December 19, 2013

Vadakurangaduthurai Dayaanidheeswarar Temple

Site Name: Dayaanidheeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Vadakurangaduthurai, 5 kms from Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore and Tiruvaiyaru; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Vadakurangaduthurai is a village near Tanjore town in South India. The village is also called as Aaduthurai Perumal Koil. The village has two prominent temples - one for Vishnu and another for Shiva. In this article, the temple of Lord Shiva - Dayaanidheeswarar is being explored. It is considered as the 49th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region north of Cauvery river.




Highlights:
  • Sambandhar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
  • God Dayaanidheeswarar aka Kulaivanangunathar aka Vaaleeswarar aka Chitti Lingeswarar
  • Goddess Jadamukhuteswari aka Azhagu Chadaimudi Ammai
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Cauvery, Kudamurutti, Kamadhenu Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Coconut tree

Legend:

As per the legend, Vaali, the Vanara King and an important Ramayana character, got its tail cut. He visited this site and was graced to have his tail grown. Hence, Lord Shiva in this temple got the name "Vaaleeswarar".

When a pregnant woman was passing over this place, she felt very thirsty; she could not find anyone to ask for water; neither she found any water source nearby. She prayed to Lord Shiva. The Shiva Linga idol in this temple bent towards the nearby coconut tree to pluck the tender coconut to quench her thirst. Hence, the deity got another name "Kulaivanangunathar". Even today, pregnant women visit this temple in large number.

It is believed that he bestowed moksha to a sparrow and hence called as "Chitti Lingeswarar".

It is also believed that Lord Hanuman worshiped Lord Shiva in this site.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has a five-tier tower. The occupies large area with two prakaras (corridors). 

The main shrine is divided into three parts - sanctum sanctorum, Ardha Mandapa and a long Maha Mandapa. A slightly larger Shiva Linga named as Dayanidheeswarar adorns the sanctum. The bas-relief image of Vaali worshiping Shiva is also found here.

The big statues of Dwarapalas at the entrance of Ardha Mandapa are very attractive. A small idol of Ganesha is also found adjacent to Dwarapalas.

The entrance of Maha Mandapa is adorned with Ganesha, Subramanya and very tiny idols of Shasta with his two consorts.

The niche images, Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, another Ganesha, Lingodbhava, Ardha Nareeswarar, Brahma and Durga on the external wall of the main shrine are mind blowing. Especially the image of Ardha Nareeswarar is inexplicably beautiful. The nice image of Vishnu Durga graces us with eight arms. It is believed that the milk which is poured (during abhisheka) on this deity turns blue in color. 

Usually the bronze images of Nataraja are found in all Shiva temples in South India. However, in this temple there is a sub shrine where the large stone images of Nataraja and Sivakami are found. It is another highlight of this temple.

The sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena, Chandikeshwara and Maha Lakshmi are located in the inner prakara.

The idols of twin Bhairavas, Surya, the pregnant woman, Naga and Nalvar are also found in this temple.

There is a huge open area found between the tower and the main temple structure. The image of Nandi and bali peetha are located there facing the direction towards the main shrine.

In this open area, the shrine of the Goddess Jadamukhuteswari is found facing the southern direction. A separate Nandi image is placed facing the Goddess. Navagraha's sub-shrine and a small mandapa are found adjacent to this shrine.

The Chola period inscriptions are also found in this temple.

Happy travelling.




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December 14, 2013

Ganapati Agraharam

Site Name: Maha Ganapati Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Ganapati Agraharam, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: An important temple of Lord Ganesha
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore


Ganapati Agraharam is a small village located near Tanjore city in South India. The village is named after the famous Maha Ganapati temple located here. 

The temple is very small. It is believed that the temple existed since the Chola era. However the current structure of the temple is completely renovated recently and no antique sign can be found.

The temple does not have tower. It just has one corridor (prakara) surrounding the main shrine. However, the temple is very neatly maintained. 

As per the legend the main deity of the temple was originally installed by Agastya, the great sageAfter many years when the sage Gautama was passing by this village, he found that the villagers were suffering with famine and drought. He dug the ground and discovered the idol of Ganesha and reinstalled it. After that, the village became fertile again. Even the river Cauvery changed its original routed and passed through this village.

The temple has Maha Ganapati in the sanctum sanctorum. Flag staff and bali peetha are located facing the main shrine.

The idols of Ganesha, Subramanya, Vishwanatha, Vishalakshi and Chandikeshwara are also found in the temple.

A small beautiful temple - don't miss.

Happy travelling.



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December 12, 2013

Pasupati Koil

Site Name: Aalanthurainathar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Pasupati Koil, 14 kms from Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Pasupati Koil is a small village near Tanjore town in South India. The village is also called as Tiruppullamangai. The temple has an important temple for Lord Shiva - Aalanthurainathar temple. It is considered as the 16th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Sambandhar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram.
  • It is considered as the fifth Tiruchakrapalli Sapta Sthana temples.
  • Unique Durga sculpture.
  • Navagraha with Nandi in the middle.
  • God - Aalanthurainathar aka Pasupateeswarar aka Brahmapureeswarar aka Pasupatinathar
  • Goddess - Alliyankothai aka Soundara Nayaki
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Cauvery, Kudamurutti, Kamadhenu Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Banyan tree

Legend:

As the site is located on the banks of Kudamurutti river with the banyan tree as the sthala vruksha, it was called as 'Aalanthurai' in the olden days. 'Aalam' means banyan and 'thurai' means 'river banks'.

It is believed that Parvati worshiped Lord Shiva in the form of Chakravaha bird. 

As per the legend, Lord Shiva converted the poison that came out of milky ocean into nectar (amrita) in this site.

Brahma got rid of his curse in this temple; hence, Lord Shiva is also called as 'Brahmapureeswarar' here.

History:

The Chola period inscriptions are found in this temple. The sanctum sanctorum and Ardha Mandapa of the current structure of the temple were built by Parantaka Chola I of 10th century CE. Many of the sculptures and few idols in the temple are also of the Chola period. The temple was later renovated by the Naickar ruler Veera Sumbanna Udayar. He also built the current temple tower. Later it was renovated by the Maratha king Pratapa Simhan. It is said that many of the beautiful sculptures and other treasures of the temple were robbed off or destroyed by the foreign invaders multiple times.

This is the fifth of seven Tiruchakrapalli Sapta Sthana temples. These seven temples were worshiped by Sapta Matas - Aria Mangai, Chakra Mangai, Shoola Mangai, Nandi Mangai, Pasu Mangai, Thazha Mangai and Pulla Mangai. This particular temple was worshiped by Pasu Mangai.

As per a legend, Kamadhenu, the divine cow also worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple.

Temple Layout:

The temple occupies small area. The temple has tall tower (Raja gopuram) facing east direction. The sanctum sanctorum enshrines Shiva Linga (named as Aalanthurainathar). Bali peetha and Nandi statue are located facing the main shrine. There is no flag staff.

The Goddess Alliyankothai is found in a separate shrine adjacent to the main shrine.

One of the specialties of the temple is that Nandi statue is located at the center of Navagraha idols.

The vimana and the external wall of the main shrine are beautiful with a lot of attractive sculptures. Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Durga are found as the Koshta deities. Lingodbhava has Brahma and Vishnu on his either sides. The idol of Durga is an unique feature of this temple. The Goddess is found standing on the buffalo head and an umbrella above her head. She has eight arms and holds various weapons such as sword, bow, arrow, mace, conch, discus, etc. The sculptures of two soldiers are found on either sides of the Goddess; they appear to do self sacrifice by cutting down their own heads. It is believed that the same sculptor sculpted Durga sculptures in Nageswaram, Patteeswaram and this place. All three sculptures are considered powerful.

The temple has just one prakara (corridor). The sub shrines of Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are found in the prakara.

The idols of Bhairava, Surya, Nalvar, Ganesha (at Maha mandapa entrance), Chandikeshwara etc. are also found in this temple.

It's an important temple with rich heritage and historic value.

Happy travelling.












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December 7, 2013

Tiruchotruturai Odhanavaneswarar Temple

Site Name: Odhanavaneswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tiruchotruturai, 14 kms from Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tanjore; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tanjore

Tiruchotruturai is a small village near Tanjore town in South India. The temple has an important temple for Lord Shiva - Odhanavaneswarar temple. It is considered as the 13th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Sundarar, Sambandhar and Appar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • It is considered as the 3rd of Tiruvaiyaru Sapta Sthana temples.
  • God Odhanavaneswarar aka Tolaiya Chelvar aka Chotruturai Nathar
  • Goddess Annapoorani aka Oppilambigai
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Cauvery
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Paneer tree

Legend:

As per the legend, Gautama Rishi cursed Indira and Indira got rid of his sin by worshiping Lord Shiva in this site.

As per another legend, after Lord Rama left to forest, his father, the king Dasrath came here and worshiped Lord Shiva.

Thanks to the blessing of the God and Goddess of the temple, rice instead of paddy (unhusked rice) were grown once in the nearby fields. Also the nearby lake got rice instead of water to ensure the people of this region do not experience hungry. Hence, the Lord is called as 'Chotruturai Nathar' and the Goddess is named as 'Anna Poorani' whereas the words Choru and Annam refer food/rice.

It is also said that the Lord gave Akshaya bowl for a couple to remove their poverty.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple built during the Chola period does not have tower. The main shrine is long divided into three divisions - sanctum sanctorum (moolasthan), Ardha mandapa and Maha mandapa. Lord Odhanavaneswarar in a big Shiva Linga form is found in the sanctum.

Maha Mandapam has Nandi idol facing the sanctum. In addition, the idols of Ganesha, Kasi Linga and the couple who got Akshaya bowl from the Lord, are all located in Maha mandapa.

The inner prakara (corridor) has the sub shrine of a beautiful Maha Ganapati. There are a lot of idols located across the entire prakara such as a beautiful sculpture of Adikara Nandi, Lingodbhava, Navagraha, Surya, Bhairava, Sapta Mata, Pancha Lingams, Sapta Sthana Lingams, three more Shiva Lingas, two Ganeshas, Ayyanar, etc.

Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are present as Koshta deities on the outer wall of sanctum. Chandikeshwara is found in his usual location. The vimana and the outer wall look old and attractive. 

The right side of sanctum has two big shrines - one dedicated to Arumuga Nayanar - Subramanya with six heads and another to Maha Siddhar.

The open area outside the main shrine has flag staff, bali peeta and a Nandi idol facing towards the main deity.

There is a separate shrine for Goddess Anna Poorani aka Oppilambigai. She is found in her wedding attire. A separate Nandi idol is found facing her shrine too. The small idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are placed at the entrance of the shrine.

There are inscriptions of the Chola period starting from Aditya Chola I found in this temple complex.

Happy travelling.



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December 4, 2013

Tirukkandiyur Brahma Shira Kandeesar Temple

Site Name: Brahma Shira Kandeesar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Kandiyur, 11 kms from Tiruvaiyaru, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tiruvaiyaru or Tanjore; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Tanjore
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Tiruvaiyaru or Tanjore

Kandiyur aka Tirukkandiyur is a small village near Tanjore town in South India. There are two important Hindu temples located in this village. Brahma Shira Kandeesar Temple is one among those two main temples. It is considered as the 12th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in Chola region south of Cauvery river.

Highlights:
  • Sambandhar and Appar have revered the temple in their verses in Devaram.
  • It is considered as the 5th of Tiruvaiyaru Sapta Sthana temples.
  • It is considered as the 7th of Veeratta Sthalams.
  • The Sun's rays illuminate the sanctum on the 13th, 14th and 15th days in the Masi month of Tamil Year (Aquarius)
  • A separate shrine for big idols of Brahma and Saraswati; it is unique
  • God Brahma Shira Kandeesar aka Veeratteswarar aka Brahmanathar aka Aadivilvanathar
  • Goddess Mangalanayaki 
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Nandi Teerth, Daksha Teerth, Brahma Teerth, Kudamurutti river
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Vilvam


Legend:

As per the legend, Lord Brahma had five heads similar to Lord Shiva. He developed proud due to this and started claiming that he was equivalent to Shiva. Once, Shiva got furious and plucked his central head. 'Kandanam' means plucking; as Shiva plucked Brahma's head, the site is called as Kandiyur and Shiva is called as Brahma Shira Kandeesar meaning 'one who plucked the head of Brahma'. Brahma realized his mistake and prayed to Lord Shiva. Shiva ensured that Brahma got his charm back just with his four heads. 

A seer named Satatapa used to go to Kalahasti for every Pradosham. Once, he couldn't go there. Lord Shiva gave darshan similar to Kalahasti to this seer in this site. It is said that the holy tree vilvam was brought from Mount Kailash for this seer. Hence, the site is also called as 'Aadi Vilvaranyam'.

Temple Layout:

The temple with five-tiered tower (Raja Gopuram) facing the western direction and having two prakaras (corridors) occupies an area of about one acre.

The passage to the sanctum sanctorum is long. The main shrine is divided into three sections - Moola Sthan (sanctum santorum), Ardha Mandapa (middle area) and the outer Maha Mandapa. Inside the sanctum, the main deity Brahma Shira Kandeesar is found in the form of Shiva Linga.

The entrance of Ardha Mandapa has the idols of Ganesha at one side and Subramanya-Valli on the other side. Near the entrance of Maha Mandapa, adjacent to Dwarapalas the idols of Ganesha, Shiva Linga and Surya are found.

In the open space facing the sanctum, the tall flag staff, bali peetha, big Nandi and a small Ganesha idol are found.

The inner prakara has a big shrine dedicated to Lord Brahma along with Saraswati. It is unique to find such a large size Brahma and Saraswati in a separate shrine. Brahma is found with two folded hands and a flower and Japa mala (beads) in his other two arms.

The wall surrounding the sanctum has Ardha Nareeswarar, Lingodbhavar and Durga as the Koshta deities. Chandikeshwara is found in a separate sub-shrine at the backside of the sanctum.

The idols of Sapta Ganapati (seven Ganesha) and few Shiva Linga are located in the inner prakara. The idol of Satatapa Rishi related to the legend of the temple is also found here.

Navagraha is found with all the eight planets facing towards Surya, a unique feature of the temples of Tanjore region. Surya alone is found with his two consorts.

The Goddess Mangala Nayaki is found in a separate shrine facing the northern direction in the outer prakara.

The outer prakara has the holy tree with a small Ganesha idol installed under the tree. There is another sub-shrine dedicated to the Goddess Ilan Kali Amman.

Happy travelling.



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