Thirukkadaiyur is a temple town on the east coast of Tamil Nadu about 300 km south of Chennai and 15 km north of Karaikal. The original temple, Thirukkadaiyur Mayanam now called Thirumeignanam built in circa 11th century AD was ravaged by sea and is in ruins now. Another temple on an identical plan was built later and is now thronged by people who pray for long life.
Amritaghateswarar Abhirami Temple
Amritaghateswarar Abhirami Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva in his manifestation as Kalantaka and his wife Parvati in her form as Abhirami located in Thirukkadaiyur, 21 km East of Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu in India. This temple is particularly associated with Shiva saving his devotee Markendeya from death and the tale of saint Abirami Pattar, a devotee of the presiding goddess.
It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where three of the most revered Nayanars (Saivite Saints), Appar, Suntharar and Tirugnana Sambhandar have sung the glories of this temple.
The temple, in line with the temple architecture of the Chola dynasty, occupies a very vast area of 11 acres (45,000 m2), with five courtyards, several imposing temple towers, and large and spacious mandapas. Though the details of the king who consecrated the temple are uncertain, it can be ascertained from inscriptions in the temple that it has been in existence since at least the tenth or eleventh century, during the reign of Raja Raja Chola I.
It was during the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1075–1120) that the brick walls of the temple were replaced with stone walls and the mandapam in the front was constructed. The rajagopuram, or the front entryway of the temple, is replete with images made of mortar, depicting various legends associated with the temple.
There are three temple tanks, or teerthams, known as 'Amrita Pushkarini', 'Kaala Theertham' and 'Maarkandeya Theertham'. There is a separate shrine dedicated to Abhirami. The Shakta saint Abhirami Pattar is believed to have rendered the Abhirami Anthathi in the front hall of the shrine. The temple also maintains a separate shrine for Markandeya worshipping Kalasamhara Murti. Although Thirukadaiyur is a Shaiva temple, it contains an old Vaishnava temple. The gods in this temple are Amrita Narayana (Vishnu) and his consort Amrita Valli .