Mahalingaswamy Temple at Thiruvidaimarudhur near Kumbakonam is one of the three Shiva temples having Marudha tree as its sthala vruksham. The other two are Sri Sailam (Andhra) and Thiruppudaimarudur, Ambasamudram. As this is located between the two it is known as Thiruvidaimarudhur (Thiru + Idai + marudhur); thiru, Idai and Marudhur meaning Sacred, middle and place where Marudha tree is the sthala vruksham. The presiding deity in this temple is Mahalingeswarar. His consort is Brihathsundarakujambigai or Nanmulainayaki. Some consider this temple equivalent to Kasi. The pooja is first performed to Mahalingaswamy in this temple and only then to Vinayakar. This is a huge temple with three praharams (circumambulatory paths). They are ashvamedha praharam, kodumudi praharam and pranava praharam. Ashvamedha praharam is the outermost praharam and circumambulation of this Praharam equals the benefit of performing an Ashvamedha Yagnam. Benefits include; relief from illness caused due to seivinai (evil spirits). Kodumudi Praharam is the middle one, and circumambulation of this Praharam is equivalent to circumambulation of Mount Kailash which is the primary abode of Lord Shiva. The innermost praharam is the Pranava Praharam or Omkara Praharam. Circumambulation of this Praharam will result in Moksham (liberation from all sufferings and pain).
Mahalingeswarar here is the main deity of the Parivara sthalams. Parivara Sthalams are a group of temples which together form a much larger temple. The Presiding deity of such a huge temple is Mahalingeswarar at Thiruvidamarudhur. The Group of temples which form this large temple is as follows:
- Mahalingeswarar at Thiruvidaimarudhur
- Vinayakar at Thiruvalanchuzhi
- Murugan at Swamimalai
- Ambal at Thirukkadaiyur
- Dakshinamurthy at Alangudi
- Navagraha Sannidhi at Suryanar Koil
- Saneeswaran at Thirunallar
- Durgai at Patteeswaram
- Chandikeswarar at Sengalur
- Bhairavar at Sirkali
- Natarajar at Chidambaram
- Somaskandar at Tiruvarur
- Nandikeswarar at Tiruvavaduturai
There are four other main Lingams viz Viswanathar, Rishipureeswarar, Aatmanathar and Chokkanathar around the Presiding Deity. Since there are five Lingams, this place is a Panchalinga sthalam. Apart from these five Lingams there are also Lingams dedicated to each of the 27 nakshatrams (Birth Stars). All these 27 birth stars installed a Lingam each and worshipped Lord Shiva here. This is the temple for performing parihara pooja (remedial pooja) for the malefic effects of the Birth stars.
This temple is closely connected to the life of a Pandya King by name Varaguna Pandyan. Once when Varaguna Pandyan was returning from a hunting expedition, his horse accidentally trampled upon and killed a Brahmin. Since he was the cause of the death of a Brahmin he was afflicted with Brahmahatti Dosham (Sin due to murder of Brahmin). As a result, he was constantly haunted by the Brahmin’s ghost. The King prayed to Somasundarar at Madurai seeking relief from this sin. Lord Somasundarar appeared in the King’s dream and directed him to pray Him at Thiruvidaimarudhur for relief. Thiruvidaimarudhur was under Chola rule and they were bitter enemies of the Pandyas. There was a war between the two in which the Cholas were defeated. The King then visited the temple at Thiruvidaimarudhur as per the Divine guidance and prayed to Lord Mahalingeswarar. He entered the temple through the Eastern entrance and the Brahmahatti and the ghost could not enter the temple and waited outside the temple for the King to return. As advised by Mahalingaswamy, the King left by the Western Gopuram (Tower) and hence got rid of the Brahmatti dosham and the Brahmin’s ghost. Even today, devotees use different gopurams to enter and exit the temple premises.
The Shiva Lingam here is a swayambhu (self manifested) Lingam. In the process of teaching and demonstrating the Worship procedures to the Seven Great Sages, Lord Shiva is believed to have worshipped himself here. Lord Shiva blessed Markandeyan by appearing before him in the form of Ardhanareeswarar. There is a shrine for Mookambiga in this temple which is to the south of the Goddess’ shrine. Apart from Thiruvidaimarudhur the only other place in India to have a shrine for Mookambiga is Kollur in Karnataka.
Thiruvidaimarudhur is 8 kms from Kumbakonam on Kumbakonam Mayiladuthurai Road. There are frequent buses from Kumbakonam.
Temple Timings: 6 AM to 12 Noon 4 PM to 9 PM
Other Temples nearby:
Thirumangalakudi and Suryanar Koil
Sivayoginathar temple at Thiruvisanallur
Karkadeswarar temple at Thirundudevankudi
Rahu temple at Thirunageswaram
Thirubuvanam Kambahareswarar Temple
Neelakandeswarar Temple, Thiruneelakudi
Arulmigu Mahalingaswamy Temple
Temple Phone Number: 0435 – 2461946, 2460660