar (also spelt as Sundara), etc. The images of the famous saints like Pattinathar and Appar are installes in grand niches.

Pattinathar, a reputed Tamil ascetic-poet, who lived in this region displayed his soul power through several incrediable wonders and lifted 'Duhkartis' from the snares of misery. The grateful theist community built a Samadhi (place of burial) for him here.

The Incrediable Wonders Of Pattinathar
Pattinathar wanted to undertake a "Sthala Yatra" (pilgrimage), but at the same time he felt that it was his duty to serve his mother and remain by her side in her old age. Days passed. Pattinathar stayed in a Mandapam (also spelt as Mandapa or Mandap) in Tiruvengadu and spent his days in meditation. He used to accept food from anyone who gave it to him willingly.

He had a sister in Kaveripattinam, who felt ashamed of her brother's action in having become a Sanyasin. She thought that her brother had marred the good name of their family and hence decided to put an end to his life. Once she invited Pattinathar to her house and offered him a poisoned cake. Pattinathar, who came to know about this by the grace of God, threw it on the roof, which immediately caught fire and burnt her house down to ashes. Pattinathar went back to his Mandapam, at Tiruvengadu.

One-day Pattinathar's mother passed away at Kaverippoompattinam. Before Pattinathar could reach there, his relatives took her body to the cremation ground and started to set fire to it. When Pattinathar arrived at the spot he removed all the firewood placed on his mother's body. He placed plantain leaves instead and sang ten stanzas bewailing her death. To the astonishment of all spectators, the green leaves caught fire at once. He performed all the rituals and ceremonies for the obsequies to his mother and afterwards set out from the place to visit all the shrines of Lord Shiva in the country.

At Tiruvarur, Pattinathar restored a dead man back to life. Then he came to a sacred place known as "Onsenai Mahalam". At that time a king by name Bhadragiri was ruling that part of the country. One day, some thieves stole some costly ornaments and articles from the palace and came to the temple of Vinayaka (also spelt as Vinayak) where Pattinathar was doing penance, to share the booty among them.

They wanted to present something to Vinayaka (also spelt as Vinayak). They took out one pearl necklace and placed it on the neck of Pattinathar mistaking him for Vinayaka (also spelt as Vinayak). Pattinathar knew nothing about these incidents, as he was in deep meditation.

Next morning, Pattinathar was arrested by the soldier and brought before the King with the pearl necklace. Poor Pattinathar was not able to offer any explanation before the King. Thereupon the King came to the conclusion that he was the culprit and ordered that the man should be sent to the gallows. When Pattinathar was about to be hanged, he prayed to Lord Shiva and sang a song. Immediately the gallows caught fire and were burnt to ashes. When the King came to know about this, he was very much afraid, fell at the feet of the Sage and begged him to pardon him. The King soon received Jnanopadesa from Pattinathar and became a saint.

When Pattinathar came to Tiruvidaimarudur, he met his disciple Bhadragiri there. After some time Bhadragiri passed away. Then an invisible voice was heard. Pattinathar was directed to go to Tiruvottiyur where he would get salvation. He again came to Tiruvengadu. There he saw one of his ex-servants and his wife being imprisoned by the King. He arranged for their release.

He then visited Shiyali, Chidambaram, Tiruvekambaram, Kalahasti, Tiruvalangadu and other places, and at last came to Tiruvottiyur. At Tiruvottiyur he worshipped Lord Shiva and composed many songs. He used to amuse urchins by performing some miracles. He would get into a pit in one place and come out of the earth in another place.

One day he asked some boys to place over him a big vessel covering his entire body. The boys expected that he would come out of the earth as usual at some other place. As Pattinathar did not come back for a long time, the boys removed the vessel to see whether the Sage was still there.

The Sage was not there, but in his place they found a Shiva Linga.Thus Pattinathar got transformed into a Linga (also spelt as lingam) and merged with God. He is very well known in Tamil Nadu as a great saint. A temple has been constructed over the Linga at Tiruvottiyur, a suburb of Chennai city.

During the medieval period, many celebrated kings made liberal endowments and participated in the annual festivals with unprecedented religious fervour, worthy of emulation. In memory of Adi Sankara's visit to this shrine, an image is installed and worshipped.

HOW TO GET THERE

Air: Chennai is the nearest airport with both National and International terminals.
Rail:Chennai is the nearest railway station, which is well conneceted by rail with the major towns and cities within and beyond the state.
Road: Tiruvottiyur is 8-km south of Chennai. To reach the temple, city buses, taxis and auto rickshaws are available.

WHERE TO STAY

Being the capital city of the state, Chennai is well equipped with various kinds of accommodation options, varying from economic class to luxurious ones.



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