Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shri Agashtheeswarar sametha Anandavalli temple at Panjetty near Ponneri

I have wanted to visit this temple for a long time having heard of the wonderful sculptures. Today morning on “Aadi masa pooram” the  birthday of ambal, I was able to visit it. The temple is associated with Agasthiyar and his disciple pulasthiyar who have both spent a long time here. The history of the temple says it was last built by the Hoysalas and rashtrakutas.
How to reach:
On the Chennai Kolkatta highway at about 30 kms from Chennai after crossing the Karanodai bridge and toll booth you will come to the Thatchur four roads. Take a U turn here and backtrack for a kilometer towards Chennai. You will see the temple board IMG_0145 on the left and take the left cutting. In 500 metres you will see a cement road on the left with neat directions turn into it and  the 5 tiered Rajagopuram will beckon you!! This rajagopuram has such minute exquisite sculptures of both Vaishnavism and Shaivism puranas. There are so many special sculptures so I shall describe it later .
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Legends and stories:
The temple has both Vaishnava and Shaiva legends hence a symbol of oneness of God.
Brahma was asked by the rishis like Vashishta. Gauthama and Kanva where to do yagas and he rolled a darba  grass ring which came to rest here where the yagas could be done so five yagas (Pancha Ishti ) we conducted here
The Rajagopuram displays penances in Kretha yuga by Parvathi among the panchagni, Brahma in threata yuga, Arjuna in the Dwaparayuga and Agastya in the Kali yuga. IMG_0139 IMG_0140
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The Rajagopuram entrance is in the south and you will see the temple with the Ambal sannidhi in front. The Rajagiopuram is facing the ambal sannidhi and thus the main importance of the temple is Anandavalli amman
The inner praharam is situated in such a way that from the centre we can see both The Sivan and amman at one time.
The Shivan sannidhi is on the left with a Swayumbhu Sivalingam facing east.There is also a small manonmani ambal inside consecrated by Agasthyar and the concept of Shiva sakthi is very evident here.
The Ambal sannidhi houses the amman who is about 3 feet tall on a pedestal. There are significant features here. She has her left foot forward with her eyes open and her third eye visible in anger against the asuras who were disrupting the pancha ishiti (Five Yagas) of Agasthya and the devas . Her anger was pacified by Agasthyar installing a Durga Yanthram in a platform in front of her, containing the ‘Sapthasree manthram of Devi Mahathmeeyam that includes 700 mantras representing Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Kaliyanthra in front of her which is replicated in the Rajagopuram roofIMG_0128
The Koshta vigrahas are Ganesha, Dakshina murthy , Brahma and Durgai.IMG_0134 IMG_0135
The outer praharam has separate sannidhi for Siddhi Vinayaka Ganapathy,  IMG_0070 Murugan in the prayoga posture with kamandala and rudraksha in his hand after he disposed brahma of thisIMG_0072 function (Click here to see my blog on near by Andar kuppam Murugan temple for the story)
The Sthala vruksham is the Vilvam and there is a huge Banyan tree also inside.IMG_0075
in the Eastern side on the North There is a separate sannidhi for the ishta lingam who was worshipped by Pulasthiyar . Devotees believe that prayers to this lingam will help overcome legal problems and regain lost official position.Next to this is the bhairavar sannidhiIMG_0082
The Ishta lingam
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The maha kala bhairavar sannidhi
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Next to this is the Dwjasthambam and Nandi IMG_0080 IMG_0077
the huge pond agasthya theertham which sadly now id dry and in need of rejuvenation. The priest Shri. Babu Gurukkal requested me to ask for help in reconstructing the pond. This pond is supposedly created by Agasthya . IMG_0083 IMG_0081
Next to the  kolam gate is the Suryan sannidhi, the Agasthiyar sannidhi. Followed by the Navagraha sannidhi on a lotus.IMG_0069
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The Raja gopuram merits a long time. I shall try to show a few pictures but it is only a fraction of what is seen there. The Wall facing ambal has ashta Dikhbalakas on one side and Navagrahas on the other side . There are many small frescoes of dasavatharam, the various occasions like mohini feeding the devas and rahu ketu being created, marriage of Shiva, Yaga by Brahma and Vishnu , Kannappa nayanar Samudhra manthan, krishna and poothana, Krishna and Govardhana giri, Krishna and gopikas, the list is endless. Please visit once to see for yourself
Hanuman and seetha in ashoka vanam
IMG_0130 IMG_0088 IMG_0089  IMG_0092 IMG_0097  IMG_0099 IMG_0101  Krishna and putana see how shrivelled she is after krishna sucked her life force away!!IMG_0108   IMG_0117

Gajasura vadham by Shiva IMG_0126
Contact :Babu Gurukkal:9841317500. You can see him helpfully explaining all the salient sculptures to us. He is very keen to start cleaning and re building the Agasthya theertham. Readers please do contact him and contribute your mite

Temple open between 5 AM to 1PM and 4-8 PM on festival days it is open whole day
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I was contacted by mailby one Shri Anandkumar who wanted me to include the names of the other kurukkals , here are the details he kindly suplied
Mohan Gurukkal    9444146752
Ganesh Gurukkal    9841344867
Kandan Gurukkal    9962570445
Anand Gurukkal      9789892925