Posts Tagged ‘poonthottam’

Temples for the three forms of ShakthiDurga as Lalithambigai at Thirumeyachur, Lakshmi as Swarnavalli at Thilatharpanapuri & Saraswathy at Koothanur are all located near Poonthottam.

I have written separately about each of these three temples.

 

Thilatharpanapuri or Adhi Vinayakar Temple

Posted: January 19, 2010 in Temples around Kumbakonam
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Swarnavalli sametha Mukthiswarar temple is located at Thilatharpanapuri 2.6kms from Koothanur. Koothanoor is near Poonthottam which is on Mayavaram – Tiruvarur Road. The nearest railway station is at Poonthottam. The main deities here are Swarnavalli Thayar and Mukthiswarar. The name Thilatharpanapuri comes from two words thil meaning Gingely and tharpana is the Hindu ritual of performing pithru karmas (ritual of paying tribute to ancestors) to ones ancestors.  It is also known as Sethalapathy.

There are 7 sthalams for performing these rituals viz. Kasi, Rameswaram, Srivanchiyam, Thiruvenkadu, Gaya, Thiriveni Sangamam & Thilatharpanapuri.

Pitru dosham can occur when the souls of our ancestors and departed forefathers do not get peace due to any of the following reasons,

  • when shradham (ritual of paying tribute to ancestors) is not performed.
  • Bad deeds while they were alive
  • Bad deeds of the children of the departed
  • Lack of fulfillment of desires

Simple ways to get rid of Pitru Dosham (Ancestral sin) is to feed the needy on Amavasya day (New Moon day) and perform the tharpanam (ritual of paying tribute to ancestors) regularly. By satisfying the departed souls of our ancestors, we can have their blessing for a happy and peaceful life.

Rama performed tharpanam (ritual of paying tribute to ancestors) for Dasaratha at various placing by placing four pindams (rice balls). However, to his dismay the pindams would turn into worms each time he performed the ritual. A worried Rama prayed to Lord Shiva, who advises Rama to go to mantharavanam (mantharam is the flower of the coral tree, one of the five special trees of heaven) and offer his prayers to Him (shiva) there. He was instructed to take bath in the Arasalar river near there, before performing the Pitru Tharpanam. Rama did as instructed. The four pindams that until now were turning into worms at other places, to his amazement, became four Lingams. Dasaratha Maharaja thus attained mukthi (salvation) and hence the name of the deity here is Mukthiswarar. Since then, the locals believe that that performing the Pitru Tharpanam here absolves you of all your Pitru Sabams (ancestral curse) and Pitru Doshams (ancestral sins). In the outer praharam (circumambulatory path) you can see the idol of Rama performing the tharpanam and also the four lingams known as Pitru Lingams.  Click here to listen to the temple priest’s narration about the temple.

This place is considered equivalent to Kasi or Rameswaram. Performing tharpanam here on Amavasya day is considered special. This is a Mukthikshetram. Like Srivanchiyam, it is believed that the sinned will not be able to visit this temple and a planned visit to this temple is not possible.

The shrine for Adhi Vinayakar (also known as Nara mukha vinayakar) is just outside the main temple. Here you can see Ganesha with a human head and hence the Naramukha vinayakar. This place is also known as Sithalapathi. The story of Shiva beheading Naramukha Vinayaka who was created by Parvati and then replacing the head with an elephant head is well known. What is less known is, Shiva had instructed his troops to fetch the head of anyone found sleeping with his head placed towards North. They found this elephant sleeping with its head towards North. This is probably one of the reasons why we are forbidden from sleeping with our head pointing towards North. Shiva named the boy Ganapati – meaning commander of his troops and granted a boon that Ganapati shall be worshipped by everybody before starting anything new.  Click here to listen about Nara Mukha Vinayakar.

Location:

Click here for the Map

Koothanur is near Poonthottam which is on Mayavaram – Tiruvarur Road.  Thjs place is about 2 Kms from Poonthottam.

Boarding & Lodging:

Have your travel base as Tiruvarur, Mayiladuthurai or Kumbakonam.  If you don’t mind putting up with little discomfort and are a seasoned traveller there is a Sankara Mutt in Koothanur where you can spend the night.

Temples Nearby:

The Goddess is Swarnavalli thayar, which is another name for Lakshmi. Kanakadhara stotram was composed here. All the three forms of Shakthi viz Lakshmi (Swarnavalli) at Thilatharpanapuri, Durga (Lalithambigai) at Thirumeyachur and Saraswathi at Koothanur are present nearby.

Seshapureswarar Temple at Thirupamburam is also close to this temple.

Temple Timings: 6AM to 12 Noon and 4 Pm to 9 PM

Temple Address:

Arulmigu Muktheeswarar Kovil

SETHALAPATHY AGRAHARAM

POONTHOTTAM-609503

Temple Priest: Sri Visvanatha Sivachariar 04366-239700

On 1st of January 2010, Balu & I started our tour of the temples from Madras.  We visited Lalithambigai temple at Thirumeyachur in the afternoon.  This place is about 20 kms from Mayavaram near Peralam on the Mayavaram Thiruvarur Road.  The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Meghanatha.  The consort of Lord Meghanatha is Goddess Lalithambigai.

 

Lalithambigai Temple Thirumeyachur

Temple Gopuram, Thirumeychur

 

As per legend, Arunan the charioteer of Surya Bhagavan wanted to go to Kailasam to worship Lord Shiva.  Surya Bhagavan did not allow him to go.  Hence Arunan took the form of a girl and was on his way to Kailasam.  On the way Surya saw this girl and outraged her modesty.  Lord Shiva was very angry with Surya Bhagavan for such misbehaviour and cursed him to get darkened.  The whole world plunged into darkness.  A repentant Surya Bhagavan pleaded for mercy and as per His advice came to Thirumeiyachur and worshiped the Lord here. Surayan is believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva seated on an Elephant.  To signify this you can see a Vimana (gajaprishta vimanam) in the temple resembling the back of an elephant.  Even after severe penance, the Lord did not show mercy and Surya Bhagavan shouted in anguish.  The Goddess was angered by this and almost cursed Surya Bhagavan, before being pacified by Lord Shiva.  He said that the World was already plunged in darkness because Surya was dark and that he was only looking for relief.  By His grace Surya Bhagavan attained papa vimochanam (absolution of sin).

He blessed her to be Shanta nayagi. In the outer praharam (circumambulatory path) of Shiva’s shrine there is a sculpture of kshetrapuraneswarar depicting this.  Lord Shiva is seen holding the cheeks of his consort and pacifying her.  As you face this beautiful sculpture, and if you observe closely, you can see that from your left hand side there will be a smile on Her face and if you see from your right hand side you can see anger in Her face.

This sculpture may also signify that in a marital relationship, when the wife loses her temper the husband should stay calm and alert or vice versa.  In a Hindu marriage, the mantra “Samaya Varte Savadhan“, is repeated by the groom after the priest.  The meaning of this mantra is – Be cautious and act as per the situation.  Only the groom is asked to chant this mantra because women, by nature, are generally calm and are expected to be so.  Husband and wife should be the calming influence on each other for enjoying a harmonious marital life.

 

The angels called vasini emerged from Lalithambigai’s mouth and  sung the Lalitha Sahasranamam (1000 names) in praise of the Goddess. This stotra is found in the Brahmanda puranam.  Hayagriva taught Agastya – his disciple – this stotra. Agastya then came here and sang the popular sloka Maatha jaya Om Lalithambigaye.

 

On the northern side of the praharam, you have the shrine of Sakala Bhuvaneswarar and His consort is  Minnumegalaial.  This is supposed to be an Ilam Kovil (temple within temple).  Since there are two temples side by side, a unique feature of this temple is that you can see Shiva (present as Lingothbhavar) Vishnu and Brahma simultaneously from the North West corner of the outer prahara (Circumambulatory path).

 

On the Northern side of the outer Prahara near the Sakala Bhuvaneswarar shrine is the Asthabhujanga Durga. In the right hand of Durga is a parrot.  Devotees, who want their prayers to come true, convey the same to Lalithambigai through this Durga.  The parrot is supposed to be taking the message to Lalithambigai.  Some lucky devotees can see that spectacle of a Parrot flying from above Durga’s shrine to the dhwajasthambam opposite Lalithambigai’s shrine!!!

 

There is something interesting that happened as recently as 1999.  A devout woman from Bangalore had recurring dreams of Ambal asking her for gold anklet (Golusu).  This woman went in search of the Goddess and visited various temples.  She chanced upon the issue of “Alayam” magazine in which Lalithambiga Temple appeared as the cover story and immediately recognised the Ambal as the one from her dreams.  She had the anklet made and visited the temple.  She told the priest of her dreams and wanted the Goddess to be adorned with the Golusu.  The priest said that since there is no way for the Golusu to go around Her feet it would not be possible.  On her insistence, the priest decided to give it a try and to his astonishment could find a soft spot in the idol’s ankle and he could actually pass the Golusu through it!!!  Later, it is said that they could find holes in Her nose which is now adorned with mookuthi (nose pin), oddiyanam(roughly translated as waist belt) around Her Waist.

Location:

Click here for the Map

Thirumeyachur is about 2 Kms from Peralam.  Peralam is on Mayiladuthurai Thiruvarur Road.  It is a crucial junction and the Karaikal Kumbakonam Road also passes through this twon.

Nearby Temples:

The other temples nearby are Thilatharpanapuri, Saraswathy temple at Koothanur & Thirupampuram.

Boarding & Lodging:

Have your travel base as Kumbakonam or Mayiladuthurai.

Temple Phone Number: 04366 239 170