January 16, 2011

Tiruvottiyur Thyagarajar and Vadivudai Amman Temple - Part 4

I have been writing three posts on the gigantic ancient temple of Thyagaraja and Vadivudai Amman of Tiruvottiyur near Chennai city of South India. I continue to write about the temple structure in this post.

Let me resume from where I stopped last time. I covered till Thyagaraja shrine. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the Thyagarajar shrine is on the way to the main shrine. In the main shrine before entering into the karpa gruha aka the sanctum, you can find a small hall (mandap) which has pillars full of artwork. The mandap has the shrine of processional metal idols of Subramanya with his consorts Valli and Devasena. Opposite to this small shrine there is an idol of Murgan's devotee Arunagiri Nathar is found. There is a big beautiful idol of Ganesha called as Veramba Gunalaya Vinayak. There is a big idol of Chandikeswara near the magnificent idols of Dwarapalaks. The idols of Vinayak, Chandikeswara, and Dwarapalaks are artistically beautiful and they should be at least 1000 years old, I guess.

The mandap also houses a big idol of Nandi (the bull). The shrine of Nataraj (the dancing Shiva) along with his consort Sivakami is also located in the same mandap. Let me brief you about a legend of this temple associated with Nataraj and Nandi. Nandi requested Shiva to perform a dance so unique that it should not be possible for anyone, mortal or immortal to imitate it. As per the advice from Shiva, Nandi came to Tiruvottiyur, created a tank near the sanctum of Adi Pureeswarar, immersed himself inside the water and performed the penance. Hearing this Vishnu and Lakshmi also created a teerth in this temple and they also started doing penance. They were followed by Vromosa Rishi too. Brahma also joined them. Ultimately, all of them witnessed Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance at this temple. The striking feature of Shiva’s dance at this temple is that he performed 18 forms of dance in a seated stance.

Let us move inside the main sanctum. The main sanctum houses the main deity of the temple who is available in the three forms which I described in a previous post. The deity, which you can see is the form of snake pit covered by kavach (covering), is named as Adi Pureeswarar or Padampakka Nathar. As per a legend, the Ayodhya kind Mandata levied taxes on all townships. When his orders inscribed in palm manuscripts arrived at Tiruvotriyur, an additional line was added by God, stating that Tiruvottiyur was exempted from taxes. Hence, the Lord also got the name ‘Ezhuthariyum Peruman’ (‘He who chose to write’).

I will write about more shrines, idols, and the temple structure of the temple in the forthcoming posts.

Till then...Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Thyagarajar and Vadivudai Amman Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Tiruvottiyur,near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 1300 years old temple; one of the biggest and ancient temples of Chennai region; historically and religiously rich temple; one of 275 paadal petra sthalams of Lord Shiva
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

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