Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Tamilnadu State
Vedagiriswarar temple, Tamilandu
Thirukazhukundram (Tamil: திருக்கழுக்குன்றம்) or Thirukkalukundram is an ancient town in Kanchipuram district of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The TempleThe town is famous for its Hindu temple, Vedagiriswarar temple, popularly known as Kazhugu koil (Eagle temple). There are two temples, one in the basement of the hill and other atop the hill. The main attraction here is the large temple located atop the mountain which houses the deity of Vedagiriswarar, Lord Shiva. The temple at the foothills is dedicated to Thirupurasundari amman, Parvathi, the consort. It is surrounded by four gopurams which resemble the temple architecture of Thiruvannamalai Annamalaiyaar temple.
The word Thirukazhukundram comes from the Tamil words Thiru (Respectful), Kazhugu (Eagle), Kundram (mount). It was known as "Thirukazhugukundram" in ancient times which was changed to Thirukazhukundram in more recent times. The town is also known as Pakshi theertham because of a famed pair of birds( Pakshi in Sanskrit means Bird, Theertham means a holy lake or pond) - Most likely Egyptian Vultures- that have reputedly visited the site for "centuries". These birds are traditionally fed by the temple priests and arrive before noon to feed on offerings made from rice, wheat, ghee and sugar. Although punctual, the failure of the birds to turn up was attributed to the presence of "sinners" among the onlookers. Legend has it the vultures (or "eagles") represent eight sages who were punished by Shiva with two of them leaving in each of a series of epochs. It has also been known as Uruthrakodi, Nandipuri, Indrapuri, Narayanapuri, Brahmapuri, Dinakarapuri, Muniganapuri in the past. The Mythology - Sage Bharadwaja was engaged in Tapasya praying to Lord Shiva and when Lord Shiva appeared before him, wanted a boon. The boon was for a Long life, which could be used for learning the Vedas. The Lord in his own way showed his Hand and Lo!! and Behold - there appeared 3 Mountains each signifying a Veda (Rig/Yajur/Sama). The Lord took a hand ful 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 much more longer and hence, learning is never ending and could possibly cannot be the route for Salvation".Thus spoke the Lord and also said that in Kaliyuga, the simplest and the surest form of attaining Mukthi is Bhakti or unfettered Devotion, service and Love towards the Lord and his creations and trying the same through learning and expertise on Vedic adhyayan is a non starter . And to this day the Mountains (Vedas)stand there, aptly called Veda Giri (Veda = Vedas and Giri - Mountains) and below them is the Vedagiri - eswarar temple signifying this episode.
PoetsThe four Naayanmaars and the greatest Saiva poets Appar, Sundarar, Manickavasagar, Thirugnanasamandhar collectively known as 'Naalvar' came to this place and sang the praises of Lord Siva and there is a separate temple dedicated to them in the place called 'Naalvar kovil'. Tamil devotional poet Arunagirinathar composed many of his hymns of Thirupugazh in Thirukazhukundram.
LocationThirukazhukundram is located on State Highway 58 between Sadras and Tirutani, 70 km away from Chennai and 15 km away from the famous tourist town Mahabalipuram.
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )