The old name for Annamalai Nagar was "Tiruvetkalam".
Tiruvetkalam is an old place sung by two hymnists of Thevaram, which has
close links with adjacent Thillai. This temple dedicated to
Pasupateshwarar (Lord Shiva) is located in the vicinity of the Annamalai
University at Chidambaram and is very similar to the one at Shivapuri
nearby. One can see the inscriptions from the Nayaka period (16th century)
in the temple.
It is believed that Arjuna (one of the Pandava princes) during the exile in the jungles, went out to the Himalayas to worship Shiva, to win from him the Paasupataastram, the infallible weapon. Lord Shiva was impressed with penance appeared in the form of a hunter and picked up a quarrel with him over a wild boar, and challenged him to a combat.
This manifestation of Shiva is known as "Kiraata Murthy" (also splet as Murthi). In the course of this (mock) fight, the hunter stripped Arjuna of all his weapons (and his ego), and the brave prince continued to fight with his bare hands. Shiva then revealed his true self, and blessed him with the Paasupataastram.
The bows Gandipam and Pinakam are said to have been formed here. There are festival images of Arjuna, and Shiva with the Pasupatastram. This event is enacted during the festival in the month of Vaikasi (May-June).
It is also believed that many villages around this shrine are associated with The Legend of Arjuna's encounter with Shiva. Arjuna is said to have chased a wild boar, which disturbed his meditation in the village of Usuppoor. Nakkar Ugandakudi (Nakkattankudi) is another village associated with Arjuna. Eesanporveli is where Arjuna is believed to have fought with Shiva, and Villeruttaan Kuttai is where Arjuna's bow is said to have been broken by Shiva.
Tourists can access Thiruvetkalam easily, which is just two km to the east of Chidambaram Railway Station. Chidambaram being an important pilgrim centre of Tamil Nadu is well connected by road with the major cities and towns of Tamil Nadu. For local transportation auto and cycle rickshaws are available.
Accommodation is available at the budgeted hotels and choultries (Dharmashalas) in Chidambaram.