Posts Tagged ‘Andhra Pradesh’

About a month back I visited a couple of temples on the outskirts of Chennai, Gnayiru Gramam and an hitherto unknown temple near Poondi.  Pushparatheswarar Temple at Gnayiru Gramam is one of the Navagraha temples around Chennai dedicated to Suryan.  The village itself gets its name from Suryan or Sun God, Gnayiru in Tamil means Sun.

Temple Gopuram

Temple Gopuram

I had first visited this temple about 8 years back and it was a balalayam.  It was unknown too. During that visit I had waited for an hour for the temple priest to come after finishing the rituals at another temple in a neighbouring village.  Today, the temple is getting popular.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the temple has been renovated thanks to the efforts of the local villagers and few other devotees.  It is very well maintained too.  I would say that it is one of the better maintained temples that I have visited.  Work on the temple pond is still on and hopefully it should be ready in about 6 months.  I also found a rare tree here, in fact, the first time I have seen this tree.  Thiruvodu (begging bowl of the sanyasis) is a half of the outer shell of the fruit of these trees.  It is also used by them to drink or eat food from and is believed to prevent viral infections.

Thiruvodu Tree

Thiruvodu Tree

Thiruvodu Tree

Thiruvodu Tree

Thee are a few interesting legends behind this temple.  A Chola King was returning after successfully waging a war on a kingdom in Andhra Pradesh.  He camped at Cholavaram.  He was a staunch Shiva devotee and went in search of lotus to perform his daily pooja.  During his search he saw a pond full of lotuses.  One of the flowers was taller, bigger and more beautiful than the rest.  The King wanted this flower for the pooja and tried to reach the flower.  As the King neared the flower it moved away and was elusive.  After several futile attempts, the King was very angry and threw his sword at the flower.  The sword broke into pieces.  One of the pieces fell on a Lingam which was in the pond.  The pond turned red in no time because of the blood that was oozing from the Lingam.  This scar can still be seen on this Shiva Lingam.  The King fainted there. His horse fled from the scene before fainting.  Lord Shiva then appeared before the King and blessed him.  The King apologized to the Lord.  Lord Shiva asked the King to build a temple for the Lingam that was found in the pond.  The Shiva Lingam is a Swayambhu (self-manifested).  Here, Lord Shiva is known as Pushparatheswarar.  His consort here is Swarnabigai.  The God is also known as Poothereeswarar.  Both the names convey the same meaning; Poo or Pushpam means flower and ratham or ther means chariot.  Since the Lingam was found in Lotus, He got this name. Lotus is the flower that is offered to the God here.

Gnayiru Gramam, Praharam

Gnayiru Gramam, Praharam

Landscaped Praharam

Beautifully Landscaped Praharam

Here is the story on why this place got the name Gnayiru Gramam.  A Chola King was on a Pilgrimage to Kasi and was passing through this village.  He saw the beautiful lotus in the pond and as he tried to pluck the same he was blinded.  He prayed to the Lord that he would build a temple here on his way back from Kasi.  Immediately, his eyesight was restored in one eye. As promised he came to the village on his way back.  Lord Shiva appeared to the King and shone brightly on the lotus as Suryan.  The King then built a temple as instructed by the Lord and got back his eyesight in the other eye as well.  Since then, this place is known as Gnayiru Gramam and came to be known as a Surya Sthalam.  People come here to get themselves cured of eye related ailments.

Temple Tank

Temple Tank

The ancient temple here had shrines for Pushparatheswarar and His Consort Swarnambigai apart from shrines for Karaneeswarar, Kapaleeswarar, Jambukeswarar and Hiranyeswarar.  Inscriptions here suggest that some additions were also made by the Pandyas and Vijayanagar Kings.

In my earlier post on Suryanar Koil near Aduthurai, I had narrated the story behind the Navagrahas being cursed by Lord Brahma, as a result of which Suryan was afflicted with leprosy.  Suryan, during his pilgrimage to get absolved of the curse also visited this village.  He saw a pond filled with lotuses and was enamoured by its beauty.  Some of the lotuses even had a thousand petals.  Surya decided to stay here and offer His prayers to Lord Shiva.  As time passed, one fine day Lord Shiva was pleased with Suryan’s devotion and appeared as a Lingam in one of the lotuses and blessed Suryan.  A grateful Suryan built a temple for Him here.  Since Lord Shiva appeared from a lotus or a flower, He is known as Pushparatheswarar. Lord Shiva also gave Suryan an Akshaya pathram (a bowl which is always full).  Suryan blesses His devotees who pray to Him here with prosperity, good health and happiness.

Dhwaja Sthambam

Dhwaja Sthambam

Sage Agasthiyar, the author of Ādityahṛdayam is believed to have stayed here and worshipped Lord Shiva. Ādityahṛdayam is a sloka recited by Agasthiyar to Lord Rama in the battlefield before the fight with Ravana. The sage teaches Lord Rama the procedure of worshipping Suryan for strength and to gain victory over the enemy. Recting this sloka of about 30 verses everyday is said to be highly beneficial.  Here is a nice link explaining everything about Ādityahṛdayam.

Surya Moola Mantram: Aum hram hrim hraum sah suryaya namah.

Surya Gayathri: om ashwadhwajaaya vidmahae padma hasthaaya dheemahi tanno surya: prachodayaath

The navagraha temples around Chennai are as follows.

  1. Suryan Sthalam – Gnayiru Gramam, Surya Sthalam & Agastheeswarar Kovil, Kolapakkam
  2. Chandran Sthalam – Somanatheswarar Temple, Somangalam
  3. Chevvai Sthalam or Angakaran Sthalam – Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Poonamalee
  4. Budhan Sthalam – Sundareswarar Kovil, Kovur & Karaneeswarar Koil, Saidapet
  5. Guru Sthalam – Ramanatheeswarar Koil, Porur & Thiruvaleeswarar Koil, Padi
  6. Sukran Sthalam – Valleeswarar Kovil, Mylapore, Valleeswarar Kovil, Mangadu
  7. Saneeswaran Sthalam – Agastheeswarar Kovil, Pozhichalur
  8. Rahu Sthalam –  Nageswarar Temple, Kunrathur
  9. Kethu Sthalam – Neelakanteswarar Kovil, Gerugambakkam

Location:


Gnayiru Gramam is located at a distance of about 10 Kms from Red Hills (Chenkundram).  There are buses available from Red Hills to Gnayiru Gramam.  Route numbers T 57, 58 A and 58 G ply from High Court to Gnayiru Gramam.

Click here for the map

Travel Base: Chennai.

Temple Timings: 7 AM to 12 Noon & 4 PM to 8 PM (3 PM to 8 PM on Sundays)

Temple Address:

Pushparatheswarar Temple

Gnayiru Gramam

Via Cholavaram

Chennai 600 067

Phone: 044- 29021016, Mobile: +91- 99620-34729.

PS:  After worshipping at this temple, we proceeded towards Poondi to visit Shree Agneeswarar Temple at Neyveli (near Thiruvallur).  The story behind its discovery and the subsequent events are quite interesting.  I came to know about this temple through Raju’s blog.

Here are a couple of photos of this temple from that visit.

Location of this temple – view Map

Shiva Lingam covered by Cement bags

Shiva Lingam covered by Cement bags

Temple under Construction

Temple under Construction

The Sivasuryanarayana temple at Suryanar Koil is one of the Navagraha temples and is dedicated to Suryan.  This temple dedicated to Suryan has shrines for each of the other planets as well.  The legend says that Kalava Munivar had the rare ability to see the future.  One fine day, he realised that he was soon going to be affected by leprosy.  Since the Navagrahas controlled all the aspects of ones life, he prayed to the Navagrahas and sought to be saved from the disease.  Pleased by his devotion, the Navagrahas granted his wish.  On coming to know of this, Brahma was furious because nobody had the right to change the destiny of a person.  He cursed all the nine planets that they will have to undergo what Kalava munivar was destined to, and hence all the nine planets were affected by leprosy.  The Navagrahas apologised and requested to know how they could overcome this curse.  Brahma advised them to go the Thirumangalakudi and worship Prananatheswarar, at Vellerukkakadu, who alone could help them.  After worshiping Prananatheswarar and his consort Mangalambigai, they installed an idol of Vinayakar a little away from there and started their penance.  By God’s grace they attained papa vimochanam (salvation from their sin).

Kalava Munivar, for whom the Navagraha had undergone all the trouble, as a mark of gratitude, raised a temple at the same spot where the Navagrahas had performed their penance.

The presiding deity in this west facing temple is Suryanarayana in a chariot like vimaanam, representing the sun’s chariot.   Sivasuryanaraya is in a standing position with his two consorts, Usha & Prathyusha (Chaya).  There are also shrines dedicated to Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi and Guru Bhagavan in the sanctum.  Shrines for the other celestial bodies are located outside of the sanctum.  Vellerukku (Madar Plant) is the sthala vriksham.  Pillayar made out of the Vellerukku is sold in the shops here.  It is a very prized possession and protects from the evil forces.

Thirumangalakudi

Once King Kulothunga’s Minister Alaivanar was building a temple from the tax collected without obtaining the King’s permission. The King had him beheaded when he came to know about this. As his death wish, the minister requested that he be cremated in Thirumangalakudi.  His wife prayed to the Mangalambikai at Thirumangalakudi and brought back her husband to life.  Women pray to the Goddess here for long life and the well being of their spouse.

Method of Worship

Devotees are first required to have the darshan of Prananatheswarar and Mangalambigai at Thirumangalakudi before visiting Suryanar Koil.  This temple is just 1 km from Suryanar Koil, and is situated in the same village.  The method of worship at this temple is very different from other temples.  We should first worship the Kol Vinai theertha vinayakar.  He is called by this name because He helped the navagrahas get rid of their problems.  Thus, Kol Vinai Theertha Vinayakar is a VERY IMPORTANT deity.  We then worship the Nataraja in narthana mandapam.  Then at the main sanctum worship Visalakshmi & Kasi Vishvanthan (this is a small lingam on your left hand side as you approach Suryan’s Shrine) before worshiping Suryan.  After worshiping Suryan, worship Guru Bhagavan who is facing Suryan.  Now, the circumambulation or the pradarshanam procedure is very different from other temples.  We now go in an anticlockwise direction and worship Saneeswaran, Budhan, Angarakan, Chandran, Kethu, Shukran and Rahu before worshiping Chandikeswarar.  Then we proceed in a clockwise direction and return to worship Kol Vinai Theertha Vinayakar.  This may seem very confusing but there are signboards at the temple to guide the devotees.  After this prostrate or do a namaskaram near the dhwajasthambam.  Then it is recommended to do 9 pradarshanams of the outer praharam.   I have made a layout diagram for your reference.

Suryanar Temple Layout

Pooja

A favourably positioned Sun in the horoscope manifests as intelligence, perception, strength of will and character in the inmate. It creates endurance, stamina, vitality, positive spirit, direction, courage, conviction, confidence, leadership, independence and straight- forwardness.

An unfavourably positioned Sun results in lack of intelligence, poor perception, weakness of will and character. Surya’s worship benefits include strength, health, good eyesight, intelligence, relief from skin ailments and long life. Cool water is used for Abhishegam.  Offerings of wheat & archana with red lotus please him. Devotees who are unable to visit any of the other Navagraha temples can perform the necessary parihara poojas to the respective planet at this temple.

On Sundays, attired in clean red clothes, offer lotus flower to the God, facing the east and recite the following mantras

Surya Moola Mantram: Aum hram hrim hraum sah suryaya namah.

Surya Gayathri: om ashwadhwajaaya vidmahae padma hasthaaya dheemahi tanno surya: prachodayaath

Other Sun Temples

Sri Aanandhavalli sametha Sri Agatheeswarar Kovil at Kolapakkam near Chennai.

Gnayuru Gramam 10 Kms from Red Hills near Chennai

Sun Temple – Konark

Suryanarayana Swamy Varu temple at Arasavalli village, 1 km from Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh.

Location

Click here for map

 

 

21 kms from Swamimalai

18 kms from Kumbakonam, on Kumbakonam – Mayavaram route.

3 Kms from Aduthurai which is on Kumbakonam – Mayavaram route

23 Kms from Mayavaram.

Other Temples Nearby

Kanjanur – Sukran Sthalam is just 3 kms from here

Thiruvidaimarudhur

Thirupananthal

Boarding & Lodging

 

 

This is a small village.  There are no hotels here.  You will have to stay at either Kumbakonam or Mayavaram.  Delicious prasadam is available at the temple.

Temple Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

TempleAddress

Arulmigu Siva Suriyaperuman Temple,

Suriyanarkoil,

Thirumangalakudi P.O

Thiruvidaimaruthur T.K.

Thanjavur D.T.

Ph : 0435-2472349