Thirusoolam Sri Thirusoolanaadhar
Thirusoolam is situated in Chennai, 1.5 km off GST Road, opposite to the present Airport. Though Thirusoolam means the weapon (Thrishul) of the Goddess Parvathi, the temple legend has an interesting background attached to it. As Lord Brahma, the creator worshipped Lord Shiva here; it was called as Brahmapuri originally. According to the stone inscriptions found in the temple, the place was called as Vaanavan Maadevi Chathurvedhi Mangalam., which later turned to become Pallavapuram (today’s Pallavaram).
Presently, the place is known as Thirusoolam. The temple is situated amidst 4 hills surrounding it. In Thamizh, the place between the hills is called ‘Churam’ (சுரம்) and hence this place was called as ‘Thiru Churam’ (திருச்சுரம்) which had later become Thirusoolam. The Lord too is known as Sri Thirusoolanaadhar and Goddess Sri Thiripurasundhari.
According to the legend, originally, Lord Brahma was 5 headed. As Lord Brahma was too proud of himself, Lord Shiva cut one of his heads off to bring down his ego. Later Brahma continued his duty of creation. He prayed Lord Shiva that he couldn’t concentrate on his duty because he was disturbed losing a head. Lord Shiva blessed him and granted peace of mind after which Lord Brahma continued his duties peacefully.
After this incident, as part of his duty, Lord Brahma created one of the most beautiful dancers of Devaloka, called Thilothama. After creating her, Lord Brahma himself fell in lust with her, because of her divine beauty. Lord Brahma went and spoke to her. Thilothama refused to accept him saying that as Brahma himself being her creator, he is in the position of her father and hence she can’t think of involving herself with him.
Knowing this, the Siva Ganas (Lord Shiva’s parivar) started chasing Lord Brahma, to punish him for the sin he committed. Lord Brahma hid himself, amidst the hills in this place and also realized his sin. To be relieved off the sin, Lord Brahma installed a Shiva Lingam here and started worshipping Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased with his prayers apologized Lord Brahma as he realized and admitted his sin.
This very ancient temple is beautifully located amidst 4 hills at Thirusoolam. It is believed that these 4 hills denote 4 Vedas. This temple is said to have been built during the reign of Kulothunga Chozha, about 1000 years ago. The Lord, Sri Thirusoolanaadhar is facing the east. Goddess Sri Thiripurasundhari is facing south, outside the sanctum. There is another idol for Goddess inside the main sanctum itself just in front of the Moolavar. It is said that, during some invasion, the original idol of the Goddess was damaged by intruders and a new idol was made and installed outside the sanctum. The then priest got a dream, in which he was directed by the God himself to place the damaged idol next to the main deity itself. So, the Goddess which was originally there, found a place just next to the main deity Himself.
The sanctum has been built in Gajabrishta or Thoongaanai Maadam (தூங்கானை மாடம்) shape. The inner Praakaaram has Lord Ganapathi facing the south. Here Lord Ganapathi is seen as ‘Naaga Yagnopaveetha Ganapathi’, as he is wearing the Naagam (snake) as his sacred thread. Sri Dhakshinamurthy here is also very unique. He is called as Veerasana Dhakshinamurthy, as He is seen sitting in the ‘Veerasana’ Posture, with his left leg folded and his right leg on the Muyalaka Asura. Other deities here are Sri Subramanyar, Sri Maha Vishnu, Sri Brahma, Sri Durgai, Sri Bhairavar and Naalvar inside the Praakaaram. The outer praakaram has shrines for Sri Ayyappan and Sri Aadhi Sankaracharya. Pradhosham and Maha Shivarathri days are celebrated in a grand manner at this temple. A small but wonderful temple secluded between the hills with great history behind it.