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Archive for February, 2009

Thiruvaikavur

Once in the town of Thiruvaikavur, there lived a hermit who meditated upon Lord Shiva. One day when he was in penance at the temple, a deer ran upto him and sought refuge from the hunter who was following it. The hermit took pity upon the deer and prayed to Lord Shiva to save the deer.
As per his devotees’ wish the Lord sent a tiger to attack the hunter. Now it was the hunter’s turn to run and he ran for dear life from the tiger. Spotting a tree, the hunter climbed up the tree and sat on the tallest branch. But the tiger never left the tree. It sat underneath the tree waiting for the hunter to get down. Night fell but the tiger sat there. The hunter was now worried that he would fall from the tree if he fell asleep. So he began plucking a leaf off the tree to keep himself from sleeping throughout the night.
Now that night was Shivaratri and the hunter covered the sleeping tiger with the leaves from the Bilva tree on which he was sitting. In the place of the tiger there was a shiva linga. Since he had spent the whole night dropping the leaves on the linga, the Lord decided to bless him. According to fate, the hunter was destined to die the next morning, but Lord Shiva is said to have taken the form of Dakshinamurthi and blew away the advances of Lord Yama, the god of death. Nandi also followed suit when his master blew Lord Yama with wind from his nostrils.
Thus the hunter was saved from death. The temple in Tiruvaikavur has Nandi looking out at the entrance, unlike other temples where Nandi sits looking at his master.
Thiruvaikavur is 19 km north of Kumbakonam and 6km from Swamimalai. It is believed that praying in this temple on the day of Shivaratri wards off the fear of death.

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Once upon a time river Krishna’s flow was obstructed by hills. So some parts in the area looked famine stricken and people could not grow anything in those fallow lands. People in the area prayed to Lord Shiva for good water.
Shiva, pleased with their prayers decided to remove the obstruction on the river Krishna. He made a big opening in the mountain. The Krishna was routed through this opening and made its water available to the people on the other side. Since the water gushed out of a tunnel the place came to be known as Bezwada. (‘Bejum’ meaning tunnel/hole)
During the Dwapara Yuga, the Pandavas and Kauravas began their battle. Krishna sent Arjuna to get the Pasupatastra and the place where Arjuna meditated for victory became known as Vijayawada. Sitting atop the Indrakeela mountain Arjuna did his penance. Shiva is said to have tested Arjuna by arriving there as a wild boar and fought with Arjuna after which he presented him with the weapon Pasupathastra.
This place is where Durga arrived as Kanakadura to kill Mahishasura according to the Puranas.
Mahishasura is said to have roamed these forests harassing the people upon which the people prayed to the Goddess to save them from the demon.
During this time there was a hermit by name Indrakeela. When the Goddess arrived in the mountains, he prayed that she reside on his head and save the people from the demon. The Goddess agreed and killed the demon. She later resided in the hills and is known as Kanakadurga. The unique feature of this Goddess is that her idol with eight hands has the look of a beautiful maiden during the day time and an old woman during the evenings. According to legend the goddess is said to have rained gold once and hence her name Kanakadurga. (“Kanaka meaning gold”)

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