Sunday, May 29, 2011

Navagraha temples in Chennai near Porur- Pozhichallur Agastheeswarar Temple- Shani sthalam- Vada Thirunallaru

The Agastheeswarar temple in Pozhichallur a suburb of Chennai behind the Meenambakkam Airport is a famous old temple .This temple has been in existence for more than 1500 years.Pozhichallur is Pugazh Chola Nalloor (meaning Famous town of the Chola Kingdom, in Tamil)
How to reach: On the GST road proceeding from Kathipara after the airport look for the right turn after areva signal and Pallavaram bus stand take this road for about 2 kms you will skirt Pammal and come up to the junction of  pozhichallur road and kunrathur road take a right turn here and proceed about 2 kms as the road winds you can see the  on the right hand side. The approach road is being laid so it is very rugged.You may miss the approach road as there is a shopping complex built there .
The temple cam also be reached from Kunrathur . You can also reach this temple from Gerugambakkam, kolapakkam from the porur side.( See my previous blog about the Kolapakkam temple)
There is no raja gopurm as seen in this temple as also in all parihara sthalams
The first thing that stuck me as a temple keeping up with the times was this sign painted:on the entrance wall

The temple has an east facing entrance with the main gate opening on the North side
(The Durga sannidhi and Chandikeshwarar on the north west side of the temple)
Go shala at the north east side
East facing entrance with dwajasthambam and temple office behind
As you enter the Main sanctum you have  the east facing Sivan sanidhi with a south facing Goddess Sri Aanandhavalli sannidhi.There are separate sannidhis for Suryan and chandran behind the main door and saneeswarar is seen facing the Sivan sannidhi in an independent sannidhi.
There is also a seperate Navagraha sannidhi inside to the right of the saneeshwarar.
Sri Saneeswara Bhagavan is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva here. As Sri Saneeswara had been giving ill effects to people, he had gained Dhosham out of it. Sri Saneeswara Bhagavan, wanting to be relieved of his dhoshams, prayed Lord Shiva for help.Lord Shiva asked Sri Sani Bhagavan to come to this place and worship Him. As directed, Sri Sani Bhagavan came to this place, created a pond called ‘Sani Theertham’ and worshipped Lord Shiva and got relieved of his problems.Hence, Sri Sani Bhagavan here is believed to be Mangala Saneeswarar with no dhoshams or ill effects. People having problems because of Sani (Saturn), worship here to reduce the ill effects. This place is also called ‘Vada Thirunallaaru’
This temple is also a Parihaara Sthalam for Raahu and Kethu.
Outside on the south west you have a unique neem tree with Banyan combination with a Ganesa below it
The opposite corner on the South east side has  neem trees with a seperate Sivan and nandi below the neem trees

The gajaprushti vimanam is very clearly seen here
The south east corner near the office has a small sannidhi for Anjaneyar
Click here for :Google map to temple

Navagraha temples in Chennai near Porur-Kolapakkam Agastheeswarar- Surya kshethram

Kolapakkam is a small village between Porur and  Nandambakam. The ASI has found ancient idols near this temple and also many buddhist relics. There are not many stories with this temple but it has a prominent suryan sanidhi and is a parihara sthalam of the thondai mandalam. It is more than 1500 years old as per ASI excavations nearby
How to reach:There are 2-3 ways to reach this place .
1) From the porur Kunrathur road you can turn left at Gerugambakkam and proceed along the road for about 2-3 Kms and you will reach Kolapakkam(pronounced kolaipakkam ) . on the road look for the higher secondary school take a left turn after the school and in a furlong you can see the temple and reach it
2)From Butt road ( kathipara to Porur road) as you come from kathipara look for the MIOT hospital on your right exactly opposite to this is the road to kolapakkam  follow for 2 kms and you will reach the school
3) from Pammal to  pozhichalur to Kunrathur  follow the road from GST road to pammal  after the meenambakkam airport on GST road .Proceed beyond pammal to Pozhichallur and ask for kolapakkam road the road is ricketyand bad in many stretches It will cross the adyar river via a causeway go for another 3 kms and you will reach the Kolapakkam school
The place does not have any great story except that Agasthya and Vaageesa Munivar worshipped here. The eastern side has a seperate Suryanar sannidhi which has prominence and is seen above . It is believed that Surya bhagawan came here to pray to lord Shiva . The Bhairavar is also very powerful and every sunday special poojas are done for Bhairavar during rahu kalam and 6 weeks will get our ishta karyam . Sunday morning is Abhishekam for Lord Surya and each is priced at Rs.500/-The priest saravanan was very helpful with the details
As you enter the praharam you see the south facing entry point
Behind the main sannithi in the south east side are seperate shrines for Ganapathy(Raja Ganapathy). Kasi viswanathar and Visalakshi thayar  as seen below. There is a seperate Rhunahara eashwarar who is supposed to absolve you of all rhunam I.e..,obligations for favours received from anybody in the past.DSCN2852
The North west corner has a shrine for Muruga with Vali devayani. The Peacock is  sculpted out of green granite and is called Maragadha Mayil as seen DSCN2851
Seem above in the North east corner is the seperate sannidhi for Bhairavar .Suryanar sannidhi is seen on our right .
Entry into the main sanctum is by the south side as you enter you see the ambal sannidhi Shri Anandavalli amman  is a 3 foot standing vigraham.
The main sannidhi is the Sivan sannidhi facing east with a serene garbha gruha .
The temple is built in the gajaprushti style
Many kings have patronized this temple during various periods. A king called Aadhithya Chola  is said to have done renovations to the temple during 878 AD.

Raja Raja Chozha I, Raja Raja Chozha II (1152 AD), Kulothunga Chozha III (1188 AD), Sundara Pandiyan (1200 AD), Veera Rajendra Chozha, a Telugu Chozha king called Vijayakanda Gopala are said to have contributed much to the temple, according to the inscriptions found in the temple.
According to another inscription, a king by name Sri Vijaya Maharaja of Sumatra Island (Indonesia) is said to have gifted 250 Kuzhi (குழி - in Thamizh is an unit to measure lands) of lands to Sri Agatheeswarar at Kolappaakkam, during the 8th year of his reign. Inscriptions reveal that Sri Vijaya Maharaja was contemporary to Raja Raja Chozha and also had very cordial relationship with the then Chozha kingdom. The inscription also gives details about some Buddhist activities nearby this temple and Sri Vijaya Maharaja was a Buddhist.

In the recent past, the ASI have explored the area and found ruins of a Buddhist shrine near the temple. A couple of Buddha statues and pillars were discovered near this temple, which is kept in the street sides of the temple. A carving of Lord Ganesha is also found on one of these pillars.
The Sthala Viruksham for this temple is ‘Arasa Maram’ (Peepul tree) and Theertham is called ‘Amirtha Pushkarani’ (pic above) which is found adjacent to the temple and is mot well  maintained.
Contact Saravanan Kurukkal: 9976596342

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Navagraha temples in Chennai near Porur –Ramanadheswara temple –Guru Sthalam

This temple is the closest one to the porur Kunrathur Junction and is famous for Guru Bhagawan.It is also an old temple belonging to chola period 700 AD built by kulathunga cholan.
Legend says the Sri Rama  came here searching for seetha. While staying here he accidently kicked a sivalingam and on realising it was a lingam he worshipped Siva here and lord Siva directed Rama to proceed towards Lanka (South ) from  here and hence Since Siva is the guru who gave directions  to the worshipper Rama the place  is famous as a guru kshetram There is no seperate Guru sannidhi and as such dakshinamurthy is also seen as in any Siva temple.
The temple was in Renovation when I went and hence was strewn with rocks. The main sannidhi has been completed with Marble.
Route: On entering the porur Kunrathur road after about 300 metres look for the EB  substation on the left. Take the adjoining left road and proceed till the last at the end take a left turn and you will come in front of the temple
(The main entrance under renovation)
( the Bairavar sannidhi seen here on the right and the Amman sannidhi seen in the back ground)
(back side of the Main sannidhi showing the gajaprusti vimanam)
Since Rama consecrated this temple there are lots of Vaishnava figures in the outer praharam and the vimanam
( view of the Main sannidhi mandapam with polished granite flooring)
(roof showing various painted motifs of the zodiac)
(Main ramanadheswarar sannidhi is on the right a sivalingam worshiped by Lord Rama before he left for Lanka)

The practice of offering Theertham and Sadaari are generally seen only in Vishnu temples. But, this is probably one of the few  Shiva temples like the pallikondeswarar temple in Surutapalli , where Theertham and Sadaari are offered to the devotees.
Devi  Kamakshi  sannidhi is seen on the east side facing the south

The Sthala Viruksham is Neem tree which is seen on the southern side of the prakaram. Lord Brahma is seen under the tree facing north. A small Shiva Lingam is kept facing east with Nandhi, adjacent to Lord Brahma. The Neem tree is dressed up with a nice sari which looks very lady like
The entire area is under construction hence difficult terrain to walk on .

Navagraha temples in chennai near Porur – Gerugambakam Neelakanteshwara Temple –Ketu sthalam

I chanced upon this temple on my return from Kovoor. This is a small temple easily missed but the Amman Kamakshi here is part of the triad of Kamakshi 's –Adi kamakshi .22052011332
Route:On the Porur  Kunrathur road before the intersection of the byepass you will see Gerugambakkam bus stand take a left here and along the narrow cement track take the second left road and the right turn at the Y intersection you will stumble upon the temple.
There is no gopuram here as kethu bhagawan is supposed to lord over the universe. Though the priest said the sivalingam is the manifestation of kethu I did find a small sannidhi of a snake carved on stone representing Kethu
When Siva swallowed the poison during the churning of the ocean Kamakshi held Sivas neck and prevented the poison from descending hence his neck became blue_Neelakanteshwara.
As you enter the praharam what you se in front is the south facing door which leads us to the sannidanam of a huge standing Kamakshi (Adi kamakshi) who is so enchanting and compels us to keep seeing her. To the left is the sivan sannidhi with a big Lingam Shri Neelakanteshwarar
The temple is very small and not very popular outside but it is a part of the navagraha circuit hence will soon be popular!

Navagraha temples around Chennai near Porur Kovoor Thirumaeneeswarar- Budhan (mercury ) sthalam

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 darshangopuram1
(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 22052011323
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)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thirupattur Brahma temple

On a recent return journey from Trichy We were fortunate to see the above temple.
Thirupattur Brahma temple;
For the legend and official photos Click here for the official temple website

This is a very rare temple that houses a separate sannidhi fo Brahma .Lord Brahma is usually not worshipped in Temples.
It also houses the jiva samadhi of Shri. Pathanjali maharishi ( the rishi who wrote the yoga shasthras, and also adiseshan’s human form )
Nearby a little distance away in a siva temple  is  the samadhi of Vyagrapaadha the Tiger clawed sage who is usually described along with pathanjali
How to reach::
Thirupattur (or Thirupidavur) is around 35 km from Trichy on the Trichy – Chennai Highway.  While driving from Trichy, take a left near Siruganur  just after MAM engineering college . The road to Lalgudi also branches off at the right here . The temple is about 6 km from the highway through very quaint Indian countryside.  It is at a distance of about 16 km from Samayapuram (Mariamman temple).
This is one of the very few brahma temples I can remember (the one in Rajasthan is another).
As you enter the main gopuram you enter the praharam with the Dwaja sthambam and nandi.The pillars of this hall have exquisite carvings
A door way to the right leads to the amman temple and the 12  shivas outside. Below is the view of the door from outside from the twelve  shivas temple and old Kailasanathar temple20120519_164601
Theis praharam leads to the next which is the garba gruha with Siva as a majestic linga Shri Brahmapureeshwarar
. The second Praharam on the right of the main praharm has the Samadhi of patanjali, the Brahma sannidhi is infront of the adhishtanam .This praharam also has various sannidhis for Ganesha,murugan, saptha kannikas , gajalakshmi,navagrahas. There is still construction/ repair  work going on inside here .
The Brahma sannidhi has been re built with mosaic tiles and looks jarring.
The patanjali samadhi is enclosed in a glass partition and is meant for peaceful meditation but with no air circulation  is claustrophobic20120519_161900
20120519_162237 20120519_162245 20120519_162000 20120519_162041 20120519_162220
Around thedwaja sthambam on all sides are  are piuctures of narasimha with prahalladha, Hiranya kashyapu etc,
A rare ganapathy, narasimha, anjeneya
The temple legend
Once ypu leave this complex you see the Amman sannidhi next
The  ambal here is Brahma sampath Gowri. The temple is simple with a garba gruha and various female Kostha vigrahas . Ambal is standing and very serene
Next door is the Pallava complex of the 12 shivas and an old Kailasanatha Temple maintined by ASI presently undergoing repairs. The maintemple has a huge 16 facetted linga in a crumbling temple. The nandi here is exquisite. There is also a Deep pool inside with dirty moss covered water.
 20120519_163825List of shrines
  20120519_164050Kailasanathar temple
20120519_16443120120519_163902 20120519_16391120120519_163848  20120519_164147 20120519_164418

It is believed that when we visit these twelve  shiva shrines the punyam of visiting the main temples shown here is obtained
The 16 facetted lingam in th Garbhagruha
The hall outside the temple
A very vast and ancient temple with exquisite carvings and Patanjali’s Jeevasamadhi