November 16, 2014

Thanjapureeswarar Temple

Site Name: Thanjapureeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Outskirts of Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: The city Tanjore is named after the main deity of this temple; supposed to be the original temple of Tanjore
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road and rail
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire Tanjore city
Restaurants: A lot of options across the entire Tanjore city

Those who know about Thanjavur (Tanjore) city is South India know mainly about the great Brahadeeswarar Temple built by Raja Raja Chola around 1000 years back. However, there are many rare and interesting sites found across the entire city. Let us explore about Thanjapureeswarar temple, which is supposed to be the original temple of this city. It is believed that the city was named after the main deity of this temple. Also, it is believed that the temple must have existed even before the Brahadeeswarar temple was constructed.

Highlights:
  • Supposed to be the original temple of Tanjore. The city Thanjavur was probably named after the main deity of the temple, Thanjapureeswarar.
  • God - Thanjapureeswarar aka Kuberapureeswarar
  • Goddess - Anandavalli
  • Sthala Vruksha (holy tree) - Vanni tree
  • It is believed that this temple is older than the temple of Brahadeeswara.

Legend:

As per the legend, Kubera lost his kingdom and treasure to his half brother Raavan. Kubera started visiting various Shiva temples to get back his glory. He visited this temple which was a small temple then. It is said he did not have to visit anymore temple after this. As Kubera surrendered to Lord Shiva here, Shiva is called as 'Thanjapureeswarar'. The town was also named after the deity as Thanjavur.

Temple Layout:

Although it is believed that the temple must be older than Brahadeeswara temple, there is no visible evidence. The structure appears to be comparatively new. 

The temple has west facing entrance with a small tower. The west facing sanctum sanctorum enshrines a big Shiva Linga named as Kuberapureeswarar aka Thanjapureeswarar. At the entrance there are idols of Ganesha and Subramanaya apart from the big attractive idols of Dwarapalas. As usual, the bali peetha, Nandi mandapa and flag staff are located facing towards the sanctum.

There is a separate south facing shrine for the Goddess Anandavalli. At the entrance of this shrine, there is a Ganesha idol and two big and beautiful idols of Dwarapalikas (females). Nandi is found facing towards her shrine.

At the entrance of temple below the tower, the idols of Ganesha, Subramanya and Ayyappa are located. 

The wall around the sanctum sanctorum enshrines the niche images of Dakshinamurti, Nataraja, Brahma and Durga. It is rare to find Nataraja as a niche (koshta) idol. There is a small sub-shrine of Chandikeshwara located. 

In the outer prakara, there are many ancient idols which were discovered nearby are kept. The idols such as Saraswati, Ganesha, Brahma, Dakshinamurti and Shiva Lingas are beautiful.

The sub-shrines of Nataraja-Sivakami and Navagraha are also located in this temple.

On the way to the Goddess shrine, the idols of Lakshmi and Kubera performing pooja to Shiva LInga are found. It is very unique.

Happy travelling.


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