Thiruverkaadu Sri Vedhapureeswarar
Thiruverkaadu is situated about 20 kms from Chennai city. It lies on the road branching out off Mount Poondhamalli Road near Kumananchaavadi.
Though Thiruverkaadu is much known for Sri Karumari Amman temple, there’s another ancient and older temple for Lord Shiva, called as Sri Vedhapureeswarar (also called Verkaatteesar). Goddess here is Sri Baalaambigai (also called Verkanni Ammai).
As per the legend, once when Lord Brahma, the creator was proceeding to Kailash, the playful child Lord Muruga asked him for the meaning of the Pranava Manthra "OM". When Brahma admitted that he did not know it, Lord Muruga imprisoned him. As a result, all creations came to a standstill and the Devas prayed to Lord Siva to get Brahma released.
Lord Shiva sent Sri Nandhigeswarar to talk to Lord Muruga and rescue Lord Brahma. But Lord Muruga didn’t listen to Sri Nandhigeswarar. So, Lord Shiva Himself decided and went to Lord Muruga and convinced Him to leave Lord Brahma.
Since Lord Muruga didn’t obey the words of Sri Nandhigeswarar, Lord Shiva ordered Him to go to Thiruverkaadu and worship Him here. Lord Muruga visited Thiruverkaadu, formed a Theertham (Pond) using his Vel (His weapon), installed a Shiva Lingam and worshipped Lord Shiva here. The Theertham created by Lord Muruga is called Velaayudha Theertham.
In this temple, we can see Lord Muruga in a separate shrine without any weapons in His hand. Also there is a Shiva Lingam seen in front of Lord Muruga which is rare to see.
Another history connected to this temple is, during Lord Shiva’s wedding everyone including Gods, Devas and Saints gathered at Mount Kailash to witness the celestial event. Because of this, the whole earth tilted towards North, where everyone gathered. Lord Shiva directed Sage Agasthiar to go towards South to balance the earth. Sage Agasthiar prayed the Lord saying that he will not be able to see the God’s wedding.
Lord Shiva granted him a boon that from wherever He prays the Lord, he can have the dharshan of His wedding. Sage Agasthiar on his way stayed here at Thiruverkaadu and worshipped Lord Shiva and had the Dharshan of Lord Shiva’s wedding. One can see Lord Shiva and the Goddess’s in ceremonial wedding posture just behind the Shiva Lingam inside the sanctum. Sage Agasthiar was blessed to have God’s dharshan from various places and Thiruverkaadu is one of them.
The temple is constructed on a vast area and the Raja Gopuram is facing east. The Rajagopuram is 5 tiered and has various sculptures on it.
Sri Nandhigeswarar is so beautifully present at the outer praakaaram decorated with many flowers and Vilvam, allowing us to have the Dharshan of Sri Vedhapureeswarar.
In the sanctum, we can see Sri Vedhapureeswarar in the form of Shiva Lingam and behind that the wedding posture of Lord Shiva and Sri Parvathi.
At the inner praakaaram, we can see the Naalvar viz Appar, Sundharar, Manickavaasagar and Thirugnanasambandhar. Along with them are seen the others among 63 Naayanmaars in a row at the southern praakaaram.
Sri Dhakshinamurthy is found at the southern side of the praakaaram. At the south western side there is a separate shrine for Sri Sannadhi Vinayagar.
The sanctum is apsidal which is called Gajabrishta shape (Thoonganai Maadam). Sri Lingothbavar is present behind the sanctum on the outer wall.
Just behind the sanctum, Sri Kasi Viswanathar, Sri Visalakshi, Anabaya Chozhan and Sekkizhar are seen facing East towards Sri Lingothbavar.
Sri Sandigeswarar is facing south towards the Lord and another Sri Sandeeswarar is also seen sitting and meditating the Lord looking towards the sanctum.
The Vimaanam of the sanctum is of the Gajabrishta shape (கஜப்ருஷ்ட விமானம்).
Ambaal Sri Balambigai is facing south and has Simha Vaahanam facing Her towards north.
The Shiva Ganaas are seen on the top of the walls of the temple on specific directions, guarding the whole temple.
There is a tall and beautiful Dhwajasthambham adding beauty to the temple.
There is a separate shrine for Sri Saneeswarar and Sri Moorgha Naayanaar on the north eastern side of the outer praakaaram. It is said that Sri Moorgha Naayanaar was born here at this place.
Sri Arunagirinaathar has sung Thiruppugazh on Lord Muruga here and has a separate shrine facing west on the south eastern side.
The Sthala Viruksham is called VeLvela Maram (வெள்வேல மரம்) which is seen on the outer praakaaram. There is a Shiva Lingam and Sri Nandhi under the Sthala Viruksham. The Theertham of this temple is called Velaayudha Theertham formed by Lord Muruga, which is under renovation now.
Thiruverkaadu is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams for Lord Shiva (Thiru Gnana Sambandar has sung hymns on Lord Shiva here) and is one of the renowned temples in Thondai Mandalam, which is worth visiting.