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  • Jambukeshwarar Temple, Tiruvanaikaval

Jambukeshwarar Temple, Tiruvanaikaval

Panchabhoota Shiva Stalam (Water), TamilNadu
(SKU: TN45/3304)
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Jambukeswaram is one of the five major Shiva Temples of Tamil Nadu (Panchabhoota Sthalams) representing the Mahabhuta or five great elements; this temple represents the element of water, or neer in Tamil.The sanctum of Jambukeswara has an underground water stream and in spite of pumping water out, it is always filled with water. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where all the four most revered Nayanars (Saivite Saints) have sung glories of the deity in this temple. The temple has inscriptions from the Chola period.
There were two Siva Ganas (Siva’s disciples who live in Kailash): 'Malyavan' and 'Pushpadanta'. Though they are Siva Ganas they always quarrel with each other and fight for one thing or other. In one fight 'Malyavan' cursed 'Pushpadanta' to become an elephant on earth and the latter cursed the former to become a spider on earth. The elephant and the spider came to Jambukeswaram and continued their Siva worship. The elephant collected water from river Cauvery and conducted ablution to the lingam under the Jambu tree (Eugenia jambolana) daily. The spider constructed his web over the lingam to prevent dry leaves from dropping on it and prevent sunlight directly falling on it. When the elephant saw the web and thought it was dust on lingam. The elephant tore them and cleaned the lingam by pouring water and the practice continued daily. The spider became angry one day and crawled into the trunk of the elephant and bit the elephant to death, killing itself. Siva, in the form of Jambukeswara, moved by the deep devotion of the two, relieved them from the curse. As an elephant worshipped Siva here, this place came to be known as Thiru Aanai Kaa (thiru means holy, aanai is elephant, kaa (kaadu) means forest). Later the name 'Thiruaanaikaa' become 'Thiruvanaikaval' and 'Thiruvanaikoil'.
Once, Parvati mocked Shiva’s penance for betterment of the world. Shiva wanted to condemn her act and directed her to go to the earth from Kailasam (Shiva's abode) to do penance. Parvathi in the form of Akilandeswari as per Shiva's wish found Jambu forest (Thiruvanaikoil) to conduct her penance. She made a lingam out of water of river Cauvery under the Venn Naaval tree and commenced her worship. The lingam is known as Appu Lingam (Water Lingam). Siva at last gave darshan to Akilandeswari and taught her Siva Gnana. Akilandeswari took Upadesa (lessons) facing East from Shiva, who stood facing west.
In the third enclosure, there is a coconut grove having a small tank where the festival image of Vaishnavite Srirangam temple used to be brought one day a year. The practice is abandoned due to conflict between the Saivities and the vaishanvites. As Akilandeswari worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple, even today at noon the 'Archakar' (priest) dresses like a female and does Pooja to Jambukeswara and 'Ko Maatha' (Cow). The noon pooja is very famous and a host of pilgrims attend it every day. A special variety of black cow, called Karam Pasu is used for the occasion. Annabhishekam to lingam (ablution with cooked rice) is a daily ritual performed in the temple. The temple is one of the hosts for the annual Natyanjali, a festival of classical Indian dance. The temple has also a school for training nadhaswaram, a classical pipe instrument in Tamil Nadu.
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