November 6, 2014

Mamani Koil Temples

Site Name: Mamni Koil Temples
Site Type: Hindu Temples
Location:  Mamani Koil, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the most important Vaishnaivite temples; one of 108 Divya Desam temples; Group of three temples considered as a single Divya Desham
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

Mamani Koil is a village located at the outskirts of Tanjore town in South India. The village has three prominent temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Unusually, all these three temples together are considered as a single Divya Desam. It is considered as the 20th Divya Desam located in the Chola region.

Highlights:
  • Group of three temples is considered as a single Divya Desam. Except for Irattai Tirupati where two temples are considered as one Divya Desam, this is the only other group that is considered as one Divya Desam. All other Divya Desams are single temples.
  • Mamani Koil, Manikundram and Thanjaiyali Nagar are the three temples; together, they are being referred as Mamani Koil and even the village is called as Mamani Koil. 
  • Mamani Koil: God - Neelamega Perumal; Goddess - Senkamala Valli; Teerth - Kannika Pushkarani; Vimana - Soundarya Vimana
  • Manikundram: God - Manikundra Perumal; Goddess - Ambuja Valli; Teerth - Srirama Teerth; Vimana - Manikkoota Vimana
  • Thanjaiyali Nagar: God - Veera Narasimha; Goddess - Thanjai Nayaki; Teerth - Surya Pushkarani; Vimana - Vedasundara Vimana
  • Tirumangai Alwar has sung about Mamani Koil in his verses.
  • Nammalwar and Tirumangai Alwar have sung about Manikundram in his verses.
  • Bhoothathalwar has sung about Thanjaiyali Nagar in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 20th Divya Desam temple. It is located in Chola region.
  • In all these temples, the utsava deity is called as Narayana Murti


Legend:

As per the legend, Parasarar Rishi has worshiped Mamanikoil temple, Markandeya Rishi has worshiped Manikundram temple and Thajai Yali Nagar temple.

In Satya Yuga, there were three demons named Thanjakan, Thandakan and Gajamukhan. They did penance towards Lord Shiva. When Lord Shiva appeared before them, they demanded the boon of immortality. Shiva told them that they could not be killed by anyone other than Lord Vishnu.

After getting the boon, the demons started troubling the Devas and Rishis. At that time, there was a severe famine and drought all over the world. However, Sage Parasara's abode alone had enough food and water. By knowing this, the Asuras came to his abode and started assaulting the sage. The sage sought Vishnu's help. Lord Vishnu threw his discus and killed the army of Asuras. He appeared and beheaded Thanjakan. Before dying he realized his mistake; as per his request, the town was called after his name as Thanjakan Oor aka Thanjavur (Tanjore).

The second demon Gajamukha took the form of elephant. Lord Vishnu took the form of Narasimha and killed him. It is the site where the Thanjai Yali temple is located now.

The third demon Thandakan went under the earth. Vishnu took the form of boar (Varaha) and chased the demon. This demon was also killed.

As per another version, the three demons were called as Thanjakan, Thandakan and Tarakan. Thanjakan took the form of elephant and was killed by Narasimha. Tarakan was killed by Kalika Devi; Vishnu appreciated her. As the place which was selected by Parasara for forming his abode was troublesome due to these demons, Vishnu helped the rishi to get rid of them.

Temple Layout:

All the three temples are located around 200 meters apart.

Mamani Koil:

The first of the three temples is the Maamani Koil. The entrance is facing the east direction and the temple has a small tower. The presiding deity is Neelamega Perumal. The deity who is found along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi is found in the sitting posture. He has four arms. All the three idols and also the idol of Garuda which is facing the main deity are all big in size. Parasura rishi's idols is also found within the sanctum sanctorum.

The temple is completely renovated and the antique feel is lost due to this.

In the prakara, the Goddess Senkamalavalli is present in a separate shrine. Her idol is very attractive. She is in the sitting posture. 

In the maha mandapa, a rare sculpture of Narasimha having Lakshmi on his right lap, the sculpture of Varaha with two arms in the standing posture, sculptures of Andal, Vishwaksena, and Ulagalantha Perumal with his leg lifted upwards are found. 

The temple also has the shrines of Alwars, Desikar and Lakshmi Hayagreeva.

Manikundram:

The second of the three temples is the Manikundram. The entrance is facing the east direction and the temple does not have a  tower. The presiding deity is Manikundra Perumal. The deity who is found along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi is found in the sitting posture. He has four arms. All the three idols  are all big in size. A small Garuda idol is found facing towards the main deity.

In the prakara, the Goddess Ambujavalli is found in a separate shrine.

The temple tank is found near the entrance.

Thanjai Yali Nagar:

The third of the three temples is the Thanjai Yali Nagar. The entrance is facing the east direction and the temple does not have tower. The presiding deity is Veera Narasimha Perumal. The deity who is found along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi is found in the sitting posture. He has four arms. All the three idols  are all big in size. It is very rare to find Narasimha with two consorts. It should be noted that there is no Garuda facing towards the main deity.

In the prakara, the Goddess Thanjai Nayaki and Andal are found in a separate shrines. 

The idols of Ranganath, Varadaraja, Yoga Narasimha, Prahalada, Vishwaksena, Manavala Mamuni and Ramanuja are also found in this temple. There is a bas relief image of Garuda. A separate shrine for Tirumangai Alwar is situated in the prakara.

Happy travelling.

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