Karkadeswarar temple at Thirundudevankudi is a fairly big temple surrounded by a moat. It is in the midst of paddy fields. There are only paddy fields as far as you can see.
According to the temple legend, Indran worshipped this Lingam here with 1008 Lotuses everyday. Varunan was given the task of creating those flowers in the temple moat. Indran ran short of a flower during pooja one day. He enquired with Varunan who was very confident that he had created 108 flowers. When this continued for a few days, Indran himself decided to keep a watch on the flowers. Ultimately, he noticed one of the flowers moving. The flower moved out of the water and into the garba graham (sanctum sanctorum) through the drain onto the top of the Shivalingam. On closer scrutiny, he saw that it was a Golden crab that had brought the flower from the waters. As he was about to hit the crab, it made a hole right on top of the Shivalingam and disappeared into it. Since then He came to be known as Karkadeswarar (Karkata means Crab). The image of a golden crab as well as the hole created by it can be seen on the Shivalingam during the ablution rituals (abhishegam). Thirundudevankudi could well be corruption of Thiru Nandu Devakankudi; Nandu meaning crab. It is believed that this Crab was a Yaksha who taunted Sage Dhurvasa. He mimicked the walk of the Sage and said that it was like the crawl of a crab and made fun of him. The Sage who was well known for his short temper, cursed the Yaksha to turn into a crab. Quickly realising his folly, the Yaksha apologised to the Sage and sought a remedy. The Sage advised him to worship Lord Shiva at this temple for absolution of his sin.
This place was originally an Aushada vanam or forest of medicinal herbs. During the ancient times this place could have been a Ayurvedic Dispensary. Lord Shiva here was originally called Aushadeswarar.
Another legend is that of Shiva, in the guise of an old man, having cured a devout King of his painful affliction. Hence He got the name Arumarundu Devar, the Lord of Medicine and Healing. He then showed him the spot where the Shivalingam is currently located.
There are two shrines to Ambal here, Arumarundu Nayaki and Apoorva Nayaki. The idol of Arumarundu Nayaki was once stolen. The stolen idol was recovered within a day of installing the replacement idol. Hence the original idol then came to be known as Apoorva Nayaki. The moat surrounding the temple is the Tirumaruvum Poikai.
There are temples dedicated to each of the 12 Rasis (Lunar Zodiac Sign) and each of the 27 Nakshatras (Birth Star). The Karkadeswarar temple is for Kataka or Karkata Rasi and Ahilyam or Ashlesha Nakshatram in particular. It is believed that people born under this rasi and nakshatram should visit this temple regularly and benefit from His blessings. People born under Ashlesha Nakshatram and/or Kataka Rasi are advised to light Nallennai vilakku (Sesame or Gingely Oil lamp) and worship Lord Shiva on ashtami (eighth day from New Moon or Full Moon), New Moon days, Tuesdays and Saturdays apart from Ahilya Nakshatram thithis to be blessed with prosperity, good health, peace of mind and overall happiness in life. People not born under this star or Rasi can also worship on the above mentioned days to be cured of any chronic illness.
This temple is about 2 kms from Thiruvisanallur. From Thiruvidaimarudhur this is at a distance of about 8 kms across the Cauvery. Thiruvisanallur is on the Suryanar – Thirumangalakudi – Swamimalai Road.
View Around Kumbakonam in a larger map
Other temples nearby:
Thiruvisanallur just less than 2 kms from here
Sridhar Ayyaval Ashram at Thiruvisanallur.
Thirubhuvanam Sarabeswarar temple
Boarding & Lodging: Nothing is available here. Thiruvidaimarudhur is the nearest town. You could stay at Kumbakonam, which is about 10 kms from here.
Temple Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM & 4 PM to & 7 PM. Please also enquire at Sivayoginathar temple in Thiruvisanallur before going here. As this is a very desolate place, it is advisable to go to this temple before sunset. It is for this reason this temple closes early by 7PM.
Arulmigu Karkadeswarar Temple