Veeratteswarar Temple at Tirukoilur is one of the eight Veeratta Sthalas, where Lord Shiva destroyed asuras. In this particular place Lord Shiva killed Andhakasura.
Once Mother Durga was playing with Lord Shiva, and she covered his eyes with her hands. The entire universe is illuminated by the jyothi that emanates from the eyes of Lord Shiva, thus when she had covered his eyes, the entire universe became dark. From the darkness arose ignorance, and out of that emerged the asura named Andhakasura.
There was a great battle between Lord Shiva and Andhakasura. Lord Shiva struck the head of Andhakasura and blood began to pour to the earth, but every drop of blood that touched the earth turned into another demon. In order to stop the demons from manifesting, Mother Durga caught the blood in a pot. As the lines of blood collected in the pot, it formed a pattern of 64 squares which later became known as the Vaasthu Mandala. Lord Shiva manifested 64 Bhairavas, one for each square, to help him in his battle with these demons. This combination and the worship of the 64 Bhairavas became known as Vaastu Shanti Puja. Thus science of Vaastu originated from this temple.
This temple is praised in the Thevaram by Thirugyana Sambandhar, Appar and Sundarar. Inside this temple the Sangam period poetess Avvaiyar composed her famous prayer to Lord Ganesh. He was so pleased with her that he carried her to Kailasha in her own body. The story is that the great shaivite saint Sundarar was being taken to Kailasha by a white elephant, which had been sent personally by Lord Shiva to take him. At that time Avvaiyar was performing worship in this temple.
She became eager to quickly finish the puja and also go to Kailasha along with Sundarar, so she started to rush through her puja so as not to be late. At that time Lord Ganesha appeared and told her to perform the puja slowly and not to rush through it. She worshipped Lord Ganesha and patiently completed the puja. Afterwards Lord Ganesha took a gigantic form and carried her to Lord Shiva’s abode of Kailasha, reaching even before Sundarar could arrive.
This temple is also connected to the sangam period poet Kapilar, who fasted till death on a rock in the river next to this temple (those pictures will be in a separate post). Another historical story is that this city was originally named Thiru-kai-vel, which indicated the place where Mother Durga’s Vel fell from her hands.
Location of Temple:
Temple Pictures from a Trip to Kumbhakonam in 2017
Avudaiyar Shiva Temple and the Shaivite Saint Manikkavasakar