April 30, 2017

Allur Perumal Temple and Agraharam

Site Name: Kalyana Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Allur, near Andanallur, 16 kms from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Karur and Trichy; public transport facility is not available 
Hotel:  Stay in Trichy or Karur
Restaurants: Go to Trichy or Karur

Allur is a small village located at a distance of around 16 kms from Trichy city in Tamil Nadu state of India. It is located in Trichy-Karur route. The nearest well known localities are Andanallur and   Tiruchenthurai. The village has a small but beautiful Vishnu temple. Let us explore this site in this article.

Allur has two big Shiva temples. But, this article talks about a comparatively lesser known temple of the same village.

Kalyana Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple is located at the center of Agraharam. It's a beautiful Agraharam which has not yet lost its original beauty. Nowadays, Agraharams have transformed and very rarely we could find the original beauty of Agraharams. This village is one such few places where we could get to see the original Agraharam setting with lines of a lot of small independent houses on either sides of the street; many of the houses have "thinnai"; we could feel that the houses were washed with cow dung and could see "kolam" in front of all the houses. Most of the houses are built in simple traditional Agraharam architectural style. 

Perumal temple is small. It must have been built few hundred years ago and it does not appear to be very ancient. Kalyana Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal with his consorts Alarmel Mangai and Padmavati are the main deities. The utsav idols are also placed in the sanctum.

Garud is found facing towards the temple. Ganesh is found at the entrance of the temple. The temple also enshrines a small idol of Hanuman.

The entire Agraharam along with this small and beautiful temples definitely gives us a pleasant feeling.

Happy travelling.



April 29, 2017

Andanallur Vada Teerthanathar Temple

Site Name: Vada Teerthanathar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Andanallur, 20 kms from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Chola period lesser known temple of Shiva
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Karur and Trichy; public transport facility is available from Trichy and Karur
Hotel: Mid-range hotels; better to stay in Trichy or Karur
Restaurants: Few options; it is better to go to Trichy or Karur

Andanallur is a small village located at a distance of around 20 kms from Trichy city in Tamil Nadu state of India. It is located in Trichy-Karur route. The nearest well known locality is Tiruchenthurai. The village has an ancient Chola period temple of Shiva, called as Vada Teerthanathar temple. Let us discuss about this temple in this article.

Highlights:

  • God Vada Teerthanathar a.k.a. Vada Teertheswarar a.k.a. Alanthurai Mahadevar
  • Goddess Bala Soundara Nayaki a.k.a. Bala Sundari
  • Sthala Vruksha (holy tree) - Banyan
  • It is a Devara Vaippu Sthalam

History:

The historical name of the village is Andavanallur. As per the inscriptions, the main deity is named as Alanthurai Mahadevar. Hence, we can understand that this village was also called as Alanthurai.

The temple was built by Parantaka Chola I. Later, the renovations and other contributions were made by Raja Raja Chola I, Veera Pandya, Hoysala kings and Nayaka Kings.

Temple Layout:

This is a small temple. There is no tower for this east facing temple.

The east facing sanctum enshrines Shiva Linga called Vada Teerthanathar. At the entrance of the Ardha Mandap, two big and attractive Dwarapalas are found. The entrance of Maha Mandap has the idol of Ganesh. Nandi faces towards the sanctum in Maha Mandap.

The south facing shrine enshrines the big idol of Goddess Soundara Nayaki. She also has Nandi as her Vaahan.

The sub-shrines of Maha Ganapati, Subramanya, Gaja Lakshmi, Navagraha and Chandikeshwara are located in the prakara. Subramanya has six heads and twelve arms; he is found seated on peacock and has his consorts on his either sides. Chandikeshwara seems to be of original Chola period idol.

Dakshinamurti, Maha Lingam, Brahma and Durga are found as niche idols. All of them appear to of later era. Maha Lingam is actually a blunt piece of rock without any structure.

The ancient idols of Bhairav, Surya and Chandra are also found in temple.

The Vimanas of the sanctum and other shrines look attractive.

The river Cauvery is flowing near this temple.

Happy travelling.




April 27, 2017

Nangavaram Sundareshwarar Temple

Site Name: Sundareshwarar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Nangavaram, 30 kms from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Chola period lesser known temple of Shiva
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Karur and Trichy; public transport facility is available from Trichy and Karur
Hotel: Mid-range hotels; better to stay in Trichy or Karur
Restaurants: Few options; it is better to go to Trichy or Karur

Nangavaram is a village located at a distance of around 30 kms from Trichy city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The village has an ancient Chola period temple of Shiva, called as Sundareshwarar temple. Let us discuss about this temple in this article.

Highlights:

  • God Sundareshwarar
  • Goddess Komalavalli
  • The Samadhi of Akhandeswara.

Legend:

It is believed that a Chola King brought the Shiv Linga idol from Kasi and installed the same in this village and built this temple. Akhandeswara, the sage from Kasi, completed his penance and could not find Shiv Linga which he used to regularly worship. With his spiritual power, the sage came to know the whereabouts of his Lord. He traveled towards south and reached this village. When he reached this village, the temple doors were closed. He jumped over into the temple complex. Unfortunately, the place where he landed was full of mud. His legs got caught into the quicksand. Lord Shiva told him that he wanted to stay in this village and ordered the sage also to stay back. Thus, the sage attained samadhi in this site. Today, we could find a shrine dedicated to Akhandeswara in this temple.

After sometime, the face of the Princess turned into a jackal's face. With the blessing of Lord Shiva in this temple, she got back her human face. Hence, this village is named as Nangai Varam, which became Nangavaram (the words Nangai and varam mean woman and boon respectively).

History:

The historical name of the village was Arinjikai Chatur Vedi Mangalam. It is believed that the temple was built during the period of Parantaka Chola I in the 10th century CE.

Temple Layout:

Entrance:

The south facing temple has no tower at the entrance. Nandi and bali peetha are located outside the temple complex and face towards the direction of the temple.

Sundareshwar:

The east facing sanctum enshrines big Shiv Linga named as Sundareshwarar. The Vimana of Sundareshwarar is very attractive. The sanctum along with the Vimana as well as few other sub-shrines that are adorned with similar style of Vimanas in this temple are all identied to Parantaka Chola's period. In Maha Mandap, Nandi is found and it faces the direction of the main deity.

Dwarapalas:

The Dwarapalas at the entrance of the sanctum are interesting sculptures. The Dwarapla at the true right side of the entrance has the index finger of his right arm raised upwards and leaned towards his forehead, somewhat similar to saluting. The Dwarapala on the left side has his left arm raised upwards and all the five fingers widely spread across. The features of these two big sized Dwarapalas are slightly unique and look interesting. Unfortunately, the photographs are not allowed.

Komalavalli:

Komalavalli is a name given to Lakshmi in few Vishnu temples. However, in this temple, the consort of Shiva is named as Komalavalli. Komalavalli's idol is slightly big. She has four arms and is found in the standing posture. Her shrine faces the north direction and is located in the prakara.

Other Shrines:

The sub-shrines of Kanni Moola Ganapati, Shanmukha-Valli-Devasena and Dandayudhapani are important structures. They have beautiful Vimanas  that can be dated back to Parantaka Chola's period. Shanmukha has six heads and twelve arms with a peacock behind him.

Interestingly, there is no shrine for Gaja Lakshmi in this temple. Instead, a sub-shrine of Jyeshtha Devi is found. She is found along with her two attendants.

Sapta Matas, Chandikeshwara and Navagraha are also found in the prakara.

At the entrance of the Maha Mandap, the idols of Ganesh and Dandayudhapani are located.

In Maha Mandap, there is a sub-shrine which enshrines all the bronze idols of the temple that include big bronze idols of Nataraja and Sivakami and other smaller idols such as Uma-Chandrashekhar, Ganesh, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena and Somaskanda.

A Navakanda sculpture is also found in this temple complex.

Koshta Deities:

The Koshta deities of the temple do not belong to the original period. I am not sure what happened to those original idols. Dakshinamurti, Vishnu and Brahma are found as the niche idols. There is no Ganesh or Durga in the niche.

Akhandeswara:

The specialty of the temple is the shrine of Akhandeswara. The sage is found in seated posture holding Kamadulu in his right arm and left arm rested on his lap.

Bhairav idol is located near this shrine.

Happy travelling.


April 26, 2017

Nangavaram Pidari Amman Temple

Site Name: Pidari Amman temple
Site Type: Village deity temple
Location:  Nangavaram, 30 kms from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Chola period temple of a village deity
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Karur and Trichy; public transport facility is available from Trichy and Karur
Hotel: Mid-range hotels; better to stay in Trichy or Karur
Restaurants: Few options; it is better to go to Trichy or Karur


Nangavaram is a village located at a distance of around 30 kms from Trichy city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The village has an ancient Chola period temple of Pidari Amman. Let us discuss about this temple in this article.

In Tamil Nadu, there are hundreds of Grama devta (village deity) temples named as Pidari temple. However, there would be Sapta Matas in the sanctum of those temples. Similarly, in this temple too, the sanctum enshrines Sapta Matas, Ganesh and Ayyanar. Out of seven Matas, the middle one is named as Pidari. In this temple, she is called as Pidari Satthayi. This temple is popular in this circle and many village consider her as their Kul devta (family deity).

The sanctum is definitely an old structure that belongs to the Chola period. There are no niche images in the sanctum. The Vimana appears to be renovated and painted in the later period.

The temple is extended with the concrete structure to accommodate the other village deities. In the extended area, there is a sub-shrine for Malayala Swami. In the shrine, the big stucco image of the deity is found. It is a fearsome image holding a big sickle in the right arm. At the entrance of the shrine, the stone idol of the same deity is found.

Outside the temple, in the open space, a big blue colored stucco idol of male deity is found. He is found riding a horse and the two forelegs of the horse rest on the heads of two soldiers. The name of this village deity is Sevugarayan.

Happy travelling. 




April 25, 2017

Pettavaithalai Madhyarjuneshwar Temple

Site Name: Madhyarjuneshwar temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Pettavaithalai, 33 kms from Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Lesser known Chola period temple
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Karur and Trichy; public transport facility is available from Trichy and Karur
Hotel: Mid-range hotels; better to stay in Trichy or Karur
Restaurants: Few options; it is better to go to Trichy or Karur

Pettavaithalai is a small town located at a distance of around 33 kms from Trichy city in Tamil Nadu state of India. It is located between Trichy and Karur and is accessible from both these cities. This town has an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name of the temple is Madhyarjuneshwar. This ancient Chola period temple is architecturally beautiful and has many wonderful sculptures. It is sad that this temple remains lesser known. Let us discuss about this temple in this article.

Highlights:

  • God Madhyarjuneshwar 
  • Goddess Balambika
  • The sculpture of Brahma hatya.
  • The Jeeva Samadhi of a Siddha.
  • Dakshinamurti in Abhaya Mudra.

Legend:

It is believed that Pottralam Poovai Siddhar attained Jeeva Samadhi in this temple. He was one of the Siddhas, whose specialty was in producing herbs and medicines for women specific ailments. 

Historically, the temple was built by Kulotunga Chola III. As per the legend, he got Brahma hatya dosh. (Brahma hatya dosh is the sin caused due to killing Brahmins). To get absolved from the sin, he built many temples for Lord Shiva. This is one among those temples.

History:

The temple is believed to have been built by Kulotunga Chola III in the beginning of the 13th century CE. The stone inscription dated 1205-1206 CE from this king is found in this temple. 

Another inscription from Rani Mangammal of Nayaka dynasty dated 1685 CE is also found in the temple complex.

Temple Layout:

Entrance:

The east facing temple has five tiered tower. 

The idol of Ganesh and Vishnu-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi along with Garud are located at the temple entrance. These ancient idols were excavated from a field in this town. They do not belong to this temple. Along with these idols, an idol of a Jain deity (probably Adinath?) was also excavated. However, that idol is currently not found here. It is said that the idol was moved to some other temple or museum.

Madhyarjuneshwar:

The east facing sanctum with a beautiful Vimana enshrines a big Shiv Linga named as Madhyarjuneshwar.

The entrance of the sanctum has two medium sized beautiful sculptures of Dwarapalas.

In the Maha Manda, Nandi is found facing towards Shiva.

Balambika:

The Goddess of the temple, Balambika, is found in a separate south facing shrine.

Koshta Murtis:

Nardana Ganapati, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Durga are found as the Koshta Murtis on the outer walls of the sanctum.

Nardana Ganapati has his head turned towards his true right side, which is not usual.

Dakshinamurti's right arm is in Abhaya mudra, which is unique.

The idols of Lingodbhava and Brahma do not appear to be original. They must have been sculpted very recently. Brahma is found in the sitting posture, which is again a unusual posture for a Koshta Brahma.

Other Shrines and Idols:

In the prakara, the sub-shrines of Ganesh, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena, Gaja Lakshmi, Chandikeshwara and Navagraha are found.

An ancient Bhikshatana idol (probably Chola period?) is found along with the idols of Linga and Saraswati.

A six feet tall ancient idol of Vishnu is located at the entrance of the shrine of Gaja Lakshmi. It does not belong originally to the temple. It is also excavated from somewhere in this town.

The tall wooden flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi are found in the courtyard. Surya and Chandra are found on either sides of Nandi and they face towards the sanctum.

In a sub-shrine in Ardha mandap, all bronze idols of the temple such as Ganesh, Subramanya with his consorts, Uma and Chandrashekhar and others are located.

In the Maha Mandap, the sub-shrine enshrining the small bronze idols of Nataraja and Sivakami is located.

In the front-side mandap, there are many sculptures found in the pillars. Two sculptures among them are notable. One is the sculpture of Brahma hatya dosh. Another is the sculpture of Pottralam Poovai Siddhar. The devotees believe that worshiping this Siddhar would cure the women specific problems.

On the way to this temple from the High Way, a local temple with a tall stucco idol of Hanuman is found. 

Happy travelling.