Dakshinamoorthy temple in Mayiladuthurai depicts Lord Shiva as a guru, a teacher, somebody who endows knowledge. This form of Shiva as Dakshinamoorthy is especially popular in Tamil Nadu and other Southern parts of the country. Dakshinamoorthy literally translates as ‘One who is facing south’. In every Dakshinamoorthy temple, the idol is positioned southwards as against idols that are usually positioned east wards. The Dakshinamoorthy idol is usually depicted as having four arms, placed under a banyan tree.
His right leg on a mythical apasmara (a demon who is the embodiment of ignorance) and his left leg lies folded on his lap. His hands hold a flame in one hand and a rosary or a snake or both in the other hand. His right hand is usually depicted in the Gnana mudra (a symbol of wisdom and knowledge) and his left hand in Abhaya mudra (a symbol of blessings and assurance). Shiva rarely depicted as Dakshinamoorthy and a whole temple dedicated to Dakshinamoorthy being even rarer, the temple in Mayiladuthurai is definitely worth a visit.