Thanjavur is a small town in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It was once the capital of the later Chola dynasty who ruled from 846 Ad to 1225 AD. It’s a multi-cultural town that harbors almost all the religions of the world and is archeologically rich in fascinating monuments. The forts, museums and temples can hold the seeker spell-bound for hours with the intricacy and magnificence of the craftsmanship involved in their construction.
However, it’s not just the intricate craftsmanship of the temples that can make you spellbound; there are some amazing legends also attached to these temples that can set our hearts thumping and captivate the imagination no end!
The Vajrabureeswarar temple is one such legend-bound temple located in the quaint little village called Vallam in the Thanjavur district and is located along the highway connecting Thanjavur and Trichy. Vallam became famous after excavations done about 25-30 years back proved that this habitation was once a predominant city of the early Chola kingdom. Some of the artifacts found here included copper plates dating back from 170 BC to 110 AD, so the Vallam village has a magnificent 2200 year old history.
The village also boasts of an ancient Shiva temple where the presiding deity is called Vajrabureeswarar. There is an interesting legend that has it that this deity was reverently worshipped by Lord Indira to absolve him of his sin of having an affair with Agaligai; the secret affair had resulted in Kausigar Muni putting a curse on him, which was a source of deep sorrow for Lord Indira.
There is also a dilapidated temple pond south of this temple, which’s depth has always remained shrouded in mystery. There is another legend attached to this temple that goes that when Lord Rama was returning back with Sita after defeating Ravana, Sita had felt very thirsty. Popular belief has it that Lord Rama used his Vajrayutham (celestial weapon) to dig a crater that was so vast and deep that even to this day, its depth is unknown. It has however been estimated to be more than 40 feet deep!
Another fascinating factor in this temple is the Sthala Virutcham tree growing here, which according to the priests cannot be found anywhere except in the astral world. Sounds very mystical, and enough to whet the appetite of the curious ones to have a closer look surely? It’s an easy taxi or bus ride from Thanjavur, which is well connected by road and rail as well as by air.