This Shiva temple at Vedaranyam (Tirumaraikkaadu) is one of the Sapthavidanga Sthalamsof Lord Shiva. The Sivalingam of the presiding male deity Maraikattunathar is a Swayambu Lingam. The shrine for Thyagesar is also very famous here. The temple with a 5 tier gopuram is facing east. The main shrine for Lord Vedaranyeswarar is facing east
The Manikarnigai Theertham (tank) inside this temple is considered to be very sacred because it is believed that a holy bath in this well is equivalent to taking bath in the sacred rivers of Ganges, Yamuna, Narmada, Cauvery etc. The presiding female deity’s shrine is also facing east and She is known as Yazhinum Iniya Mozhiyal in Tamil which means that the voice of the Goddess is sweeter and melodious than the sound of Veena (a musical instrument). Hence it is pertinent to note that the Shrine for Saraswathi in this temple is different in the sense that Goddess Saraswathi is seen here without her Veena in her laps as normally seen everywhere.
There are also shrines for Lord Muruga and Goddess Durgai. Navagrahas in this temple can be seen standing in a straight line. Lord Shiva is believed to have given the vision of His marriage with Parvati to Sage Agasthiyar at this sthalam. The marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvati is depicted as a stucco image behind the main Sivalingam inside the sanctum sanctorum. Sage Agasthiyar, Gowthamar, Viswamitrar, Vashistar, and Lord Brahma are reported to have worshipped Lord Shiva at this thalam.
It is also interesting to note that the water in all the wells in this place taste salty and the well situated inside the temple alone gives good drinking water and used by the people of this village.
This vast temple abounds in sculptural wealth. Pillared halls with interesting images, Yaalis with stone irremovable – rolling pillars in their mouths, images of the 12 zodiac signs and the 27 asterisms are some of the interesting features here. The structure of this temple resembles that of the Tiruvarur temple.
Veerahatti Vinayakar here was worshipped by Rama. Sundarar visited this shrine with Cheraman Perumaal and Sambandar with Appar.
There is an image of Uma Maheswarar behind the Shivalingam in the sanctum. Agasthyar is said to have obtained a vision of Shivas marriage here. There is also a separate temple for Durga here. There are inscriptions here from the Chola, Vijayanagar and Maratha periods here.
The four Vedhas RIG, YADUR, SAMA AND ADHARVANA took the form of human beings and stayed at the nearly place known as Naluvedhapathi and worshipped Lord Shiva of Vedaranyam. When Kaliyug started, the Vedhas left this sthalam closing for ever the front main door of this temple. People were entering the temple through a small opening in the side wall and were worshipping the deity here.
Opening and closing of the main door :
Tirunavukarasar and Sambandar once came together to this Shivasthalam and found the main entrance to the people in a closed condition. On enquiry, the people living in the sthalam told them that the door could not be opened in spite of their best efforts.
Tirunavukarasar then sang 10 Pathigams in the praise of the Lord Maraikattunathar and at the end of the 10th Pathigam the doors of the main entrance to the temple opened all by itself. At the request of Tirunavukarasar, sambandar sang 1 Pathigam and the doors closed by itself. The Bramotsavam festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Masi for 29 days in the remembrance of the opening of the main entrance door of the temple by Tirunavukarasar and Sambandar
Location of the temple
Tirumaraikkaadu (now known as Vedaranyam)
How to reach
This paadal petra sthalam temple is located at Vedaranyam, a seashore town. It is situated at about 45 Kms from Nagapattinam. Other Paadal Petra Sivasthalams in the vicinity are Agasthiampalli, 3 Kms from here and Kodikkarai, 12 Kms from here.