June 24, 2016

Alwar Tirunagari

Site Name: Adinathar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:  Alwar Tirunagari, in Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur route, 33 kms from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of Nava Tirupati temples and a Divya Desam
Nearest Railway Station: Alwar Tirunagari
Nearest Airport: Madurai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Srivaikundam, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur and Tuticorin
Hotel: Go to Srivaikundam, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur or Tuticorin - all of them are located within the range of 30-35 kms
Restaurants: Go to Srivaikundam, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur or Tuticorin - all of them are located within the range of 30-35 kms

Alwar Tirunagari is a beautiful village near Tirunelveli city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The nearest well known site is Srivaikundam. The village has a prominent temple for Vishnu called as Adinathar TempleIt is considered as the 98th Divya Desam located in the Pandya region. There are nine Vishnu temples on the banks of the river Tamrabharani, which are popularly called as Nava Tirupatis. This site is the fifth 'Nava Tirupati' temple (one among nine important Vishnu temples in Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur route).  Let us explore about this temple in this article.


Highlights:

  • Nammalwar has sung 11 Pasurams about this site in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 98th Divya Desam temple. It is located in Pandya region.
  • It is considered as the 5th Nava Tirupati temple.
  • It is the birthplace of Nammalwar.
  • God - Adinath
  • Goddess - Adinatha Valli and Kurukoora Valli
  • Utsav - Polindhu Ninra Piraan
  • Teerth (holy water) - Brahma Teerth
  • Stala Vruksha (holy tree) - Tamarind
  • Vimana Govinda Vimana

Legend:

Kurukoor


The original name of the village was Kurukoor. Various reasons are provided why it was called as Kurukoor. Vishnu became Guru of Brahma and taught his few Mantras. Hence it became Gurukoor and then Kurukoor. This is one version of the story. As per another version, Nammalvar's ancestor, a chieftain by name Kurukan ruled this place and it was named after him. There is another version which claims that Sankkha or conch of Vishnu attained Moksha in this site. The word Kuruku in Tamil language means conch and hence this place was called as Kurukoor. 

Nammalwar


Nammalwar is considered as a great Alwar among all the 12 Alwars. It is believed that he remained speechless since his birth and was sitting under a tamarind tree. This tree is found in the temple complex today. It is believed that he was born under this tree. He first interacted with Madurakavi Alwar. Madurakavi traveled towards south as he observed a bright light shining in that direction. It lead him to this site. Without visiting any Divya Desams, Nammalwar recited hymns about various sites of Vishnu. Madurakavi compiled Nammalwar's works in four different books namely Tiruvaimozhi, Tiruviruttam, Tiruvaasiriyam and Periya Tiruvandadi.

As Nammalwar was born, this site is named after him as Alwar Tirunagari.

Dhanta


When a well disciplined person named Dhanta came to visit the temple, he was not allowed by the priests due to his caste. Dhanta made a sand image of Vishnu on the banks of the river Tamrabharani and worshiped it. The priests lost their eye sight and an Asariri voice asked them to go and seek pardon to the boy. They did so and got back their sight. This site is also called as Dhanta Kshetra and an image of this devotee is found in the Ardha Mandap.

Varaha


To fulfill the wishes of few sages, Vishnu appeared as Varaha along with Bhoo Devi and gave darshan to them in this site. Hence, this site is also called as Varaha Kshetra.

Indra


Indra was absolved of his curse by praying to the deity in this site.


Lakshmi

It is believed that Lakshmi incarnated as a tamarind tree in this site, under which Nammalwar was born. She meditated to marry Vishnu. He married her in the form of a Magizha flower garland. 

Lakshman

There is another legend which states that Ram asked Lakshman to take birth as the tamarind tree. For the sin that he had committed by sending Sita to the forest, he decided to remain motionless. Thus, he incarnated as Nammalwar and crawled towards the hole in the tree. There, he remained in the Yogic posture for 16 years. As Lakshman (Sesha) took the form of a tree in this site, this site is also called as Sesha Kshetra. 

Conch

As per the advice of Narad, a sage named Shankha, prayed to Lord Vishnu in this site. He worshiped Vishnu in the form a human in the morning and every night he would become a conch and enter into the sea where the Tamrabharani merged with the sea. In the form of conch, he would perform pooja everynight. Once, a whale tried to swallow the conch. The sage prayed to Vishnu; Vishnu came as a human and swallowed the whale. At last, the devotee got moksha due to the blessing of Vishnu. This site is also called as Teertha Kshetra due to its connection with the sea and conch.

Temple Layout:

Santum


The east facing sanctum enshrines the tall deity named as Adinath along with his two consorts Adi Nayaki and Kurukoora Nayaki. All of them are in the standing posture. It is believed that the idol of the presiding deity is self manifested (swayambhu).

The beautiful utsav idols of Adinath along with three consorts including Andal are also found in the sanctum.

Gopura



The east facing gopura is small and has a mandap in front of it. 


Garud



Facing towards the sanctum, the bali peetha, flag staff and Garud shrine are located. Garud is unique in this temple. He is found with four arms and holds conch and discus in his upper arms. 

Near the flag staff, Hanuman is gracing us in a separate sub-shrine.

Other Shrines




In the Ardha Mandap, the shrines of Ram-Sita-Lakshman, Tirunindra Perumal and Vishwaksena are located.


In the prakara, there are so many interesting sub-shrines found. Some of them include the shrines of Gnanapiran (Vishnu with four arms) with Garud in the opposite, Venu Gopal along with his two consorts, Paramapadanath, Dasavatar, Sudarshan, Nadamuni, Alwars, Tiruvengadamudaiyan and Narasimha with two consorts.

Goddesses





The Goddesses of the temple, Adi Nayaki and Kurukoora Nayaki are found in two separate shrines in the prakara.

Nammalwar





The tamarind tree where Nammalwar was born and the site where the upanyas of Manavala Mamuni took place are also situated within this temple complex.

There is a big shrine for Nammalwar with separate flag staff and bali peeth.


Sculptures





The temple has some of the very beautiful sculptures. The life sized sculptures of Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Bharat, Shatrughna, Hanuman and few beautiful women are found in the mandap in front of the shrine of Nammalwar. 

There are few mandaps located near the flag staff. All those mandaps have pillars with interesting sculptures.

Some carvings on the walls of the temple are very interesting.

Other Temples





The village has few other temples located around this main temple. Thy are Tiruvengada Mudaiyan in South Mada Street, Srinivasa in West Mada Street, Aranganathan in North Mada Street and Appan Sannadhi (temple for father of Nammalwar) at a distance of 1 km from the main temple.

Festival





During the Tamil calendar month of Vaikasi, the festival called Arayar Sevai is being conducted every year. The utsav murtis of all the nine Tirupati temples mounted on Garud are brought to this temple and give darshan to Nammalwar seated on Hamsa vahan. 

Happy travelling.



June 22, 2016

Raja Rajeswari Temple - Nanganallur

Site Name: Raja Rajeswari Temple 
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Nanganallur, Near Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the oldest temples of the locality; the locality was named after this temple
Nearest Railway Station: Tambaram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road 
Hotel: A lot of options across Chennai
Restaurants: A lot of options across Chennai

Nanganallur  is a well known locality in the outskirts of Chennai city. It might be very popular today thanks to the expanding city and good connectivity. However, it was not the case in the 1960s or 1970s. It was considered as a remote location. 

Some of the Amman (Mother Goddess) temples such as Tiruvottriyur, Mangadu and Tiruverkadu are very popular today. In the 1970s this temple of Raja Rajeswari located in Thillai Ganga Nagar of Nanganallur was also very popular. The devotees used to form a long queue to visit this temple. In fact, the area was named after this temple as "Nangai Nallur" (the word Nangai means female).

Today, this temple remains known only to the people of this area. The number of devotees visiting this temple is also less. Even those who know about Nanganallur temples talk mainly about Hanuman temple and not about this originally popular temple. Let us discuss about this temple in this article.

Raja Rajeswari Temple

A visit to the sanctum of Raja Rajeswari gives us a very good vibration. Rajeswari's idol is a utsav idol and she looks very attractive and beautiful. Similar to Kerala type temples, here too only oil lamps are lit and not the electric lights. It really enhances the beauty of the Goddess as well as the positive energy.

There are 16 steps to reach the sanctum. Each step has a small metal idol of Goddess that depicts 15 days starting from Ekadasi. In addition, 51 Yantras are installed in these steps and hence, it is considered to be equal to visit 51 Shakti Peeths. Sanga Nidhi and Padma Nidhi are found at the entrance of the steps. 

The other shrines that are found in the temple include Dattratreya, Bhairav, Ganesh, Dhanvantri and Durga.

Satya Narayan Temple

At the ground floor, Satya Narayan Temple is located. Lakshmi Satyanarayan is the presiding deity. It is one of the few Satya Narayan temples in Chennai.

The sub shrine of Ramanuja and other Alwars are also found in this temple.

It is rare to find Navagraha in Vishnu temple. In this temple, Navagrahas are found in a single row. In addition, the idols of Brahma, Vishnu and Ganesh are also found in the temple.

Happy travelling. 


June 11, 2016

Devi Karumari Amman Temple - Nanganallur

Site Name: Devi Karumari Amman Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Nanganallur, Near Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Tambaram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road 
Hotel: A lot of options across Chennai
Restaurants: A lot of options across Chennai

Nanganallur  is a well known locality in the outskirts of Chennai city. Nangallur can be called as a temple town. There are so many important temples in this small locality. However, most of these temples were built in the recent past. Let us discuss about a village temple named Devi Karumari Amman temple in this article.

Located in 24th street of Thillai Ganga Nagar locality in Nanganallur area, this temple of Devi Karumari Amman is originally a village temple. Many sub-shrines were added and gopura was constructed later.

There is a small gopura at the entrance. The sanctum enshrines Mari Amman idol which has only the head of the Goddess. Behind this, there is another idol of Mari Amman who is found with her complete body and is in the sitting posture. 

There is a separate shrine for the stucco image of Tirupati Balaji. Garud is found facing towards Balaji.

The sub shrines of Vijaya Maha Ganapati, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena, Hanuman and Navagraha in this temple.

There are two stucco images of Mari Amman, one bigger and the other one smaller, located within the temple complex.

The outer wall of the sanctum has the niche images of Vaishnavi, Dakshayini, Brahmini and Vishnu Durga. 

Happy travelling.