Today I had the oppurtunity to visit this temple which is part of the Navagraha temples of Chola territory . Thondaimandalam. The temple has a rich past and is also associated with Shri Thyagaraja where he composed the Kovoor pancharathna keerthanas It is also associated with of Saint Poet Sekhizhar the minister of Kulathunga chola and the author of Periyapuranam. Thirunavukkarasar (Appar) has also sung about this place so it is also a padal petra sthalam.
The temple was built during the regime of Kulothunga Chola during the 7th century
It is a truly mammoth temple well laid out and maintained
How to reach:From porur junction move westwards on Kunrathur road this is a very busy junction and construction is going on for a fly over. After about 5 kms the road will intersect below the Maduravoyal and Tambaram byepass follow the road and after this junction take the second road to the right just before the bus stop. The roads are all narrow my maruti zen was very handy! the second right on this road brings us in from of the grand rajagopuram facing the south.The temple has a nine-tier Rajagopuram on the southern entrance
The tower is also unique as it contains the figures of thyagaraja being carried on a palanquin and on the right side you can see Rama and Lakshmana at the end of the retinue and on the left we can see the closed door of Tirumala temple.The muscular figure of Wallajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar is easily identifiable.The upper storeys of the gopuram depict several incidents from Tyagaraja's life such as his tutelage under Sonti Venkataramanayya, his darsan of Narada and his visit to Tirupati. In the last named sequence, the sculptor has depicted the doors of the Tirupati temple being closed, whereas legend has it that it was the screen (therai) that was drawn preventing Tyagaraja from having darshan
(Rama and Lakshmana,Sonti Venkataramanayya figures in Thyagaraja ’s retinue)
The main entrance has Ganesa and Murugan on either side you can see Murugan above
Legend of the temple:
According to legend, when Goddess Kamakshi did penance in the nearby Mangadu, the entire world heated up .The heat that emerged was unbearable for all living beings. Then Goddess Mahalakshmi took the form of the celestial cow, Kamadhenu, and pacified Kamakshi. As a result, the intensity of the heat got reduced and the entire world heaved a sigh of relief. To add to this Lord Shiva showed the real swaroopam in the Linga along with Parvathi and came to be known as ‘Thirumeneeswarar’./”Sundareswarar” , As Mahalakshmi appeared here as a cow the place came to be known as Kovoor ("Ko" in Sanskrit means cow).
Shri thyagaraja stayed here enroute to tirumala and was pestered by the local chieftain sundara to sing songs in his praise when thyagabrahman refused he set upon his thugs to beat him up. The two young lads protected thyagayya and he came back to the temple and sang in praise of the Sivan the famous Kovoor pancharathna keerthanas!
The five songs composed by the Saint are :
Sambho Mahadeva (Pantuvarali, Roopakam) is in Sanskrit and comprises pallavi, anupallavi and a single charanam. It is largely a descriptive ode of the attributes of Sundareswara.
Sundareswaruni Choosi (Sankarabharanam, Adi) comprises pallavi, anupallavi and three charanams. Couched in Telugu, the song depicts a grand spectacle of the shrine and the deity.
E vasudha (Sahana, Adi) has pallavi, anupallavi and a single charanam of eight lines. Perhaps the most popular among the five songs composed at Kovur, it states that even if one were to stay for half a minute in Kovur, wealth and other benefits can be obtained.
Kori sevimparaare (Kharaharapriya, Adi) comprises pallavi, anupallavi and a charanam of four lines. Like his Raju vedala (Desia Todi, Roopakam) and Chootaamu raare (Arabhi, Roopakam), composed at Srirangam, Tyagaraja speaks of leading a group of devotees and urging them to come and worship at Kovur.
Nammi vacchina (Kalyani, Roopakam) has pallavi, anupallavi and a single charanam comprising four lines. The kriti beseeches the Lord to protect Tyagaraja who has come unto Him with true faith.
The temple has a neat outer praharam
View of the south side from entrance
Inside view of the Rajagopuram
(north side praharam)
(west side praharam with the gopuram over the sanctum)
( Eastern entrance)
The inner sanctum has an east facing main enclosure of Thirumaeneeswarar and a south facing Sri Soundharaambigai sannidhi (also called Sowndarambika Thiruvudainayaki).. This is one of the three major Kamakshi sannidhis around mangadu( here she is Shanta swaroopi, Tapas kamakshin at mangadu and Adi kamakshi at gerugambakkam the Ketu kshetram–my next post)
The Vimanam is of gajaprushti type denoting antiquity and swayanbhu natrure of the lord > In this temple the lord does not adorn the Nagabaranam as in other siva temples he is instead adorned with a mandapam as he is also Lakshmi swaroopan and also budhan . Here lakshmi pooja is done for the main sivalingam and there is no seperate budhan sanidhi!!
Other deities present in the temple are Sri Veerabadhrar, Sri Valli Devasena Samedha Sri Subramanyar and Navagrahams. All 63 Naayanmaars are also present in this temple.
Another rarity of this temple is the Sthala Viruksham called Maha Vilvam tree. The Maha Vilvam of this temple is a very rare one that each stalk of Maha Vilvam has 27 leaves to it. The priest told me it is a rarity and his grandfather found this tree and one who finds a mahavilvam tree itself is destined for moksham!!
Planet Budhan is responsible for education, intelligence, maturity, memory, creativity etc. astrologers say. So, it is recommended that we visit the temples of Budha baghwan and be blessed by Him.
In short a serene temple with lots of history and god vibrations!!
(one of the two chariots of the temple in bad shape the one below is in better shape)