Tirukkazhukkunram

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Location : Near Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
Presiding Deity: Lord Shiva
Also Known As: Pakshi Teertham
Classical Name: Vedagiri

A Mystery
Tirukkazhukkunram is located nine miles Southeast of Chengalpattu, which popularly known as "Pakshi Teertham" and it is one of the most visited pilgrim centres of Tamil Nadu. A pair of kites daily visit at 12.00 noon, have their food and then fly away. This has been happening for centuries and why the particular two kites true to the clock visit the temple on the maintain is a mystery.

According to a popular belief these kites have their bath at Banaras, worship at Rameswaram, take their food at Pakshi Teertham and then rest at Chidambaram.

Legend Behind The Classical Name
Tirukkazhukkunram was once upon a time called as "Vedagiri", which means that the hill represents the four Vedas. Initially the Vedas were one, but were later divided into many. The Vedas did not like this division and requested Shiva to make them into one with their 'Angas' (sciences). Then it is believed that Lord Shiva directed the Vedas to take the form of the mountains at Tirukkazhukkunram and promised to be present there to receive their offerings.

The Legend
Once upon a time two Rishis named Athi and Sambu who were brothers lived near about. The elder of them Athi was devoted to Shiva and the younger Sambu to Sakti. They were very much devoted to their respective deities and led a saintly life. They fell into a quarrel regarding the superiority of the deities worshipped by them.

Lord Shiva appeared and resolved the dispute explaining them that the co-ordination of both Sakti and Shiva is necessary for creation and continuance thereof. But this did not satisfy the brothers and Shiva became angry and cursed them to become vultures, as they did not consent to the solution given by him. At this, the Rishis fell on the feet of Lord Shiva and repented. Shiva promised them they would be relieved at the end of Dwapara Yuga. The two Rishis were accordingly born as vultures and worshipped Shiva daily. These are the two vultures who had been visiting the temple at the top of the hill at mid-day to worship Shiva and who are offered food.

There is another legend according to which Lord Vishnu on a visit to Mount Kailash left his servant Garuda to be taken care by Nandi. Garuda spoke ill about Lord Shiva to Nandi, who would not tolerate the insult of his master. The breath of Nandi in anger was of such force that Garuda found he in danger and cried for help. On hearing the cry Lord Vishnu came out and requested Shiva to intervene and prevent Nandi from doing any harm to Garuda. Then Shiva rebuked Nandi and advised him that wisdom should not give way to anger. Nandi was advised by Lord Shiva to do penance at Pakshi Teertham (also spelt as Tirtha or Theertha).

About The Temple
It is believed that a Chola ruler of Mahabalipuram built the temple. The temple is built on 3 huge blocks of stones, which form its inner walls, and one can see the relief sculptures, one of Shiva and Parvati with child Subrahmanya and another of Shiva as Yoga Dakshinamurti with two Rishis. These two Rishis are the ones who at present visit the site as kites. A third sculpture on the southern wall represents Shiva as Chandeswara and Nandikeswara. There is a huge Lingam (also spelt as linga) in the centre of a cell, which is the central shrine at the top of the hill.

There are two routes to reach the top of the hill, one by steep steps and the other by moderately sloping steps. A beautiful tank is situated down the hill that is known as "Sankha Teertham" in which Valampiri (right-turned) chanks, held as highly auspicious by Hindus, are said to appear once in 12 years.

It is considered as most auspicious even to have a look at the chank. A kind of buzzing sound is always heard from the chank, which is worshipped. It is believed also that the water preserved in the chank overnight after performing the purificatory rites gets the property to heal diseases.

HOW TO GET THERE

Air: The nearest airport is at Chennai, which has both national and international terminals.
Rail: Chengalpattu railway station is just 60 minutes from Chennai. Tourists can get down at Chennai railway station and proceed to Chengalpattu, as only few trains pass through Chengalpattu station.
Road: Chengalpattu being very close to Chennai (capital city of the state) is well connected by road with the major towns and cites of Tamil Nadu. Tourists can take private taxis from Chennai.

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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