Tiruvetkalam is a famous temple near Annamalai University in Chidambaram
of Tamil Nadu
. A 16th century shrine, it is dedicated to Pasupateshwarar (Lord Shiva
). The inscriptions from the Nayaka period can be seen here.
According to a local legend, Arjuna, during his exile from Indraprastha, went Himalayas to worship Lord Shiva, and win from him the Paasupataastram, the ideal weapon. Lord Shiva then appeared in disguise of a hunter and picked up a quarrel with Arjuna, and challenged him to a fight.
Arjuna lost all his weapons during the fight, but he continued to fight with his bare hand. Ultimately, Lord Shiva revealed his true self, and blessed and gifted Arjuna with Paasupataastram. This manifestation of Lord Shiva is known as 'Kiraata Murthy.' A festival is held here during May-June, and this event is enacted on this occasion.
Nearby villages such as Usuppoor, Eesanporveli and Villeruttaan Kuttai are also associated with this event. Tiruvetkalam is 2 km to the east of Chidambaram Railway Station.