The Story Behind Abirami Anthadhi

The Story Behind Abirami Anthadhi

Abirami Anthadhi is a collection of Tamil Poems recited for the goddess Abirami located in Thirukadaiyur Amritaghateswarar Temple. This is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple spans almost 10 acres of land with two gopurams on either side. As per legend, Shiva was said to have destroyed eight fearsome demons, with a temple built to showcase each victory. This temple portrays the time Shiva went to save Markandaya from the clutches of death. Worshiping in the temple is said to bless couples (ages 60 or 81) with longevity.


The goddess Abirami is a form of Parvathi. Abirami means “she who is attractive every moment of the time”. This goddess is believed to be very powerful, fulfilling her ardent devotees most desiring wishes. Legend says that the Devas forgot to offer a pot of the holy amrita to Ganesha, drinking it among themselves. Ganesha, angry with the devas’ behavior, took the pot and placed it in the Thirukadaiyur Amritaghateswarar Temple.The marita then took the form of a Shiva Lingam, which couldn’t be removed. Since Shiva was kept in this temple, his consort, Parvathi, took the form of Abirami and has been in the temple since.


The story behind the poem is marvelous and fascinating, displaying true faith in god. Abrami Pattar, or Subramaniya Iyer, was born in the state of Tamil Nadu. From a young age the Goddess Abirami intrigued him and soon became a priest at the Thirukadaiyur Amritaghateswarar Temple.


One day, the King went to visit the temple and noticed Subramaniya Iyer and questioned other individuals about him. One said he was a madman; however, another person explained that he was a passionate devotee of the Goddess Abirami. To figure out the truth himself, the King went up to Subramaniya Iyer and asked him whether it was a full moon day or a new moon day. The priest, who could see nothing but the glowing form of the goddess incorrectly replied that it was a full moon day. Angry, the King strode off announcing that if a full-moon didn’t appear by 6 p.m, the priest would be executed. Subramaniya Iyer was horrified once he realized his mistake and decided there was only one way to aid him. He created a huge fire that supported a platform over it, held together by a hundred ropes and prayed to Goddess Abirami, cutting one rope every verse. On the 79th verse, the Goddess appeared before him, throwing her earring into the sky that shone like a new moon. In praise of the goddess, Subramaniya Iyer sang 21 more verses. The King, realizing his mistake, dismissed the execution and gave the priest the title of “Abirami Pattar”. It is said that reading it on a full moon and new moon day will result in impossible boons.


Now that I have researched about Abirami Anthadhi and the story behind it, I am really interested in learning the sloka and more about Abirami herself. It was interesting to not only know the backstory, but about the temple as well. I hope you enjoyed reading it and are more inclined to learn and recite this beautiful sloka, Abirami Anthadhi.



 Adya Balakrishnan