March 28, 2016

Aadhanoor Andalakkum Aiyan Temple

Site Name: Andalakkum Aiyan Temple  
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Aadhanoor, 7 kms from Kumbakonam and 3 kms from Swamimalai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Vishu holding Marakkal, palm leaf and a writing element; one of 108 Divya Desam temples
Nearest Railway Station: Kumbakonam
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Kumbakonam
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Kumbakonam or Swami Malai
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Kumbakonam or Swami Malai

Aadhanoor is a village near Kumbakonam town in Tamil Nadu state of India. The village a prominent temple for Vishnu called as Andalakkum Aiyan Temple. It is considered as the 11th Divya Desam located in the Chola region. Let us explore about this temple in this article.


Highlights:

  • Tirumangai Alwar has sung about this site in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 11th Divya Desam temple. It is located in Chola region.
  • It is also called as Bhargava Kshetram
  • God Andalakkum Aiyan; Utsava deity - Ranganath
  • Goddess Kamalavasini or Bhargavi; Utsava deity - Ranganayaki
  • Teerth (holy water) - Surya Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (holy tree) - Patali
  • Vimana Pranava Vimana

Legend:

There are many legends related to this temple.

Kamadhenu


In Tamil language, the word 'Aa' means cow. As the divine cow Kamadhenu performed penance in this site, this place is called as Aadhanoor. 

Tirumangai Alwar

As per the legend, Tirumangai Alwar, one of the great devotees of Vishnu, exhausted all his money in the renovation of Srirangam temple. The work was not over and he wanted more money. He prayed to Lord Vishnu for the solution. Vishnu indicated him to come to the site where Aadhanoor is situated now. There Alwar met a trader, who claimed that he was sent by Vishnu. He was holding a writing instrument, palm leaf and the measuring jar (Marakkal). Alwar requested him to provide money so that he could pay the wages for the workers. The trader told him that he did not have money; however, he would measure sand using his marakkal and give the same to the workers. Those workers who had genuinely worked would see sand turned into gold and for the others it would remain as sand, he claimed. Most of the workers did not get gold. So the workers and Alwar chased the trader. The trader ran away and reached the current spot of the temple and appeared as Vishnu.

Lord Shiva

As per another legend, Lord Shiva plucked the fifth head of Brahma. It got stuck to his arm. He asked Agni to burn the head but Agni could not do that. Thus, Shiva got Brahma hatya dosha and he got rid of this sin by praying to Lord Vishnu in this site. 

Bhrigu Rishi

Once Bhrigu Rishi had visited Vaikuntha and was presented a flower garland by the Goddess Lakshmi. Rishi gave that garland to Indra. Indra gave that to his elephant Iravat, which crushed it under its feet. Rishi got furious and cursed Indra to loose all his wealth. Indra came to Aadhanoor and prayed to Vishnu and Lakshmi. Lakshmi took birth as the daughter of Bhrigu Rishi and married to Vishnu in this site. Then, she gave darshan to Indra. Thus, he got rid of his curse.

It is said that Rishi found the child in the temple tank and hence Lakshmi in this site is called as Bhargavi.


History:

The temple was  built by the Cholas.


Temple Layout:


The east facing temple is situated between the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers. It is adorned with a three tiered Raja gopuram (tower). 

The east facing sanctum enshrines Lord Vishnu called as Andalukkum Aiyan in the reclining posture. He is reclining on the serpent Sesha; his conch and discus are sculpted on Sesha. He has a measuring jar called as Marakkal in Tamil language as his pillow. He holds palm leaf and the olden days writing instrument (called as Ezhudhkol in Tamil) on his left arm. The sculptures of Tirumangai Alwar, Bhrigu, Agni and the divine cow Kamadhenu along with its calf Nandini are seen near his feet. Brahma emerges out of lotus from Vishnu's nabi (navel). Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi are found along with Vishnu in the same shrine.

The utsav idols of Ranganath, Sri Devi, Bhoo Devi and Andal are found in the main shrine.

In Maha mandap, there are few sub-shrines enshrining Vishwaksena and Alwars. Few of them are stone idols and the rest are bronze idols. The idols of Yoga Narasimha and Hanuman are also situated in the Maha mandap. 

The flag staff, bali peetha and Garud are found facing towards the main shrine. 

In the prakara, the sub-shrine of Goddess Kamalavasini is situated. The bronze utsav idol of Goddess is found in the same shrine. 

Unusually, a small Ganesha idol is also found in the prakara of this Vishnu temple

It is believed that this temple must be older than the famous Srirangam temple, as it is refereed as Aadi Rangeswaram.  

This is the only other temple apart from Srirangam temple where there are two holy pillars in Ardha mandap, which are believed to give salvation to the devotees. 

Happy travelling.


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