March 6, 2013

Vekkaliamman - the Guardian of Uraiyur

Site Name: Vekkaliamman Temple 
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Uraiyur, near Trichy city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the popular Goddess temples in Tamil Nadu
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Trichy 
Hotel: Go to Trichy where there are a lot of options 
Restaurants: Go to Trichy where there are a lot of options; few options are available in Uraiyur itself

Uraiyur is the ancient capital of the great Chola empire. Today, it has shrinked as a small township and is located near Trichy city in South India. Although there are two other big temples are located in this town, Vekkaliamman temple is the most popular temple in this locality. It is believed that the kings and warriors used to worship the Goddess for their victory in the battle.

Legend:

Vekkaliamman is a village deity who is considered as the guardian Goddess of Uraiyur. As per the legend, there was a saint named Sarma who lived in Uraiyur; he had a beautiful garden; he used to make garland of rare flowers from his garden and offer the same to Trichy Thayumanavar Swamy temple. He discovered that most of his garden flowers were regularly stolen by a local florist. The florist used to sell the flowers to Chola king in Uraiyur and the king fell in love with them. The saint complained about this theft to the king; however, he did not pay attention to his complaint. Later, the saint went to Lord Thayumanavar (Shiva) and complained about this. The Lord got angry; he was facing the eastern direction earlier; he turned towards west (the direction of Uraiyur) and started emitting sand storm. Vekkaliamman prayed to Shiva and stopped this sand storm. However, the city had already lost its glory and wealth. Hence, the Goddess decided to stay in the temple without the roof or ceiling. Even today, the idol of Goddess in this temple has no roof.

Temple Layout:

There is no doubt that it is an ancient temple as even the poet Ottakkoothar had referred the Goddess in his poems. The current structure of the temple is modern day's structure. It is a small temple with single prakara. The main shrine has the big idol of Vekkaliamman in the sitting posture with four arms and looking very furious.

The temple has few other sub-shrines such as Ganesha, Subramanya, Vishwanath-Vishalakshi, utsava Vekkaliamman and the village deities - Kathavarayan, Madurai Veeran and Periyannan.

Happy travelling.

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