July 30, 2013

Samayapuram Mariamman

Site Name: Mariamman Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Samayapuram, near Trichy city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the most popular Mother Goddess or Mariamman temples
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road and rail
Hotel: Budget hotels are found; for better options go to Trichy city
Restaurants: Many restaurants mostly budget restaurants are found; for better options go to Trichy

Samayapuram is a small town located near Trichy city in South India. It is one of the most happening religious sites in South India. The popular temple dedicated to Mariamman is located here. It is one of the most famous temples of mother Goddess and Mariamman across the globe. Hundreds and thousands of people always throng to visit this temple everyday; hence, the temple as well as the town is always crowded.

The temple has the main deity, Mariamman, made up of clay and sand. The stone image of Mariamman is also found in the sanctum sanctorum. The utsava idol of Mariamman is placed in a separate shrine. The local village deity Karuppanna Swamy is also found in separate shrine in this temple.

It is believed that the temple is present for many centuries. However, historically the current structure of the temple was constructed by the Madurai ruler Vijayaranga Chokkanatha Nayak in the 18th century CE. Although there are no historical record, it is believed that the original deity was in Sri Rangam temple earlier; as one of the priests believed that he got some disease due to this disease, he moved this to the nearby village. Another legend states that the utsava idol was in the palace of Vijayanagara emperor and it was brought to this place before the empire was nearing its end.

Happy travelling.



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July 29, 2013

Pratapa Veera Anjaneyar

Site Name: Pratapa Veera Anjaneyar temple - popularly called as Moolai Anjaneyar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A 18th century temple built by Marathas in Tanjore
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Trichy
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire city
Restaurants: Most of the restaurants are located near bus stand and Brahadeeswara temple; few vegetarian mess or restaurants are found in the remaining part of the city


At the corner of Mela Masi Veethi (West Main Road) in Tanjore town in South India, a locally popular temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman is located. It is called as Pratapa Veera Anjaneyar temple as it was built by the ruler of Tanjore town, the Maratha king Pratapa Singh in the 18th century CE. The temple is named after him. As this temple is located at the corner, the local people call it as 'Moolai Anjaneyar' temple. (Moolai means 'corner' in Tamil language).

As per the order by Hanuman in the dream of the sculptors who were constructing the temple, the main deity was sculpted in the form of Hanuman carrying the Sanjeevi hill. It is a bas relief image.

The temple is small with just one prakara and a small tower. Pandurangan-Rukmini sub-shrine is also found in this temple.

The utsava idol of Hanuman is tall and very attractive.

Sri Thyaga Brahmam had visited this temple.

Happy travelling.

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July 28, 2013

Tanjore Rajagopala Swamy Temple aka Kali Temple - a rare temple by Nayakas and Marathas

Site Name: Kali temple aka Rajagopala temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Sudarshan (Chakrathalwar) is the main deity; many rare sculptures of Shivendra are found
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Trichy
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire city
Restaurants: Most of the restaurants are located near bus stand and Brahadeeswara temple; few vegetarian mess or restaurants are found in the remaining part of the city

Those who know about Thanjavur (Tanjore) city is South India know mainly about the great Brahadeeswarar Temple. However, there are many rare and interesting sites found across the entire city. Let us explore one such interesting temple which is little known. The temple which I am going to write about in this article has interestingly multiple names. People call the temple as 'Kali temple' nowadays. As the main deity of the temple is Chakrathalwar (Sudarshan) there are people who call it as 'Chakrathalwar' temple. Earlier the temple was called as Rajagopala Swamy temple. During the period of Marathas, this temple was called as 'Shivendra temple'. Let us start exploring this unique temple which was built by Nayaka kings, patronized by Marathas and recently renovated.


The temple is located in Vadakku Raja Veethi (North Main Road) in Tanjore town. The ancient temple was not in good condition for many years; recently it got renovated and kumbabhishek happened. Post that, people have started visiting this temple. However, it still remains as a little known temple. Not only this temple, even many of the historical facts about this temple also remains unknown or little known.

The temple is east facing. It has two towers (Raja Gopurams); the first tower is seven tiered and the second tower is three tiered. Both the towers are plain without any images. 

The temple has three main shrines - Chakrathalwar shrine, Kali shrine and Shivendra shrine. 

Kali Shrine

Kali shrine is located facing the south direction in the area between the two towers. Although the original temple was constructed by the Nayaka kings, this particular section of the temple was constructed by the Maratha kings. It is believed that a Maratha queen wanted to conduct a yagna to drive off the British; hence a lot of idols got installed in this temple in hurry. This particular shrine is full of idols and most of them are 6 feet to 9 feet high. Although they cannot be considered as very beautiful, many of them are rare idols. It is impossible to find such gigantic images together in a single shrine.

Baglamukhi Kali is the main deity in the shrine. She is in ferocious form with eight arms. The utsava idol of Kali is also located nearby.

The other images found in this shrine:

1) Bhairav with his consort (Kali?)
2) Shiva in the sitting posture with four arms; Parvati and Ganga on his either sides; he is called as Shivendra - a Maratha deity
3) Two soldiers on horses called as Martanda Bhairava - originally supposed to be Kandobha, a Maratha deity
4) A tall statue of Shiva Durga with four arms
5) A tall statue of Kohlapur Mahalakshmi with four arms
6) Much taller than Durga and Mahalakshmi statues - statue of Vishnu Durga with eight arms
7) Small statues of Ganga and Yamuna
8) Chamundeshwari and two other Goddesses
9) Gaja Lakshmi
10) Utsava idols of Shiva and his two consorts
11) Ganesha idol
12) Sapta Matas idols

The entire temple is called as Kali temple nowadays due to this particular shrine.

Sudarshana Shrine

Inside the main temple complex, the sanctum sanctorum which is located in the middle has a big idol of Sudarshana (Chakrathalwar) who is found along with his two consorts on his either sides. It is rare to find a temple having Sudarshana as the main deity. Also, I have never seen or heard about him having two consorts. 

The temple has inscriptions right from the period of Achuthappa Nayaka (dated 1539 CE). The Nayakas who constructed this shrine named it as Rajagopala Swamy temple. There is no records on whereabouts of the original deity Madana Gopala. It is not known why and when Sudarshana became the main deity of the temple. 

The sub-shrine of Garuda is facing the sanctum santorum.

Shivendra Shrine

The shrine that  is found in the prakara is called as Shivendra shrine; it is very interesting and unique. Like Kali shrine, this shrine was also constructed by the Maratha kings. They called the entire temple as 'Shivendra temple' and registered the temple property in the name of Shivendra.

Shivendra is a Maratha deity. He is a form of Lord Shiva; however like Maha Vishnu he carries conch and discus. It is said that he encompasses Vishnu's amsha (part). He is in the sitting posture and has four arms. On his either sides Parvati and Ganga are found in the sitting posture.

There are totally eight sets of Shivendra idols found in this shrine. Each set is of different size. Two sets of idols are very large in size. One Shivendra idol is found only with Parvati; all the remaining seven idols are found along with two consorts. Two Shivendra idols have elephants as the vaahana in front of them; one Shivendra has Rishaba and all other Shivendra idols have Nandi as the vaahanas. (Rishaba is different from Nandi; Rishaba is in the standing posture whereas Nandi is in the sitting posture). One Shivendra has third eye on his forehead.

This entire shrine is very unique and unusual. I am not sure if similar shrine is found anywhere else even in the land of Marathas. 

If you get a chance to go to Tanjore, do not miss this unique temple.

Happy travelling.


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July 27, 2013

Vada Bhadra Kali Amman Temple at Tanjore

Site Name: Vada Bhadra Kali Amman Temple aka Nisumba Soodhani Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: The deity was worshipped by Raja Raja Chola
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Trichy
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire city
Restaurants: Most of the restaurants are located near bus stand and Brahadeeswara temple; few vegetarian mess or restaurants are found in the remaining part of the city

Thanjavur aka Tanjore city in South India is an important heritage city. The city is popular thanks to the great Brahadeeswarar temple. Everyone knows about this famous temple built by the great king Raja Raja Chola. However, only few might know about Nisumba Soodhani Amman temple which was worshiped by the same king.

Those who visit Tanjore should not visit just Brahadeeswarar temple; there are so many interesting places and temples in and around this city. Let us explore one such interesting temple called Nisumba Soodhani Amman temple.

Nisumba Soodhani temple is located in Poomal Rauther Koil street in Keezha Vaasal area in Tanjore city. It is believed that the original temple (of course not the current structure) was built by Vijayalaya Chola in the 9th century CE. He was the first medieval Chola. It is also believed that all the Chola kings including the great emperor Raja Raja Chola used to worship this powerful deity.

Nisumba Soodhani is also called as Vada Bhadra Kali (people wrongly write this as Vadapathira Kali :-) ) and Raavukala Kali. The temple is very small. No other deity is found other than Kali Amman. 

Kali Amman is in the sitting posture with two arms holding Shul. She looks very ferocious and has a demon lying under her feet. The gigantic image of the Goddess has her head slightly tilted on her left side.

When you go to Tanjore, visit this little known ancient temple.

Happy travelling.

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July 26, 2013

Kallanai aka The Grand Anicut - the engineering marvel of the Cholas

Site Name: Kallanai aka The Grand Anicut
Site Type: Dam
Location:  Near Trichy city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: An engineering marvel by the early Cholas; the dam was constructed in the 2nd century CE; 
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Trichy
Hotel: A lot of options across the Trichy city; this is one of the important cities in South India 
Restaurants: All varieties of restaurants across the Trichy city




The engineering marvel of the Cholas, the great emperors of Tamil Nadu, can be felt not only through their extraordinary temples but even through Kallanai dam. Kallanai dam aka the Grand Anicut was constructed by the Great Chola king Karikala most probably in the 2nd century CE. It is built across the river Cauvery and located near Trichy city in South India. The 329 meters long and 20 meters wide ancient dam was constructed to divert the river water through canals across the fertile delta region for irrigation. 

Kallanai is considered as one of the oldest water diversion or water regulator structure in the world which is still functioning. This 2000 year old structure stands firm even today and hence it can be called as an engineering marvel. 

A road bridge has been built on top of the stone structure where visitors can drive through or walk along. Another dam called the Upper Anicut was constructed across the river Kollidam in the 19th century CE. It is also found near Kallanai dam. In 1804 CE, Captain Coldwell repaired and reinforced the Kallanai dam.

When you get a chance to visit Trichy region, ensure that you go and visit this wonderful dam.

Happy travelling.





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Nandi Temple - Trichy

Site Name: Nandi Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Trichy city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A unique temple where Lord Nandi is found as the main deity
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: A lot of options across the city; this is one of the important cities in South India 
Restaurants: All varieties of restaurants across the city

Trichy is an important city in Tamil Nadu state of India. When people think about Trichy, the Rock Fort comes to their mind immediately. However, there are few little known but unique places such as Pallava period cave temple, Nandrudaiyan Aadi Vinayaka temple and Nandi temple. Let us explore Nandi temple in this blog post. 

Nandi temple is located in Nandeeswaran Koil street near the Rock Fort temple tank. It is unfortunate that even the citizens of Trichy including most of the people who live in the Nandeeswaran Koil (Koil means temple) street do not know about this temple. They know this temple as 'Anjaneya temple'. It is really funny that people living in Nandi Koil street do not know about the temple on which their street is named after. 

This Chola period temple has Nandi as the main deity; it is usually found as the Vaahan of Lord Shiva facing the main shrine. But in this temple it is the main deity and there is no Shiva Linga in this temple. It looks like that this temple should have been a part of Rock Fort Thaayumanavar temple in the past. Now, as the area became very congested with so many buildings, it got cut off and appear as a separate temple.

Near the Nandi idol, there is a long flag staff found. The temple also has the modern day bas relief images of Anjaneya and Ganesha. In fact, people started calling this temple as 'Anjaneya' temple thanks to these images.

Happy travelling.

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July 22, 2013

Trichy Nandrudaiyan Temple - Lord Ganesha with the Human Face

Site Name: Nandrudaiyan Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Trichy city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A unique temple where Lord Ganesha is found with the human face; Nandi facing Lord Ganesha
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: A lot of options across the city; this is one of the important cities in South India 
Restaurants: All varieties of restaurants across the city

Trichy is one of the most important cities of Tamil Nadu state in South India. When it comes to Trichy, everyone would think or talk mainly about the Rock Fort. Although the Nandrudaiyan temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is not popular as the other Ganesha temple (Uchchi Pillaiyar) in Rock Fort, it is a unique temple which should not be missed out.

Nandrudaiyan Vinayaka temple is located in East Boulevard Road in Devadhanam area of Trichy city. It is said that even Sambandhar of 7th century CE has referred this temple in his verses. However, the current structure of the temple cannot be claimed to be more than 30-40 years old. 

The temple does not have sculptural beauty or architectural wonder. However, there are two features in this shrine which cannot be found anywhere else. Nandi idol, which is generally associated with Lord Shiva (or Shakti in few temples), is found facing Lord Ganesha. There is a sub-shrine in the temple where Ganesha is found with the human face. These two features make this temple unique and attractive.

The sanctum santorum has Lord Ganesha as found in his typical form. There is a sub-shrine dedicated to Aadi Vinayaka where Lord Ganesha is found with the human face instead of having elephant head and trunk. It is said that Lord Ganesha was in this form and his head was chopped off and replaced with that of an elephant later. This is perhaps the only temple where Lord Ganesha is found in his original form. He is holding an axe and modaka in his two arms.

The Aadi Vinayaka sub-shrine also has the idols of Aadi Shankara, Vyasa, Gayatri, Brahmananda and Pattinathar. 

There are sub-shrines of Ayyappa, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena, Dakshinamurti and Navagraha in this temple. All the eight planets face towards Surya who is in the middle. This kind of depiction of Navagraha (nine planets) is commonly found only in and around Trichy area.

When you go to Trichy, don't just visit Rock Fort; also go to this unique temple.

Happy travelling.



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