It is well known that Lord Krishna herded his cows on the banks of Yamuna in the days of yore. Once when he was with his friends in the meadows herding cows, Krishna felt thirsty. He went to the river for a drink of water and his friends followed him.
Brahma the Creator, was watching this and wanted to play a prank on Krishna. With his powers he took away all the cows to a place called Therazhundur. He later came back to the banks of the Yamuna and sat with a forlorn face.
After drinking water Krishna and his friends returned to see their cows missing. Krishna’s friends were alarmed and began looking for the missing cows. Meanwhile, Krishna in his mind’s eye found out what had happened to the missing cows and magically made them appear. His friends were happy. Brahma seeing the new set of cows understood that Krishna had found out about his prank and immediately went and told Krishna about what he had done and where the cows were. He also requested Krishna to remain in Therazhundur and bless the people there.
Krishna agreed and arrived in Therazhundur and is known by the name Aamaruviappan here. “Aa” meaning cow, “Maruvi” meaning embracing. Since Krishna is believed to have embraced all the missing cows in this place he began known by this name according to legend.
Once in this kingdom ruled the king Uparishravasu. He was very arrogant. He had received a boon that wherever he goes, his shadow will fall upon people and they will die. He also had the powers to fly when sitting on his chariot.
So once after Krishna arrived in Therazhundur, he was outside with his cows. At that moment King Uparishravasu’s chariot passed by and his shadow fell on the cows. All the cows fell dead. Krishna found out the reason behind the deaths of the cows and wanted to teach the king a lesson. He followed the chariot and at one point pressed the shadow of the chariot’s wheel with his right foot . The chariot fell down to the earth and along with it the king.
The king not knowing the reason behind his fall, saw Krishna, who was dressed like a cowherd. Krishna told the king that there was only one way to get rid of his sin of killing the cows. The King reluctantly agreed to do Krishna’s bidding for fear of his sins. Krishna smiled and said that he wanted thousand pots of butter after which the king will be free of his sins.
The king was delighted at being let off lightly. He sent his minions everywhere to collect thousand pots of butter. His minions too did his bidding and all the pots were collected. Alas! when the king counted the pots there was butter only in nine hundred and ninety nine pots. One pot was empty and the king tried to fill it up to no avail. So the king decided to cheat. He hid the empty pot in the midst of all the pots filled with butter. Then he called Krishna telling him that he had thousand pots of butter ready.
Krishna looked at all the pots and in a jiffy they were all empty. He then told the king, “where is the butter, they are all empty pots.” The king realized his folly and fell at Krishna’s feet asking for forgiveness and that he should remain in his kingdom. Krishna agreed and it is also said that the king built a temple for Aamaruviappan.
Therazhundur is 12 kms west of Mayiladuthurai and 26 kms east of Kumbakonam. Therazhundur has another significance. It was the place where Kambar was born. (Kambar wrote the Kamba Ramayana)