Thiruvakkarai is a place where one can find shrines of Lord Siva, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Shakti together. The sacred bathing ghat of this place is the Varaaga river.
Vakrasooran and Dhunmukhi:
Vakrasooran, a demon, placed Lord Siva in his throat and worshipped him. Impressed by his devotion, Lord Siva appeared before him and granted him his wish - an eternal life. The demon became arrogant and cruel, tortured the Devas and Rishis, who then went to Lord Siva to complain.
Lord Siva then asked Lord Vishnu to kill the demon. Vishnu did so using his Chakraayudha. Vakrasooran's sister Dhunmukhi was equally cruel and it was left to Goddess Parvathi to destroy her. Since Dhunmukhi was carrying a child in her womb, there was a small hitch in killing her.
According to the sastras, it is a sin to kill a pregnant woman or a baby. So, Parvathi tore the demoness' stomach, took the baby out and wore it as her earring (kundalam) on her right ear. Thus, as Vakrakaali, She sits majestically in this sacred spot. Because of Vakrasooran's vatham and Parvathi appearing as Vakrakaali, the place is called Thiruvakkarai.
This gopuram lies in between the second stage of rajagopuram and in the right of the temple with lot of sculptures, called 'Kili gopuram', looks beautiful with a 100 -pillared mantap. But it is in a dilapidated condition and the devotees are warned not to go inside. It is believed to have been built 2,000 years ago. The Chandra Mouleeswarar temple, situated on 10 acres of land, was built by King Aditya Chozha. If anyone affected by the grahaas comes and worships Vakrakaali, Vakralingam, and Vakra Sani Bhagawan here, they will be rid of the troubles and the sorrows and lead a happy and peaceful life.
As soon as one crosses the rajagopuram, one can see the sanctum sanctorum of Vakrakaali. She appears with a skull on her head as crown, a dead foetus on her right ear, and has eight hands. She blesses her devotees with one leg folded on the peetam and the other hanging down. Full Moon days are special for this Goddess and devotees throng here to worship Her on this day.
On the Full Moon day, Kaali is adorned with 'Chandanakappu' and worshipped here. It is believed that if one visits this temple consecutively for three Full Moon days, their wishes would be fulfilled. On the right side of Kaali, is the Yogeshwara Lingam, and on Her left is Valampuri Vinayaka. As it is the tradition to establish one Valampuri Vinayaka for every 108 Shivalayas, if one sees one, it is equivalent to seeing 108 Vinayakas in the Shivalayas.
To the opposite side of the Kaali temple is the sanctum sanctorum of the Aathmalingam. As the demon worshipped with this lingam, it is also called as vakralingam. The lingam feels cool to touch during summer and droplets of water are found during rainy season.
Three faces of Lingam:
Lord Siva's name is 'Pirai Soodiya Peruman' and He is also called Chandra Mouleeswarar. The Lingam here is the Gnanalingam and has three faces (Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva). The east face is known as Thatpurudam, north face is known as Vaamadevam and the south face is known as Agoram.
Pooja is done for the Thatpurudam with turmeric smeared on the face at dawn; at noon, sandal is smeared on the face of Vaamadevam, and in the evening, the face of Agoram is smeared with saffron powder (kungumam).
Unusual Lord Nataraja:
Lord Nataraja's sanctum sanctorum is at the back of Pirai Soodiya Perumal's sanctum sanctorum. The Lord is found dancing the 'Rudra Tandavam' where His left foot is planted on the ground and right feet lifted up (usually He stands with His right foot lifted and left foot on the ground).
Ten feet Dwarapalakas stand on either side of this sanctum sanctorum.
Lord Varadaraja Perumal
The idol of a six feet tall Lord Varadharaja Perumal can be seen in a separate temple and it is said He appeared before His devotees after killing the demon at this place. Behind the Perumal's sanctum sanctorum is the Sahasralingam. The distinctive feature of this Lingam is that it has 1,008 Lingams carved on the main Lingam. Amirthambikai is the name of the Ambal here.
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