Vedagiriswarar Mandir Chengalpattu Tamil Nadu

Vedagiriswarar Mandir : Tale of two vegetarian vultures who visited Bhagwan Shiv for centuries

Tamil Nadu, located in the southern part of Bharat, is a state where there are thousands of Hindu Mandirs. Most of these Mandirs are thousands of years old and their history is also related to Sanatan. One such Mandir is at Tirukalukundram in Chengalpattu district, the Vedagiriswarar Mandir dedicated to Bhagwan Shiv and Mata Parvati. Known as ‘Pakshi Teertham’, this Mandir had a unique feature. For centuries, two such vultures used to come here who were completely vegetarian and used to accept the prasad made of rice, wheat, ghee and sugar from the hands of the Mandir pujari.

4 Ved, 4 Mountains and Vedagiriswarar Swami

This entire region has Puranic significance since the time of Sanatan. The great Bharadwaj Rishi did severe penance for Bhagwan Shiv. The aim was to get the boon of long life so that they could acquire complete knowledge of the 4 Veds. Bhagwan Shiv was pleased with the penance of Bharadwaj Rishi, but he kept one condition. Mahadev created four mountains in the form of symbols of the four Veds and took a handful of soil and told Bharadwaj Rishi that as much as this soil is in front of these mountains, Bharadwaj Rishi will be able to learn only that much about the Veds.

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Later on, the Mandirs of Bhagwan Shiv and Mata Parvati were built by the rulers of Pallava dynasty at the same place where the four mountains of Veds are situated. Vedagiriswarar means Bhagwan of the Ved mountains. The Mandirs located in this Pakshi Teertham complex have been built in Dravidian architecture.

Tajha Koil and Malai Koil, two great Mandirs located in the premises

There are separate Mandirs of Bhagwan Shiv and Mata Parvati in the Vedagiriswarar Mandir Complex or Pakshi Teertham Complex in Tamil Nadu. In the Mandir situated at the foot of the hill, Mata Parvati is seated in the form of Tripursundari along with Bhagwan Bhaktavacheleshwar. This Mandir of Mata Parvati is known as Tajha Koil.

On the other hand, Malai Koil with 4 gopurams is situated on the top of the hill where Vedagiriswarar Swami is seated, along with Mata Sokka Nayagi. This Mandir of Bhagwan Vedagiriswarar is also known as Kailash of the southern part of Bharat and Kazugu Koil.

Two vegetarian vultures reach Vedagiriswarar Mandir after taking a bath in the Ganga

In the past, Bhagwan Shiv cursed 8 Rishis to turn into vultures, but on the request of the Rishis, Bhagwan Shiv also blessed them that in each Yug two Rishis would be freed from the curse and attain Moksha. In Satyug, Tretayug and Dwaparayug, 6 Rishis attained Moksha due to the blessings of Bhagwan Shiv. In this sequence, 2 Rishis in the form of vultures kept coming to Vedagiriswarar Mandir to see Bhagwan Shiv in Kali Yug. It was believed that both the vultures would not come if there was a sinful person among those who saw them.

The journey of these vultures, who visit Bhagwan Shiv every day in the Vedagiriswarar Mandir, was not easy. First of all, both the vultures used to take bath in the Ganga in Varanasi, after that both reached Tirukalukundram and had darshan of Vedagiriswarar Swami. This was the time when both the vultures used to accept the offerings made of rice, wheat, ghee and sugar from the Mandir Pujari’s hands. Generally vultures depend on the remains of dead animals, but both these vultures were completely vegetarian.

Photo Credit : Edgar Thurston

After having darshan of Bhagwan Shiv at Vedagiriswarar Mandir, both the vultures reached Rameshwaram and after having darshan of Bhagwan Ramanathaswamy there, spend the night at Chidambaram Mandir. After that both the vultures reached Varanasi again to take bath in the Ganga and the same sequence of their journey continued. If we do a general calculation according to Google Map, then these two vultures used to cover a distance of about 4,870 km daily. Till 1998, both the vultures appeared in the Mandir but after that till date they were not seen. There is a possibility that either both the Rishis in the form of vultures have attained Moksha or now there is no such person left who is not a sinner.

How to reach Vedagiriswarar Mandir

Chengalpattu district of Tamil Nadu is well connected by road to the capital Chennai and other major cities and can be reached by using state transport buses. Chengalpattu also has easy connectivity with many cities located in the southern part of Bharat through rail. Chengalpattu Railway Station is at a distance of about 12 km from the Mandir. Apart from this, the distance of the Mandir from Chennai Junction is about 74 km and the means of transport are easily available to reach the Mandir. The nearest airport to Chengalpattu and Vedagiriswarar Mandir is located in Chennai, which is about 55 km from here.