Amritaghateswarar Abhirami Temple is a Hindu temple devoted to the Lord Shiva in his appearance as Kallantaka and his consort Goddess Parvathi in her form as Abirami located in Thirukadaiyur, 21 km East of Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu in India. This temple is mainly allied with Lord Shiva saving his disciple Markhendeya from dying and the story of Saint Abhirami Pattar, a disciple of the presiding goddess. It is 1 of the two hundred and seventy five Paadhal Petra Sthalums, where 3 of the most respected Nayanars namely Suntharar, Tirugnana Sambandar and Appar have sung the achievements of this shrine.
The temple is in line with the architecture of the Chola dynasty, occupies a very vast area of eleven acres, with 5 courtyards, numerous grand temple towers, and huge and spacious mandapams. It was during the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1075–1120) that the brick walls of the temple were replaced with stone walls and the mandapam in the front was constructed. The rajagopuram, or the front entryway of the temple, is replete with images made of mortar, explaining that various legends allied with the temple. There are 3 temple ponds, or theertams, called as 'Amruta Pushkarni', 'Kaala Theertam' and 'Maarkhandeya Theertam'. There is a separate shrine dedicated to Abirami. The Shakhta saint Abirami Patthar is considered to render the Abirami Anthati in the front hallway of the shrine. There is also a separate shrine for Markandeya in the temple, for devoting Kallasamhara Moorti. Even though Thirukadaiyoor is a Shiva temple, it has an old Vaisnava temple. The deities in this temple are Amritha Narayanar and his companion Amritha Valli .
Mrikandu This is one of the holy places of Saivism today. Legend has it that Mrikandu, a sage and devotee of Lord Shiva, prayed to God to bless him with a son. God appeared and gave him a choice to select the type of child he wanted - An honest responsible and virtuous son who will live only for 16 years or a son who would live for 100 years but whose behavior is bad. Mrikandu chose the former. Markandeya The boy, named Markandeya also grew up to be an ardent devotee of Shiva. The destined time came, when Yamraj tried to snatch the life of the boy. Markandheya went to this temple and grasped the Shiva Lingam very tightly in an effort to get away from death. Delighted by the boy's conviction, Lord Shiva saved him from passing away, and incarnating him as Kalandaka which means the one who can defy death.
Worship is offered six times a day at this temple. Almost every day at the temple begins with one celebration or other, as hundreds of pilgrims throng the temple to celebrate their 16th or 18th birthdays. Based on the legend of Markandeya, it is alleged that worshipping at this temple will give longer togetherness to couples who have reached age 60 or 81. A ritual called as "Sashthiaptha Poorti" is commemorated in privilege of a husband's sixteenth birthday and "Sadhabhishegam" is commemorated in privilege of his eighty first birthday. The annual "Bramhotsavam" is celebrated in the month of Chitirai (April–May) here. The "Shankh-Abhishekam", a festival of the heavenly mother is commemorated in the month of Karthikai (November–December), is also of immense significance here. Other festivals celebrated at this temple in glory of the Divine Mother include Aadi Puram and Navratri, a festival celebrating the day that Abirami received her menarche.
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