Jambukeshwar temple is a famous Shiva temple of south India. It is in Tiruchirapalli, in the state of Tamil Nadu. This temple is one of the five major Shiva temples of South India. Therefore, they are also known as ‘PanchaBhootaSthalams’ . The Shiva Linga in this temple represents the element water. This temple is also one of the ‘Paadal Petra Sthalams’.
The story of this temple goes like this. Once, Lord Shiva was performing penance for the betterment of the world and goddess Parvati mocked him. Shiva wanted Parvati to realize her mistake. He instructed Parvati to leave Mount Kailash and go down South to perform penance. Goddess Parvati took the form of Akhilandeshwari and went south. She found the‘Jambu’ forest to be suitable for her penance. Parvati made a Shiva Linga out of the waters of the river Kaveri. This Shiva lLnga came to be known as Appu Lingam (water lingam). Lord Shiva, pleased with Akhilandeshwari’s devotion appeared before her and taught her Shiva Gyan.
There is another story regarding this temple. There were two Shiva ganas (soldiers of Shiva) named Malyavana and Pushpadanta. They always fought with each other over one thing or another. In one fight Malyavana cursed Pushpadanta to become an elephant and Pushpadant cursed Malyavana to become a spider. Both the elephant and spider came to Jambukeshwar temple to continue their Shiva worship. The elephant collected water from Kaveririver and performed Abhishek on the Shiva linga every day. The spider on the other hand constructed a web over the Shiva linga to protect it from dry leaves and direct sunlight. Taking it to be dust, the elephant tore the web and cleaned the Shiva linga. The spider became very angry. It crawled into the elephant’s trunk and bit it to death. In the act the spider also ended up dying. Lord Shiva moved by their devotion, relieved them from their curse.
In this temple Goddess Akhilandeshwari is a student and Lord Shiva is a teacher. Thus, no marriage celebrations are conducted here. The idols of Shiva and Akhilandeshwari are placed facing each other. The Jambukeshwar temple is also one of the Shakti Peethas. It is believed that Akhilandeshwari performs her puja to Lord Shiva at noon every day. Due to this belief a peculiar puja is conducted in this temple. The temple priest dresses up in a sari. The priest performs the abhishek of Lord Shiva. The temple devotees worship the priest at this time as the priest is considered to be the goddess. It is also noteworthy that there is a perennial spring near this temple and no matter how much water is taken from it, it never runs dry.
Devotees come and pray here for unity among husband and wife. They also pray for a higher yield in farming and for plenty of water.