Tiruvenkadu

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Location : Near Mayiladuturai, Poompuhaar, Tamil Nadu
Deity Worshipped: Venkadar, Swetaranyeshwarar
Built By: Raja Raja Chola I
Also Known As: Aadi Chidambaram

Tiruvenkadu is located near Mayiladuturai, Poompuhaar, with a vast temple known for its shrine to Aghoramurti and to Mercury - Budhan, one of the 9 Navagraha stalams. Tiruvenkadu is also known as "Aadi Chidambaram" and the dance performed here by Natrajar is known as "Hasti Natanam". Tiruvenkadu is considered to be on par with Benares.

History
One can see inscriptions belonging to the time of Aditya Chola I (870-907), Raja Raja I (10th - 11th century) and his descendants, which speak of endowments made by the Chola rulers to this temple. Vikrama Cholan built the Vikramacholan Tirumandapam (1118-1135).

The present structures of the temple as well as the beautiful bronze images in this temple are a contribution of the Great Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola I. The Ardhanareeswarar and Chandeswarar bronzes are now housed in the Chennai Museum. Natarajar, Somaskandar, Devi, Bhoga Sakti are housed in the temple.

The Legend
It is believed that Indra, Airavatam, Budhan, Surya and Chandra worshipped here. Sage Shwetaketu was saved from the clutches of death by the grace of Shiva here. The author of Shivagnanabodham, Meikkandaar is said to have been born by the grace of Swetaranyeswarar and there is a shrine to him on the banks of the Agni Theertham (also spelt as Teerth or Teertha).

Traditionally it is also believed that Shiva took the fierce Aghoramurti form, to vanquish the demon Maruttuvan, to whom he had given his Shoolam - which he had misused.

About The Temple
It is a well-visited temple with few other shrines of significance including those to Durga and Kali. The Natarajar image here is of great beauty. Worship to Aghoramurti - Shiva's fiery form (Veerabhadra) is said to be of significance on Sunday nights. The Aalamaram here is referred to as "Akshayavadam" (infinite one, indestructible banyan tree).

The two Theerthams (also spelt as Teerthas) created by the Sun and the Moon called "Soma Theertham" and the "Surya Theertham" are of great significance here. It is believed that the Somakundam and Suryakundam referred to in Shilappatikaaram refer to these tanks. Vilvam and Konrai are the other Stala Vrikshams (trees) here.

Services
Special worship services are offered to Nataraja and the associated Spatikalingam, as in Chidambaram.

HOW TO GET THERE

Tourists can access Tiruvenkadu either by road or rail.
Rail: The nearest railway station is at Mayiladuthurai.
Road: Regular bus services are available from Poompuhar and Mayiladuthurai.

WHERE TO STAY

No proper accommodation facilities are available in Trivenkadu, but tourists can stay at the budgeted hotels, cottages and lodges in Poompuhar.



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