time Mon, Nov 18, 2019 5:09 PM
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Tirukazhukundram

Could there be a better place to visit for history connoisseurs than the town “Thirukazhukundram”, one of the most celebrated sites of religious importance, which is situated at a distance of 70 km from Chennai, flanked by Chengalpattu and Mahabalipuram on both sides. This town houses the one of the ancient Shiva temples, “Vedagireeswarar” wherein shiva linga, the main lord at this temple, stands majestically atop the mountain. While Lord Shiva sits at the mountain, Lordess Thirupurasundari, wife of the lord, resides in the temple at the foothill called “Thaazakoil”. From the deity to the lake (aka theertham), every aspect of this temple has got a historical significance that astonishes the curious visitors and devotees. This is the 28 th Devaram Paadal Petra Sthalam in Thondainaadu.

The primary source of revenue for the people residing in Thirukazhukundram is through sale of produce from agriculture. Given the fertile nature of soil, crops such as rice, sugarcane, groundnut, watermelon and ladies finger are cultivated in large number of acres. The town is known for the presence of a large number of lakes and ponds, which enable irrigation of lands throughout the year.

Thirukazhukundram comprises of several small villages and still retains many of the traditional practices that have been passed on from one generation to the next. The communities in Thirukazhukandram engage themselves in manual works such as handloom, powerloom through establishment of small scale industries and women self-help groups.

The town is famous not only for religious history but also for political history. The most politically significant and turnaround event happened at this very town on October 8, 1972, when Mr. MGR and Mr.M.Karunanidhi officially ended their 27-year old friendship resulting from a dispute that arose when Mr. MGR, the then treasurer of DMK, publicly sought accounts of DMK functionaries and those in government in a meeting held in Thirukazhukundram. It was after this incident, Mr.MGR launched the ADMK party in TamilNadu and rest, they say is, history.

VARIOUS NAMES AND ITS HISTORY

This town is addressed by several names, all of which have got historical significance behind them. - Let’s take a look at the various names which this town has got:

“Thirukazhukundram” – The name has three parts to it ->Thiru (prefix that signifies respect) + Kazhu[gu] (Eagle) +Kundram (Mountain). This name is attributed to the history of two eagles that were visiting the mountain in order to worship Lord Vedagireeswar as atonement to absolve them of their sins.


Mythology: A unique Phenomenon takes place at Thirukalukundram every day. At noon, two eagles appear over the temple to worship the Lord. Then they come down to a rock where sweet rice is offered. To watch these eagles taking the food is a rare experience. And thousands of people from all over the country visit this place to witness this miracle. These sacred Eagles are believed to be sons of Lord Brahma, who for their sins were cursed by Lord Shiva to be born on Earth as Eagles.


To Attain "Moksha" and regain their original forms, they have to worship the deity of this temple till the end of Kaliyuga. While these sacred Eagles were known as Sandan & Prasandan in Thretha Yuga, Sambathi & Jadayu in Krutha Yuga, Sambhukthan & Mukundan in Dhawapara Yuga, in Kali Yuga they are now known as Pusha & Vidhadha.

“Vedagiri” – Veda (four vedas- Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharvana)+ Giri (Mountain). This town - derives its name from the temple, namely “Vedagireeswarar” that resides in it.


Mythology: Sage Bharadwaja prayed to Shiva for a long life so he could learn all the Vedas. Shiva appeared before him and granted him the wish to learn the Vedas and created three mountains each signifying a Veda (Rig, Yajur and Sama). Shiva took a handful of mud and said "Dear Bharadwaja! The Vedas that you could learn are only this handful compared to the mountains present here, even if you live much longer and hence, learning is never ending and could possibly not be the route for Salvation". Shiva also said that in Kaliyuga, the simplest and the surest way to salvation is Bhakti or unfettered devotion, service and love of God and his creations. It is believed that the hill on which the Vedagiriswarar temple is built is the mythical mountains signifying Vedas created by Shiva himself. Name Vedagiriswarar means "the Lord of the Vedic Mountains" in Sanskrit.

Mythology: Sage Bharadwaja prayed to Shiva for a long life so he could learn all the Vedas. Shiva appeared before him and granted him the wish to learn the Vedas and created three mountains each signifying a Veda (Rig, Yajur and Sama). Shiva took a handful of mud and said "Dear Bharadwaja! The Vedas that you could learn are only this handful compared to the mountains present here, even if you live much longer and hence, learning is never ending and could possibly not be the route for Salvation". Shiva also said that in Kaliyuga, the simplest and the surest way to salvation is Bhakti or unfettered devotion, service and love of God and his creations. It is believed that the hill on which the Vedagiriswarar temple is built is the mythical mountains signifying Vedas created by Shiva himself. Name Vedagiriswarar means "the Lord of the Vedic Mountains" in Sanskrit.


According to tradition, the four Vedas, Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana, are seen here in the shape of four boulders, placed one above the other, with Lord Siva as Vedagiriswarar, emerging from the head of the fourth Veda, Atharvana. Hence the place gets the name Vedagiri, where the presiding deity on the hilltop is Vedagiriswarar.

“Pakshi Theertha” – Pakshi (Bird) + Theertha(Water Body such as Lake) -> Bird’s Holy Lake.


Mythology: The town is also known as Pakshi Theertha (Bird's Holy Lake) because of a pair of eagles that visited the site for centuries. After a darshan of Vedagiriswarar, devotees eagerly await the arrival of the eagles just before noon. They wait in large numbers at a shed specially erected for the purpose. After cleaning a particular spot on the adjacent boulder, the temple priest sits down, with the sweet food made of rice, jaggery, ghee (sakkarai pongal). It is further said that prasadam offering is generally prepared by a community called “Pandarams”. It is said that after a bath in the Ganges in the morning, they come here at noon for food, reach Rameswaram in the evening for darshan and return to Chidambaram for the night.


Two eagles, after circling around temple top, come near the priest walking. They eat the balls of rice and after cleaning their beaks in the ghee kept in a small vessel nearby, take off, circle around the tower again and fly off. The scene is sculpted on one of the walls in front of Goddess Tirupurasundari, in the lower temple.


Two sages Poosha and Vruddha performed penance on Lord Shiva seeking Sharoopa status. Lord modified their demand and granted the Sayujya status and promised elevation to Sharoopa later. The sages refused to accept the offer and were adamant on their demand. Angry Lord cursed them to become eagles. Since then they are in this hill known as Shambu and Aadhi and are worshipping Lord with the Pakshi Theertha they had created. It is believed that these eagles use to bathe in Rameswaram, eat in Kazhukundram and stay at Kasi each day. The feeding of the eagles is going on for thousands of years, it is believed.

“Brahmapuri”, “Indrapuri” – Lord Vedagireeswarar was worshipped by Lord Brahma and Lord Indra, hence thirukazhunduram is also known as Brahmapuri and Indrapuri respectively.

Tirukazhukundram