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Where legend adds lustre



The Siva temple at Pandikodumudi ... the lingam here bears the fingerprints of Sage Agastiya.

PANDIKODUMUDI, ONE of the seven shrines of Siva celebrated in Thevaram, has all the spiritual significance of a holy temple due to its association with the idol, location and river as indicated by Thayumanaswamigal.

Kodumudi, situated on the banks of the Cauvery, is 40 km from Erode on the Tiruchi-Erode railway line. Buses also ply from both Erode and Tiruchi to Kodumudi.

The shrine is glorified by the celestial songs of Appar, Sundarar and Sambandar, the great saints of Saivism. Perhaps this is the only shrine in Kongunadu where the Trinity of Hinduism — Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, together with Ambal, are worshipped.

A Pandya king named Malayadwaja Pandiyan built the three Rajagopurams of the shrine. Since the Pandya kings took keen interest in the temple and attended to the renovation work time and again, the place came to be known as Pandi Kodumudi.

The main shrine is flanked at the entrance by the Moon God and the Sun God who are supposed to be the two eyes of Lord Siva, along with the God of Fire on His forehead. In the sanctum sanctorum is enshrined the Lord in the form of a Lingam, which emerged on its own. Legend has it that Sage Agasthya embraced the Lingam so closely that it bears the fingerprints of the sage even today.

The 63 saints of Saivism (Nayanmars), Vigneswara and Umamaheswara, the sand-Linga improvised and worshipped by Agasthya, and Lord Subramanya with His two consorts Valli and Deivayanai have all niches of their own in the outer prahara. The inner prahara houses the idols of Lord Nataraja and Goddess Sivakami.

The shrine of Ambikai (consort of Siva) is located at the south. The goddess is known by the names of Soundarambikai and Panmozhiyal. At the rear of the temple, in between the shrines of Lord Siva and Goddess Ambikai, is located the temple of Veera Narayana Perumal reclining on the serpent, Adi Sesha. Beside Him are the images of Hanuman, Vibhishana, Paravasudeva, Narada, Sri Devi, Bhudevi and Garuda. To the right side of the shrine is the idol of Thirumangai Nachiyar. On the northern side is the sacred tree of the temple, Vanni.

When the temple was renovated, a number of beautiful bronzes were unearthed. Of them, the icons of Thripuranthaka, Somaskanda, Appar, Sundarar, Thirugnana Sambandar and Manickavachakar are the main attractions. An interesting phenomenon of the temple is that the sun's rays fall on the images of the presiding deities of Lord Siva and Goddess Ambikai for four days in the morning during the Tamil months of Avani and Panguni.

K. VENKATACHARI

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