Sunday, April 28, 2013

Veerattanam the eight Shiva temples in Tamil nadu- AshtaVeerattanam

The ashta veerattanams are temples built for Shiva in Tamil Nadu where in Shiva took on the destruction mood to destroy asuras and evil forces. It is basically a temple built to commemorate victory over evil in many cases evil is an allegory for negative human features like ego, ignorance, fear of death ,Kama .,etc. These temples have been in existence for more than 1000 years.

There is a point why should the lord Shiva turn a killer and later give life again because it isBrahma's domain. The explanation by a  priest at the thirupariyalur temple was fascinating it is to show that the law is same for all  even if it is the father-in-Law daksha,or Lord Brahma,the violent acts are all part of fate destiny and even gods are all not immune to it. These destructions were all too small for somebody of shiva's strength but he wanted to show the world that evil/ ego is punished.

All these temples have exquisite Samhara murthys which are unique and not seen any where. The Lord Shiva Idol is exquisite in all these places and the stories and myths so beautiful!!

1 Thirukandiyur Brahma Near Thiruvaiyaru
2. Tirukoilur Andhakasura Tirukoilur
3. Thiruvadhigai Tripuranthaka Panrutti
4. Thirupariyal Daksha Mayavaram
5. Thiruvirkudi Jalandaran Tiruvarur
6. Thiruvazhuvoor Gajasura Mayavaram
7. Thirukurrukai Manmatha Korukkai near Mayavaram
8. Thirukadayur Yama Sirkali l

Veeretteshwarar Shiva Temple at Thirukoilur

There are 8 Veerattanams in Tamil Nadu. These are places where Shiva took the fiery role of a destroyer to annihilate evil and this is the second such this area with Thiruvadhigai in Panrutti being one more,(

Shiva got rid of the demon called Andhakasura (It also means Ignorance in darkness) where as in Thiruvadhigai it is ego, arrogance etc. It is a padal petra sthalam and birthplace of two nayanmars Meiporul Nayanar and Narasinga Munaiarayar

How to reach:

When you reach Tirukoilur from Villupuram ask for the low bridge across the Pennai river.The temple is abutting the bridge toward Tirukoilur side and can easily be seen. There is a huge parking area inside where you can see the twin sannidhis.DSC00556


Andhakasura was killed by Lord Shiva here. When Parvathy playfully closed Shiva's eyes the whole world became dark and darkness increased ignorance and andakasura was released.

This caused Shiva to assume the Bhairava avatara. SO this place is the avatara sthalam of Bhairava .

During the battle when the asura’s blood fell on the ground a new asura would spring forth. Hence kali caught the blood in a container and the spilt blood made a lattice pattern of 8 x 8 horizontally x vertical axis at each intersection Shiva produced a sivaganam 9TOTALLY 64)to vanquish the demon.This pattern was the birth of Vasthu shastra and the birth of Vaasthu purushan.DSC00560

This is the place where Venus (Sukran) was released from his curse hence problems related to Marriage and children will be easily solved here.

The Vishnu Durgai here is a rarity in a siva temple.

Poet saint avvaiyar composed the famous Vinayakar Agaval in this temple

The poet saint avvaiyar was taken to Kailas directly from here by the vinayaka hence he is called periya yanai vinayakar. It seems Sundarar was being taken to kailas spirituallly by a divine elephant, his close friend Cheramamunivar followed him on a horse and Avvaiyar started doing fast puja Ganesha was annoyed that avvaiyar was speeding things he promised her not to hurry him and in return he will take her to kailas. He assumed a huge vishwaroopam( Periya yanai), This is depicted in a fresco  and lifted avvaiyar to kailasam ahead of Sundarar and Cheran mamunivar  . This is depicted in a fine fresco at the temple


This is the temple where the princess Angavai and Sanghavai daughters of King Parivallal were married to King Deiveegan by their guardian Avvaiyar


Both the sannidhis are facing the west hence the koshta vigrahas are all reversed.

The Shivan sannidhi is farthest from the gateDSC00554

As you enter the outer praharam the sthala puranam is painted on the tower wallDSC00557 you see the Nandi facing the lord and the dwajasthambam. with a board showing the ashta veerattanams and details.DSC00559 

It leads to the inner praharam where you have a majestic Shivalingam known as Veeretteshwarar. During the renovation of the temple some Years ago they found that the base of the Lingam was going a few hundred feet hence they did not disturb it.

The Usual koshta vigrahas are Brahma,  Vishnudurgai,Lingodhbhavar,Dakshinamurthy and Vinayaka.

The Vishnu durgai has eight limbs and is serene. It is a black granite carving with a white inset in the eyes which makes it seem as though it is a living person looking at you. A classic sculpture masterpiece.

There are separate sannidhis for Murugan who has been sung about by Arunagirinathar

The  Periya yanai Ganapathy has a separate sannidhi with the vinayakar agaval carved in stone.and the fresco of avvaiyar reaching heaven in front.

The Amman sannidhi is towards the South.DSC00561


Amman is called Perianayaki, Shivanandavalli. She is in a separate sanctum with a serene face standing almost 5 feet tall.

The sthala vruksham is the Sara kondrai

A truly remarkable temple very rich in legends. Across the road is Shri Muthuswamy iyer’s house where the young Ramana pledged his emerald earrings for Rs. 20/- to buy tickets to tiruvannamalai after he had divine vision at the arakandanallur temple

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami temple at Anthili near Arakandanallur and Tirukoilur

The area around Villupuram and Pondicherry has many Narasimha temples. The famous ones are Singaperuman koil(, Sholingur,Singrikudi,Saranarayana swamy temple Panrutti (,  Poovarasan kuppam, Parikkal and Anthili. I travelled to this temple after visiting the Arakandanallur Athulyanathar temple today 27/4//2013.(for details see my blog on the arakandanallur Siva temple here)
How to reach:
On the state highway from Villupuram to Tirukoilur you will reach the Tirukoilur railway station on the right in front of this is the small road leading to the Anthili temple in 5 kms. Keep taking the left turns on this road and you will see the temple entrance on the right. These are small temples of Narasimha and Anjeneya atop two rocks on the banks of the  Pennai river.
The road leading from the highway inside can easily be missed. Once you see the Tirukoilur railway station on the right ask for directions to the temple  in the local market you will be directed to the cement road take the left turn here to Anthili turning right will lead you to the Athulyanathar temple in Arakanda nallur
Legends :
Since lord Garuda was disappointed that he was not taken by Lord Narasimha when he went to slay Hiranyakashyappu he started pining away and reached this place and started penance, Lord Vishnu was pleased to bless him and give him darshan in the Narasimha form with Lakshmi devi seated on his left lap as a shanta swaroopi.
The great Madhwa saint Vyasaraja had darshan of the lord here and as per his wish he consecreted a Hanuman  here as one among the many he did during the vijayanagara rule. A similar Anjeneya is seen in the Trivikrama temple at Thirukoilur( For more info see my blog on Kakalur Anjeneya swamy temple)
Shri Krishnapremi  has taken great interest and helped rebuild these temples through Anthili bhaktajana sabha.which now takes care of the temples.
A short flight of steps takes us to the Lakshmi Narasimha sannidhi


I reached here by 11 am and the rock bed and the stone paved pathway were scalding hot so please visit early morning or by evening

Sri Sivaloganathar temple Gramam a Padal petra sthalam

Today I visited Tirukoilur . I chose the Arasur road crossing from NH 45 from Villupuram so that I could visit this ancient Shiva temple

How to reach:

Take the right turn on NH 45 at arasur crossing on the Villupuram bypass while proceeding to Chennai. The road leads to Thiruvennainallur enroute to Tirukoilur, After about 10 kms on the left side in a village called Graman we can see this ancient templeDSC00513DSC00514 

Today when I went there there was nobody except two old ladies drying ela vadaams in the courtyard! at about 8:30 AM.

Legends and stories of the temple:

The dwarapalakas of Shiva Thindi and Mundi worshipped the lord here. Thindi worshipped the lord at Thindivanam and at this place Mundi worshiped the lord the original name of the place was mundishwaram..

The Lord offered a bag of Vibhuti (Pokkalam) to king Veerapandian, so he is known known as Pokkalam Kodutha Nayanar.

King Chokkalingam is supposed to have built this temple. Once he saw some strange variety of Lotus in a tank since he could not reach it, he let go an arrow and the entire pond was filled with blood as the arrow had wounded the Shivalingam here A startled king realised his folly and prayed to Shiva and built this temple on the bank of the pond. The Shivalingam of this temple carries a scar on the head till today. The place came to be called Thiru mouli gramam( Lord’s crowned Head village) and now only Gramam remains!!

The temple is built in the somaskanda pattern that is Lord Murugan sannidhi is between Lord Shiva and mother Parvathy sannidhi

As you enter you see the Nandi and the East facing Main Shivan sannidhiDSC00517 DSC00515

The small spaces you see on either side has Vinayaka on the left and Murugan on the right side OF Shivalingam which is the reverse of the usual arrangement in Shiva temples.DSC00543 DSC00542

The main entrance is from the south direction where the are statues for the Nayanmars and the small ante room where Thindi and Mundi are shown

DSC00519 DSC00518

This leads to the main sannidhi where the Shivalingam is resplendent

Behind is the sannidhi for Vinayaka  seen on the right below


The Koshta Vigrahas are Ganapathy and an unique Vrishaba Dakshinamurthy without the usual Tree  canopy DSC00523DSC00526  DSC00525

The Murugan Sannidhi is behind the main sannidhi and the Amman sannidhi is to the left of the main sannidhiDSC00528

The other koshta vigrahas are Lingothbhavar, Brahma and Durga. There is a Navagraha Sannidhi in front of the durgaiDSC00529DSC00533DSC00532 

Next you see the Amman sannidhi with a tall   standing idol  Soundaryanayaki, ambal also known as Kanarkuzhali, Selvambikai

DSC00538 DSC00535 

This is a paadal petra sthalam  in the Thevaram hymns of saint Tirunavukkarasar. This is the 19th Lord Shiva Temple in Nadunadu region praised in Thevaram hymns.DSC00520

The statues of the nayanmars can be seen in front of the dwarapalakas. The sthala vruksham is Vanni tree.

I could not find evidence of any pond nearby . In all it is a very ancient and peaceful temple.