Monday, July 2, 2018

The pancha Brahma Kshetrams Near Chennai on the banks of the Arani River

The Pancha Brahma kshetras are five temples which depict five faces of Shiva as per the Pancha Brahma concept of Shiva as Nirguna Brahma, the primordial form of the creator also called Sadasivam and his five aspects  as follows

1. Sadyojyatha-creative form-Earth- West face - Ariyathurai temple

2. Vamadeva-protective--water-West face-Arani temple

3.Tathpurusha- concealing  grace-East face- Suruttupalli

4. Easana-ethereal space-facing Akasha-transcendental-Ramagiri

5. Aghora-Destructive-Rejuvenative-South face-fire-Chinta manishwaram near Minjur

(Yet to visit)

Once Brahma was starting a yagna and used Arani wood to start it. After the fire   water also started flowing and it came to be called as Arani River which flows into the bay of Bengal near pulicat.
Agastya consecrated five temples here on the banks of the Arani river and each was depicting one face/ aspect of Shiva . These are collectively called as the Pancha Brahma Kshetrams.
They are all in a 50 kms radius and can be visited in a day. Most of these temples are not having resources hence you may  find them closed  early.

Shri Sampangi Pitchaleshwarar temple at Arani near Thandalam, Ponneri-A Pancha Brahma sthalam- Vamadeva sthalam

The temple is right in the centre if Arani town and  is situated at the end of the road where the avatara sthalam of Shri Bala periyava is present

How to Reach:
The place is very easy to reach as it is just adjacent to the state highway.
I travelled on the Chennai Nellore highway and crossed Panjetti over bridge and the road to Siruvapuri was on the left. The next major road after this is the state highway to Uthukottai  I took a left here .This road goes to the centre of Arani and once you reach the market and main bus stand you are welcomed by the  Gopuram of the Sampangi Pitchaleshwarar temple

It represents the vama deva face of Shiva which encompass the protective nature of Shiva with water as the element and depicts the North face of Shiva. It emphasises Jnana as a means of enlightenment
There was a forest of champs flowers here where a cow was found to be emptying it's It were daily on clearing the space a Swayambu lingam was found. The chieftain injured the shivalinga am in remorse cut off his arms. His wife prayed to the Lord for her husbands arm to be given back as alms .Shiva  restored the arm and hence is known as Sampangi Pitchaleshwarar
The temple is quite old and is in dire need of resources and maintenance. I arrived at 10:30 on a Sunday and was lucky to be spotted by the priest who was closing the door and the Lord gave me darshan below is view from RajagopuramDSCN0003
The temple is quite huge with an outer prahara with many sannidhis. You can see the gopuram of  both main sanctums here and the entrance is from west DSCN0005

The inner sanctum has a South facing entrance and the outer hall has pillars with many sculptures.DSCN0006

The inner hall has the east facing Lord with a Swayambu lingual which is clearly misshapen and not man made quite small and the avudiar (base) is square a common feature of lingam installed by Agastya.

Goddess Sivagamavalli is present on the right side of the Lord facing east as well and this is called  Kalyana Kolam  a rare feature as usually in Shiva temples the Goddess faces South  and is on the left of the shivalinga

There is a Navagraha sannidhi added inside later as an after thoughtDSCN0007
The outer courtyard has the following  Koshta  vigrahas and sannidhis





Edict of Kumbabishekam in 2000

Shri Varamoortheeswarar temple at Ariyathurai near Ponneri

I had wanted to visit the pancha brahma sthalams and had visited the Ramagiri and Suruttupalli temples .I now had the opportunity to visit this temple

It represents the Sadhjyota face of Shiva in the Pancha Brahma  sthalams


The temple is about 40 kms away from Chennai and easy to reach by road. It is quite close to the Siruvapuri Balasubramnia swami temple and can be combined . On the GNT road I travelled via Padi and on crossing Panjetti, Ponneri at about 30 kms from Padi look for the Durga Poly technic school.The road exactly to the opposite side leads us to Ariyathurai.the place has many brick kilns and the temple is in the far end on the river bank DSCN0025


The temple is associated with Romarishi  and is one of the pancha brahma sthalams.

Lord Brahma asked Romar to meditate here and he had the darshan of Lord Shiva

Sage Mukunthan was advised by Brahma to do penance here and he had the darshan of Shiva as Kala Bhairavar here.Actually Mukunthan wanted to go to Kasi but Romar advised him to worship here and he also had the flow of Ganga from a pit near the temple which is still flowing here and tis gives the place the same importance to Kasi

Kanchi Mahaswamigal  visited this place in 1965

Lord Krishna took permission from Indrani, plucked the parijatha tree from Indra loka and brought it but he did not ask the tree’s permission hence the Parijatha tree cursed Krishna to be born as a peepul tree and live for  a 1000 years here there are two huge peepul  trees ones behind the temple

Indra killed Vrittasura and a few body parts fell on Agastya who was in penance here so Indra prayed here to be relieved of the Brahmahatthi dosham here

King Chithrasenan was childless and Goddess Maragatha valli was born to him after  many years. When the King arranged swayamvaram for her, Lord Shiva whisked her away  on a  horse . The King’s army chased them but Nandhi stopped the army. Then Lord Shiva appeared with his consort in marriage pose to the King and informed him that the Goddess herself was born to him since he was childless. The Idols of the Kalyana Kolam here is beautiful

A chettiar who had his jewel shipment restored at Pazhaverkadu port  after a storm was informed to construct the Ambal sannidhi  and told the idol is lying in a pond nearby in his dream. The jeweller retrived the idol and built the sannidhi

A devadasi who was a great bhaktha arranged for the temple pond to be constructed here

Once a monkey was chased by a hunter fell into the ganga water and went around the peepul tree.It also witnessed the Pradhosha pooja here and was born again as  Raja Kunjara Chola of Kanchipuram who remembered his previous birth and constructed this temple here

Since the temple is very ancient there are no Navagraha sannidhis  here instead snakes are drawn on the roof of the temple as parihara sthalam for Rahu ketu

As you enter the raja gopuram there is a large Kalyana mandapam on the left and the main temple is in front. DSCN0027

The entrance is south facing and you will see the Ambal Maragatha valli  sannidhi in font and the Sivan sannidhi to the left.

The pillars inside have all the legends carved on them and it was patiently explained by the priest here

The temple has many sannidhis on the outside  all are neatly maintained

The Koshta vigrahasDSCN0028DSCN0029DSCN0030DSCN0031DSCN0032

Brahma and Durga


The hereditary priests 3 generations are living close by to the temple and can be contacted for all help

Contact: Shanmuga Kurukkal/ Saravana Kurukkal (House next to the temple itself)
Sri Varamoortheeswarar temple,
Keezh Muthalamped (post),
Kavarapettai (via),
Thiruvallur (dist).
PIN: 601206
Ph: 9894821712

The house is seen on the right


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Adi Thiruvarangam Temple near Thirukoilur

I had heard about this temple more ancient than Srirangam and housing an 18 feet reclining Perumal and could visit it last week driving back from trichy


The temple is on the banks of the now dry Pennai river around  20kms from Tirukoilur . It is easily approached from south via kallakurichi  /Salem on the ulundurpet Salem highway alsoDSCN0001


It is in existence from last 4 yugas as per the priest.

Once an asura Somukhan hid the Vedas.Mahavishnu retrieved the Vedas and was resting here and teaching Brahma the same .As a result of prayers of the devas he decided to stay here and the divine architect Vishwakama created the idol from herbs and sand

king Srutikirthi prayed here and was blessed with children

The moon prayed here and regained his lost lustre

though it is an ancient temple it is not a Divya desam

as you enter the main gopuram you can see an ancient granary used to store food grains in the pastDSCN0003

Entrance into the main shrine


View from the dwajasthambam there is a Krishna seen in a small enclosure at the topDSCN0006

on the right is the way to the main sanctumDSCN0007 where there is an 18 foot Perumal reclining on Sridevi with Brahma in the middle and Bhoodevi at his feet with Garuda kneeling at his head endDSCN0002

On the left is

the way to the Thayar  Ranganayaki shrineDSCN0008

The Goddess is standing about 3 feet high.  Behind the main sanctum is a shrine for Anjeneya, a statue of Lord Rama with a bow and an Anjeneya shrine. There is also a shrine for Vedanta Desikar

The temple is open from 6:30 AM to 8 PM all days the priest claims only those who have been allowed by the Lord  will be able to visit the temple.

Once outside we found clean well maintained toilets.The temple is clean well maintained with uniformed staff and is a place worth visiting

View of the rest rooms outsideDSCN0009

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Thiruvahindi puram Devanathaswamy-Hemambhujavalli temple–A divya desam, temple for Lord Hayagriva

One of my long cherished wishes came true when I visited this temple last Wednesday with all my family members.

I had visited the Chettupunyam temple where the utsava vigraham of this temple is housed till today near Chennai  click the link to visit   my blog on that temple


Thiruvahindi puram is near cuddalore in Tamil nadu. It is about 10 kms from cuddalore and is also about 20 kms from panrutti. regular buses and autos ply here in either direction, the temple houses the main  Devanathaswamy Sengamalavalli thayar as well as Oushadagiri where Sri Hayagreevar and Mahalakshmi are enshrined on top of the hill



.It is the only divyadesam with lord Vishnu as Hayagreevar the custodian of the Vedas and is very important for education related problems. It is also the Navagraha parihara ksethram for Rahu and Ketu

It is the only temple in South India for Lord Hayagreevar

Once when all the rishis came to have darshan of Vishnu he was missing from Thiruparkadal, vaikuntam and was traced to this place near Kumbakonam close to the sea and a hillock where he was in resplendent form witnessing the pujas of Sage Bhrugu and his daughter Mahalakshmi hence he married Mahalakshmi and stayed here

Once when Maha Vishnu  was very thirsty he asked Garuda to bring water from a pure pond in Patalam since Garuda was delayed  Adiseshan  dug a well with his tail and quenched Mahavishnu’s thirst. This well is in use till today for preparing prasadam. Devotees offer salt and jaggery here into the well as offerings . Meanwhile Garuda came back with the water and was hurt that he was late the compassionate lord asked garuda to use the water to start a river below the hill and devotees bathe here before coming . The river is called Garuda Nadhi today it is more famous as Gadilam/ Kedilam

The temple has unique sannidhis and vigrahas both garuda and Hanuman have the anjana mudra pose

Lord Narasimha here has Mahalakshmi on his right thigh unlike the other temples

Thirumangai alwar has sung about this temple in 11 hymns

Vedanta Desikar stayed here close to 40years and did penance .He also dug a well with his own hands on the Oushadagiri hill.This hill is part of the sanjeevini hill and houses many rare herbs. Desikar lived to be 102 years and all his works mention this temple both in Sanskrit as well as Tamil He had a great love for Sri Rama in this temple and Sri Hayagreevar was his ishta devatha and he made his own sculpture of this lord and prayed to him

way to the Hayagriva sannidhi


The corridor leading to the Hayagriva sannidhi


The Devanathaswamy sannidhi from the top of the steps


Sri Lakshmi Hayagreevar Perumal Picture from the internet

Sri Devanatha Perumal Temple (Thiruvaheendrapuram) Trichy - Divya Desam 63

The entrance to Devanatha swami temple shows the scheme in the sanctum also


inside there are separate sannidhis for Andal.Sri Ranganathan,  Sri Rama, SriLakshmi Narasimha, Anjeneya and Senkamalavalli thayar

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Adhishtanams in the Kanchi mutt

The Adhishtanams inside the Kanchi mutt: ( 2 nd,3 rd 68 th  and 69th Acharyas)
Sri Suresvaracharya :


(The write up about individual acharyas are all from the official website of the Kanchi mutt
Sri Sureswaracharya was the most learned and aged of Sri Bhagavatpada's disciples. He was a native of Mahishmati. He was known as Mandana Mishra before He was initiated into the ascetic order by Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada. History of how Sri Sankara had a long debate with Sri Mandana Mishra on various topics in the poorva mimamsa and in Advaita Vedanta, and how Sri Mandana Mishra was defeated in arguments and how he was given sanyasi and taken along with Him by the great Acharya, is recorded in most biographies of Sankara. After a long and eventful career and having been the author of the Vaathika on Sankara's Brhadaranyopanishad Bhashya and having authored the famous philosophical treatise known as Naishkarmya-Sidhi, Sri Sureswaracharya shook off his mortal remains at Kanchi, the southern Mokshapuri, on Shukla Ekadasi of Jyestha in the Cyclic Year Bhava (407 B.C). The presence of a street till recently under the name of Mandana Mishra Agraharam, and the presence of a stone icon of Sri Sureswaracharya inside the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Sankaracharya Math (which is in daily worship) confirm the connection of Sri Sureswaracharya with Kanchi Sankara Math and his videha mukthi at Kanchi.
from theKanchi mutt calender 2018sureshwaracharya

The 3 rd Pontiff Sri Sarvagnatmendra Saraswathi (407-364 BC)
This Pontiff was anointed as successor by Adi Sankara himself. His Adhishtanam is right next to the Adhishtanam of Sri Sureswaracharya in the Mutt premises itself and in all humility is represented by a Tulsi plant in a pot.

Sri Sarvajnatman :
After having conquered the leaders of many heretic sects prevalent in many parts of India, Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada reached Kanchi, the southern Mokshapuri to spend the evening years of His life in that holy city. One of the famous incidents of Sri Sankara's stay at Kanchi is his Sarvajna Peethahoranam or ascending the seat of Omniscience. On knowing about this, scholars from various parts of the Tamil regions gathered at Kanchi to witness the grand event. Among those, a band of scholars from Brahmadesam and its neighborhood had a debate with the Acharya on Deva bedha, Moorthy bedha, etc. By his clear exposition of the Advaita doctrine, the Acharya silenced their arguments. After the successful ascending of the Sarvajna Peetha, Sri Sankara was attracted by a boy of 7 summers to be very precious. He sent word for the parents of the boy. They came with their son and bowed before Sri Sankara. Then the great Acharya expressed His wish to nominate the little boy as his successor to the Kanchi Peetha. The parents greatly rejoiced and agreed to the Acharya's proposal. Thereafter the Acharya initiated the boy Into sanyasa ashrama, gave him the deeksha name of Sarvajnatman. The Bala Sanyasi was put under the care of Sri Sureswaracharya. Sri Sarvajnatman presided over the Sri Kanchi Sankaracharya Math for a long number of years. He wrote a lucid summary or rather a further commentary on Sri Sankara's Sutra Bhashya. Sri Sarvajnatman's commentary is known as The Samkshepa Sareeraka. It is also said that He is the author of a poetical thesis called Sarvajna Vilasa. The Samkshepa Sareeraka of Sri Sarvajnatman contains 1267 verses couched in verses of elegance and easy style. After an eventful and glorious career Sri Sarvajnatman attained videha mukthi in Kanchi on the 14th day of the dark fortnight (Vaishaka Krishna Chaturdasi) of the cyclic year Nala (364 BC).

From the Mutt calender 2018


The 68th Pontiff His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi
Sri Swaminathan (born at Villupuram on 20th May 1894 -Anuradha Star) was taken to Kalavai in his 13th year, when he was studying at Tindivanam, to be initiated into ascetic order and ordained as the 68th Acharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Math. He was given the Sanyasa name Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi. He was affectionately called "Mahaswamigal" and "Walking God". He adorned the Peetam from February 13, 1907. True to the tradition of the Peetam set by Adi Sankara, Mahaswamigal travelled throughout the country by foot or by the traditional palanquin. He also stood by the national sentiments in discarding "foreign cloth" (He immersed them in water instead of setting fire) and started wearing Khadi. He set the trend to create Trusts for achieving the objectives of the Peeta. His foremost concern was preservation of the Vedas, tradition and dharma. He advocated simplicity, shunned pomp, ostentation and extravagance. His exposition of Vedanta, sastras and the dharmic duties attracted scholars and laymen alike, from far and wide, for it has always been rich in values and simple in understanding. Great humorist he had the keen acumen to relate root words of all the languages to Sanskrit highlighting its greatness. He attained moksha at Kancheepuram on 8th January 1994 (Dhanur, Krishna Dwadasi) in his Centenary year.

pics 001

Adhishtanam of Shri.Jayendra Saraswathi the 69th Pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt


It was with profound sadness we woke up on the 28th February 2018 to learn that his holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi swamiji had attained siddhi. Like many other devotees we too have been the recipients of his  bountiful advice,grace and blessings with regular  interactions for the past many decades. It was a sad day for the devotees  when he was interned next to his poojya guru



The 69th Pontiff His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal

(from the official website of the Kanchi Mutt)
Sri Subramaniyam, born on July 18, 1935 at Irulneekki in Thanjavur District had Veda Adyayanam at Tiruvidaimarudur under the direction of Mahaswamjgal and was initiated into Sanyasa on March 22, 1954 and was declared as successor Acharya and given the Sanyasa name Sri Jayendra Saraswathi . In the footsteps of the Mahaswamigal, He too undertook yatra throughout the country. He attracted people from every nook and corner. He intensified the activities of the Matam to cover new social objectives -education, health, employment, temple renovation etc. It is due to His untiring efforts, Kamakoti Peetam established religious and social institutions in many parts of the country. Kamakoti Peetam has now become a beehive of socio- religious renaissance. The King of Nepal has erected an arch "Welcome to the only Hindu Kingdom in the world" at the instance of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, in 1988. The only Sankaracharya after the Adi Sankara to visit Manasarovar and Kailash is Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal, in 1998; there He installed the idol of Adi Sankara. He had the unique distinction in being honoured by both Nepal and Chinese Governments. In known recent history, He is the only Sankaracharya to visit Dhaka in Bangladesh in June 2000. In honouring His visit, Sri Dhakeswari Temple named the entrance to the temple as "Sankaracharya Gate". His most notable contribution yet is the founding of the Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya, a Deemed University in the name of His Guru.

Some pictures of Gurujis received from friends and relatives via whatsappIMG-20180317-WA0039_thumb8IMG-20180317-WA0041_thumb8