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About Thirukazhukundram

Thirukazhukundram or Thirukkalukundram is an ancient town in Kanchipuram district of the Tamil Nadu, South India. Thirukazhukundram is near Kalpakkam. Thirukazhukundram is located 70 km away from Chennai and 15 km away from the famous tourist town Mahabalipuram.

Thirukazhukundram is famous for its Hindu temple, Vedagiriswarar temple, popularly known as Kazhugu koil (Eagle temple). There are two temples, one in the basement of the hill and other atop the hill. The main attraction here is the large temple located atop the mountain which houses the deity of Vedagiriswarar, Lord Shiva. The temple at the foothills is devoted to Thirupurasundari amman, Parvathi, the consort. It is enclosed by four gopurams which resemble the temple architecture of Thiruvannamalai Annamalaiyaar temple.

Vedagiriswarar temple temple is located on the highway between Chennai and Kalpakkam. Inside the temple, there is big statue of Agrora Veerapathirar. It is also linked with Chengalpattu and Mahabalipuram. It is 25 kms. from Mamamallapuram and 10 kms from Chengalpattu. It is a saivaite shrine. Main god and goddess of the shrine are Thiripurasundari udanurai Vedagireeswarar. There is a separate temple called as Nalvar temple situated a kilometre away from the main temple.Another temple of Theerthapureeswarar at Sangu Theertham was established by Shri “Margandeyar”

The major attractions for the visitors are the two holy eagles appearing over the temple to worship the Lord every day. They come down to a rock where sweet rice is offered as food. To watch these eagles taking the food is a rare experience.

According to tradition, the four Vedas, Sama, Rig, Yajur, and Atharvana, are seen here in the shape of four boulders, placed one above the other, with Lord Siva as Vedagiriswarar, emerging from the head of the fourth Veda, Atharvana. Hence the place gets the name Vedagiri, where the presiding deity on the hilltop is Vedagiriswarar.

The the ertham is Changu theertham and the sthala vriksham is kadali (plantain) tree. The Moolavar is Vedagiriswarar and Ambal is Tirupurasundari. Several Saivaite saints and poets such as Sundarar, Appar, Manickavaasagar, Pattinathaar, Arunagirinathar, Andagakavi Veeraraga Mudaliar, Tiruporur Chidambaram Swaamigal, Ramalinga Adigalar, Ramanathapuram Somasundaram Pillai, Kanchipuram Mahavidwan Sabapathi Mudaliar have sung the praise of this sthalam.

History of Thirukazhukundram

The word Thirukazhukundram comes from the Tamil words Thiru (Respectful), Kazhugu (Eagle), Kundram (mount). It was known as "Thirukazhugukundram" in ancient times, which, over time became Thirukazhukundram. The town is also known as Pakshi Theertham (Bird's Holy Lake) because of a pair of birds -Most likely Egyptian Vultures- that are considered to have visited the site for centuries. These birds are usually fed by the temple priests and arrive before noon to feed on offerings made from wheat, rice, sugar and ghee.Although punctual, the failure of the birds to turn up was attributed to the presence of "sinners" among the onlookers. Legend has it the vultures (or "eagles") signify eight sages who were punished by Shiva with two of them leaving in each of a series of epochs. It has also been known as Brahmapuri,Uruthrakodi, Narayanapuri,Dinakarapuri,Nandipuri, Indrapuri, Muniganapuri in the past.

The Holy Hill

It is believed that the hill has numerous medicinal herbs and plants and therefore the cool breeze is said to cure sickness. As the Vedas exists as Hill - it is believed that undertaking circumambulation of the Hill gives effect equivalent to worshipping the Vedas.

Theerthams Around The Hill

There are 12 Theerthams (holy water tanks) around the hillock. They are :-
1. Varuna theertham,
2. Pakshi Theertham.
3. Nandi Theertham,
4. Kaushika Theertham,
5. MeygyAna Theertham,
6. Agasthiya Theertham,
7. Markandeya Theertham,
8. Vashishta Theertham,
9. Rudra Theertham,
10. Indra Theertham,
11. Agalikai Theertham,
12. Sambu Theertham

The temple has four gopurams (towers), the tallest with nine tiers (on the southern side) and the other three with seven tiers.The tank, Nandi Thirtham, is located in the prakaram of the temple,. It has a vast Nandi (mount of Siva), facing Vedagiriswarar on the hilltop. The absence of a Nandi before the presiding deity on the hilltop is a distinctive feature.Goddess Tirupurasundari has a special temple. Around the sanctum carved on marble slabs fixed on the walls, are verses from the "Abhirami Andhathi.

According to the legend the two birds fly every day from Varanasi on the Ganges(Northern India) to this temple flying about two thousand miles, arriving at noon. They have lunch here and then fly southern most point of India, to Rameswaram. They then fly north up the coast to Chidambaram, go to sleep, and in the morning they fly north to Varanasi for a bath in the Ganges and then off back to Thirukazhukundram again. They are not considered as normal birds but as fabulous "eight sages" or Asthavasus. In Indian Mythology, Asthvasus were safeguard to the eight points of the area. But they did sacrament on which Hindu Lord Shiva was angry and cursed them to turn into vultures. When they asked for forgiveness, Lord Siva directed them to the temple of Vedagiri Ishwara where they would be fed and worshiped. They remained there in the temple. In the last three yugams(epoch), three pairs died leaving the last couple surviving in this epoch. Legend also says that the birds will not come if there are sinners in the crowd which assembles at the temple.

The mystical bird pair used to appear every day at noon at Thirukazhukundram till 1998 . But one day they stopped coming and they simply vanished. For the local people its a bad sign and attributed to the presence of "sinners" among the onlookers. For a decade now, no fabulous birds has visited the temple but the ceremony is of practised by the temple priest in the hope that they eventually will turn up some day.


The four Nayanmars, Appar, Manickavasagar, Thirugnanasamandhar and Sundarar visited the temple complex and composed songs in honor of Vedagiriswarar. A temple, Nalvar Koil, is devoted to them. Arunagirinathar composed many of his hymns of Thirupugazh in Thirukazhukundram.


Sage Bharadwaja prayed to Shiva for a long life so he could learn all the Vedas.Shiva appeared before him and awarded him the wish to learn the Vedas and created three mountains each signifying a Veda (Rig, Yajur and Sama). Shiva took a handful of mud and said "Dear Bharadwaja! The Vedas that you could learn are only this handful compared to the mountains present here, even if you live much longer and hence, learning is never ending and could possibly cannot be the route for Salvation". Shiva also said that in Kaliyuga, the simplest and the surest way to salvation is Bhakti or unfettered devotion, service and love of God and his creations. It is considered that the hill on which the Vedagiriswarar temple is built is the fabulous mountains signifying Vedas created by Shiva himself. The name Vedagiriswarar means "the Lord of the Vedic Mountains" in Sanskrit.

Location of Thirukazhukundram

Thirukazhukundram is located on State Highway 58, It is about 70 km away from Chennai and 15 km away from the well-known tourist town Mahabalipuram. It is also 15 km away from Chengalpattu.



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