Presiding deity :Neelakandeswarar
Holy tree :Vilva with 5 petals
Thiruneelakudi is 13 kms far from Kumbakonam, 55 from Tanjore, 3 from Aduthurai
Those who plan visiting the temple may stay in Kumbakonam lodges, charges ranging from Rs. 150 to 600.
Of the six centers in the human body known as Mooladhara, Swadishtana, Manipuraka, Anagatham, Vishuddhi and Aggna, Thiruneelakudi represents the Mooladhara position helping the devotee to raise the Kundalini Sakthi.
Rishi Markandeya wanted to lengthen his longevity. Devarishi Naradha advised Markandeya to worship Shiva in Thiruneelakudi which he meticulously followed. The Lord appeared before him and asked him of his desire. Markandeya told the Lord his wish and got back eternity of longevity. The grateful Markandeya took the Lord in a palanquin to Ilandalai, Enadhimangalam, Thirunageswaram, Thirupuvanam, Thiruvidaimarudhur, Maruthuvakudi and other places. The Chithirai Thiruvizha (April-May) is celebrated remembering this event.
15 days Brammotsavam during Chithirai month. Rishi Markandeya initiated this. All these days, the deity is taken in procession. The deity is taken not only within Thiruneelakudi but to all the 18 villages around Neelakudi. Thiruvadirai, Adipooram, Karthikai Deepam, monthly pradosha days, Deepavali, Pongal and New year days of both Tamil and English calendars are observed as important festival days in the temple.
The Linga is a Swayambu – that which exists of itself. The body of the Linga is rough and not soft. The leaves of the Vilwa Tree have five petals against the usual 3 petals found in this tree generally. It is here Rishi Markandeya got the boon of Chiranjeevi status – total freedom from death. There are two Goddesses here, Oppilamulai Amman (Anupamasthini) in a wedding pose and Bakathapeeshtapradayini – gracing the devotee of his/her desires, in a penance pose.
It is in this holy soil, Dakshayini joined the Lord again after returning from Daksha Yaga. Varuna (Lord of rain), angels worshipped here. Brahma, Devaganda, Vasishta, Soorapanma, Kamadenu performed penances here and got relieved of sins. A place praised in the hyms of Appar Swamigal in his Thevaram. When the Jains tied Appar and threw him, he worshipped Neelakandeswara in his celebrated hymn Kallinodu Aman Kaiyar in this temple.
A celebrated Shiva sthala having holy springs Brhmma theertham, Ksheeragundam, Devi theertham and Markandeya theertham. The antiquity of the temple goes back to more than 2000 years.