This article is an exploration of why this place came to be known as ‘Artha sethu’.Much to the discomfiture of the Sethu-haters of the present government,theTamilnadu Tourismin its web site has made a mention of ‘artha Sethu’ as another name of this place.http://www.tamilnadutourism.org/temples/citywise/Mamallapuram.aspx?catid=c2&subcat1id=c2s1&subcat2id=c2s1s9“When the sage (Punadareeka muni) returned with food, he saw that the sea had dried up.In the place where the water had been, a beautiful figure was lying in recumbent posture.The sage realised that the old man was none but the lord himself. He placed the lotus atthe feet of the Lord. Because the Lord touched the sea for bailing water, it is now called"
"."The story connected here of the Lord bailing off or removing the water of the seamakes me think that it must be‘ardha Sethu’ not‘artha sethu’.In Sanskrit, Ardha means half.Artha is wealth.
Since the sthala purana connected to Thirukkadal mallai isalmost similar to Ramalying on the shores of Sethu on a 3-day penance,this name could have come into vogue.
Thesimilaritiesare as follows:
(1) The posture of Sthala sayanatthuraivar at Kadal Mallai is similar to Rama's posture atSethu,facing the sea in the east and lying on the ground with the right arm as his pillow.Valmiki's narration of this defenseless posture is moving.The comparative narration of Rama's posture can be read here.http://www.valmikiramayan.net/yuddha/sarga21/yuddha_21_frame.htm(2) The usually present snake bed is not there for both Rama and Sthala Sayana perumal.(On the contrary, Rama at ThiruppullaNi temple (Dhanush Koti) is on snake bed!)(3) No weapons in hand at Kadal malli posture andalso in Rama's posture on the 3 day penance at Sethu.The hand and body have no weapons and jewellery in both cases.(4) Both cleared the water at the place of sayana.Rama moved off the water by constructing Sethuand Sthala Sayana Perumal dried the water at Mallai(for the sake of Pundareeka maharishi)(5) Bhagawan touches the sea water at both places.(6) At both the places, his consort is not seated close to him.In any lying posture of Perumal (on snake), his consort will be accompanying Him.His consort (Lakshmi) will be seated at His feet on a lotus or on the snake bed itself.