July 18, 2013

Tiruttani

Site Name: Subramanya Swamy Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tiruttani, around 85 kms from Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the six abodes (Aru Padai Veedu) of Lord Subramanya; one of the most important Subramanya temples across the globe
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Chennai; Local train facility is available at Tiruttani
Hotel: Go to Chennai where there are lot of options; only low budget hotels can be found in Tiruttani
Restaurants: Few low budget restaurants are found in Tiruttani

Tiruttani is a small town located near Chennai city in South India. It has one of the most important temples of Lord Subramanya aka Murugan. 

Highlights:
  • Considered as the 5th among six abodes (Aru Padai Veedu) of Lord Subramanya
  • Considered as the most favorite hill of Lord Subramanya
  • Located atop the hill - 700 feet above sea level
  • Lord Subramanya reached this site after the battle and hence is found in a peaceful mood
  • Arunagirinathar has sung about this site in his famous Tiruppugazh
  • Nakkeerar of Tamil Sangam age has sung about the site in Tirumurugattrup Padai
  • God - Subramanya
  • Goddess - Valli and Deivayanai (Devasena)
  • Teerth (holy water) - Saravana Poigai
  • Sthala Vruksha (holy tree) - Maguda

Legend:

Lord Subramanya aka Murugan aka Skanda reached this site after winning over the Asuras in the battle and after marrying Valli in the nearby Vallimalai. It is said he rests here in a peaceful mood and this is his favourite hill.

Lord Ram visited the site after visiting Rameswaram. Arjun of Mahabharatha sought the blessing of the Lord here. Lord Vishnu got back his conch and discus after worshipping the Lord in this site; he had lost them to Tarakasura, the brother of Surapadma.

Once Lord Brahma got imprisoned by the Lord as he could not explain the meaning of 'Pranava' mantra. He pleased the Lord by creating a holy spring near the temple. 

Indra planted the rare plant called as 'Karunkuvalai' near the pool Indrasonai adjoining the temple. The plant used to give just three flowers a day; Indira used to perform pooja to the Lord thrice a day with these flowers. He got back his precious wealth which he had lost to the Asuras. 

As per a legend, Indra gave his daughter Devasena in marriage to Subramanya; he presented his white elephant Airavat to the Lord. Upon the elephant's departure Indra's wealth started waning. The Lord offered to return back the elephant; however, Indra refused to accept it but insisted that the elephant face his direction. Hence, in this temple both Subramanya as well as the elephant face the same direction - east.

As per another legend, Indra presented a sandal stone to the Lord. The sandal paste made on this stone is even applied today to the image of the Lord; it is said to have medicinal value.

There is another legend which states that Lord Subramanya bore the discus thrown by the Asura, Tarakasura on his chest. Hence, there is a hollow in the chest region of the image in this temple.

History:

It is not known who built this temple originally. It was there even during the Tamil Sangam age. The inscriptions from the Pallavas and the Cholas are found in the temple. It looks like that the Vijayanagara kings have constructed some part of the current structure.

Temple Layout:

There are 365 steps to reach this hilltop temple of Tiruttani Subramanya Swamy. There is also a motorable road to reach upto the temple. At the foothill of the temple, the 'Saravana Poigai' tank is located. Along with the steps upto the temple, there are many small shrines mostly dedicated to Lord Ganesha are found. There is one shrine 'Pavaadai Pillaiyar' which is unique; the Goddess is found in the standing posture next to Ganesh; it's an unusal posture.

The temple has a three tiered tower facing the east direction. The area of the places related to the temple is larger than the actual temple premises. The 100-pillared mandapa and few images are located outside the temple premises.

The temple has two prakaras. Both the sanctum sanctorum and the vaahan elephant face the east direction. Instead of Kartikeya's regular vaahan peacock, the elephant is found in this temple. Moreover, it is facing not towards the Lord but the opposite direction.

The temple has two pairs of dwarapalas, one pair at the entrance of Ardha Mandapa and the other pair at the entrance of the inner prakara. The first pair of dwarapalas are called as Jaya and Vijaya whereas the next two are named as Sumukha and Sudeha. 

The sanctum sanctorum has the presiding deity Subramanya. He holds Vajra Hasta in his right arm instead of his usual Vel as the weapon. His left arm rests on his hip.

There are two shrines on either side of the sanctum sanctorum, one dedicated to Valli and another dedicated to Devasena.

The wall surrounding the sanctum sanctorum has the Koshta images - Ganesha, Skanda on peacock, Skanda holding discus and conch like Vishnu, Bala Murugan and Vishnu Durga. The sub shrines of Bala Murugan and Chandikeshwara are also found in the inner prakara. Near the entrance, the image of Bhairava with four dogs is found.

The outer prakara has a lot of sub-shrines which include Aapath Sahaya Vinayaka, Murugan-Valli-Devasena bronze images, another set of bronze images of Murugan and his two consorts, Shanmukha and his two consorts as bronze images and Kumareswara Linga. 

The stone images of Surya, Bhadra, Arunagirinathar and Nava Veeras are located outside the shrine of Vinayaka.

Two Ganesha idols are located near the flag staff and bali peetha.

Happy travelling.

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