(Last Updated on : 16-08-2012)
The river Thiru Manimuthar or Panchakshara Nadham originates in the Servaroyan Mountains and after flowing through the region of Salem merges with Cauvery. On the western bank of Manimuthar, there are five Shiva shrines. All of them are Swayambu Lingams. The first among these is Sri Sugavaneswarar Temple of Salem. The other four shrines are dedicated to Srikarapuranatha at Uthama-cholapuram, Vimesar at Veera-pandi, Patteesar at Paramathi and Thiruvelinathar, Vellor. The pilgrims generally take a holy dip at Manimuthar and then worshipping in these five shrines.
Legends have it that Sugavaneswarar is being worshipped for the last four eras. In Kali Yuga (era), sage Suga worshipped the Lord here to free himself from Brahma's curse of being a parrot. His divine consort is Swarnambika.
The Valampuri Vinayaka here is said to have reached the divine poet Awaiyar to Mount Kailash with the help of His trunk.
There are temples around Salem too which the pilgrims can visit. About 10 km away is Skandashrama dedicated to Dandayudhapani. There are sacred hills of Kapila Malai, Arunagiri Malai, Nayina Malai and Kolli Malai associated with Siddhars.
The temple at Tiruchengode is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here He is worshipped in the form of Ardhanareeswara. This temple is lo0cated at a distance of 45 km from Salem. Sage Bringi is believed to have worshipped the Lord here. The temple is known for excellent sculptures.
Namakkal is 30 km away from Salem. The 7th century rock cut temples on a hill known as Namagiri are popular among Vaishnavites. On either side of the hill are shrines dedicated to Sri Ranganatha and Sri Narasimha. The holy Theertham is known as Kamalalayam.
Before proceeding to the Narasimha shrine, devotees worship a majestic image of Lord Anjaneya. There is no roof in this shrine. Goddess Namagiri Thayar, consort of Sri Narasimha, is enshrined separately near the Anjaneya shrine. Thirukalyanam or Divine Wedding is celebrated on the occasion of Panguni Uthiram (March-April). Namakkal is considered as sacred as Nava Narasimha Sthalams like Simhachalam, Ahobilam, Sholingar and others.