Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saptharishishwarar temple Lalgudi-Trichy

   This is the temple of my  village Lalgudi.The original name of the place was Thiruthavathurai a land made holy by the tapas of Lakshmidevi. who prayed to Siva for powers and by Mahavishnu to get the sudharshana chakra and also the saptharishis to absolve them of the curse incurred in not feeding Murugan.. It is a very ancient temple with extensive written records patronised by the Cholas pal lavas and has been in existence from the 6 century..There is a separate storage area built in the temple where rare thevarams were found (these are now in the saraswathy mahal  palm leaf library).The temple finds mention in the anbil copper plates unearthed in the last century.

How to reach:

Lalgudi is easily reached by road/train.It is on the Trichy to Ariyalur road about 20 kms from the toll gate.it is also on the chenaiTrichy railway line.

Legend and connected stories:

The place was referred to by allahuddin khilji as Lal gudi in reference to the red tower of the temple or to the red coloured lingam inside the temple.

When the asura king Tharakasura became un manageable Lord Shiva produced 6 sparks which were later to become shanmugha .The six children were seen by the wives of saptharishis who became so engrossed at their antics that they forgot to feed the children who were ultimately taken care of by the sapthakannikais.As a result the rishipathnis were cursed and banished by the rishis for neglecting an opportunity to get a better life.This angered muruga who cursed the rishis .They had to flee from thiruvaiyaru where they were doing yagnas and came to lalgudi where they were asked to pray to lord Shiva who had given boons to Lakshmi and Vishnu earlier at this place. The Saptharisis ultimately merged into the sivalingam which is split at the top with  a reddish hue.( It .is a ardhanarishwara  sivasakthi lingam).

The goddess here is Sivakamasundari (@Sreemathy/,perun thiru piratti), she was born to Mangalya maharishi who lived in lalgudi(his house is still in existence in the village and even now the in mates of the house send “porandhathu  seeru” (wedding gifts to the bride) to the goddess on specific days of the Kalyana utsavam).

Thyagaraja swami has spent time here and composed the lalgudi pancharathna kirthanas on the amman here

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As you enter the temple there are two prakaras one for the sivan and another for the amman.

In the sivan praharam before the sannidhi entrance are the statues for the Saptha rishis

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The temple has very large number of inscriptions which speak of the times past.and extensive social structure present at that time in tamil society. The ASI has coped all these and they prove to be an authentic reference for history of the region .

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As you go around the main prahara we have certain unique idols.The Dakshinamurthy here is Veena dakshinamurthy  Shiva with a veena in his hand

veena dakshinamurthy

,there is also a ardha narishwarar in the back instead of the lingodhbavar / Perumal as in other shivatemples ( see below)DSCN3504

A bhikshandar (beggar shiva)DSCN3495

a jwareshwarar who has no form but has a sannidhi.

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There is also a sannidhi for Lakshmi who was initially the tapaswini here (“Thiru thava thurai”)

There is a original kapaleshwara form of Siva which was also worshipped earlier here seen at the extreme right DSCN3499

There is also a Dakshinamurthy in a seperate  niche  as seen belowDSCN3508

The safe house where the thevarams were found this was built as an elevation behind the main sannidhiDSCN3503

 

Mangalya maharishi  sannidhi

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Thyagaraja's keerthanas are engraved here

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The amman sannidhi is also huge and has a standing smiling samvardhini sreemathy who is supposed to have fulfilled the wishes of both Lakshmi and Saraswathy.Lots of people buy sarees for the amman after their prayers are answered, The idol is wonderfully attired in a 9 yard saree.with sandal paste annointment.

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The 63 nayanmars displayed

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The utsava murthys ( somaskandar and Parvathy)

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The Natarajar in the outer praharam is huge (about 5 feet tall)and is resplendent during the pradosha puja which is a major attraction of this temple.

In all a very ancient and awe inspiring temple worth seeing for a whole day

The seven great Rishis – Athri, Bhrigu, Pulasthya,Vasishta, Gautama, Aangirasa and Marichi. .

The seven rishis are relatives of the nine planets. As all the rishis reached Lord Shiva here, those facing any problem through any planet are advised to worship Lord Saptharishiswara. . Sun is the grandson of Marichi rishi,Chandra the son of Athri, Mercury is the son of Chandra, Jupiter is the son of Angirasa, Mars comes in the lineage of Vasishta. Hence worship of Lord Saptharishiswara brings relief from planetary problems.

Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January and Mahasivarathri in Masi in February-March are the festivals celebrated in the temple in a grand manner

Tel:0431 2541 329

Bangaru kamakshi temple Tanjore

Recently on a visit to Tanjore I happened to see this temple which is run by the Kanchi kamakoti peetam in Tanjore,

History:

The Bangaru kamakshi  idol in Thanjavur was originally in the Kamakshi temple at Kanchi. (It was  one of the 5 kamakshis inside the  kanchi temple).Due to the invasion of Kanchi by  hostile powers the then sankaracharya (Shri Chandrashekara saraswathy IV-1746-1783)of the  kanchi kamakoti peetam shifted base to Tanjore and later to Kumbakonam. The  solid gold idol from kanchi was initially shifted to Udayarpalyam and later to Tanjore..It seems the idol was wrapped with cloth and the shiny surface was smeared by black punugu ( secretion of the Civet cat) covered with a cloth and smuggled out in a palanquin as  if it was a child with small pox.The feet of the idol are symbolically installed  in Kanchi temple ,Bangarukamakshi ( golden kamakshi! yes it is a solid gold figure)has been re  installed at tanjore. Even today the idol is routinely smeared with punugu and appears black. During annual navarathri abhishekams also it does not wash off!!

How to reach?

The temple is a km behind the big temple and easily accessed by a straight road,

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Next door is the navaneetha krishna temple with krishna rukmini sathyabhama and kodhai. It is also a peaceful temple

Thiruverumbur temple Trichy

 

Thiru erumbur meaning the lord in the form of an ant hill is  is a very ancient temple maintained by the ASI , dating back to the 6th-7thcentury. There is reference of visits by Appar, in his thevaram.

How to reach:

The temple is situated on the Trichy Thanjavur four lane highway about 12 kms from Trichy . As you proceed the temple is seen on a hillock on the left hand side DSCN3424 The hillock is about 130feet high .There are115 steps to be climbed. DSCN3527 The car  reaches the foot hills where there is a large temple pond and a piliyar templeDSCN3531

 

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The steps are not exhausting and the trip is made pleasant by the frolicking goats which climb the hillock easily

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The view at the top is serene and peacefulDSCN3544

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Legend of the temple:

The land was ruled by Tharakasura who was a siva bhaktha but he denied access to devas. who were his enemies.To escape the asuras the devas took the form of ants and crawled on the lord. Since the Siva lingam was anointed with oil the ants slipped. So they prayed to Siva who tilted his form to one side  side to listen to the prayers of the bhaktas and also surface of the lingam became like an anthill hence erumbeshwara erumbu in tamil means ant

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As you enter the temple on the top you see the majestic siva temple facing east with its gopuram DSCN3542

DSCN3545.On the right side is the  amman praharam facing north. The goddes is Mathuvanakaeswari or Soundranayaki ( seen  below)

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The main sivalingam has a split vertically also hence is considered as Siva sakthi.

The main praharam has hariharan,dakshinamurthy and bala vinayakar in addition to durgai and brahmaDSCN3550

There are lots of engravings of the temple history as seen above and below

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There is a well maintained garden around the temple.

Temple Timings:
6.30 am to 12 noon and 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm
Temple Telephone Number:
0431 6574738, 9842957568.
Temple Address:
Arulmigu Erumbeeswarar Alayam
Thiruverumbur
Thiruverumbur(P.O)
Tiruchirapalli (Dist)
Tamil Nadu
India.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mangadu Tapas Kamakshi temple

Today morning I Visited this temple very famous  in Chennai. This is the place that Kamakshi did penance and married lord Shiva.The whole place was a mango Groove and the heat of the tapas started burning the area . So Lakshmi appealed to Shiva and pacified Kamakshi at Kovoor nearby.( see my blog on Kovoor)
Legend:
SRI ARDHAMERU SRI CHAKRA
      As already alludedto this was theplace parvati did severe penence on one foot to obtain shiva as her husband. Shiva appears as anold man and taunts her .I learnabout that through  Kalidasas poetry which was a prescribed sanskrit poetry  for me in school entitled "Parvati Bhava Pariksha".As per Shiva's instructions when the  Goddess Left the place without extinguishing the fire the whole area suffered from the unbearable heat for a long time. Sri AdiSankara of Kaladi came here and installed SRI ARDHAMERU CHAKRAM and extinguished the fire. SRI CHAKRAM in Mangadu is very rare in India.The three famous kamakshi's in porur area are Mangadu Kamakshi, Adi kamakshi in Gerugambakkamn ketu temple (neelakanteshwara temple kethu sthalam see my blog) and the Kovoor someshwara temple.
     
How to Reach:
Take the poonamalle highroad from chennai and reach the poonamalli byepass at Saveetha Dental college . Take the  left underpass here and proceed to the signal here take a right and turn into the Kunrathur road and proceed for about a kilometre and  you will see the road to the temple at the right. You can also reach the signal from Kathipara by taking the butt road and cross SRMC and take a left at the end of this road.
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( temple legend)
The whole temple has been renovated a few years ago with marble lined corridors. There is always a rush to enter. Special darshan tickets Rs.50 are available and this queue takes you through the exit route into the main sanctum.
The coconuts are all broken outside and a fast track darshan ensues. The panchaloha idol of Kamakshi is seen standing on one toe (Tapas kamakshi) in the outer prakaram . The main sanctum has a seated kamakshi with the ardhameru in front.The Ardhameru Sri Chakram is the chief divinity in this temple. Kumkum Archana is performed and no abhishekam for Sri Chakram, since it is made up of herbals. Sri Adhi Kamakshiamman (in Panchalogam) has been installed in the sanctum by Sri Kanchi Paramacharya Swamigal.
There willbe a lot of pilgrims doing adi pradakshinam and also angapradakshinam at any given time. onthe culmination of their wishes they distribute sweet payasam.
The outer praharam has a sannidhifor Vinayaka and the saptha kannikas The Utsavamurthy’s are tastefully decorated and kept in a seperate sanidhi.
Tapas kamakshi fulfills all our sincere prayers .

Govindhawadi Guru temple near Kanchipuram

I heard about this famous temple recently and visited this place today on myway back from Kanchipuram. It is a famous temple for Dakshinamurthy and a Navagraha kshetra for Guru.
How to reach:
The  temple issituated in the village of Govindawadi on the Kanchipuram Arakonam  state highway. From the Chennai Bangalore highway  cross the left turn to kanchi and proceed  straight .You will see a railway road overbridge
( called Vellai gate railway gate locally).Do not go over  the bridge instead  proceed below the bridge and turn righy towards pallavan engineering college and proceed straight towards arakonam. After about 15 kms you will see the saffron arch of the village take a left turn here an in a couple of Kms you will reach the temple
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View from the front
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The temple is supposedly 2000 years old and was visited by adishankara as per records in the temple as narrated by the gurukkal.
The main entrance leads to the guru sannidhi which is a  5 foot statue of dakshinamurthy actually  situated in the outer wall of the Kailasnathar sannidhi along side.DSCN3403
The `kalalam' (the tree canopy above the head of the deity) is not there and a panchasanam has been carved out below the Muyalagan (the monster on whom Dakshinamoorty rests his right leg).
The panchasanam - consisting eight simhams' (lions), eight nagams (five-headed snakes), ashta dwarabalaka (eight armed guards), eight gajams (elephants) and `ashta dikhbalakas' (regents of eight cardinal points) - has the koormam (tortoise) as its base.
Though the Dakshinamoorthy idol has been installed south of thesanctum santorum of Sri Kailasanathar (like in any other Siva temple), the construction has been done in such a way that the deity has a separate shrine.
The panchaloka idol of Dakshinamoorthy is also as exquisite as the granite one. The deity is seen seated on the Mount Kailash where the Sanakathi sages are performing penance.
Legend has it that Lord Dakshinamoorthy is said to have appeared before one of his ardent devotees, Thandavarayar, a resident of Govindawadi and bestowed on him His grace and the `scared ash.' Thandavarayar established a religious math at Govindawadi and observed Visaka nakshatram in the Tamil month of Chitirai as Guru Puja day by taking out Viboodhi kavadi from his math and performing special pujas to Dakshinamoorthy. This practice is continued by his descendants.
The Kailasanathar  sannidhi has akhilandeshwari and in both the sivan and amman sannidhis we are allowed very close to the idols.
Exquisite stone carvings - referred to as kumbachara, said to be a form of sculpting promoted by the Chola Kings(http://www.hindu.com/fr/2004/08/13/stories/2004081302080400.htm)
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There was a free annadanam being  performed in front of the sivan sannidhi
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There were idols of Perumal, durgai, Brahma around the main sanctum DSCN3392
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Brahma
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(Durga )
there was a separate area where ghee deepam could be lit for pariharam It was done in the coconut shell as seen below
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Murugan sannidhi behind
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View of the Nandi and dwajasthambam in the outer prakaram
Another important aspect exclusive to this temple is that devotees, whose marriage proposals face hurdles because of the influence of Raghu, Kethu or Angaragan, are allowed to perform abhishekam to the naga kanni idols installed at the north-west corner of the temple.
After performing the anointment, they have to worship Dakshinamoorthy to get their marriage proposals through, say the villagers.
A nice temple to uplift our spirits !!