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Thiruvotriyur Paadal Petra Sthalam - Adipureeshwarar Temple

Lord ShivaMeditation: I meditate on Sri Adipureeshwarar and Sri Tripurasundari (Vadivudai Amman) in Thiruvotriyur Paadal Petra Sthalam.

Greatness: Thiruvotriyur is a Paadal Petra Sthalam whose hymn was sung by Thirugnana Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar. It is the 19th Paadal Petra Sthalam located in Thondai Nadu. The name Thiruvotriyur is derived from Thiru and Otriyur. Since Lord Shiva dried up the waters of deluge to start the creation, the place came to be known as Otriyur (Otri means drying up). Also, since the Lord appeared as the first Linga or Adi Linga during the start of creation, he is known as Adipureeshwarar.

Puranic Events:

1. Lord Shiva & Brahma: Lord Shiva manifested as Adi Lingam in this place when prayed by Lord Brahma.
- Brief story: During the time of dissolution of creation (after a Yuga), everything was destroyed and there remained only the great waters of deluge (pralaya). When the time of recreation came, Lord Brahma prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva dried up the waters of deluge with the heat of his Shakti and manifested as a Shiva Lingam under a Magizha tree (Bakula tree). Since the Lord dried up the waters, the place came to be known as Otriyur (Otri means drying up). Also, since the Lord appeared as the first Linga or Adi Linga (which was self-manifested or Swayambhu), he came to be known as Adipureeshwarar.

2. Lord Shiva & Vasuki: Serpent Vasuki worshipped Lord Shiva in this place. Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a snake mound and blessed him. Hence Lord Shiva is also known as Padambakkanathar.

3. Lord Shiva & Nakshatras: The 27 Nakshatras worshipped the Lord at Thiruvotriyur. There are 27 Shiva Lingams in this temple, one for each Nakshatra.

4. Lord Shiva & Sundarar: Lord Shiva helped Sundarar Nayanar to get married to Sangili in this place.
- Brief story: Sundarar was an attendant of Lord Shiva at Kailasha. He was attracted by two attendants of Devi Parvati who were also born on earth and was destined to marry Sundarar. One was Paravai whom Sundarar married at Thiruvarur. The other was Sangili whom Sundarar met at Thiruvotriyur. Sundarar requested Lord Shiva to help in this marriage. Lord Shiva came in the dreams of Sangili and told her to marry Sundarar. Sangili knowing that Sundarar had earlier married Paravai, gave the condition that Sundarar needs to stay permanently at Thiruvotriyur and for that he should take an oath before Lord Shiva. Sundarar was in dilemma because he cannot stay permanently at Thiruvotriyur since he needs to move around and spread the glory of Lord Shiva. However, he also wanted to marry Sangili without taking the oath before Lord Shiva. Therefore he requested Lord Shiva to leave the temple during their marriage and move to the Magizha tree. Lord Shiva conveyed this ploy of Sundarar to Sangili. Sangili made Sundarar marry her under the Magizha tree and made him take the oath there. Since Sundarar took the oath before Lord Shiva and broke it later, he lost his eyesight. He got back the sight of one of his eye later in Kanchipuram Ekambareshwarar Temple and other at the Thiruvarar temple.
- Note: The footprints of Lord Shiva can be seen beneath the Magizha tree where the wedding took place.

5. Lord Shiva & Kaliya Nayanar: Lord Shiva gave darshan to Kaliya Nayanar for his devoted service of providing oil to burn the lamps of the temple.
- Brief story: Kaliya Nayanar (44th Nayanar) was a rich oil merchant residing in Thiruvotriyur who used to extract oil from various seeds and nuts. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and served the Lord by providing oil to burn the lamps inside the temple. However, due to the huge expenditure of this service, his wealth started diminishing. Kaliya Nayanar continued the service by selling his properties and soon became poor. He still continued his service by working as a wage labourer and also borrowing oil from kith and kin. However this also became difficult as young people competed for the service. In desperation Kaliya Nayanar decided to sell his wife with her consent so that she can earn some money by working. However, no one bought her. Finally, one day the Nayanar made the lamps ready and took up a knife to draw blood from his body and light the lamps. Lord Shiva prevented him and manifested with the Divine Mother. The Lord blessed him and took him to his own abode.

6. Devi Parvati & Vallalar: Vadivudai Amman fed Vallalar in this place.
- Brief story: Saint Vallalar used to visit the shrine of Vadividai Amman every day (walking several miles) during his stay at Chennai. Thereafter, he used to go to his brother's house for food. It is said that once when the brother's house was locked, Vadivudai Amman came in the form of his brother's wife and fed him.
- Note: Vadivudai Amman is one of the Tri-Shakti temples of Chennai. The Tri-Shakti temples are Thiruvudai Amman Temple at Melur (near Minjur) (Iccha Shakti), Vadivudai Amman Temple at Thiruvotriyur (Gnana Shakti) and Kodiyidai Amman Temple at Thirumullaivoyil (Kriya Shakti). It is considered meritorious to visit these temples on a single day in the morning, afternoon and evening respectively.

7. Devi Parvati & Thyagaraja: Sri Thyagaraja, the great carnatic music composer, composed Thiruvottiyur Pancharatna, the 5 Gems in praise of goddess Tripurasundari.

- Adipureeshwarar: Lingam of Sri Adipureeshwarar.
- Ottreeshwarar: Lingam of Sri Ottreeshwarar.
- Vadivudai Amman: Image of Devi Vadivudai Amman (Tripurasundari).
- Vattaparai Amman: Image of Devi Vattaparai Amman.
- Nakshatra Lingams: There are 27 Shiva Lingams, one for each Nakshatra.

Sacred Geography:
- Brahma Teertham: Pushkarini of the temple.
- Nandi Teertham: Pushkarini of the temple.
- Magizham Tree: Sthala Vriksha of the temple.
- Athi Tree: Sthala Vriksha of the temple.

Location: Thiruvotriyur is located in the Chennai district of Tamil Nadu. This is in Thondai Nadu. The temple can be visited from Chennai (within Chennai city).

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Last updated on Apr-2022

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