Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kanchi Mahaswami Satabdhi Manimantapam at Oruirukkai village

today afternoon I happened to visit Kanchi and also fulfilled my desire of visiting the Kanchi Mahaswami Satabdhi Manimantapam lovingly built by pudu periyava and bala periyava in memory of paramacharya.
How to reach:
Oruirukkai is about 5 kms away from Kanchi as a continuation of the kamarajar salai in Kanchi. .When you reach the village look for the board on the right as in the photo below
 orikkai 059
A short ride brings you to the Mani mandapam
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The kumbabishekam was performed on 28/1/2011 and it is a beautiful structure being built in the dravidian style with granite on the banks of the Palar river.
History of oruirukai
The place is connected to Thirumazisai alwar and the gurubhakthi of his shishya which forced even the lord to leave Thiruvika and spend a night at this place thus giving the name oru iravu irukkai! what a fitting tribute of gurubhakthi which is reminded to all by this act of both periyavas’s towards their guru  the Paramacharya!!

here is a synopsis from the manimandapam website

The legend is a moving one.Thirumazhisai Alwar who worshipped the Lord of Thiruvekka majestically reclining on his serpentine bed,was cared for by a couple.When the son Kanikannan was born to them,he became the Alwar's steadfast devotee.One day when Kanikannan saw a woman frail and bent with age,sweeping the temple premises offering worship to the Lord,he was moved.He stroked her hunched back in appreciation.The power of his guru surged into him and the woman regained her youth and was able to continue offering worship to the Lord with fresh vigour.The king of the period who greedily desired his youth restored to him requested Kanikannan to do so.But the youngman refused outright which enraged the king and he banished Kanikannan from his kingdom.The Alwar prepared to go with him and asked Lord Thiruvekka also to come too,as he could not live without Him. The Lord rolled up his serpentine bed and obediently followed the Alwar and Kanikannan. The three travelled some distance way from Kancheepuram on the northern bank of the Paalaar river and stayed the night there.But,with the Lord's departure,the town was plunged in darkness and disorder.The ruler realized his mistake and rushed to the trio,seeking their forgiveness.The Lord returned to Kanchi with his devotees.
The place where he stayed overnight came to be known as Oriravu irukkai,which later got shortened to Orirukkai. This village deity is appropriately called 'Yatoktakari'/ 'Sonnavannam cheitha'Perumal. The Utsavar comes out once in a year to the street in this village where a Vinayaka temple exists - now at the entrance to the site of the Satabdhi ManiMantapam from the Northern side.
The temple contains a large prahara Mandapam with two halls and a sanctum with a huge idol of Mahaperiyava in a rudraksha mandabam .The walls have exquisite carvings in granite and the sculptures are breathtaking, especially the acharya parampara, the Pradosha thandavam, the navagraha with stone chains hanging from the roof and so On.
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( view from the main entrance)
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(Prahara mandapam from the sanctum)
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Entrance to the side mandapams in the prahara
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(Pradosha thandavam fresco)
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( guru parampara fresco in stonewith Mahaperiyava below above him is  adisankara and Mahvishnu at the top with other sages around )

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( navagrahas with the stone chains hanging from the roof all from a single stone!!)
almost all figures and panels are sculpted from a single stone
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( a lion with a free rolling ball inside the mouth see the pic below)orikkai 025 
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( the ref drawing used to sculpt the elephants all from a single block of granite)

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( Huge Nandhi being carved from a large block of granite)
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(Utsava murthy in a Rudraksha mandabam)
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I have lots more pics to show  but its too vast to cover in a sinle post

Umtimatly it was a wonderful experience to see the gurubhakthi shown by our present periyavas.
ref: manimandapam web site

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Navagraha temples in Chennai around Porur- Somanatheshwara temple at somamangalam , Chandran Kshetram

Today I found time to visit this tiny peaceful temple situated between Tambaram and Sriperumbadur. It is the Chandran kshetram in the navagraha temples of the Thondai mandalam of Chola land.
How to reach:
There are three main routes to go to this temple.
1) From Tambaram take the road to Kishkinda theme park and after 14 kms(6 kms beyond this park) you will reach Sairam engineering college  proceed straight and you will reach the Govt school on the right and Periapalayathamman koil in front of you at the village centre . Take the left turn here and in 2 kms you will reach the temple
2) From Sriperumbudur when you are proceeding from Chennai after the Rajiv Gandhi memorial take the left road to Kunrathur (the Sriperumbudur Kodambakkam highway 113) approx 10 kms from sriperumbudur look for the right turn to Darkas follow the road for 4.5 kms and you will reach the Somamangalam amman temple go straight for about 2 kms to reach the temple
3) From Porur Junction take the Kunrathur road and reach kunrathur. At this place take a right turn after the Naageshwarar temple into SH 113 proceed for about 15 kms till you reach the Darkas road. the road skirts Chembarambakkam eri and is parallel to the chennai Bangalore highway. After the madha medical college and Madha engineering college you will come to Nandambakkam  and to Darkas road junction .Take a left here. From Porur junction this point  is exactly 15 kms. Rest is as per the second route.
Legend  associated with the temple:
Once Moon God (Soma) was cursed by King Daksha and lost his beauty. Distressed by this, Chandran prayed to Lord Shiva, took bath in the ‘Vinai Theertha Kulam’ (the tank that eliminates all bad karmas) at half a km to the west of this temple and worshipped Shiva to regain his lost charm.
This ancient temple was built by the Chola king, Kulathunga Chola in 1073 A.D. This has the Gajaprushti vimana. It is believed that 108 shiva temples have been built by the same king. Thirumazhisai, Somangalam, Manimangalam Dharmeshvarar and Mannivakkam (maniaandi) are some of the temples of that group in this region. This temple  has Somanatheeswarar as the main deity with the Chandra adorning Shiva
When the temple was being built, invaders came  to battle but the men were all busy with constructing temples so  the King prayed to lord Shiva, who then asked Nandhi to go out and counter the enemies. Nandhi, without getting up from his place, vanquished the invaders just by blowing out his breath . The  Nandhi is looking away from the lord as in the Thirumullaivoyal temple .Another legend  says that a sage named Somanathar attained Jeeva Samadhi at the feet of Lord Nandhikeswarar, who is believed to have guarded the sage  against any disturbances while doing penance.
The inscriptions found in the temple reveal interesting details of the local lake which got damaged and about the repair works undertaken to it. Also, there is information about the donation of cows to the temple to fetch revenue for lighting the lamps in the temple, every evening
The temple:
There is a small temple for Vinayaka just outside the main temple

As you enter the gate which is in the south to the left you see the main sanctum of Lord shiva and a small sannidhi for Vinayaka.
This main sannidhi has the statues of Brahma , balasubramanyam  on the left
( as seen below)03072011179
There is an imposing sannidhi for Shri Balasubramanyan here  to commemorate his taking over Brahma’s functions for  short time ( see pic below). This lord is facing east and in from of him is the path to the Sivan sannidhi seen on the right side of the pic below03072011181
(The temple legend seen in this hall)03072011184
The main Sivalingam is imposing and serene with the garbagruha very cool on a hot day.Lord Natarajar here is present as Chathura Thaandava Murthy which is again very unique and is  rarely seen anywhere else.Chathuram (square) is the shape of moon god that coincides with the Chathura thandavam of Natarajar
You can see the Nandi outside this complex facing east away from Siva
Next to the main sannidhi In front of the main gate  is the imposing sannidhi of Kamakshi devi facing South
Between the Sivan and Kamakshi sannidhis to the North west is another  seperate sannidhi for Balasubramanian03072011170
To the Eastern side  facing the Siva shrine are the sannidhis of Chandran and Suryan  flanking the gate . You can see the Chandran sanidhi below with a navagraha sannidhi on the left03072011178
Sri Dhakshinamurthy, Sri Mahavishnu, Sri Brahma, Sri Durgai and Sri Chandikeshwarar are seen on the outer walls of the sanctum. The other deities like Sri Valli Devasena Samedha Sri Subramanyar and Sri Bhairavar have separate shrines on the outer praakaaram.
( as seen in the photos below)
(Vinayakar and Dakshina murthy on the south west)
(Shri.Mahavishnu on the eastern side)
(Durga and Chandikeshwarar on the north side)
The pond is called Chandikeshwara theertham as it was built by him it seems03072011175
There is a Nagalingam and naga devatha below the sthala vriksham Sarakonnai tree

( idols found behind the Sarakonnai tree)
(view from behind the Kamakshi sannidhi and next to the Bhairavar sannidhi)
(view from the Chandran Sannidhi on the East)
There are inscriptions belonging to 5 different time periods
20.Inscriptions - Fortunately intact 19. We don't know the value of the Inscriptions
In the outer praharam there are idols of Saptha mathas, the first in the row being Jyeshta devi, the ambal of Lord Saturn and earlier one to emerge than Mahalakshmi when the Milky ocean was churned, a rare idol. Also present is Maandhi with buffalo head born to Jyeshta devi and Saniswaran

Contact: Suresh Kurukkal – 044 – 2717 8330 (lives near the temple)
Temple Timing: 8 AM – 10 AM and 5 PM – 7 PM – It is preferred to visit the temple only in the mornings
since not many people visit the temple the evening timing is variable . In fact when i went in the morning there was nobody and luckily the keys were produced by a neighbor who let us inside to enjoy the calmness of the temple !
Enroute to this temple is also the Sundaraja perumal temple which was closed when I went there