May 24, 2014

Vikramasingapuram Shivantiappar Temple

Site Name:  Shivantiappar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Vikramasingapuram village, near Papanasam, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:  A huge temple of Lord Shiva located near the beautiful Podhigai hills/Papanasam
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tirunelveli
Hotel: Few options in Ambasamduram and Papanasam; more options in the nearby city Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Only few options in Ambasamudram and Papanasam

Ambasamudram is a picturesque town located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river and on the foothills of the Western Ghats. The nearest city of Ambasamudram is Tirunelveli. It is located in Tamil Nadu state in South India.The town has a lot of scenic spots and temples. Papanasam is a smaller town located near Ambasamudram which offers a lot more scenic spots, dams and wonderful waterfalls. Vikramasingapuram is a small village located near Papanasam. It has a big temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called as Shivantiappar temple. This temple is quite popular in this region. Let us explore about this site in this article.

Highlights:
·                      A majestic temple covering a large area with so many big idols
·                     God – Shivantiappar
·                     Goddess – Vazhi Adimai Konda Nayaki
·                     Sthala Vruksham (holy tree) – Vilva tree
·                     Holy Water – Kadana river

Temple Layout:

Exterior area:

The temple is around 400 years old. As it was constructed by Shivantiappa Naicker who ruled this region, the deity was named as Shivantiappar. The massive temple has five-tier tower (Raja gopuram) and is facing the eastern direction. There is a tall flag staff and bali peeth located near the Nandi Mandapa. The Nandi mandapa is strikingly beautiful with sculpted pillars and the statues of women holding oil lamps.

Near bali peeth, there are two sub-shrines dedicated to Sthala Vinayaka and Shamukha.

The temple has two prakras. Similar to other temples in this region, bali peetha is located between the main shrine and Nandi. It is unusual and found like this only in this region.

Main Shrines:

The sanctum sanctorum has a moderately big sized Shiva Linga named as Shivantiappar. The shrine faces the eastern direction. Right next to his shrine, the main shrine of Goddess Vazhi Adimai Konda Nayaki bearing a beautiful Tamil name, is located. It faces the southern direction.

The inner prakara around the main shrines has the following sub shrines:

  • Dakshinamurti
  • Chandikeshwara
  • Prakara Vinayaka
  • Shanmukha sitting on peacock with his consorts Valli and Devasena facing each other – rare and beautiful idols


Maha Mandapa:

Unlike other typical temples, the maha mandapa of this temple is really a maha (big) mandapa (hall) with a lot of artistically beautiful pillars and idols.

The metal (utsava) idols found in this mandapa include:
  • Nataraja – Sivakami
  • Nalvar
  • Veerabagu
  • Somaskanda
  • Uma
  • Sapta Matas
  • Veerabhadra
  • Subramanya-Valli-Devasena
  • Shiva devotees



The stone idols found in this mandapa include:

  • Surya
  • Chandra
  • Veerabhadra
  • Bhairava
  • Adhikara Nandi
  • Ganesha
  • Shaneeswara


Outside the maha mandapa, there is another exterior mandapa. There is a Ganesha idol found there.

Other Shrines:

  • Nalvar – Karaikkal Ammaiyar, Sekkizhar, Mangaiyarkkarasi
  • Ganesha
  • Siva Subramanya
  • Navagraha


Happy travelling.

Vandi Malaichi Amman Temple - Village Deity - Ambasamudram

Site Name:  Vandi Malaichi Amman Temple
Site Type: Hindu Village Deity Temple
Location:  Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:  A popular village deity of southern Tamil Nadu
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tirunelveli
Hotel: Few options in Ambasamduram; more options in the nearby city Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Only few options in Ambasamudram

Ambasamudram is a picturesque town located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river and on the foothills of the Western Ghats. The nearest city of Ambasamudram is Tirunelveli. It is located in Tamil Nadu state in South India.The town has a lot of scenic spots and temples. Ambasamudram has so many interesting temples and tourist sites. Let us explore about Vandi Malaichi temple in this article.

Anyone who passes through the highway in Ambasamudram would definitely get the glimpse of two big deities in the reclining posture in the temple with the doors opened forever. The temple of Vandi Malachi Amman is located right on the main road. The temple has two big idols of Vandi Malaichi and Vandi Malayan. They are village deities and their temples are located across various villages around Ambasamudram.

There is an interesting legend about this village deity. Two serpents who could not become parent pleaded to Lord Shiva for parenthood. When Shiva started from Mount Kailash to bless them, his consort Parvati wanted to accompany him. Even after asking her to stay back, she did not agree. Hence, Shiva got angry with her and cursed to get birth into eight women on the earth. Parvati got converted into eight eggs. He took them and handed over to the serpents. Later, eight girls came out of those eggs. The serpents named them as Vandi Malaichi, Mutharamman, Muppidathri, Sandana Mari, Agni Mari, Karung Kali, Bhadra Kali and Uchchini Makali.

There was a powerful Asura named Mahisa, who had got boon not to be killed by any animal or any male person. All these eight women fought with him and his men and won the battle. Vandi Malaichi did not kill the Asura. Instead, she converted him as a lion and made him as her mount. 

After killing the Asura and his army, all eight of them wanted to marry Lord Shiva. Shiva did not want to marry all of them; hence, as per his order, Brahma converted eight beetles into small kids and kept them on the way to Kailash, the adobe of Shiva. All the eight sisters on their way to Kailash, saw the kids crying and took them along. When they reached Kailash, Shiva told them that he could not marry them as he found them along with the kids. They did not want to leave the kids and marry him. Hence, they demanded him for some other boons instead. He made them more powerful and give them the power to resolve the problems of people. He also created eight male deities as the companions for them. One of them was Vandi Malayan, who became brother of Vandi Malaichi. 
All the temples of Vandi Malaichi has her brother Vandi Malayan along with her.

Happy travelling.

May 18, 2014

The Grand Siva Sailam Temple

Site Name:  Sivasailam Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Sivasailam, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:  Shiva Linga is found with his tresses
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Ambasamudram and Tirunelveli; public transportation is not dependable
Hotel: Few options in Ambasamduram and no option in this village; more options in the nearby city Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Only few options in the nearby Ambasamudram town

Ambasamudram is a picturesque town located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river and on the foothills of the Western Ghats. The nearest city of Ambasamudram is Tirunelveli. It is located in Tamil Nadu state in South India.The town has a lot of scenic spots and temples. Sivasailam is a small village located near Ambasamudram. The village has a majestic and beautiful temple, Sivasailanathar temple. Let us explore about this temple in this article.

Highlights:
·                     A Devara Vaippu Sthalam temple
·                     Shiva Linga found with his tress
·                     A majestic temple covering a large area with so many big idols
·                     God – Sivasaila Nathar aka Sailanatha Swamy aka Athreeswarar
·                     Goddess – Parama Kalyani
·                     Sthala Vruksham (holy tree) – Kadamba tree
·                     Holy Water – Kadana river

Legend:

The sages Atri and Bhringi worshiped Shiva in this temple. Atri’s ashram is found on top of the hill.


Temple Layout:

The temple is very huge in size. It has a stunning tower and the front side of the temple is covered with trees.

The Nandi idol that is located near the flag staff and bali peeth facing the main shrine is artistically beautiful.

The temple is full of long mandapas, huge idols, different designs of huge pillars and large sculpted pillars. Everything in this temple appears to be grand.

Main Shrine

The sanctum sanctorum unusually faces the west direction. A large sized Shiva Linga idol named as Sivasailappar is found there. The highlight is that he has tresses. The devotees can view his tresses through holes on the back side of the sanctorum. It is said that it is only west facing Swayambu Linga. It is also said that there are 27 Aavudais (the base of Linga) placed one above the other and the idol is placed on top of 27th Aavudai.

The entrance of Ardha Mandapa has a small Ganesha idol.

The Maha Mandapa has Nandi facing the sanctorum; it also house few sub-shrines with so many utsava (metal) idols that include Nataraja-Sivakami, Chandrasekhar-Uma, etc.

Inner Prakara

The inner prakara surrounding the sanctum santorum has many sub-shrines which house the following deities. All of them are unusally large in size.

  • Sura Deva
  • Maha Lakshmi
  • Anna Poorani
  • Shaneeswara
  • Vishnu Durga
  • Bhairava
  • Surya
  • Chandra
  • Dakshinamurti
  • Sapta Matas
  • Ganesha
  • Vishwanatha-Vishalakshi-Navaneetha Krishna


Goddess Shrine

The Goddess Parama Kalyani is found in a separate west facing shrine. She is found in the standing posture and has four arms.The shrine has its own front side mandapa, Nandi, flag staff and bali peetha. It is said that the idol was found in a well.

The inner prakara has Agastya, Ganesha, 63 Nayanmars and Dakshinamurti.

Other Shrines

Some of the other sub-shrines in the temple:

  • Saila Vinayaka
  • Nellaiyappar-Salvaateeswarar-Kantimati
  • Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar
  • Subramanya-Valli-Devasena


Ganesha and Adhikara Nandi idols are found near the entrance.

This temple is not to be missed.

Happy travelling.

Pappankulam Tiruvenkaadar Temple

Site Name:  Tiruvenkaadar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Pappankulam village, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: The Shiva Linga idol is made up of Chandrakanta stone; the Shiva Linga appears in different size when viewed from two different places
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Ambasamudram and Tirunelveli; public transportation is not dependable
Hotel: Few options in Ambasamduram and no option in this village; more options in the nearby city Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Only few options in the nearby Ambasamudram town

Ambasamudram is a picturesque town located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river and on the foothills of the Western Ghats. The nearest city of Ambasamudram is Tirunelveli. It is located in Tamil Nadu state in South India.The town has a lot of scenic spots and temples. Pappankulam is a small village located near Ambasamudram. The village has two beautiful but lesser known temples – Rama Swamy temple and Tiruvenkaadar temple. Let us explore about Tiruvenkaadar temple in this article.

Highlights:
·                     A Devara Vaippu Sthalam temple
·                     Shiva Linga made up of Chandrakanta stone
·                     The size of Shiva Linga appears differently when viewed from different places
·                     God – Tiruvenkaadar
·                     Goddess – Vaadaakalai Nayaki
·                     Sthala Vruksham (holy tree) – Banyan tree
·                      

Legend/History:

The Pandya king Adityavarma Pandya was very happy with his sculptor named Chadurvedi and gifted him land. The land was called as Chadurvedi Mangalam. When he suffered with some disease, he was advised to construct a temple with Shiva Linga made up of Chandrakanta stone. Thus, the sculptor built this temple.

Temple Layout:

The temple is small – it’s east facing. The main shrine has slightly big Shiva Linga made up of Chandrakanta stone – Tiruvenkaadar. The south facing shrine outside the Maha Mandapa has very attractive idol of Goddess Vaadaakalai Nayaki.

The temple has just one prakara. The following deities are found there:

  • Suradeva
  • Two Shiva Linga
  • Ganesha in a sub shrine
  • Subramanya-Valli-Devasena in a sub shrine
  • Bhairava
  • Adhikara Nandi
  • Shaneeswara
  • Dakshinamurti
  • Chandikeshwara


The temple does not have a tower. The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi are all located facing towards the main shrine.

Happy travelling.

May 11, 2014

Rama Swami Temple - Pappankulam

Site Name: Rama Swami Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Pappankulam, near Kadayam village, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: An ancient unknown temple with beautiful stucco images of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Ambasamudram; public transportation is not dependable
Hotel: Few options in Ambasamduram and no option in this village; more options in the nearby city Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Only few options in the nearby Ambasamudram town


Ambasamudram is a picturesque town located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river and on the foothills of the Western Ghats. The nearest city of Ambasamudram is Tirunelveli. It is located in Tamil Nadu state in South India.The town has a lot of scenic spots and temples. Kadayam is a small village located at a distance of around 19 kms from Ambasamudram. Near Kadayam, there is a small village called Pappankulam. The village has an old temple called as Rama Swami Temple. The deities of the temple are very beautiful. Let us explore in more detail about this little known temple.

Rama Swami temple is very old temple. It does not have tower; however, it has all other typical temple features such as flag staff, bali peeth etc.

The front side mandapa (hall) is long and broad and is full of pillars with different statues like Yazhis, Vanaras (monkeys) etc. All the images are stucco images and they are painted in vivid colors.

The main shrine has very attractive and colorful stucco images of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. Rama is in green color whereas Sita is in slightly yellowish color.

Garuda who faces the main shrine is also a stucco image.

There is a separate shrine for Hanuman (again a stucco image) where the small stone idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are also located.

It's a small but beautiful temple.

Happy travelling.




Nitya Kalyani Temple - Kadayam

Site Name: Nitya Kalyani Temple aka Vilvavaneswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Kadayam village, near Ambasamudram town, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A famous temple for mother Goddess; a Devara Vaippu Sthalam
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Ambasamudram; public transportation is not dependable
Hotel: Few options in Ambasamduram and no option in this village; more options in the nearby city Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Only few options in the nearby Ambasamudram town

Ambasamudram is a picturesque town located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river and on the foothills of the Western Ghats. The nearest city of Ambasamudram is Tirunelveli. It is located in Tamil Nadu state in South India.The town has a lot of scenic spots and temples. Kadayam is a small village located at a distance of around 19 kms from Ambasamudram. The village has an important Devara Vaippu Sthalam temple called Vilvaranyeswarar Temple. As the Goddess is very popular in this temple, it is commonly called as Nitya Kalyani temple. Let us explore this temple in detail.

Highlights:
·                     A Devara Vaippu Sthalam temple
·                     The Goddess Nitya Kalyani is very popular in this locality
·                     The famous Tamil poet and patriot Subramanya Bharatiar lived in this village and used to visit this temple; he wrote many of his popular poems from this village
·                     God – Vilvaranyeswarar
·                     Goddess – Nitya Kalyani
·                     Teerth (holy water) – Chakra Teerth
·                     Sthala Vruksham (holy tree) – Bilva (Bel tree)

Legend/History:

The King Dasharatha, the father of Lord Rama, was passing through the Bilva forest in today’s Kadayam area. He found a Swayambu Shiva Linga and prayed for getting his progeny (as per another legend, he worshiped to get rid of his sin of killing Shravana Kumar). This Shiva Linga was hence called as Bilva Vana Nathar, meaning the Lord of Bilva forest. Later, his name got changed to Vilvaranyeswarar. As per Kapila Purana, Lord Rama took bath in the river and worshiped Shiva in this site to get rid of his sin of killing Sambukasura.

As per a popular legend, Brahma performed penance towards Lord Shiva and got a divine Bilva fruit. He broke the fruit into three pieces and installed it in three different places, Himalayas, Meru mountain and in Dwada Shanta Van (Kadayam). Devas maintained this Bilva forest. Lord Shiva Linga appeared on his own (Swayambu Linga) and Pavati worshiped him in this forest. As she appeared as Kausi to kill the demons named Sumba and Nisumba, her complexion became darker. She started severe penance in this forest; Brahma made her complexion as golden color and named her as 'Nitya Kalyani'.

It is said that there were many unfortunate incidents happened in those days which made people to believe that the Goddess Nitya Kalyani was angry; they moved away from the temple and started staying in remote places. Later, a Brahmin from Sringeri was believed to have performed some religious rituals to pacify the Goddess.

As per another legend, the Goddess Nitya Kalyani was unhappy and angry as the villagers were pursuing material values at the cost of performing their religious rites. Seven priests died on seven successive days. The Goddess threw her “kedayam”, the war shield, to a place which was 4 miles away from the temple. The villagers migrated to the place where the weapon fell. That place was called as “Kedayam” which later became “Kadayam”.

There is also another legend which states that the Goddess was unable to bear the noise created by the inhabitants of the village; hence, she threw her “kadagam” (bracelet) to a faraway place and asked the villagers to migrate there. Thus the place was called as “Kadagam” which later became “Kadayam”.

Historically, as per the stone inscriptions, the Madurai Nayaka kings have developed the current structure of this temple. As per an inscription, Vikrama Pandyan has built the temple around 800 years ago. One of the inscriptions state that the Parivara deities were installed in 1216 CE. Even the Nayakar kings have contributed to this temple. The sage Sundarar had referred this temple and hence it is much older and is also considered as Devara Vaippu Sthalam temple.

Temple Layout:

The north facing temple does not have tower. It is located in a calm and secluded area in the outskirts of Kadayam village. The temple is surrounded by paddy fields.

Vilvavananathar aka Vilvaranyeswarar, in the form of big Shiva Linga, is the main deity. He is found in an east facing shrine. Adjacent to his shrine, the beautiful and attractive Nitya Kalyani Amman is found in a separate south facing shrine. The Goddess of the temple is much more popular than the presiding deity of the temple.

The flag staff, bali peeth and Nandi are all found facing the Shiva Linga shrine.

At the entrance of the shrine of Shiva Linga, a small Ganesha idol is found.

Near the flag staff, the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya-Valli-Devasena are located.

The temple has three prakaras.

The following idols are located in the inner prakara:

  • 63 Nayanmars
  • Sapta Matas
  • Sura Deva
  • Ganesha
  • Annapoorani-Saraswati-Gaja Lakshmi
  • Bhairava
  • Shaneeswara
  • Viswanathar in the form of Shiva Linga
  • Another Shiva Linga


The wall around the main shrine has the niche images of Dakshinamurti, Anna Malaiyar, Shanti Durga with eight hands and Chandikeshwara.

There is an important shrine dedicated to Bharani Peeth, a form (similar to Linga representing Shiva) which represents the Goddess.

In Maha mandapa, the utsava idols of Nataraja and Sivakami are located.

In outer prakara, Navagraha, Sankara Nayinar (Shiva Linga) and few nagas under the tree are located.

This temple is also called as Sri Kailasam, Kaliyuga Rameesvaramudaiyaar and Dasaratha Rameesvaramudaiyaar.

Happy travelling.