The presiding deity is Sri Mayuranathaswamy, a Swayambu Lingam, and His consort Abhayapradhambika. Devi Parvati assumed the form of a Mayura(peahen), worshipped Siva and attained reunion with the Lord. Hence the place is known as Mayuram, Mayavaram or Mayiladuthurai. It is said that Brahma, Lakshmi, Brihaspati, Indra, Manmatha and sages like Agastya and even birds and animals worshipped the Lord here and attained eternal bliss. A holy dip in Cauvery in Thula or Aippasi (Oct-Nov) considered auspicious.
Vazhuvur (8 km):
Siva is represented here as Viratteswara. Sages, doubting His supremacy, created an elephant to try conclusions with the Lord. He assumed the form of Gajasamharamurti (slayer of elephant), killed the animal and wore its skin. This legend is beautifully depicted in the image.
Thirukadayur (20 km):
The Siva temple here is dedicated to Sri Amirthaghateswarar. His divine consort is Abhirami Amman. The temple, situated in beautiful surroundings and with its lofty tower, is considered one of the best in the South. It is also one of the eight sacred temples, known as Ashta Veerattanam, glorifying the heroic deeds of Lord Siva.
Markandeya, a legendary boy, was destined to live for only 16 years. He worshipped Lord Siva with so much devotion that when the God of Death came to take his life, Siva punished Yama by killing him with His Thrisoola. Yama was later restored to life at the request of Brahma, Vishnu and the Devas. Markandeya was blessed with a long life. In this shrine, Lord Siva is also revered as Kala Samharamurti and Anugrahamurti.
The temple is associated with Abhirami Bhattar, a devout priest and Devi Upasaka, to whom the Goddess showed a Full Moon on a New Moon day to save him from an embarrassment and make his words come true. He composed the famous Abhirami Andhathi in praise of Goddess Abhirami.
Thirukadayur is visited regularly by those who pray for longevity. The devout celebrate Shashtiabdapurthi (60th birthday) and Sadhabhishekam (80th birthday) functions in this temple.
Amirtha Pushkarni, Kala Theertham and Markandeya Theertham are the three sacred waters.
hiruvaduthurai (16 km):
The Siva shrine here is dedicated to Sri Gomuktiswarar or Masilamani Eswarar. Legend has it that Parvati, who was cursed by Siva, became a cow, did penance here and attained mukti. Hence the name of the Lord, meaning the Lord who gave mukti to a cow.
Siddha saint Thirumoolar did penance here and composed the well-known Thiru Mandiram. The saint is worshipped in this temple. The place is also known for the reputed Saivite Mutt called Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam.
Gangaikondacholapuram (8 kin):
King Rajendra Chola built this temple and dedicated it to Siva as a monument to commemorate his conquests in the North. Sri Choleswarar temple looks similar to the Brihadeeswarar shrine of Thanjavur. The Lingam is more than four metres high and the peetam is 18.5 metres in circumference. Here is a monolithic representation of Navagrahas in the shape of a chariot. The sculptures of Chandeswarar and Gnanasaraswathi are of very fine workmanship.
The annual Annabhishekam around November draws thousands of devotees. Holy Ganga water is offered to the Lord daily in the form of Dhaara.
Koothanur (near Mayavaram):
This is one of the few places having a shrine for Saraswathi, the Goddess of Knowledge. Tamil poet Ottakoothar is said to have established this shrine and dedicated it to the Goddess. Hence the name of the place. Dasara is celebrated in a grand manner.
Sirkali (20 km):
This ancient Siva temple is dedicated to Sri Brahmapuriswarar, a Swayambu Lingam. Lord Siva is generally worshipped in three forms - Guru, Linga and Sangama. A noteworthy feature in this temple is that all the three forms have a place. Sri Uma Maheswarar, also known as Thoni Appar (Lord of the Boat), is the Guru Moortha, Sri Brahmapuriswarar is the Linga Moortha and Sri Sattanathaswamy is the Sangama Moortha, who is one of the eight aspects of Bhairava.
The Goddess here is Sthira Sundari (Thirunilai Nayaki). As Kali offered prayers to the Lord, the place got the name Sri Kalipuram or Sirkali. It is also known as Gnana Bhoomi, being the birthplace of Saivite saint Gnanasambandhar. It is here that the Divine Mother fed him with the Milk of Wisdom.
Tirumullaivasal (13 km from Sirkali):
It is known for the shrine of Sri Mullaivananathaswamy and His consort Kodhai Ambal. According to legend, Parvati did penance here and learnt the sacred Panchakshara Mantra (Namasivaya) from Sri Dakshinamurthy. Indra had worshipped the Lord here and attained eternal bliss.
Chayavanam (18 km from Sirkali):
The shrine of Sri Chayavaneswarar is situated about Two km from Kaveripattinam, where Cauvery joins the sea. The image of Sri Senthil Andavar as a warrior with bow and arrow is captivating.
Salem (164 km from Tiruchi):
The river Thiru Manimuthar or Panchakshara Nadham originates in the Servaroyan mountains and after flowing through this region, merges with Cauvery. On the western bank of Manimuthar, there are five Siva shrines, all of them Swayambu Liingams. The first among these is Sri Sugavaneswarar temple of Salem. The other four shrines are dedicated to Srikarapuranatha (at Uthama cholapuram), Vimesar (at Veera-pandi), Patteesar (at Paramathi) and Thiruvelinathar (at Vellore). The devout believe in taking ar holy dip at Manimuthar and worshipping in these five shrines.
Legends have it that Sugavaneswarar is being worshipped for the last four Yugas. In Kali Yuga, sage Suga worshipped the Lord here to free himself from Brahma's curse of being a parrot. The divine consort is Swarnambika.
The Valampuri Vinayaka here is said to have reached the divine poet Avvaiyar to Mount Kailas with the help of His trunk.
About 10 km away is Skandashrama dedicated to Dandayudhapani. There are sacred hills of Kapila Malai, Arunagiri Malai, Nayina Malai and Kolli Malai associated with Siddhars.
Tiruchengode (45 km): The temple here is dedicated to Lord Siva as Ardhanareeswara. Sage Bringi is believed to have worshipped the Lord. The temple is known for excellent sculptures.
Namakkal (30 km): The seventh century rock-cut temples on a hill known as Namagiri are popular among Vaishnavites. On either side of the hill are shrines dedicated to Sri Ranganatha and Sri Narasimha. The holy Theertham is known as Kamalalayam.
Before proceeding to the Narasimha shrine, devotees worship a majestic image of Lord Anjaneya. There is no roof in this shrine. Goddess Namagiri Thayar, consort of Sri Narasimha, is enshrined separately near the Anjaneya shrine. Thirukalyanam (Divine Wedding) is celebrated on the occasion of Panguni Uthiram (March-April). Namakkal is considered as sacred as Nava Narasimha Sthalams like Simhachalam, Ahobilam, Sholingar etc.
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