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Alangudi history

Alangudi, the popular shrine for the worship of Guru or Dashinamurthy in Tamil Nadu lies 17km from the temple city of Kumbakonam. The presiding deity of the shrine is Lord Shiva bearing the name of Aaabathsagaayeswara or Aranyeswara. Goddess Parvati here is worshipped as Umai Ammai or Elavarkuzali. Once when the Devas and the Asuras in a combined effort tried to churn the celestial ocean, 'Parkadal'. They used the the celestial snake 'Vasuki' as the rope and the mount 'Mandara' as the rod to procure the celestial elixir. The snake emanated deadly poison which the Lord swallowed to safeguard the universe. Hence Lord Shiva is fondly hailed as 'Aaabathsagayeswara', meaning 'saviour' for having consumed the poison (Aalaala Visham) and the place came to be known as 'Alangudi'.

An interesting episode in the life of Sundaramurthy Nayanar also marks the significance for addressing the Lord as 'Aaabathsagaayeswara'. It is said that the Lord extended His grace in saving the life of Sundramurthy Nayanar who tried to ferry across the river Vettaru which was in spate while opting to reach Alangudi to worship the lord at the cost of his life. Sundaramurthy Nayanar then received spiritual initiation by Lord Shiva in the form of Dakshinamurthy or Guru in this shrine.

Alangudi is also known as 'Thirumana Mangalam' as Goddess Parvati after an arduous penance sought the hand of the Lord in marriage in Alangudi. Kasi Aranyam and Thiru Erumpoolai are the other names of Alangudi. Another significance of the temple is attributed to Lord Ganesha, who is worshipped as 'Kalangaamal kaatha Vinayagar' ( the Lord who was steadfast in saving the devotees) for having slain the vicious 'Gajamuhasura' who was a great threat to the Devas.

Apar, Sundarar and Thirugnanasambandhar, the three important Nayanmars have sung the praise of the Lord of Alangudi. There fifteen 'theerthams'(wate bodies) around the temple of which 'Amritha Pushkarini' is the noted one. Poolai is the sthala viruksham( the tree associated with the temple )

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