From Thirukolakka, we headed off south on NH45A (Chennai Nagapatinam highway) – towards Tharangambadi. Thirukadaiyur is right on this road. When you come closer you will start seeing a lot of Hotel Sadabishekam advertisements.
After the peaceful encounter with the Lord at Thirukolakka, Thirukadaiyur was a shock. It was a Saturday, and apparently a Muhurtham (Auspicious for weddings) day. Bad day for a visit to this temple. One of the stories behind this temple is of Markandeyar. See Sthala puranam below for detailed story. By this story, Markandeyar defeated death here. Hence folks come here to perform their 60th and 80th birthday celebrations – so that they can live forever. I am not sure which part of this ritual that I find amusing – the myth that only if you worship the Lord here will you be able to defeat death (Lord is everywhere!) -or- why someone would want to defeat death.
We came here for a different reason. The wife wanted to visit the Abhirami Sannidhi. She has been reciting Abhirami Andhadhi for a while now, but had never been to this shrine. So she wanted to come. We did see Amruthakateswarar and Kala Samhara Moorthi as well.
No pictures taken here. Since it looks like a market place now. Too much crowd and commercialization.
When the Devas and Asuras churned the ocean and got the nectar, they forgot to worship Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha was upset about this, and stole the pot (ghata) of nectar and hid it here in Thirukadaiyur. He created a Shiva Lingam to worship his parents and did abhishekam with the nectar. It is because of this (and the Markandeyar story) that, folks believe that if they come here, they are blessed with long years of life.
Before Markandeyar was born, his father Sage Mrukandu was given a choice – a wise boy who will not cross 16 years, or a mediocre boy who will live longer. His parents chose the first option. On the 16th year, when Lord Yama came for Markandeyar, Markandeyar hugged the Shiva Lingam. Lord Yama unleashed the death leash and it surrounded the Shiva Lingam as well. Lord Shiva became very cross and kicked Lord Yama and gave Markandeyar immortality and Moksha.
The other story is about Abhirami Battar. There was a person by named Subramaniam, who used to be considered mad, since he considered every living woman as the Supreme Goddess herself. He used to often sit in front of Goddess Abhirami and immerse himself in his thoughts. He was in such a state, when King Saraboji walked into the temple. He was very irritated that the man did not acknowledge his arrival. He asked what day was it that day. In a trance, Subramanian said it was the full moon day, since all he was seeing was the bright round face of the Goddess. It was the no-moon day and the king got even more irritated. The king ordered Subramaniam to be executed if the moon did not show up at dusk. When he came out of his trance, Subramaniam realized the trouble he was in. And he started singing Abhirami Andhadhi. In the 79th stanza, the Goddess, in true filmy fashion, just as it was about to be dusk, is said to have thrown her nose ring, and it formed the moon. The king realized the greatness of Subramaniam. And he also came to be known as Abhirama Battar.