October 31, 2014

Tirukkattuppalli Agneeswarar Temple

Site Name: Agneeswarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tirukkattuppalli, located near Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Tirukkattuppalli is a village near Tiruvaiyaru, which in turn is located near Tanjore town in South India. The village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called as Agneeswarar temple. It is considered as the 9th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Appar and Sambandhar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • God - Agneswarar aka Theeyaadiyappar
  • Goddess Soundara Nayaki aka Azhagammai
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Bilva and Vanni
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Agni Teerth and Cauvery
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams

Legend:

As Agni worshiped Lord Shiva in this site, he is named as Agneeswarar. 

Brahma, Surya and Bhageerata also worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple.

It is believed that the temple was renovated during the reign of Uttama Chola.

As per the legend, someone gave two Chevvandi flowers to the King of Uraiyur. The flowers were meant for Shiva pooja. The king in turn gave those flowers to his two wives. The first wife offered the flower to Shiva and she lived with fame. The second wife wore the flower on her head and she faced a lot of difficulties in her life. Also, Uraiyur where the second wife of the King lived, was covered with sand dung whereas Tirukkattuppalli where the first queen lived was not affected by the natural calamity.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has five tiered tower (Raja gopuram).

The sanctum sanctorum has the main deity in the form of Shiva Linga named as Agneeswarar. The sanctum sanctorum is located slightly underground which is unique. Two big dwarapalas are found at the entrance. Ganesha idol is also located here.

The ardha mandapa and maha mandapa are very long. In maha mandapa, there are sub shrines and idols of Nataraja-Sivakami, Bhairava, Nalvar, Surya, Nava graha, utsava idols and Somakskanda. All the eight planets are facing towards Surya who is at the center; this depictions is unique.

In the innermost prakara, the niche (Koshta) idols of Yoga Guru, Ardhanareeswarar and Brahma are found.

In the middle prakara the Koshta (niche) idols of Dakshnimurti and Durga are found. The sub shrine of Chandikeshwara is also located here. Some of the other deities found here include Saaraswati, Gaja Lakshmi, Annamalai-Unnamalai, Srinivasa-Sri Devi - Bhoo Devi, Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena.

The outermost prakara has the sub-shrine of Nardana Vinayaka.

The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi are situated facing towards the sanctum sanctorum. There is a small Ganesha idol near the flag staff.

The Goddess of the temple is Soundara Nayaki. She is found in an equally big separate south facing shrine. Her idol is very attractive and she has four arms and is found in the standing posture. There is a Ganesha idol at the entrance of this shrine.

Happy travelling.



October 30, 2014

Tirukkaanur Karumbeswarar Temple

Site Name: Karumbeswarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tirukkaanur, located near Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Tirukkaanur is a village near Tanjore town in South India. Currently, the place is called as Manal Medu. It is located near Tirukkandiyur and Tirukkattuppalli, which in turn is located near Tiruvaiyaru. The village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered as the 56th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region north of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Appar and Sambandhar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • God Karumbeswarar aka Semmeninathar
  • Goddess - Shiva Loka Nayaki aka Soundara Nayaki
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Bilva
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Kollidam
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams
  • The idol of Goddess is made up of Salagrama stone
  • The sun's rays fall on the main deity on April 2, 3 and 4 every year

Legend:

It is believed that Agni worshiped the main deity of this temple.

The Goddess, Parvati, was once separated from Lord Shiva. She performed penance towards Lord Shiva in Tirukkaanur. As Shiva appeared in the form of fire (red color), he is called as Semmeninathar (Semmeni means "red colored body" in Tamil language.

After the demise of Karikala Chola's father, his mother was hiding along with him in this village due to fear of his enemies. The royal elephant came to this place and put garland around the neck of Karikala and hence he was selected as the Chola King.

As Parasurama killed 21 generations of kings, he got affected by sin. In order to get rid of his sin, he came here and took bath in the sacred spring.

In the 1920s, the temple was completely covered with sand and a sugarcane was growing on top of the sand heap. After removing the sand heap, the temple was discovered. Hence, the main deity is called as Karumbeswarar (Karumbu means sugar cane in Tamil language).

When the Cholas conquered this village which was under the rule of the Pandyas, the local chieftain was caught; however, his pregnant wife let out. The people were not allowed to help her. Due to fear of the Chola army, no one helped the pregnant lady. She cursed the villagers and hence the village was piled up with sand.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has three tiered tower (Raja Gopuram). It is believed that the original temple was built by the Pandyas and later was renovated by the Cholas.

The sanctum sanctorum has the main deity in the form of Shiva Linga named as Karumbeswarar. There is a separate shrine facing
the south direction dedicated to the Mother Goddess Soundara Nayaki.

The sub-shrines of Ganesha and Skanda-Valli-Devasena, Chandikeshwara, Nagas, Ayyanar, Surya, Chandra and Nalvar are found in the prakara.

Dakshinamurti, Bhikshatana, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as the niche (koshta) idols around the sanctum sanctorum.

Happy travelling.

October 29, 2014

Tiruvalampozhil Aatmanatheswarar Temple

Site Name: Aatmanatheswarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tiruvalampozhil, located near Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Tiruvalampozhil is a village near Tanjore town in South India. It is located near Tirukkandiyur, which in turn is located near Tiruvaiyaru. The village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered as the 10th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Appar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
  • God Aatmanatheswarar 
  • Goddess Gnanambikai
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Banyan
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams

Legend:

It is believed that Kashyapa rishi and Ashta Vasus worshiped the main deity of this temple.

Temple Layout:

Aatmanatheswarar temple is located in a small village Tiruvalampozhil. It is considered as the 10th Devara Paadal Petra Sthalam located in the Chola region south of Cauvery river. The west facing small temple has a tower. Although it is an ancient temple, the temple looks new thanks to white washing and renovation. In fact, it has lost its ancient beauty due to this.

Aatmanatheswarar is found in the form of a slightly large sized Shiva Linga in the main shrine. Adjacent to his shrine, the shrine of Goddess Gnanambikai is found. The temple has only one prakara. The sub-shrines of Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are located in the prakara. Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Durga and Vishnu Durga are found as the niche images around the main shrine. As usual, Chandikeshwarar sub-shrine is also found.

The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi mandapa are located facing towards the main shrine.

Happy travelling. 

October 28, 2014

Tiruvedikudi

Site Name: Vedapureeswarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tiruvedikudi, located near Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Tiruvedikudi is a village near Tanjore town in South India. It is located at a distance of around 1 km from Tirukkandiyur, which in turn is located near Tiruvaiyaru. The village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered as the 14th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Appar and Sambandhar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • God Vedapureeswarar aka Vazhai Madunathar aka Tiruvedikudi Mahadevara aka Parakesari Chadurvedi Mangala Mahadevar
  • Goddess Mangayarkarasi
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Vaidha Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Bilva
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams
  • Considered as the fourth of Tiruchakrapalli Sapta Sthana Sthalams

Legend:

As per the legend, Surya, Vishnu, Brahma, Vedas, Vyasa and Indira worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple. As the Vedas worshipped Shiva here, it is called as Vedikudi. 

As per another legend, a Chola King was worried as his daughter did not get married for long. After coming to this temple worshipping Lord Shiva, his daughter got married. Hence, he renamed his daughter as Mangayarkarasi after the Goddess of the temple. 

Temple Layout:

The temple which belongs to the period of Aditya Chola has three tiered tower (Raja gopuram) and is facing towards the east direction. 

The main deity Vedapureeswarar is found in the form of a Shiva Linga in sanctum sanctorum. As the site was a plantain field in those days, the deity is also called as Vazhaimadu Nathar. It is believed that he gives boon of marriage for unmarried young people and people would become scholars in Vedas by worshipping him. 

Mangayarkarasi is found in a separate south facing shrine.

The other idols found in the temple include 108 Shiva Linga, Subramanya, Chevi Saitha Vinayakar, Maha Lakshmi, Nataraja, Chandikeshwarar and Sapta Sthana Shiva Lingas. 

Ganesha idol in the Maha mandapa is named as Veda Vinayaka.

The vimana and the wall around the sanctum sanctorum are artistically beautiful and are adorned with a lot of sculptures.  Ardhanareeswara, Dakshinamurti, Brahma and Durga are found as the niche idols. Ardhanareeswara idol is unique. The right portion of the idol is female (Shakti) and the left portion is male (Shiva). Usually, it would be the other way round in other temples. 

Happy travelling. 

October 27, 2014

Tanjore Bangaru Kamakshi Temple


Tiruppoonthuruthi Pushpavaneshwarar Temple

Site Name: Pushpavaneshwarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tiruppoonthuruthi, located near Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Tiruppoonthuruthi is a village near Tanjore town in South India. It is located at a distance of around 3kms from Tirukkandiyur, which in turn is located near Tiruvaiyaru. The village has an important temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is considered as the 11th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Appar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
  • God Pushpavaneshwarar aka Aadipuranar aka Poyyiliar 
  • Goddess - Soundara Nayaki
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Surya Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Bilva
  • Considered as one of the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams
  • Considered as the sixth of Sapta Sthana Sthalams

Legend:

As per the legend, the saint Gnana Sambandhar was hesitant to step on the soil (this temple) which was serviced by Appar (Tirunavukkarasar). Lord Shiva asked his mount Nandi to move away a little so that Sambandhar can get darshan of the main deity without entering into the temple. 

Appar carried the palanquin of Gnanasambandhar in this village. Sambandhar did not know about this. The place is called as Sambandhar Medu in this village. 

The math established by Appar is also situated in this village.

Indira got 1000 signs on his body due to curse by the saint Gautama. After worshipping Lord Shiva in many temples, he came to Tiruppoonthuruthi and offered flowers to Lord Shiva. He got rid of his sin and hence the place is called as Tiruppoonthuruthi.

There is another story which claims that Vishnu and Lakshmi worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple.

Another legend states that the place is called as Poonthuruthi as Nandi offered flowers from this site for the wedding of Lord Shiva.

Surya and the saint Kasyapa also worshipped Lord Shiva in this site.

Two Vinjayas got cursed and were born as the eagles. They got rid of their sin in this temple.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple is adorned with a five tiered Raja Gopuram (tower) and the temple complex occupies an area of about 2.5 acres.

The sanctum sancotrum enshrines a big Shiva Linga idol called as Pushpavaneshwarar. At the entrance, there is an idol of Ganesha. The ardha mandapa and maha mandapa are very long.

The Goddess Soundara Nayaki is found in a separate south facing shrine.

The Nandi idol is found facing towards the main shrine but is moved away from the central location.

The niche images that are found around the sanctum sanctorum are very attractive and unique. The rare idol of Veena Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, unique idol of Rishabhaarudanaar, Shankara Narayanan and Durga are found as the niche idols. Chandikeshwarar shrine is also found in the prakara.

Happy travelling.





Aaduthurai Perumal Temple

Site Name: Vaiyam Kaththa Perumal temple  
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Vadakurangaduthurai, 5 kms from Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the most important Vaishnaivite temples; one of 108 Divya Desam temples
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Vadakurangaduthurai is a village near Tanjore town in South India. The village is also called as Aaduthurai Perumal Koil. The village has two prominent temples - one for Vishnu and another for Shiva. In this article, the temple of Lord Vishnu - Vaiyam Kaththa Perumal is being explored. Although the temple is called as Tirukkoodalur or Vaiyam Kaththa Perumal temple, it is known to the local people as Aaduthurai Perumal Temple. It is considered as the 8th Divya Desam located in the Chola region north of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Tirumangai Alwar has sung about this site in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 8th Divya Desam temple. It is located in Chola region.
  • It is considered as Ketu parihara sthalam, hence a Navagraha sthalam for Vaishnaivites
  • The conch symbol is seen naturally on the holy tree
  • God Vaiyam Kaththa Perumal; Utsava deity - Jagatrakshakan
  • Goddess Padmasini aka Padmasanavalli
  • Teerth (holy water) - Chakra Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (holy tree) - Jack fruit
  • Vimana - Sutha Satva Vimana
  • Built by the Cholas with later contributions from Vijayanagara Kings and Madurai Nayakas

Legend:

As per the legend, the Devas gathered along with Nandaka Rishi to worship Lord Vishnu in this site. Hence, this site is called as Koodaloor (meaning meeting place in Tamil language). 

As per another legend, the King Ambarisha was deeply praying to Lord Vishnu once and he did not notice the sage Durvasa. The sage who is famous for his short temper cursed the king. The king went to Lord Vishnu and sought his help. Vishnu released his discus which chased away the sage. Ultimately, the sage surrendered to Vishnu and begged for his pardon. It is believed that the king built this temple originally. Lord Vishnu is hence called as Ambarisha Varadar in this temple.  

It is said all the rivers come to Cauvery to cleanse themselves. Once, the river Cauvery wanted to cleanse herself and sought Lord Brahma's advise. As per his advice, she came to this site and worshiped Lord Vishnu; thus she got rid of her sins.

There is another interesting story associated with this site. There was a parrot lived in the temple complex; it used to pick a blackberry fruit everyday, place it under the feet of Lord Vishnu and chant his name. One day, it was shot down by a hunter. Before falling down, the parrot chanted the holy name of Lord Vishnu as usual. Lord Vishnu appeared to the parrot and reminded it of its previous birth. In its previous birth, the parrot was a scholar but a pedant; hence, it was cursed to be born as a parrot. Lord Vishnu got it rid of its sin. 

As per a legend, the demon Hiranyaksha took Bhoomi Devi and hid to the underground Patala Loka. Vishnu took the form of boar, Varaha Avatar. From this site, he entered into the earth. Then he killed the demon and came out along with Bhoomi Devi at Sri Mushnam. Lord Vishnu is called as Vaiyam Kaththa Perumal which means the one who protected the earth thanks to this incident.

History:

The temple was originally built by the Cholas; later it was renovated by the Vijayanagara Kings.

Once, the original deities of the temple were washed away in the river Kollidam. Rani Mangammal (Madurai Nayakas Queen) recovered the deities and renovated the temple after re-installing them. 


Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has five tiered Raja Gopuram (tower). 

The sanctum sanctorum has the main deity Vaiyam Kaththa Perumal in the standing posture along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. 

The utsava deity Jagatrakshaka Perumal is also found in the sanctum sanctorum.

Near the main shrine, there is a shrine dedicated to Lord Varadaraja along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. He is found in the sitting posture.

In maha mandapa, the shrine of Sudarshana with Narsimha on his back side is found.

In the prakara, the shrine of Goddess Padmasini is found. Also, the shrine of Andal and the shrine of Ramanujas and Alwars are also found in the prakara.

Facing the main shrine, the flag staff, Garuda shrine and bali peetha are situated.

Outside the temple complex, on the road, the sub shrine of Hanuman facing towards the tower is found.

The holy tree, the jackfruit tree, has a conch installed on it naturally. Hence, it is called as Sangu Pathintha Palamaram.

Happy travelling.