Posts Tagged ‘Nandi’

Thirupungur is a small village about 2 kms from Vaitheeswaran Koil.  This place was once surrounded by Pungu trees and hence the name Thirupungur.

The Shiva lingam is one of the 64 Swayambhu (Self manifested) lingams and is supposed to have come from an anthill.  The Nandi here is also a Swayambhu. The presiding deity at this temple is Shivalokanathar and His consort is Soundaryanayaki.  Vinayakar is supposed to have dug a tank here for nandanar on Lord Shiva’s orders and is known as Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar. Devotees offering their prayers to Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar have all their wishes fulfilled.

Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar

Kulam Vettiya Vinayakar

Nandanar was a devout Shiva Bhaktha.  He was born into a low caste family and as a result was denied entry into any temples. His ambition was to visit the temple at Chidambaram.  He was working in the fields of a Brahmin Landlord. He would always put off Nandanar’s request to visit Chidambaram. Nandanar used to tell everyone that he will visit “Chidambaram tomorrow” (Thiru Nalai Poven). He was telling this over a period of time to everyone and he came to be known as “Thiru nali Povar”.

Nandanar's Shrine

Nandanar's Shrine

Nandanar

Nandanar

However, one fine day, he told Nandanar that he would be granted the wish if Nandanar were to achieve the impossible task of tilling all the forty acres of the paddy field overnight.  A disappointed Nandanar prayed to Shiva to grant him the wish of visitng Chidambaram.  Lo and Behold!! The next morning, the Landlord and Nandanar were both astonished to see that all the forty acres of the field had been ploughed!!!  The Brahmin immediately realised his folly and prostrated before Nandanar and pleaded forgiveness.  Nandanar set out to Chidambaram and on the way he stopped at Thirupungur to have a darshan of the Lord.  Nandanar was not able to have the darshan as Nandi was blocking his view.  He started singing in praise of Lord Shiva.  Lord Shiva wanted to know who the devotee was.  The dwarapalakas informed Him that it was Nandanar.  Immediately, Lord asked Nandi to move to a side to facilitate Him to have a clear view of Nandanar.  You can see the Nandi at this temple is shifted to a side.  Also the Nandi is not hanging out the tongue as is usually the case.  You can also see the dwarapalaks craning their necks as if to see in the direction of the entrance.

Nandi gritting his teeth in anger

Once, there was debate between Shiva and Parvathi as to who was more charming.  They sought the opinion of Vishnu, who in turn asked Brahma to play the Judge.  Brahma rolled a dharba grass and threw it.  He said that an answer would be available wherever the grass fell.  The grass fell at Thirupungaur and became Pancha Lingam.  When Shiva and Parvathi came here, Shiva looked very handsome to Parvathi and Parvathi looked very beautiful to Shiva.  Their dispute was thus amicably resolved.  It is a belief that marital problems will be solved by worshipping at this temple.  Separated spouses will be reunited after visiting the temple.

Pancha Lingam at Thirupungur

Pancha Lingam at Thirupungur

Brahma Lingam at Thirupungur

Brahma Lingam at Thirupungur

According to archaeological evidence, Rajaraja Cholan had gifted twelve velis (measures) to this temple.  During his reign there was severe drought that resulted in famine and the king prayed to Lord Shiva to bring rain. Lord Shiva came in his dream and asked him to do special poojas for Sivaloganathar. Sundarar was present at the temple when the King came to offer his prayers.  The King requested Sundarar to sing in praise of the Lord and bring rain. Sundarar agreed on the condition that the King would donate twelve velis (measures) of land to the temple. Sundarar sang in praise of the God and there was a heavy downpour threatening to cause heavy damage to the country.  The King requested Sundarar to stop the rain.  Sundarar again laid the same condition.  The king gifted the land and immediately it stopped raining.

Location:

Click here for Map

This place is just 3 kms away from Vaitheeswaran Koil.  There are regular bus services from Mayiladuthurai, Vaitheeswaran Koil etc.

Other temples nearby:

Adhi Vaidhyanatha Swamy Temple

Vaitheeswaran Koil,

Thiruninriyur Lakshmipureeswarar

Boarding & Lodging:

This is a very small village and you can’t expect any facility here.  Vaitheeswaran Koil is the nearest place where you can find good hotels to eat and stay.  If you have to rest a couple of hours before you visit the next temple, there are choultries at Vaitheeswaran Koil that allow you to use their facilities for a nominal payment of Rs 50/- or Rs. 100/-.

I still remember the first time I visited this temple about twenty years ago.  I stumbled on this temple while I was on my way to Suryanar temple from Kuthalam, when I just took this right turn by mistake.  Almost immediately I realized that this was not Suryanar temple.  Just as I was about to turn back I saw the temple gopuram and decided to visit the temple.  It was around 11.30 in the morning and the temple was closed.  After enquiry at the only shop there I went to the temple priest’s house and requested him to open the temple.  He obliged and told me that this was Sukra sthalam.  What a change from then and now!!!

Kanjanur is the sthalam for Sukran.  At this Shiva temple Agneeswarar is the presiding deity and his consort is Karpagambal.  Agni is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva here and hence the name Agneeswarar.  There are quite a few Shivalingams in the praharam, including one supposedly installed by Kamsa.

Agneeswarar Temple. Kanjanur

Agneeswarar Temple. Kanjanur

There are quite a few stories associated with this temple as follows;

When Lord Vishnu asked Bali for 3 steps of land in Vamana Avataram, Sukracharya tried to dissuade Bali from granting the boon.  He took the form of a bee and blocked the mouth of the Kamandalam (a type of Jar, usually carried by rishis) from which Bali would pour water to signify the grant of the boon.  Vishnu used a dharba to clear the blockage in the Kamandalam and in the process blinded Sukracharya in one eye.  Vamana then took the Vishwaroopam and covered the whole universe in two steps.  The 3rd step was placed on Bali.  An angry Sukracharya, cursed Vishnu.  After severe penance to Shiva here, Vishnu was relieved of his curse.

An interesting connection between Valleeswarar Koil in Mylapore and this story is as follows.  Sukran after being blinded in one eye undertook a pilgrimage of Shivalayams to get back his sight.  It was at Valleeswarar temple in Mylapore that he got back his sight.  Offer prayers to Shiva at Valleeswarar Koil in Mylapore to get rid of eye ailments and to be blessed with good eyesight.

There is another story of how Vishnu incurred Sukracharya’s wrath. Sukracharya was the son of Brigu Maharishi.  Once during a war between the devas and asuras, Brigu Maharishi’s wife, was accidentally beheaded by Vishnu’s chakram (discus).  An angry Sukracharya cursed Vishnu.  As a result of the curse, He was born as Sudarsanar to Vasudeva, a Vaishnava Brahmin.  Sudarsanar was a staunch Shiva devotee and was popularly known as Haradatta Shivacharyar.  There are stories of the ordeals undergone by Haradatta to prove his devotion for Shiva. Images pertaining to these are seen in this temple and also in the Vishnu temple in the village. Haradatta used to spend much of his time meditating before the Dakshinamurthy.

Dakshinamurthy is always seen with a demon being crushed under his feet. The demon signifies ignorance.  It means that Dakshinamurthy leads us from ignorance to the knowledge of self.  Instead; you can find the image of Haradatta worshipping Dakshinamurthy, which is a unique feature of this temple.

Image of Haradatta worshipping Dakshinamurthy, Agneeswarar Temple. Kanjanur

Image of Haradatta worshipping Dakshinamurthy, Agneeswarar Temple. Kanjanur

There is an interesting story associated with the Nandi here.  A poor Brahmin was afflicted by pasu dosham because a calf had expired when he threw a bundle of grass at it. The Brahmin as advised by Haradatta offered a clump of grass to the stone Nandi. To everybody’s astonishment, the stone Nandi is supposed to have consumed the grass.  It is said that since this Nandi is eating the grass the tongue is not seen hanging outside.

Sukracharyar was imparted the knowledge of Amirtha Sanjeevini Mantra by Lord Shiva.  This Mantra can bring the dead back to life.  Sukracharya used this mantra in one of the deva-asura wars and revived the slain asuras. One being approached by devas for help, Lord Shiva is said to have swallowed Sukracharya in a fit of rage. Sukracharyar meditated on Shiva inside His stomach.  Karpagambal prevailed on Shiva to let Sukracharyar out. Hence Sukran is very devoted to the Ambal and is Her favourite. Shiva also conferred on Sukracharya the status of a celestial planet here.  There is no idol for Sukran here. Shiva blesses those who come with their prayers to Sukran.

Brahma is said to have been blessed with the vision of Shiva’s marriage with Parvati.

Pooja:

He is the second most beneficial planet after Guru.  If Sukran is favourably placed in a person’s horoscope, the inmate will be blessed with prosperity, beautiful wife, own house, vehicle, fame & marriage.  The person will also be very influential.  An unfavourably positioned Sukran in ones horoscope causes eye ailments, indigestion, and impotency, loss of appetite and skin problems. Lord Sukran is offered white Lotus, white cloth, mochai kottai (common bean) and aththi (fig) to alleviate problems caused by Sukra dosham.  Friday is the day of Sukran and worship on Fridays is considered very special.  Sukran is also Ambal’s favourite and the special day for Ambal is Friday as well.

Recite the following Mantras facing South-East

Sukra Moola Mantra: Aum dram drim draum sah shukraya namah

Shukra gayatri: om rajathapaya vidmahae Bhrigu suthaya dheemahi tanno shukra: prachodayaath

Other Sukra Sthalam:

Velleeswarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai.

Velleeswarar Temple at Mangadu, Chennai

Other Temples nearby:

Suryanar Koil – Sun Temple

Sri Sarabeswarar Temple at Thiruvhuvanam,

Sri Mahalinga Swami Temple at Thiruvidaimaruthur,

Sri Kalyanasundara Swamy Temple at Thirumanancheri

Location:

Click here for Map

Kanjanur is 18 Kms from Kumbakonam and 26 Kms from Mayiladudurai. It is just 3 Kms from Suryanar Kovil and 5 Kms from Adudurai.  There are bus services to this place from Mayavaram, Aduthurai, Thiruvidaimarudhur etc.

Boarding & Lodging:

This is a very small village and do not expect any facility here.  It is best to stay at Mayavaram or Kumbakonam.  If hungry, as usual, the temple prasadam is a good option.

Temple timings: 6 A.M. to 12.00 P.M. and 4 P.M. to 9 P.M.

Temple Address:

Arulmigu Agneeswarar Alayam
Kanjanur
Kanjanur Post
Via Thugali
Tiruvidaimarudur Taluk
Thanjavur District
PIN 609804

Phone Number: 04435 247 3737