The south most corner of India is the Kanyakumari District - a very scenic place with fertile lands surrounded by mountains and ocean. This was part of the erstwhile thiruvidhAN^gUr state. The capitol of this state was padhman^Abhapuram / kalkuLam. Around this town there are twelve nice abodes of Lord shiva inviting the devotees to worship the Lord Who is adorned by the nature - Moon, river & snakes, in this inspiring natural surroundings.
The devotees take up a run during the shiva rAtri(1) every year. In this they worship in all the twelve temples covering a distance of 50 miles in a day. They complete the run in the Everlasting Lord's suchIn^dhram. They run holding a palm-leaf fan in their hand. They observe fast for a week before the day of the run. During the fasting period they eat tender coconut, tender palmyra (n^uN^gu) during the day and tulsi and water in the night. Many of them chant gOvin^dha gOpAla while running.
There is an interesting story that is being told about this run, which is also called chaliya Ottam. according to this story the pAndava prince bhimawanted to get the milk of puruShamR^igam (vyAgrapAdha mahaR^iShi) (!!) who was meditating Lord Shiva. When bhima approached him for the milk, he got disturbed and tries to catch bhima. The freigtened bhima drops a rudrAxa beed on the earth. It becomes a shiva li.ngam. vyAgrapAda mahaR^iShi being a devout yogi of Lord shiva, looses himself in the worship of the Mind-stealing Lord, leaving behind bhima. Again bhima tried to approach him for milk singing gOpala gOvinda. Disturbed again the sage angrily catches him. The story repeats. This happens for twelve times and in the last time bhima puts his one leg in the place of the sage. His brother yudhiShThira was called as the jury. In spite of bhima being his brother, he told the right justice that bhima was at fault. Impressed vyAgrapAdar gives off the milk bhima wanted. The truth of this story is difficult to be confirmed. It could be more a folklore. But very likely that these temples are worshipped by the great saint vyAgrapAdha, which is evident from the names of various places over here.
State : Tamil Nadu
District : kanyakumari
Situation: In and around padmanAbhapuram. kalkuLam and viLavaN^kOdu Taluk.
The twelve temples are: