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Pilgrimages of Tamil Nadu

  1. Kanchipuram (Famous abode of Devi Kamakshi as Kanchi Shakti Peetha, Mukti Puri, Pancha Bhoota Sthalam and an ancient seat of learning)
  2. Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga (Jyotirlinga)
  3. Thiruvanaikkaval (Panchabhoota Sthalam representing Water)
  4. Thiruvannamalai (Panchabhoota Sthalam representing Fire)
  5. Chidambaram (Where Shiva performed Tandava dance as Nataraja, Panchabhoota Sthalam representing Space and Divya Desam)
  6. Kanyashrama Shakti Peetha (Shakti Peetha)
  7. Anala Shakti Peetha (Shakti Peetha)
  8. Madurai (Famous pilgrimage of Devi Meenakshi)
  9. Koothanur (Pilgrimage of Devi Saraswati)
  10. Thirupparankundram (Arupadai Veedu)
  11. Tiruchendur (Arupadai Veedu)
  12. Palani (Arupadai Veedu)
  13. Swamimalai (Arupadai Veedu)
  14. Tiruttani (Arupadai Veedu)
  15. Pazhamudircholai (Arupadai Veedu)


Mukti Puri:

Kanchipuram:

Devi Kamakshi, Kanchipuram Kanchi Ekambareshwara Kanchi Ekambareshwara Temple Sri Varadaraja Swamy, Kanchipuram Sri Varadaraja Swamy Temple, Kanchipuram - Mukti Puri: Kanchipuram is one of the 7 Mukti Puris known by the ancient name of Kanchi.
(Sapta Mukti Puris are: Mathura, Ayodhya, Mayapuri, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika, Dwarka)

- Pancha Bhoota Sthalam: Kanchipuram has one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams, the Ekambareswara temple representing the Prithivi Lingam (Earth).
(Pancha Bhoota Sthalams are: Kanchipuram Ekambareswara [Prithivi Lingam], Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara [Jala Lingam], Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara [Agni Lingam], Srikalahasti Srikalahasteeswara [Vayu Lingam], Chidambaram Nataraja [Akasha Lingam])

- Ekambareswara Temple: The legend of Ekambareswara temple is associated with the penance of Devi Parvati. According to legend, once when Lord Shiva was engaged in the task of creation etc., Devi Parvati in a jocular mood closed His eyes from behind. This led to a halt in the natural process. Shiva became angry and cursed Devi Parvati to go to earth and perform penance to expitiate her misdeed. Accordingly, Devi Parvati came to present Kanchipuram on the banks of river Kampa. She created a Shiva Lingam out of sand (Parthiva Linga), under a mango tree and started worshipping Lord Shiva. Shiva tested her devotion by creating various obstacles in Her penance. She overcame them. Finally Lord Shiva released river Ganga from His matted hair to wash off the Lingam. Devi Parvati clasped it tightly to Her bosom and protected it. Lord Shiva was pleased. He gave darshan to Devi Parvati and took Her back as His consort. The marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated here in the month of Phalguni on the 10th day of Uttiram.

- Shakti Peetha: Kanchipuram has one of the 51 Shakti Peethas known as Kanchi Shakti Peetha.
(Refer to the list of Shakti Peethas - Refer to Shakti Peetha Stotram)

- Divya Desams: Kanchipuram has several Divya Desams:
Thirukkachchi - Thiru Ashtabhuyakaram - Thiru Vekka - Thiru Velukkai - Thiruthanka - Thirukkalvanoor - Thiru Ooragam - Thiru Neeeragam - Thiru Kaaragam - Thirukkaar Vaanam - Thiruparameshwara Vinnagaram - Thiru Pavala Vannan - Thiru Nilathingal Thundam - Thiru Paadagam - Thiruputkuzhi

- Kanchipuram is located in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.



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Jyotirlinga:

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga:

Sri Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga, Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu Sri Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga, Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu Puranic Event:
The Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga is situated in the southern sea shore. Sri Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here to get his blessings before crossing the ocean and waging war against Ravana. Lord Shiva appeared before Rama and granted the boon of victory.
(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 31)


Pilgrimage:
The Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga is identified with the Rameshwaram temple by the sea-side (Bay of Bengal) on the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. There are 22 Tirthas within the temple complex where the pilgrims bathe.

For more details refer to Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga from Shiva Purana.



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Pancha Bhoota Sthalams:

1. Kanchipuram Ekambareswara - Earth:

Kanchi Ekambareswara:

Kanchi Ekambareshwara Kanchi Ekambareshwara Temple - Ekambareswara Temple: The legend of Ekambareswara temple is associated with the penance of Devi Parvati. According to legend, once when Lord Shiva was engaged in the task of creation etc., Devi Parvati in a jocular mood closed His eyes from behind. This led to a halt in the natural process. Shiva became angry and cursed Devi Parvati to go to earth and perform penance to expitiate her misdeed. Accordingly, Devi Parvati came to present Kanchipuram on the banks of river Kampa. She created a Shiva Lingam out of sand (Parthiva Linga), under a mango tree and started worshipping Lord Shiva. Shiva tested her devotion by creating various obstacles in Her penance. She overcame them. Finally Lord Shiva released river Ganga from His matted hair to wash off the Lingam. Devi Parvati clasped it tightly to Her bosom and protected it. Lord Shiva was pleased. He gave darshan to Devi Parvati and took Her back as His consort. The marriage of Shiva and Parvati is celebrated here in the month of Phalguni on the 10th day of Uttiram.

- Pancha Bhoota Sthalam: Kanchipuram has one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams, the Ekambareswara temple representing the Prithivi Lingam (Earth).
(Pancha Bhoota Sthalams are: Kanchipuram Ekambareswara [Prithivi Lingam], Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara [Jala Lingam], Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara [Agni Lingam], Srikalahasti Srikalahasteeswara [Vayu Lingam], Chidambaram Nataraja [Akasha Lingam])

- Kanchipuram is located in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.




2. Thiruvanaikkaval Jambukeswara - Water:

Thiruvanaikkaval:

Thiruvanaikkaval Thiruvanaikkaval Temple - Famous Pilgrimage of Shiva: Thiruvanaikkaval is associated with the legend of Devi Parvati worshipping Shiva. According to a legend, once Devi Parvati approached Lord Shiva for clarification of a doubt. Lord Shiva directed Her to perform penance at Thiruvanaikkaval. The Devi made a Lingam out of water and started worshipping the Lord. Hence the Lingam is known as Appu Lingam (Lingam of Water). (Water can be seen oozing out of the Lingam even today). At the proper time, Lord Shiva gave darshan to the Devi and cleared Her doubts. Devi Parvati is shown here facing Lord Shiva in the posture of taking upadesha.

- According to another legend, once there were two devotees of Lord Shiva in Mount Kailash known as Malyavan and Pushpadanta. Each wanted to excel the other in devotion to Lord Shiva. In due course, due to a quarrel they cursed each other. Pushpadanta became an elephant and Malyavan a spider. When they approached Lord Shiva, He advised them to go to the present Thiruvanaikkaval. Accordingly they started worshipping the Shiva Lingam under a Jambu tree. The elephant used to worship the Lingam by pouring holy water over it. The spider used to construct a canopy over the Lingam with cobweb to prevent dry leaves from falling over it. The elephant did not like the cobweb and used to destroy it. The spider became angry and one day went inside the trunk of the elephant and bit it severely. The elephant out of great pain dashed its trunk on the ground. Both of them died in this fight. Lord Shiva was pleased with their devotion and gave them darshan. The elephant got liberation. The spider was born as the son of Chola king Subhadeva and was named Kosenkannan. He remembered his previous birth and constructed a Shiva temple near the Jambu tree where he in his former birth worshipped the Shiva Lingam as a spider. Since an elephant worshipped Lord Shiva in this place (and got liberation), the place came to be known as Thiruvanaikka which means "grove of the holy elephant".

- Pancha Bhoota Sthalam: Thiruvanaikkaval has one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams, the Jambukeshwara temple representing the Jala Lingam (Water).
(Pancha Bhoota Sthalams are: Kanchipuram Ekambareswara [Prithivi Lingam], Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara [Jala Lingam], Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara [Agni Lingam], Srikalahasti Srikalahasteeswara [Vayu Lingam], Chidambaram Nataraja [Akasha Lingam])

- Thiruvanaikkaval is located in the Tiruchirapalli district of Tamil Nadu.




3. Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara - Fire:

Thiruvannamalai:

Shiva Arunachala mountain & Arunachaleswara temple - Famous pilgrimage of Shiva: Thiruvannamalai is associated with the legend of Lord Shiva as Arunachaleswara. According to this legend, Lord Shiva manifested here in the form of a Taijasha Linga (an infinite column of Fire) before Brahma and Vishnu. On the request of the devas to manifest in a visible form so they can worship Him, Lord Shiva manifested as Sona-Shaila, the great Arunachala mountain. Refer to the story of Arunachala from Arunachala Mahatmya of Skanda Purana.

- Pancha Bhoota Sthalam: Thiruvannamalai is one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams, the Arunachaleswara mountain representing the Agni Lingam (Fire).
(Pancha Bhoota Sthalams are: Kanchipuram Ekambareswara [Prithivi Lingam], Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara [Jala Lingam], Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara [Agni Lingam], Srikalahasti Srikalahasteeswara [Vayu Lingam], Chidambaram Nataraja [Akasha Lingam])

- Thiruvannamalai is located in the Thiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu.




4. Chidambaram Nataraja - Space / Sky:

Chidambaram:

Nataraja Chidambaram Temple - Famous pilgrimage of Nataraja: Chidambaram is associated with the legend of Lord Shiva. According to this legend, once Lord Shiva went to Darukavana in the form of a mendicant to remove the pride of learning of the rishis there. Shiva was having a begging bowl in his hand and He was accompanied by Mohini (Lord Vishnu in disguise). The wives of the rishis were greatly attracted by this beautiful pair. The rishis became angry because of this and tried to destroy them through supernatural powers. They sent a tiger. Shiva killed it and wrapped the tiger skin on His waist. Then they sent a poisonous serpent. Shiva tied it around His neck. Thereafter they sent Apasmara Muyalaka. Shiva crushed him under His feet. The rishis became humble and confessed defeat. Shiva was pleased and started to dance the great Tandava dance before the gods and the rishis. Lord Adisesha hearing the description of the great Tandava dance of Shiva yearned to see it himself. He performed penance and had the darshan of Shiva. Shiva directed him to go to the forest of Tillai. Adisesha incarnated as Patanjali and went to the forest of Tillai. Rishi Vyaghrapada joined him there. Both of them started worshipping Shiva in the form of Swayambhu Linga. (The hermitage of Patanjali is at Ananteeswaram and Vyaghrapada at Tirupapuleeswaram in Chidambaram). When the time was ripe, Lord Shiva appeared there in the form of Nataraja and performed the Ananda Tandava in the presence of Sivakamasundari, the gods and the rishis including Patanjali and Vyaghrapada. The Chit Sabha, the innermost portion of the temple is the place where Lord Shiva performed His Ananda Tandava.

- Pancha Bhoota Sthalam: Chidambaram has one of the Pancha Bhoota Sthalams, the Nataraja temple representing the Akasha Lingam (Sky or Space).
(Pancha Bhoota Sthalams are: Kanchipuram Ekambareswara [Prithivi Lingam], Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara [Jala Lingam], Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara [Agni Lingam], Srikalahasti Srikalahasteeswara [Vayu Lingam], Chidambaram Nataraja [Akasha Lingam])

- Divya Desam: Chidambaram is one of the 108 Divya Desams known as Thiruchitrakootam Divya Desam.
(Refer to the list of Divya Desams)

- Chidambaram is located in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.


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Paadal Petra Sthalams:

Most of the Paadal Petra Sthalams are located in Tamil Nadu.


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Shakti Peethas:

1. Devi Devagarbha at Kanchi Shakti Peetha:

Devi Kamakshi, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu Devi Kamakshi temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu Puranic Event:
Devi's Kankaala (Skeleton) fell at Kanchi where She is known as Devagarbha and the Bhairava is called Ruru.
(from Peetha Nirnaya texts)


Pilgrimage:
The Kanchi Shakti Peetha is identified with the Devi Kamakshi temple at Kanchipuram in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. The Shakti Peetha is normally identified with the Adi Kamakshi temple of Kanchipuram. There is also a temple in Bolpur, West Bengal which is identified with this Shakti Peetha.



2. Devi Sarvani at Kanyashrama Shakti Peetha:

Devi Kanyakumari, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu Devi Kanyakumari temple, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu Puranic Event:
Devi's Pristha (Back) fell at Kanyashrama where She is known as Sarvani and the Bhairava is called Nimisha.
(from Peetha Nirnaya texts)


Pilgrimage:
The Kanyashrama Shakti Peetha is identified with the Devi Kanyakumari temple in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. The Shakti Peetha is identified with the Bhadrakali shrine within the temple complex. Kanyakumari is at the southermost part of India where the three seas meet - Bay of Bengal, Arabian sea and the Indian ocean.



3. Devi Narayani at Anala Shakti Peetha:

Sthanumalayam temple, Suchindram, Tamil Nadu Puranic Event:
Devi's Urdhva Danta (Upper row of Teeth) fell at Anala where She is known as Narayani and the Bhairava is called Samhara.
(from Peetha Nirnaya texts)


Pilgrimage:
The Anala Shakti Peetha is identified with the Sthanumalayam temple at Suchindram in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.


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Famous pilgrimages of Devi:

Madurai:

Devi Meenakshi Madurai Meenakshi Temple - Famous pilgrimage of Devi Meenakshi: The Meenakshi Temple of Madurai is the place where the divine marriage of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswara was held. According to legend, Vidyavati was an ardent devotee of Devi Parvati. Moved by her devotion, Goddess Parvati appeared before her in the form of a young girl and told her to ask for a boon. Vidyavati asked the boon that the Goddess be born as her daughter in the same form as she has appeared before her. Goddess Parvati told her that in her next birth when she (Vidyavati) will be the wife of Malayathuvasa Pandyan, She will be born as her daughter. Vidyavati was born as Kanchanamalai in her next birth and was married to king Malayathuvasan. They had no sons. In order to get a son, they performed a yagya. From the sacrificial fire, a three year old girl came out. Malayathuvasan was disappointed that he did not get a son. Also the girl has three breasts. A divine voice said that the girl be named as Thadathagai, and She should be brought up like a son. Her third breast would disappear when She will meet her husband. So the girl was brought up like a prince. When She came of age, the king performed her coronation as his successor. Thadathagai embarked on a march of conquests and everywhere She was victorious. Finally She marched to Mount Kailash, an abode of Lord Shiva. She defeated the Bhootaganas. Finally Shiva appeared in the scene of the battle. When Thadathagai saw Lord Shiva, her face lighted up, her third breast disappeared and She stood still. Lord Shiva told Her to return to the capital where He promised to come to marry Her on the eighth day. The divine marriage was celebrated in Madurai, which was attended by the devas and the sages.

- Madurai is located in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.




Koothanur:

Devi Saraswati Koothanur Saraswati Temple - Pilgrimage of Devi Saraswati: In Koothanur Devi Saraswati abides as Maha Saraswati. The Goddess is in penance posture with one leg folded in yogasana posture. She has three eyes.

- Koothanur is located in the Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu.



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Divya Desams:

Most of the Divya Desams are located in Tamil Nadu.


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Arupadai Veedus - Six Abodes of Murugan:

1. Sri Subramanya Swamy of Thirupparankundram:

Sri Subramanya Swamy of Thirupparankundram Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple of Thirupparankundram Puranic Event:
Thirupparankundram is one of the Aarupadai Veedu (one of the six holy abodes of Muruga). Sri Muruga married Devayanai here after vanquishing the demon Surapadman at Tiruchendur. Devayanai was the daughter of Maha Vishnu named Amritha Valli. She performed penance in the Saravana Poigai in order to become the consort of Sri Subramanya. Pleased with her penance, Subramanya blessed her that she will be brought up by Indra as his daughter in due course, and during that time He will marry her. The marriage took place at Thirupparankundram.

Pilgrimage:
The Thirupparankundram Subramanya Swamy temple is located in Thirupparankundram, a hill near Madurai in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.



2. Sri Senthil Andavar Swamy of Tiruchendur:

Sri Senthil Andavar Swamy of Tiruchendur Sri Senthil Andavar Swamy Temple of Tiruchendur Puranic Event:
Tiruchendur is one of the Aarupadai Veedu (one of the six holy abodes of Muruga). Sri Muruga vanquished the demon Surapadman here with His Vel (spear), in a terrible battle which lasted for six days. This is celebrated as a festival of six-days known as Surasamharam. This festival ends on the day of Skanda Shasthi.

Pilgrimage:
The Tiruchendur Senthil Andavar Swamy temple is located on the sea-shore near Tuticorin in the Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu.



3. Sri Dandayudhapani Swamy of Palani:

Sri Dandayudhapani Swamy of Palani Sri Dandayudhapani Swamy Temple of Palani Puranic Event:
Palani is one of the Aarupadai Veedu (one of the six holy abodes of Muruga). Sri Muruga left Kailasha and moved to Palani after a challenge with brother Ganesha. Once Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati in order to test their sons Ganesha and Muruga, challenged them in a race to encircle the world. Whoever does it first will get a special fruit as a prize. While Sri Muruga set off on His peacock, Sri Ganesha encircled his divine parents saying that they were the universe themselves. When Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati declared Sri Ganesha as the winner, Sri Muruga in frustration left Mount Kailasha and came to Palani. Sri Muruga was clad only with a loin cloth like an ascetic, and He was holding a dandam (staff). Hence he is called Dandapani or Dandayudha Pani.

Pilgrimage:
The Palani Dandayudhapani Swamy temple is located near Kodaikanal in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu.



4. Sri Swaminatha Swamy of Swamimalai:

Sri Swaminatha Swamy of Swamimalai Sri Swaminatha Swamy Temple of Swamimalai Puranic Event:
Swamimalai is one of the Aarupadai Veedu (one of the six holy abodes of Muruga). Sri Muruga expounded the Pranava Mantra to Lord Shiva in this place. Once when Lord Brahma was proceeding to Kailasha, child Muruga asked him the meaning of Pranava Om. When Brahma admitted his ignorance, Muruga imprisoned him. On the request of the devas, Lord Shiva commanded Muruga to release Brahma, and asked whether he himself knew the meaning of Pranava Om. Muruga replied that he knew the meaning of Om and can expound it only if he (Shiva) approaches him (Muruga) as a disciple. Lord Shiva out of fatherly love agreed and listened to the exposition of Om from Muruga at Swamimalai.

Pilgrimage:
The Swamimalai Swaminatha Swamy temple is located on a small hillock near Kumbakonam in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu.



5. Sri Subramanya Swamy of Tiruttani:

Sri Subramanya Swamy of Tiruttani Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple of Tiruttani Puranic Event:
Tiruttani is one of the Aarupadai Veedu (one of the six holy abodes of Muruga). Sri Muruga led a calm and peaceful life of meditation here and also married Valli in this place.

Pilgrimage:
The Tiruttani Subramanya Swamy temple is located on a hill near Kanchipuram in the Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu.



6. Sri Murugan of Pazhamudircholai (Pazhamuthircholai):

Sri Murugan of Pazhamudircholai (Pazhamuthircholai) Sri Murugan Temple of Pazhamudircholai (Pazhamuthircholai) Puranic Event:
Pazhamudircholai (Pazhamuthircholai) is one of the Aarupadai Veedu (one of the six holy abodes of Muruga). Sri Muruga along with Sri Valli and Sri Deivayanai gave darshan to his devotees here.

Pilgrimage:
The Pazhamudircholai (Pazhamuthircholai) Murugan temple is located on the slopes of Alagar hills (or Azhagar hills) near Madurai in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.


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All India Char Dham:

Rameshwaram (Setu) - A Jyotirlinga and a all India Char Dham: Refer above.


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Pilgrimages by States:

North India: Jammu and Kashmir - Himachal Pradesh - Uttarakhand - Punjab - Haryana - Rajasthan - Uttar Pradesh

West India: Gujarat - Maharashtra

Central India: Madhya Pradesh

East India: Assam - Meghalaya - Tripura - Jharkhand - Odisha - West Bengal

South India: Karnataka - Andhra Pradesh - Kerala - Tamil Nadu



Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:

1. Stotras by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha - Hanuman - Gurudeva - Gayatri
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - (Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) - Parvati
Others: Murugan - Surya - Ganga - Yamuna - Narmada - Others
Final: Vedas - Brahman

2. Pilgrimages by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - Lakshmi - (Parvati - Shakambari)
Others: Murugan - Ganga

3. Sadhana: Sadhana - Hermitages - Penances

4. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints

5. Sacred Geography: Forests - Mountains - Rivers - Lakes

6. Puranas: Scriptures

7. Religious Life: Stotras - Puja - Pilgrimages - Festivals - Varnashramas - Samskaras - Traditions

8. Other Aspects: Sanskrit - Arts - Music - Dance - Medicine - Architecture - Astronomy

Green Corner: >>



Om, May there be Peace in Heaven,
May there be Peace in the Sky,
May there be Peace in the Earth,
May there be Peace in the Water,
May there be Peace in the Plants,
May there be Peace in the Trees,
May there be Peace in the Gods in the various Worlds,
May there be Peace in Brahman,
May there be Peace in All,
May there be Peace Indeed within Peace,
Giving Me the Peace which Grows within Me,
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

(Shanti Mantra of Upanishad)

Preserve Nature,
And Nature will preserve Us,
Simplify Life,
And make the Nature thrive,
Plant Trees,
And make our planet Green.

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Green Message: The Evergreen Messages of Spirituality, Sanskrit and Nature

Last updated on Apr-2017

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