June 27, 2013

Tirumalpur

Site Name: Manikandeswara Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tirumalpur, 12 kms from Kanchipuram, near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Chennai/Kanchipuram; Local train facility is available from Chennai
Hotel: Go to Kanchipuram where there are lot of options 
Restaurants: Go to Kanchipuram where there are lot of options

Tirumalpur is a small town located close to Kanchipuram near Chennai city in South India. The town which was originally called as Tirumar Peru has an important Shiva temple called as Manikandeswara Temple. It is considered as the 11th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in Tondai region. 

Highlights:
  • Sambandhar and Appar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • The idol of Lord Vishnu is found facing the sanctum santorum - usually only Nandi idol would be found.
  • As Lord Vishnu got his discus back after worshipping Lord Shiva in this site, this place is called as 'Tirumar Peru' or 'Harichakrapuram'.
  • God Manikandeswara aka Dayanidheeswarar aka Pavalamalaiyar aka Maal Vanangeechar
  • Goddess Anjanatchi aka Karunambikai
  • It is believed that Parantaka Chola built this temple.
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Chakra Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksham (Holy tree) - Vilvam

Legend:

As per the legend, a king called Kuban did not like the seer Thutheesee. As per his request, Lord Vishnu threw his discus to kill the saint. However, the weapon could not kill him; instead, its edges got damaged. Also, Vishnu lost his discus. He came to this site and worshiped Lord Shiva. He used to perform pooja daily with one thousand lotus flowers. One day, he lost one flower. He plucked his own eye and used that as the flower to offer Lord Shiva. Shiva appeared and blessed him with his discus. As Vishnu sacrificed his eyes, he is called as 'Chentamarai Kannaperumal'.

As per another legend, once Lord Shiva told his consort Parvati that the entire universe was operating due to him. Parvati wanted to test that and she suddenly closed the eyes of Shiva. The entire universe stopped operating for a moment. Parvati realized her mistake; in order to get rid of her sin, she came to this site and made Shiv Linga out of sand. She used to worship the idol daily. She was so immersed in her poojas that she did not notice even when the Lord appeared. The Lord got angry due to this; he released the river Kaveri (not Ganga?) from his head to destroy his own sand idol. The river once started flowing in this region was called as 'Palaru'. Parvati sought help of Lord Vishnu to protect the idol; Vishnu lied down across the river as a bridge and protected the idol. As the idol is made up of sand, even today, the priests do not touch the idol - it is called as 'Theenda Tirumeni' (the Lord who cannot be touched).

Temple Layout:

Manikandeswarar temple is huge in area; it has a Raja Gopuram (tower) facing the eastern direction. The flag post and bali peetha are found facing the main shrine as usual.

The sanctum sanctorum has the Shiv Linga made up of sand; he is named as Manikandeswarar. In Maha mandapa, in addition to the idol of Nandi that usually faces the Lord, there is an idol of Lord Vishnu with folded hands facing the main shrine.

The bronze utsava idol of Lord Vishnu holding his eye in one hand and lotus flower in another hand is a highlight of the temple.

The inner prakara of the temple has a lot of idols that include Nalvar, Choleswarar Linga (to denote that it was built by the Chola king), Surya, Chandra, Bhadra, Sapta maata and 63 Nayanmars. 

Bala Ganapati and Uchchishta Ganapati - the twin Ganapati idols are also located in the inner prakara. The sub-shrines of Gaja Lakshmi, Chidambareswarar Linga and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are also found over here.

At the entrance of the main shrine, the idols of Vallabha Ganapati with his consort and Subramanya with his two consorts are found in addition to Dwarapalaks.

The wall surrounding the main shrine has the relief images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma, Durga and Chandikeshwara as the koshta idols.

Adikara Nandi idol (Nandi in the standing posture) is also found in this temple. At the exterior side of the main portion of the temple, the idols of Bhairava, Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are located.

The sub shrine of the Goddess Anjanatchi is found separately facing the south direction. The sub shrine has a separate tower. A big Shiv Linga, Navagraha idols and Sthala Vruksha are all located near by.

Although the temple is ancient, the maintenance is not good; the heritage feeling is missing as it is completely renovated.

Happy travelling.



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