Thirukkadaiyur (Thirukadavur) is a temple town on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, about 300 km south of Chennai. The original temple, Thirukkadaiyur Mayanam now called Thirumeignanam, built in 11th century, was ravaged by sea and is in ruins now.
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. 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.
The Shiva Lingam is swayambhu. The mark made by Yama's noose is seen on this Lingam. Thirukkadaiyur derives its name from the ambrosia pot, called Gatam in Tamil. Vishnu, Indra, and the other Devas needed a clean place to consume the ambrosia that had been created during the Samudra manthan and, therefore, brought the ambrosia pot here. Before taking Amirtham from Paarkadal, the Devas and Asuras did not pray the first Lord Ganesha. He got angry and had stolen the Amirthakalasa and hided it somewhere. It later on became Siva Lingam and hence the Moolavar is known as Amirtham-Kadam and briefly known as Lord Amirthakadeswarar.
The temple, in line with the temple architecture of the Chola dynasty, occupies a very vast area of 11 acres, 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.
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.
Thirukkadaiyur is further purified by the holy trees like Pinchilam (2000 Years Old Tree) and Bael tree (Vilvam tree), the place is also known as Vilvaaranyam or Vilva forest. Thirukadaiyur Mayanam which is behind this temple and 2 kms towards East from here is the original temple. The Brahmapureeswarar temple has an incomplete gopuram. It is said that this is the original temple at Thirukadaiyur.