The presiding deity at Thirukkadaiur is Lord Amruthaghateswarar and His consort is Goddess Abhirami. Markendeya was Lord Shiva’s ardent devotee and was blessed with only 16 years of life in this world. At the appointed time the Pasa (Noose) of Yama Dharma ( God of death) which was meant for Markandeya who was clutching the Lingam, fell over the Lingam as well. Enraged at this, the Lord exterminated Yama. Later Yama was revived and Markandeya was blessed to stay 16 all his life and justice prevailed.
After offering our prayers for a long life for each and every member in the family we went round the expansive temple appreciating each and every piece of sculpture without heeding the heat of the blazing sun. The broad and lengthy paved path ways around the temple and the kalyani ( Pond) had become so hot that even chapattis would have puffed up just at the touch of the stone. Unable to bear the heat and hunger any longer we ran out of the temple to wear our foot ware. This was a long time ago- almost 35 years- when there were no hotels or restaurants in the small place. The benevolent temple priest offered to feed us for which he would not quote any price. His house was next to the temple and his wife cooked for us. We were amazed when she served us hot rice, hot (spicy) milagu jeeram podi (black pepper and cumin) and hot (spicy and hot temperature wise!) milagu rasam (black pepper soup) within such a short notice. We were more wonder struck when she served roasted papads which had imprints of advertisements on them! We were all sweating and red in the face due to the heat of the sun and the excellent meal. Never did we taste such a lip smacking meal in all our lives.
MILAGU JEERAM PODI (Black Pepper and Cumin Powder)
Pepper – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal – 1 tbsp
FOR THE SEASONING:
Ghee – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
2. Add salt, asafoetida and curry leaves.
3. Boil until the raw smell disappears.
4. Grind the four ingredients into a slightly coarse powder.
5. Add the powder and add water immediately to make one litre of rasam.
6. Let the rasam be on low flame.
7. Cover it with a lid to preserve flavour.
8. Keep watch by sliding the lid now and then.
9. Switch off flame when the rasam is just about to boil.
10.Heat ghee and add mustard seeds, and add the seasoning when the mustard splutters.
Drink the hot rasam as an appetizer before a meal. Or enjoy with hot rice with a spoon of ghee. You can even chill it and have it just like that as a beverage – like jal jeera.