Thursday, March 4, 2021

Panaamudeeswarar Temple, Kanchipuram – Legends


Sage Kashyapa had two wives named Kadru and Vinita. Kadru gave birth to thousand snakes who are considered to be the ancestors of the Snakes on earth. Vinita gave birth to the powerful Garuda. Once Kadru and Vinita put a bet on the colour of the tail of the horse Uchaishravas, a seven-headed flying horse that was obtained during the churning of ocean or Samudra Manthan. Kadru(mother of the snakes/serpents) claimed the colour was black and Vinita (mother of powerful Garuda) claimed it was white.

The stake was whoever lost the bet will serve the other. Kadru cheated by asking her sons, the Nagas, to hang on to the tail of Uchaishravas. Thus, the white tail of the divine horse turned black as the Nagas hung on to them. Vinita and Garuda were thus forced to serve Kadru. They were treated badly by Kadru and her sons. Later the Nagas agreed to free Garuda and his mother if he brought the Amrit, which was in the possession of Indra, the king of Devas.

Garuda got Amrit from heaven and freed himself and his mother from servitude. But the cheating and the insult suffered made Garuda- the Eagle God the arch rival of Nagas. Out of rage, Garuda started killing all the snakes. The snakes feared of their destruction by Garuda. They installed a Shiva Linga here and worshipped Lord Shiva to protect them from Garuda. Lord Shiva wore all the snakes as his ornaments all over his body and protected them. Hence, Lord Shiva came to be called as Panaamudeeswarar.

Raghu and Kethu Lingas:

It is believed that the Raghu and Kethu Lingas at the entrance of the Sanctum will turned in to snakes during night time and guards the temple.

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