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Story Of Chola King Muchukunda And Maragatha Shiva Somaskanda Murti Of Indra

During his rule, Chola King Muchukunda built temples with the murti of the Somaskanda form of Shiva carved in maragatha or emerald. Theses murtis of Maragatha Shiva were given to the king by Indra. There is an interesting story as to how the king came in possession of the emerald Shiva vigrahams. In the Somaskanda form, Shiva has Goddess Parvathi seatedto his left and Murugan or Skanda seated in between the divine couple.

King Muchukunda helped Indra in defeating demon Valasuran. For the help, Indra promised to fulfill a wish of the king. The king asked for the murti of Somaskanda form of Shiva which was worshipped by Bhagavan Vishnu himself. The murti rested on the chest of the reclining form of Bhagavan Vishnu. The murti used to move up and down to the breath of Bhagavan Vishnu.

Bhagavan Vishnu had presented the murti to Indra, the king of devas. Indra was not ready to part with the murti and therefore decided to play trick of King Muchukunda. He asked to make Vishwakarma, the divine architect of the universe, to make six more similar murtis of Somaskanda.

One by one Indra offered the murtis to the king. King Muchukunda was an ardent devotee of Shiva and easily recognized the duplicate murtis. King Muchukunda picked the original murti. Impressed by the devotion of the king, Indra gave him all seven murtis.

Chola King Muchukunda installed the seven murtis in various part of the country. Currently only two temples remain. The original murti worshipped by Vishnu at Tiruvarur and another one at Thirunallar Shaniswara temple.