Three demons – Tharaka, Kamalaksha and Vidyunmali, powered by the boon received from Lord Brahma, built fortresses of gold, silver and iron with wings, and flying about in the air, started harassing the Devas to no end. The Devas in distress, approached Lord Shiva to kill the Asuras and save them from the misery. The boon from Lord Brahma meant that the Asuras could only be killed through a single arrow that shot through all three of them and since the fortresses moved about in the air, the feasibility of them coming on a straight line was very rare and to kill them through a single arrow was next to impossible.
Although Lord Ganesha is his son, he was not an exception to the fact that any task has to begin with the worship of Lord Ganesha, the preventor of hurdles. Since Lord Shiva had forgotten this important aspect, Lord Ganesha broke the axle of his chariot. Lord Shiva set out on this difficult task using the heavens as the roof of the chariot, the lower worlds as the base, The Sun and the Moon as wheels, the four Vedas as the horses, the Mount Meru as his bow and Vasuki as the string and Lord Narayana as the arrow. While he ascended the chariot, he forgot the most important thing, which was worship of Lord Ganesha.
We then entered the main temple, and found that the Dwajasthambam and Bali peetam are away from the Sanctum Sanctorum. This is probably the only temple that has two main sanctum Sanctorums – containing two Shivalingams, one Swayambu (Umai Atcheeswara) and the other installed (Emai Atcheeswara).Lord Shiva realising his mistake, came down and worshipped Lord Ganesha and then set out on his task and he was able to defeat the Tripuras at Thiruvathigai. Since the achu (axle) broke at this place, it came to be known as அச்சு + இறு + பாக்கம் = அச்சிறுபாக்கம் (Achu+Iru+pakkam = Achirupakkam). This Lord Ganesha, is called Achu Muri Vinayakar (the Lord who broke the axle) and is located a little distance away from the main temple. We stopped by first to offer lamps and coconuts ( சிதறு காய் ) at the temple of Achu Muru Vinayagar.
How did this happen?
The King sought the assistance of Sage Trinetradhari to build the temple. He then proceeded onwards on his journey. On his return, he found the temple had been constructed with two sanctum sanctorums. When he questioned Sage Trinetradhari about it, he said one is for the Lord who occupied your heart (Umaiaatcheeswarar) and the other is for the Lord who occupied my heart ( Emaiaatcheeswarar). The shrine that Sage Trinetradhari built for the Swayambu Lingam is in line with the Dwajasthambam, and Bali peetam. The special feature here is that the Asuras Tharakan and Vidyunmali who were killed by Lord Shiva are the Dwarapalakas in this shrine.
Once a Pandya King was passing through this area,he saw a giant golden lizard running through the bushes. He ordered his men to trace it and soon they found the lizard disappear near the root of a “Sarakondrai” tree. The king ordered the tree to be axed down and when the men tried to do that, blood started oozing from the roots. The King was shocked. That night, Lord Shiva appeared in his dreams and asked him to find the Swayambu Lord under the tree and build a temple for him.
The other shrine called Umaiaatcheeswarar which the Sage built for the King is in line with the Rajagopuram. It has a Nandi which is in a meditative posture and it is believed that the samadhi of Sage Trinetradhari can be found below this Nandi. This shrine also has the idols of Lord Shiva and Parvathi behind the Shivalingam in a marriage posture.
The Sage also had darshan of Lord Shiva and Parvathi under the Sthala Vriksham – the Kondrai Tree. A beautiful shrine which has idols of Shiva, Parvathi and Trinetradhari under the tree.
Lighting lamps at the shrines of Ganesha, Lords Umaiaatcheeswarar and Emaiaatcheeswarar, Goddess Elangili Amman, and Achu Muri Vinayagar is said to bring power and position to the worshipper.
The temple also has the shrine of Lord Srinivasa on an avudaiyaar. The walls around the shrine of Aatcheeswara have beautiful murals around them that depict various scenes. There are just a few of the wonderful murals. There are several others which one can witness if they go around in leisure.
Mr. Srinivasan, Trustee of the Nadu Palani Murugan Temple was very useful during the temple visit. He can be contacted on +91-9443193933. The Gurukkal at the temple – Karuna +91-9994541154 and his elder brother Shankar – +91-9842309534