Holy Pilgrimage –Some of the Shiva Temples in India -4

Holy Pilgrimage – Some of the Shiva Temples in India

Thanthondreeswarar Temple (Belur, Salem)


Sri Thanthondreeswarar Temple or Sri Thanthondrieswarar Temple (Tamilஸ்ரீ தான்தோன்றீஸ்வரர் கோவில், Thanthondreeswarar Temple ?) is at Belur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The temple was built by the Cholas kingdom in the 12th century AD. The main deity is Lord Thanthondreeswarar (Lord Shiva) and the female deity is Goddess Dharmasamvarthini.
Thanthondreeswarar Temple is located on the banks of Vasishta Nadi (Vasishta River). The temple has a serene atmosphere and is surrounded by beautiful hillocks.
This temple comes under the Hindu Religious Charitable Endowment Department.



The inner sanctum was constructed by 'Milagu Chetty' and the rest were constructed by King Paranthaga Chola (Paranthaka Chola). Construction of Rajagopuram was started during the 12th century by King Paranthaka Chola, but was left incomplete.
It also showcases the Dravidian architecture and is representative of the Chola Empire's Ideology and the Tamil civilisation.


Manickam Chetty, a pepper merchant was living near a village close to the temple. His job was carrying loads of pepper and selling it in the market place. One day he was crossing this dense forest where the shrine is located at present. As darkness sunk in, he wanted to take rest. In order to eat, he crossed pea aubergine (Sundaikai, an edible vegetable) with a stone. Suddenly he heard a voice saying, "The stone hurts my head. Apply some pepper on my head. Bewildered by this incident, the merchant said that he did not have any pepper and added that he had only Black Gram (Ulundu). Next day he proceeded to the market place and opened his baggage. He was shocked to find black gram instead of pepper. He worshipped God and prayed for His forgiveness. God asked him to bring some mud from the place where he had crushed pea aubergine (sundaikai) and spray it in the baggage containing black gram. He followed His instructions and black gram transformed into pepper again.
On his way back, out of curiosity, he examined the place where he took rest. He was surprised to find a Suyambu Lingam (Lingam which originates by itself from earth). He worshipped the Lord and it is believed that the inner sanctum of the temple was built by him. Henceforth he was called Milagu Chetty (Milagu means Pepper) and the place where pepper transformed into black gram is called Ulundurpettai. The place has retained its name since then. As per history the inner sanctum was constructed by Milagu chetty and the rest was constructed by king Paranthaga chola. This has been mentioned in the book "The Manual Of Salem District in the Presidency of Madras" by Lee Fanu   and the same idea has been endorsed by Rajannan, a History professor.
Le Fanu, Henry (1883). A Manual of the Salem District in the Presidency of Madras. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4367-3939-9.


The Rajagopuram is about 97 feet tall having 7 stages(floors). Consecration Ceremony (Kumbabishekam) for the new Rajagopuram was performed on the 24th of February 2002


Brahmanda Purana

Brahmanda purana is one of the 18 puranas in Sanskrit and is written by the great saint, Vedha Vyasa. In 130th chapter of this purana, Sudamuni narrated the glory of Lord and this temple to his disciples and other saints.

Kanampulla Nayanar

Kanampullar, one of the Nayanmars hailed from a rich family in this same village. He was a sincere devotee of Sri Thanthondreeswarar. He considered lighting lamps in this temple as his prime duty and did it with utmost dedication.
He went through a rough phase and lost all his wealth. Poverty drove him to Thirpuliswaram and he continued lighting lamps in a Shiva temple there. To earn his living, he used to cut a kind of grass called Kanampul and sell it in the market. He spent his meagre income on oil and wicks.
Lord Shiva decided to test his devotion. One day his grass was not sold and he did not have enough money to buy oil and wick to light the lamps. He used his locks of hair as wick in the lamp and lighted it. Extremely pleased with the supreme devotion of Kanampullar, Shiva appeared in front of him and he became one with God.
A statue of Kanampullar holding a lamp can be seen in this temple in front of Pradhosha Nandi (The Devine Bull). He is the 48th among the Nayanmars.



Temple is located close to the Belur Bus Terminus (Approx 600 Meter from Bus Terminus).

Bus Route

Belur is 30 km from Salem city and is 6 km to the north of Valappadi, a neighbouring town.
Bus service to Belur is available from neighbouring towns Salem, Attur & Vazhappady frequently. In addition this, buses from Salem to other places like Karumanthurai, Kariya Kovil, Pappanayakanpatty, Thumbal, Pagudupatu and Arunuthumalai fly via Belur.

Rail Route

Nearest Railway Station is Vazhappady.
Everyday Chennai Salem Express (Train No 1063) starts from Chennai Egmore and arrives at Valzhappady around 5:30 AM.

Air Route

Flights from Chennai to Salem Airport fly daily excepting on Tuesdays.



Lodheshwar Mahadev Mandir, Uttara Pradesh


A Shiva temple which is situated at village Mahadeva in tehsil Ram Nagar of district Barabanki on the banks of Ghaghra.
The deity of Shivling worshiped in this temple is one of the rarest of the 52 Shivlings found on the Shakti Pithas across India. This ancient temple has been mentioned several times in Mahabharat.
There are several instances in Mahabharat where this ancient temple is referred to. Pandav after the Mahabharat had performed the Mahayagya at this place, a well exists even today by the name Pandav-Kup. It is said that the water of the well is having spiritual qualities and those who drink this water get cured of a number of ailments.
During the fair held on the occasion of Mahashivratri at Mahadeva millions of devotees throng the place


Mahabhairav Temple, Assam


The ancient Mahabhairav Temple is located at a hillock on the northern part of Tezpur town, Assam. This temple is believed to have been established by king Bana in the pre-historical times. This Shiva temple was originally built of stone but the present one was renovated and built with concrete. During the Ahom rule, the kings especially of the Tungkhungiya dynasty donated large area of Devottar land to the Temple and pujaris and Paiks were appointed to look after the temple. The responsibility of management was in the hands of a Borthakur. The temple is now managed by the Government through a managing committee headed by the District Deputy Commissioner. Shivaratri is celebrated in the temple with big festivity and people from all over the country visit it.


The archeologists believe that the temple was built during 8th to 10th century A.D. by the kings of the Salasthamba dynasty. That originally there was a stone temple is evident from the huge pillars scattered all around the temple. But the original temple was destroyed by the ravages of time. It was however, rebuilt by successive kings and rulers, until it was heavily damaged by the catastrophic earthquake of 1897.
The present structure of the temple was built sometime in the early part of the present century by a devotee and monk Sri Swayambar Bharati, popularly known as Naga Baba.  After a few years, another monk Sri Mahadeo Bharati built the “Nat Mandir” close to the temple. After a few years another devotee built the cement-concrete idols of Ganesh and Hanuman as “Dwarpaals” in front of the temple. Since then the developmental works of the temple had been somewhat sluggish although not completely stopped, one major work being the exquisitely curved ornamental frontispiece of the main entrance gate of the temple by a local artist, Sri Joy Das



Mahadeva Temple, Kalanjoor, Kerala


Mahadeva Temple, Kalanjoor popularly known as Thrikkalanjoor Sree Mahadeva temple is a Hindu temple. It is 80 kilometers to the south-west of the Sabarimala temple on the Punular-Muvattupuzha highway in Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, India. A majestic banyan tree, flanked by an Althara that is visible from a distance for any traveler on the main road, announces the presence of the temple to the devotee.
A Mandapam artistically etched with magnificent mural paintings announcing the prowess of artists and artisans of yore surrounds the banyan tree. Inside the Mandapam there is an idol of Nataraja, the dancing manifestation of Lord Shiva, facing the east.. From this Mandapam towards the west, a 60 feet high Gopuram (artistically carved towering arches) could be seen on the eastern side. The 18 ascending steps from the Gopuram lead to the sacred idols of Indiliyappan (Sastha) and the Mahasiva idol, which is the presiding deity of the Mahadeva temple.
Due to the presence of Mahadeva and Sastha idols in the temple, there are two Dhwajas (towering flag posts coated with copper) adjacent to each other which is a rare spectacle seldom seen in other temples. The Mahasiva idol and the Sastha idols are installed facing each other in this temple. The real name of the temple is Sankarapurathu Mukkalvattom Devaswom, but is popularly known as Thrikkalanjoor Sree Mahadeva temple.


The annual temple festival starts in the Malayalam month of Meenam (March/April) and ends with Thiruvathira Arattu. The festival lasts eight days. On the sixth day Indilayappan festival is celebrated. Renowned artists from South India participate in this festival, which is famous for its Carnatic music renditions. Great exponents of Carnatic music like Chembai, Chemmankudi, Balamuralee Krishna, Yesudas, Seshagopal have performed here. Kathakali and other classical arts are other major attractions during the festival.
Kalamezhuthum Pattum for Indiliyappan (Sastha) and 41 days bhajan during Mandalapooja (December/January), Shivarathri, Ashtamirohini, Bhagavatha Sapthaham during the Malayalam month of Dhanu (January/February), Ramayana masam, Vinayaka Chathurthi, Ponkala, Pathamudayam etc. are a few other notable festive occasions that occur throughout the year.


Mankameshwar Temple, UP


Mankameshwar Mandir (Temple) in Agra is devoted to Lord Shiva. The temple is situated at Rawatpara, near Agra Fort Railway Station. It is one of the ancient temples devoted to Lord Shiva.It is said that the shivlinga covered by the silver metal was founded by lord shiva himself during Dwapara era, when krishna was born in mathura. For child krishna darshan shiva arrived from mount kailash and rested here. Shamshaan(cremation ground) yamuna which used to flow here, shiva meditated and nightstayed here, wished if i would be able to make krishna play on my lap i wil put a linga here.Next day after seeing shiva's swaroop, ma yashoda asked shiva not to come near the child as krishna might get afraid of him.Seeing this krishna did a leela(drama), started crying pointing towards shiva who was sitting under a banyan tree in samadhi position.seeing this ma yashoda called lord shiva and asked him to give his blessings to her child(krishna).Coming back from gokul, shiva came back and laid his linga(swaroop) here.Thus,he said my wishes were fulfilled here;Whosoever in coming future comes here with his mankamna(wishes) you lingaswaroop will fulfill his or her mankamna(wishes).From then onwards this lingaswaroop is known as shri mankameshwarnath ji.
The temple has one sanctum sanctorum where the vigraha of Lord Shiva sits. It is surrounded by the typical Shiva family idols. One has to descend down a score of stairs to reach the sanctum sanctorum. One can reach fully close to the main vigraha provided one doesn't wear leather items and English style pants, pyjamas, and salwaar suits.
On 24 July 2004, lord krishna's swaroop(ShriNath ji) was established under the guidelines of Shri nanaji bhai mukhiya ji of Shri Dwarikadeesh nath ji,mathura.Madhurashtkam and aarti of shrinath ji is a special scene to see.
Behind the sanctum sanctorum are several small temples within the main temple complex. These are devoted to various deities like Lord Ganga, Saraswati, Gayatri, Hanuman, Kaila devi, Narsimha, Krishna, Rama to name a few.
Math is looked afterby shri shri mahant Yogesh Puriji, who succeeded his father late shri shri mahant Udhav Puriji. 11 Akhand jyoti are being lit everyday(24 hrs.) of desi ghee. Devotees after fulfilling their wishes comes here to light a deepak of 1.25 Rs. to 1.25 lakh Rs. everyday.
Math also runs a Hospital, Vidyalaya, Gowshaala, at village, digner shamshabad road agra. 17 km far from the temple. Temple of shri girraj maharaj(govardhan nath) is getting constructed over there. At rawatpada a pre-nursery school, homeopathic clinic, computer education centre, a dharmshaala(guesthouse) is also run by the Math Administrator, shri Harihar Puriji.
There are special paan which you get near Mankameshwar. These are folded in such a manner so that their shape becomes that of a pyramid. They are then coated with "chandi ka verk" (Silver Foil) and garnished with coconut powder.



Markandeshwar Temple, Haryana


The name Markandeshwar is associated with Maharishi Markandeya, a great devotee of Shiva. The Markandeshwar Mahadev temple is located in the town of Shahbad Markanda, which is situated in the Kurukshetra district of Haryana in North India. Shahbad Markanda lies on the banks of the river Markanda, a tributary of the Ghaggar, and supposed to be a part of the ancient Vedic Saraswati River basin system. The river derives its name from Maharishi Markandeya as well and several ancient ashramas of Rishi Markandeya can be seen along the banks of the river in the neighboring districts.
The walls of the Markandeshwar Mahadev temple carry a scene depicting Lord Shiva saving Rishi Markandeya from Yamraj, the Hindu God of death.


Story of Maharishi Markandeya

Markandeya was an exemplary son, who was destined to die at the age of 12. He grew up to be a great devotee of Shiva and on the day of his destined death he continued his worship of Shiva in His form of Shivalingam. The messengers of Yama, the God of death were unable to take away his life because of his great devotion and continual worship of Shiva. Finally, Yama came himself to take Markandeya's life away and sprung his noose around the young sage's neck. By mistake, the noose landed around the Shivalingam and out of it, Shiva emerged in all his fury attacking Yama for his act of aggression. After defeating Yama in battle to the point of death, Shiva then revived him, under the condition that the young Markandeya would live forever. Thus, the Maha Mrityunjaya Stotra is attributed to Maharishi Markandeya.
The Markandeya Purana comprises a dialogue between Markandeya and a sage called Jaimini and a number of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are dedicated to his conversations and prayers  Maharishi Markandeya is also mentioned in the Mahabharata

History of the temple

The Markandeshwar Mahadev temple is supposed to be the place where the young Markandeya was praying to Shiva in order to win over his destiny. This is where Shiva fought with Yama and blessed Maharishi Markandeya with the boon of immortality. The original temple dated back to pre-Mahabharat times and was founded in the third millennium B.C. The current structure is more recent and dates back to the early 20th century.

Days to visit

Pilgrims turn out to visit the Markandeshwar Mahadev temple in large numbers on Sundays and during the month of Shravan, which roughly corresponds to the months of July–August in the Julian calendar. The temple can be reached very easily and it is located 20 kilometers south of Ambala on the Ambala-Delhi section of the famous Grand Trunk Road. A Markundeshwar Mahadev temple also situated near village AJARI, Sirohi road, Sirohi which is 28 km east from Sirohi District and known as one of the oldest temple in the area. 365 days water flowing form the markundeshwar temple. there are three Kund where people also do Pind dan'.



Mukteshwar Temple, Punjab


Mukteshwar temple (मुक्तेश्वर मंदिर) is one of the most sacred places around Pathankot Punjab. These caves are on the way to Shahpur Kandi and This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated on the bank of the River Ravi, about 20–22 km from Pathankot City in Shaupur Kandi. The temple is also known as the Mukesran Mandir A mela, called the Mukesran Da Mela, is held every year, in the month of April, to mark Baisakhi. Lots of pilgrim from all over the Punjab and nearby state Himachal and Jammu and kashmir comes here for puja every year (worship) mainly on that mela and on Shiv Ratri


These caves which date to the time of the Mahabharata according to a legend, the Pandavas stayed in those caves for a while during their "Agayatwas" (exile) and is believed to have served as the house of the Pandavas, during their exile. Situated at the hilltop, Mukteshwar temple has a white marble Shivling, with a copper Yoni. The Shivling is surrounded by the idols of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Paravati, Lord Hanuman and Lord Ganesha..


This temple is very well connected by road to nearby state Jammu and kashmir, Himachal and is just 21 km away from Pathankot, one can easily reach here by road. The Ranjit Sagar Dam Hydroelectric Project is just 2 km from here. The left bank of river falls in the Punjab State and the Right Bank in J&K State, so the view of the river Ravi and hills is awesome.



Negheriting Shiva Doul, Assam


The Negheriting Shiva Doul is a Shiva temple in Dergaon, Assam.  Situated on a hillock   at about one and half km north from the National Highway 37 in the Golaghat district of Assam, the temple was first constructed by the Kacharis during 8th – 9th century AD. Later due to natural calamities it came into destruction.  In 1687 it was re-constructed by Ahom king Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha.  The famous architect assigned to the job was Ghanashyam Khonikar.



It is believed that the stones used to construct the temple were existed in the bank of river Dihing. Due to natural calamities the temple was destroyed and the remains were found in deep forest called Gajapanemara. Knowing somehow about the ruined temple and the Shiva linga, Ahom king Susenphaa (1439–1488) then built the temple right on that foundation and established the linga. However, as the Dihing river changed the course, the temple was again destroyed and merged into the river water. A devotee of lord Shiva found the ruined temple and the linga in the shallow water of river Dihing,  now this place is known as Sheetal Negheri.  Ahom king Rajeswar Singha (1751–1769) brought the linga from the river and reconstructed the present temple and established the linga in it.


The main temple is surrounded by four other temples namely the Bishnu, Ganesh, Surjya and Durga temple.  A Banalinga of 3 feet in diameter is established in the main temple.  According to legend a Rishi named Urba wanted to establish a second Kashi right on this place for which he collected lots of Shiva lingas there.

The name

The place where the temple is located was once the habitat of a peculiar bird locally known as Negheri. From this name the place has come to be known as Negheriting.


A priest named Bhudhar Agamacharji was appointed by king Rajeswar Singha for proper maintenance of the temple and also for the rituals to be performed. The Agamacharji family still performs worship and other maintenance works regularly.  Customs of performing songs and dances called Deonati were prominent there in the temple.

The Monkeys

One of the attractions of the temple is the monkeys. The temple is the house of the rhesus monkeys where a sizeable population of this species is there



Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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