Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sri Veeratteshwarar temple–Thiruvazhuvur-Padal petra sthalam-Veeratanam

This ancient temple is at Vazhuvoor close to Mayavaram on the Mayavaram peralam  road.It can also be reached from Kumbakonam via Aduthurai,Komal and also Peralam  It is the veerattanam where Shiva killed the Rogue elephant Gajasura sent by the rishis and won the title as Gajasamhara murthy. It is a peaceful temple with a hoary legend. Ayyappan was supposedly born here and a sannidhi is seen for him here.

How to reach:

The place is easily reached from Mayavaram on the peralam road in about 8 kms . It can also be reached from Kumbakonam via aduthurai,Kuttalam or komal or from Peralam

History and Legends:

It is part of the Veerattanam temples where Shiva kills the ego of the Rishis.. The rishis had amassed powers by doing yagas but instead of using the powers for betterment of the world had started doing the yagnas only for getting more powers and feeding their egos. They had come to believe that the yagnas were the end to salvation and not the means to achieve salvation so Shiva and Vishnu decided to teach the rishis and their wives a lesson to forget their egos. They descended as Mohini and Bhikshandavar and teased the rishis and their pathnis with their simple ways.

The sages lost their minds at the sight of the Mohini and their wives on Lord Shiva’s handsomeness. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva created  (Ayyappa) and disappeared. Realizing that they were cheated, the rishis performed a yajna and brought out Fire, tiger, deer, axe snakes, demon Muyalaga to attack Lord Shiva. but the lord merely used them as his adornments. Having miserably failed in their attempts, they finally created a wild elephant to kill Him. Lord shiva entered into the belly of the elephant. The world became dark. Mother  Parvati held child Muruga in fear. Lord churned the belly of the elephant which cried out loudly unable to bear the pain. He came out dancing tearing its belly. The sages fell at the feet of Lord and sought His pardon. As Lord Shiva killed the Gaja-elephant, He is praised as Gaja Samhara Murthi.

The same history as in Tharukavanam Thiruparaithurai,Uthamar koil  and  Lalgudi saptha rishi temple  legends

( click here for my blogs on these temples http://drlsravi.blogspot.in/2012/01/uthamar-kovil-trichy-guru-sthalam.html

http://drlsravi.blogspot.in/2012/12/shri-tharukavaneshwarar-temple-at.html

http://drlsravi.blogspot.com/2011/12/saptharishishwarar-temple-lalgudi.html

There is a Rajagopuram with entrance to the courtyard which has a nandi and a huge pond before the temple. This pond is rare it is called Pathala ganga and is rare to find Nandi separated from Shiva by a pond in a Shiva temple

 

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IMG_0086The main Temple has two seperate shrines each for Shiva and Parvathi and which houses the DwajasthambamIMG_0090IMG_0091

There is a Mandapam with Gajasamharamurthy displayed on the topIMG_0092

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The main shivan sannidhi houses both the shivalingam as well as the Gajasamhara murthy which is an exquisite art of idols with Shiva and parvathi and Skanda ,the infant on his mothers hip (from the internet) the upturned left heel and the entire composition especially Parvati with Murugan is truly a remarkable piece of art.There is a yanthra behind the Shiva which will help to control our egos

The outer praharam is vast with the usual kosta vigrahas and also paintings of the legend IMG_0093IMG_0094IMG_0095IMG_0099IMG_0097IMG_0100IMG_0104IMG_0107IMG_0108IMG_0109

The next building houses the eastern facing ambal Iangilai nayaki sannidhiIMG_0115IMG_0116

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The temple legend displayed inside

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The highlight to me was the Gajasamhara murthy statues with such attention to detail and the Bhiksandavar statue (From Dinamalar.com)

From my visit in jan 2016

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Sri Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Koil Katharikuppam near Ranipet-Adhishtanam of Sri Sri Satchidghanendra Saraswati Swamiji the 13th Pontiff of the Kanchi peetam

The new calendar for 2016 from the Kanchi madam  talks of many newly found adhishtanams of the previous pontiffs. I ventured out to visit the one near Ranipet –the Adhishtanam of Sri Sri Satchidghanendra Saraswatiswamiji the 13 Pontiff of the Kanchi peetam. The place mentioned was Katharikuppam .A Google search led me on an adventure which is memorable. I ended up near Sholinghur  at Kattarikuppam which was a wrong call. There was no shiva temple.I proceeded to the nearby Shiva temple near pulivalam and spoke to the priest of the Kameshwarar koil who was very helpful though he did not know of this temple he told me there is another Kattari kuppam near Chittoor road So away I went going around Sholinghur reserving that visit for another day. I ended up near Pudur medu Kattari kuppam this was also a wrong call. There was no shiva temple here also.So crest fallen I proceeded towards Lalapet bus stop and lo Google maps picked up another Katharikuppam I turned in and after travelling about 8-10 kms I found the correct place!!. His holiness had decided to give me a small blessing and showed me the way.

How To Reach:

The shortest way from Chennai is to take the Bangalore highway and turn into Ranipet and Old Bangalore road.Near the MGM resorts take a right turn towards Ponnai and in about 10 kms you will reach the road to Katharikuppam. On the right. Proceed for about 6 kms and you will reach the Meenakshi Sundareshwarar  temple where the Pontiff is said to have merged with the Shivalingam.DSC05504

Legends and Stories:

The Legend:

Sri Satchidghanendra Saraswati : Known as Seshaya in his poorvasrama, he belonged to a village on the bank of the Gadilam river. He was the son of Sridhar Pandlta. Like his predecessor, he relinquished his pontificate to his successor and wandered about the environs of Kanchi as an "Avadhuta". After wandering for over thirty-two years, he disappeared into a. temple near Kanchi and it is said that his mortal frame got transformed into a Linga, now identified with Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple at Katharikuppam on Sukla Prathama in the month of Margasirsha of the cyclic the cyclic year Khara (272 AD).

History of thekamakoti peetam(web link to theKamakoti peetam's website history of the mutt).

The temple priest Sridhar a very honest and simple soul narrated that actually there was another brindavanam inside a snake pit nearby( near the temple pond), after Deiva prashnam the jeeva Samadhi of a  sanyasi was found there and that brindavanam which has  since been re built revealed that the pujya  guru of that swamiji was infact the kanchi pontiff who had merged with the Linga inside the templeDSC05505

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The name and Identity of this swamiji is not known yet.

The pond in front had very little water earlier and once many years ago  after Mahaperiyava bathed here it started raining heavily and the pond was filled up in no timeDSC05510

The temple itself is very small but the vibrations you receive are something you have to experience to believe

As you enter the main gate you see the banner on the door and  a plaque on the wall about the AdhishtanamDSC05480

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The inner Chamber is a small room with the Ambal facing South and the Shivalingam facing East in their enclosuresDSC05485DSC05484

Both the Shivalingam and the Meenakshi ambal are small in size but the ambience is  electrifying. In front of the Shivalingam a pair of Padukas have been installed recently.There was also a sculpture of a Saint?, A siddhar? and hanumanDSC05486DSC05487DSC05488

The outside praharam has small koshta vigrahas like Ganapathy, Dakshinamurthy, Durga and Brahma. There is also a Bhairava, and a navagraha sannidhi. There is also a nagar and a statue of Shiva sittingDSC05496DSC05497DSC05498DSC05499DSC05500DSC05501

For further help Contact the priest Sri Sridharan Cell:8489637744

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sri Subramania swami temple–Vallimalai near Ranipet

It was a long pending desire of mine to visit this hill temple near Ranipet where Valli did penance and was married to Murugan.My friend Dr.Balamurugan neurosurgeon is a frequent visitor to this temple and with his company we set out to see this place today morning. It was a nice experience.

How to Reach:

Vallimalai is about 15 kms after Ranipet

Vallimalai murugan Temple

After Ranipet turn right into the Tiruvalam road and proceed till you reach the Ponpadi road (SH 124)   On your left you can see the Temple arch welcoming you.IMG_20151024_082156_HDR

Legends and stories of the temple:

Valli is supposedly the daughter of Mahalakshmi and Vishnu who was conceived when a drop of Mahalakshmi sweat was dropped on the vines and a deer happened to swallow the same.She germinated in the deer and was delivered on the vines in the forest.A tribal king called Nambiraja (a hunter-Vedar in Tamil) found her and brought her up after naming her Valli after the vines she was found on. Murugan learnt of her existence from Narada and started wooing her hand and pretended to be an old man .Valli was engaged in protecting the crop of the millet called Thinai she had a rope in one hand and a stone in the other to ward of birds. murugan asks for some honey and Thinai a cereal and pretends to suffocate when she serves it to him.She then rushes to the saravana poigai and gives him water.Here she sees a huge elephant trumpeting which scares her and she rushes into the arms of Murugan.

when Nambiraja comes by and sees them Murugan transforms into a tree here and then with Ganapathy’s help they elope to Thiruthani nearby and get married .As per Nambiraja’s wishes they come here with Deivanai and give darshan to people.

There are temples for Murugan( Gopuram seen  in the pic above) ,Valli (seen below) and there is a pond called the Saravana Poigai at the foot hills

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After witnessing the abhishekam for murugan at the foot hill we proceeded up the steps. There are 309 steps which were built with the help of Sri Kripananda variar

The steps are steep and pathway infested with friendly monkeys which are  very bold and used to humans so cover all edibles properly.There are mantaps helpfully built for souls like us to take rest frequently and proceed up slowlyIMG_20151024_084128_HDRIMG_20151024_085013_HDRIMG_20151024_085018_HDR

There are no shops enroute so please buy all pooja articles below itself and please stock  water  .The temple has provided water in the resting mantaps but  potabilityis a concern.

The entire hillock is an ASI MonumentIMG_20151024_090449_HDR

After a climb we see the kodimaram / Dwajasthamba and temple entrance IMG_20151024_090505_HDRIMG_20151024_090521_HDR

The garba gruha of the temple is actually a cave formed between the two boulders seen above and the gopuram is built on the sanctum housing Murugan with valli and Deivanai

As you enter the temple on the left you see the sanctum for Valli she has a rope in the right hand and a stone for scattering birds in her right palmIMG_20151024_090636_HDR

The chamber inside has a shrine for Varasiddhi vinayakaIMG_20151024_090652_HDR

A short flight of stairs on the left leads us to the main sanctum where there are the idols of Subramanya , Valli and Deivanai in the kalyana kolam.There are also many upa devathas and statues of Saint Arunagirinathar who composed the Thirupugazh and also a tunnel which supposedly leads up to Thiruthani and the Thiruthani temple  sanctum also has the other end identified.The priest said he had travelled up to a short distance in this before he  turned back due to snakes. The tunnel is now barred with a narrow opening and the whole floor re built and snakes are not a problem now. He served us sweet pongal which we partook a little of and proceeded further. As Valli did penance here to Vishnu we are blessed with a sadari  with Vishnu pada as in a Vishnu temple

There is a short pathway around to go around the temple for doing pradakshinam with a stunning view IMG_20151024_090536_HDRIMG_20151024_090540_HDR

As we came out the best part of our visit beckoned us. One of the temple sweepers came up to us and  literally pushed us to climb up the hill for about 3 kms of unpaved paths to see the ashram of Thirupugazh swamigal a famous saint who lived here for many years and attained siddhi ( for more details of this very great man please visit he link http://pongi.org/satchidananda-1.htm)

we could also visit the places where valli as an unmarried girl meditated on Vishnu  to marry Murugan. It was a divine intervention which pushed us both up the adventurous route which tested us city dwellers up  the jungle path..

During this trek we befriended a young engineer working in Chennai Sri Ramakrishna who is a great Muruga bhaktha and who has built a temple for Murugan near Viralimalai the temple I visited last month.So giving courage to each other we ventured on these jungle trails and arrived at the ashramIMG_20151024_093704_HDRIMG_20151024_095103_HDRIMG_20151024_095141_HDRIMG_20151024_095943_HDR

we saw the temple where Sri Satchidananda swamigal has consecreted an idol of Pongi (bubbling like a water body) another name of  ValliIMG_20151024_100216_HDRIMG_20151024_100135_HDR

Then we saw the serene ashram and the Adhishhtanam of the swamiji inside a caveIMG_20151024_100517_HDRIMG_20151024_100900_HDRIMG_20151024_100850_HDRIMG_20151024_100728_HDRIMG_20151024_100742_HDR

For more details of the ashram please refer to the link below

http://www.vallimalaiashram.org/sabha.html

we were patiently taken around by the caretaker Shri Ethirajan and shown all the interesting places like the water tank, the trees , Ganapathy rock which is a fossilled rock protected by ASI

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Still further up which required us to climb on bare hot rock was a place where Valli used to live and extract oil from the seeds and also a serene Shiva temple. My city slicker legs wobbly by the trek and also my fear of heights prevented me from climbing up how ever our new friend Sri.Ramakrishna ventured up and photographed the place and has promised to send me the same shortly.

After a stunning time we made our way back through the jungle track to paved tracks . the hot sun by this time gave us both a bevy of blisters but the whole episode was so breath-taking we were both not mindful of the discomfort and came down in high spirits of a time well spent.

It was a truly divine trek and we were both happy at this bonus of an unexpected visit to the ashram which was a first to my friend who has been visiting this hill for more than 20 years

Today (30/10/15) As promised Sri.Ramakrishnan has sent me the pictures from the hill top which he took. I have posted them here along with his pic.A big thanks to you sir.

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