November 26, 2013

Thingalur

Site Name: Kailasanathar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Thingalur, 4 kms from Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of Navagraha sthalams (a temple for Moon God, one of nine planets)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore, Tiruvaiyaru and Kumbakonam
Hotel: Go to Tanjore or Kumbakonam for good hotels 
Restaurants: Go to Tanjore or Kumbakonam for good restaurants

Thingalur (also spelt as Tingalur) is a small village located adjacent to Tiruvaiyaru near Tanjore town in South India. The village has an important Shiva temple called as Kailasanathar Temple. It is considered as one of Navagraha sthalams and Chandra, the Moon God, is the special deity of the shrine. 

Highlights:
  • The site of Chandra, the Moon God - one of Navagraha sthalams
  • A Devara Vaippu Sthalam 
  • Appar and Sundarar have referred this temple in their hymns
  • The birthplace of Appoothi Adigal, one of 63 Nayanmars (devotees of Shiva)
  • Dakshinamurti in unique posture
  • Chandikeshwara found with two consorts
  • God - Kailasanathar
  • Goddess Periyanayaki 
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Chandra Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Vilva

Legend:

As per the legend, Appoothi Adigal was living in Thingalur. He was an ardent follower of the great saint Appar. Appoothi Adigal indulged in a lot of social work in the name of Appar although he had never seen him. Appar heard about this and visited the village. He also accepted the invite from Adigal to have lunch at his home. Unfortunately, Adigal's son died due to snake bite. However, Adigal went on serving food to Appar without disclosing his son's demise. When Appar came to know this, he took the corpse to Kailasanathar temple located in this village and with the help of Lord Shiva he brought him back to life.

Legend of Navagraha Sthalams:

There lived a saint called Kalava. He was a good fortune teller. One day a young saint came to him and requested him to foretell his future. Kalava, after analyzing his fortune, replied him that there is nothing to talk about his future. Then the youth asked him if Kalava knew about his own fortune. Kalava realized that the youth was none but Yama, the God of death. He started analyzing about his own future and realized that he would die due to leprosy. 

Based on the advice from the other saints, he started doing rigorous penance by standing in one leg on fire (called as Panchagni). All the nine planets appeared before him; he got rid of leprosy with their help.

When Lord Brahma came to know about this incident, he got angry at Nava grahas (nine planets) for deciding such things on their own without consulting him and cursed them to get leprosy. When they sought apology to him, he advised them on how to get rid of this curse.

As per Brahma's advice, all the nine planets went to a place called 'Arkka Vanam' on the north banks of the river Cauvery. They performed penance for 78 days starting from the first Sunday of Krithikai month (of Tamil calendar). They also took bath on the river in the early morning and worshiped Prananatha and Mangala Nayaki every Monday. They also followed other rituals as per the advice of Brahma. 

The sage Agastya helped the nine planets to perform the penance and follow other rituals appropriately. Based on his advice, they installed an idol of Lord Ganesha. At the end of 78 days, Lord Shiva (Prananatha) appeared before them and cured them from leprosy.

The saint Kalava later built the temples for nine planets in this region.

Temple Layout:

The temple is very small. The temple doesn't have tower or flag staff. 

The east facing sanctum santorum has a big sized Shiva Linga named as Kailasanathar. Nandi and bali peetha face the sanctorum.

Adjacent to the sanctorum, the Goddess Periya Nayaki is found in a separate south facing shrine. There is a separate Nandi idol facing the Goddess.

The temple has just one prakara (corridor).

Chandra, the Moon God, has a special separate shrine in this temple.

Similar to the other temples in Kumbakonam region, all eight planets face Surya in the middle; the directions of Navagraha are unique only in this region.

The sculpture of Dakshinamurti (koshta deity) is in slightly different posture. He is found in the sitting posture unusually with both his legs folded and holding Kamandalu (an oblong water pot) and Olai Chuvadi (Palm scriptures).

The sub-shrine of Chandikeshwara with his two consorts is another unique feature of this temple.

The sub-shrines of Vinai Teertha Vinayaka, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena, Durga and Gaja Lakshmi are also located in the temple.

The idols of Surya, Bhairava, Appodhi Adigal, his wife, two children - Periya Tirunavukkarasu, Chiriya Tirunavukkarasu and Appar are located within the corridor.

Visit this temple to get the blessing of Chandra and Shiva. However, the temple has unfortunately lost its architectural beauty due to renovation.

Happy travelling.


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