Posts Tagged ‘Temple Visits’

Thirukollikadu – Pongu Saneeswaran Temple

Posted: February 28, 2010 in Navagraha Temples, Temples around Kumbakonam
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Agneeswarar temple at Thirukkollikadu or Kallikadu is more commonly known as Pongu Saneeswaran Temple.  The Presiding deity of this temple Agneeswarar is also known as Thirukollikadar or Theevanna Nathar.  Thee means fire and vanna means colour in Tamil.  True to the name, the Lingam here is slightly reddish in colour. The Lingam here is one of the 64 Swayambhu (self-manifested) Lingams.  His consort is Mirudupaadanayagi or Menthiruvadiamman or Panjinmelladiaal.  All the names of the Goddess here mean – the one with soft feet. This is a padal petra sthalam and Thirugnana Sambandar has sung in praise of Thirukollikadar.  The sthala vruksham at this temple is Vanni.

Agni was under the grip of ezharai sani when he had lost some of his power due to the following reasons.  Agni had taken part in the yaga conducted by Dakshan (Lord Shiva’s father-in-law), whose primary intention of conducting the yaga was to insult Shiva. Agni had also been afflicted with dosha when the wax palace was burnt with the intent to kill the Pandavas.  Agni prayed to Lord Shiva here to get back his power.  Lord Shiva obliged him here and is hence known as Agnesswarar.

There is a story behind how this temple is so important for Saneeswaran worship.  Saneeswaran is actually a just planet that has effects on the person according to his karmas (deeds). However, people misunderstood and dreaded the very mention of the name.  Ezharai Sani or the seven and a half years period when the planet casts its malefic effect on the native of the horoscope is a dreaded period.  Similarly ashtama Sani is also feared.  Saneeswaran did not like this and he appealed to the Lord that he should not be blamed or held responsible for doing his assigned task.  Lord Shiva was pleased with Saneeswaran and conferred him the title Saneeswaran here.  No other planet has the tag Easwaran attached.    He directed Saneeswaran to stay back at this temple as Pongu Sani and bless the devotees.

After he was relieved of the Sani dosham at Thirunallar, Nalan came here and sought the blessing of the Lord.  He was reunited with his family and got back his royal status after worshipping here. King Harichandra also was a beneficiary of the Divine grace of Pongu Saneeswarar.

Saneeswaran is present here seated on his vehicle – the crow, as anugraha murthy (one showering his blessings) with his lower right hand showing abhaya hastham.  He holds a plough in his upper right hand.   He is holding a flag with crow embossed on it, in his left hand.  Opposite to Pongu Saneeswarar is Bhairavar, who is Saneeswaran’s guru.  There is a shrine for Lakshmi next to Pongu Saneeswarar.  Murugan is present here with his consorts Valli and Deivayanai.  He holds a bow in his hands instead of the Vel (spear).  The Navagrahas are usually seen as Vakramurthys, ie they face different directions. The Navagrahas here are uniquely placed.  They form a shape └┘here.

Worshipping in this temple will improve one’s social status.  The devotees will earn through legal and righteous means and will also regain any property or wealth that was earlier lost due to deceit.

There are inscriptions in this temple which suggest that this ancient temple which was once built out of bricks, got its present granite structure during the medieval period of Chola reign, about 1500 years ago.

Saneeswara Moola Mantra:

Aum pram prim praum sah shanaisharaya namah.

 

Saneeswara Gayathri:

Pangupadhaya vidmahe Surya putraaya dheemahi, thanno Mandha prachodayath

Location:

Click here for Map

This temple is located about 25 kms from Tiruvarur.  On Tiruvarur Thirutharaipoondi road take a right turn at Kachanam.  This temple is about 8 kms from Kachanam.

Boarding & Lodging:

The nearest towns are Tiruvarur and Mannargudi, where there are quite a few options available to suit various budgets.  This is a very small village and no facility is available here.

Nearby Temples:

Thirunellika

Thirukuvalai

Thiruthengoore

Kaichinam

Temple Address:

Arulmigu Agneeswarar Alayam

Thirukollikadu

Thiruthangur Thirunellikaval (P.O) Tiruvarur (Dist) – 610 205

Ph: 04369 237454

 

Vanchinathaswamy Temple, SriVanchiyam

Vanchinathaswamy Temple, SriVanchiyam

Srivanchiyam is the last temple we visited on 1st January 2010.  Srivanchiyam, is a small Village in Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu, between Mudikondan and Puttar rivers.  The presiding deity here is Vanchinathan and His consort is Mangalambika. The Shivalingam is a Swayambhu (self manifested) and faces both West and East; hence puja is performed here in both the directions. There are two Nandhis in this temple, one on the East and one on the West. This lingam is supposed to have existed even before the pralaya (the Great Deluge) and was facing west when Suryan worshiped him. The Shivalingam here is considered to be the oldest among the 64 swayambhu lingams in the world.  Sandalwood is the sthala vriksham here and sandal leaves are used to perform the puja to the Lord. Usually vilva leaves are used in puja for Shiva.  Brahmandam, Skandam, Samboban and Agneya Puranas talk about this sacred place.

 

Nandi facing East in the Outermost Praharam behind Vanchinathaswamy's Shrine.

There is a separate shrine here for Yama Dharmaraja. He is given preference in daily worship. Legend has it that, Yama Dharmaraja was very worried and felt overwhelmed with all the sins accumulated in the course of performing his duty. He wanted a solution for this.  As per the advice of Brahma, Yama went to a place by the banks of the Cauvery, where he could find Gandharanyam (Sandal Forest), and propiate to Lord Shiva.  Lord Shiva was pleased with his devotion and instucted Yama to have a temple built Him at here.  He also wanted Yam to be His vehicle. Accordingly, Yama stayed at this temple which he built at SriVanchiyam. The Lord also granted Yama’s wish for a shrine for himself at SriVanchiyam. Usually, Vinayakar is the first deity to be worshiped in all Shiva temples, but here at Srivanchiyam, Yama is worshiped even before prayers are offered to Vinayakar.  The Sannidhi to Lord Yama is in the first Praharam (circumambulatory path). On entering the temple, the temple tank called the Gupta Ganga Temple Tank is situated on the right hand side. Yama’s Shrine can be found on your left hand side. This small shrine faces south.  Kubera can be seen standing next to Yama at this shrine.  Those who pray here are considered to be free from the sufferings preceding their death.

This is a Mukthikshetram (where you attain salvation). The holy tank (theertham) here is Gupta Ganga. Ganges was once very worried that people were taking bath in the Ganges to get rid of their sins and she was accumulating all their sins. She is supposed to have taken bath here at the Gupta Ganga as advised by Shiva to purify herself. A dip in the tank supposedly absolves you of all the sins and there is no rebirth.

 

Gupta Gangai, SriVanchiyam

Gupta Gangai, Sacred water that is holier than The Ganges

Tharpanam on the banks of Gupta Gangai

This photo is a late addition to the post. My friend Bharath performing tharpanam at Gupta Gangai.

 

Niches for Vinayaka and Bala Murugan can be found at the entrance to the inner praharam (circumambulatory path). In the inner praharam is the shrine for Goddess Sughandha Kundalaambigai. There is Vennai Pillayar in a pillar in the first praharam (circumambulatory path). People smear butter on His stomach to get cured of their stomach ailments.

Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu are believed to have prayed the Lord here to get united. Bhairavar is in a separate shrine in the inner praharam (circumambulatory path). He is in Yoga posture without his vahanam (Vehicle) – the dog. Pujas are performed to the Yoga Bhairavar using Vanni leaves.  Consumption of the powder made from the vanni leaves used in the puja is believed to cure all nervous ailments. One can to get rid of all evils directed towards them if they perform puja to Yoga Bhairavar.  The prayers of the childless are answered after they perform puja for 6 consecutive Krishnapaksha ashtami days (eighth day of the waning Moon).  One can succeed in all his endeavours and business if he makes an offering of Curd Rice, Coconut rice and Honey on Amavasya days (New Moon days). This is also parihara sthalam (place for remedial worship) for the malefic effects of Rahu & Kethu. Rahu and Ketu appear in the same niche here. This is next to Yoga Bhairavar.  Rahu Kala Puja on Sundays with offerings of vada made of lentils and ghee is believed to remove the obstacles in getting married. Like in Thirunageswaram, milk turns blue in colour during the rahukala abhishegam (ablution during rahukalam).

Opposite Yoga Bhairavar is the shrine for Mahishasuramardhini. Mahishasuramardhini here gets rid of all evil. Since this is a very ancient temple and has been in existence before the advent of Navagraha worship, there is no shrine for the Navagrahas here. However, Saneeswarar has a separate niche. Goddess Mahalakshmi has a separate shrine and her elephant has four tusks. I wonder if this was an ancient cousin of the present day elephant.

In almost all temples, if there is an unfortunate event like a death, the pujas are not conducted.  At SriVanchiyam it has no bearing on the conduct of daily pujas and rituals, they continue.

Shashtiabthipurthi & Sadhabhishekam can be celebrated either at Srivanchiyam where the temple is specifically meant for the safety of soul or at Thirukadaiyur where the temple is specially built for the safety of body.

Performing tharpanam (ritual to pay tribute to ones ancestors) on Amavasya (New Moon day) here is considered very special. Srivanchiyam is one of the 7 pithru kadan nivarthi (absolution of ancestral debts) sthalams.  The other six are Kasi, Rameswaram, Thiruvenkadu, Gaya, Thiriveni Sangamam & Thilatharpanapuri. Some consider Srivanchiyam to be holier than even Kasi.

Location:

Click here for the Map

Srivanchiyam is 25 kms from Kumbakonam and one km from Achuthamangalam on the Kumbakonam Nagapattinam route. It is 16kms from Tiruvarur on Tiruvarur Nannilam route.

Other Temples Nearby:

Thiruveezhimizhalai

Thirupampuram

Thilatharpanapuri

Koothanur

Tiruvarur

Boarding & Lodging:

There is a Brahmin household in the Sannidhi Street that runs a mess.  There is also a kalyana mandapam where you can stay.  If you prefer a more comfortable accommodation, Tiruvarur is the nearest town.

The temple timings are 6.00 Am to 12.00 Noon & 4.00 PM to 8.00 PM

Temple Address

Arulmigu Sri Vanchinathaswamy Kovil
Sri Vanchiyam 610110
Nannilam Taluk
Tiruvarur District

Temple Phone number is 04366-228305

Sri Raja Raja Gurukal’s phone numbers: 91-94424-03926, 91-9788-75933, 04366-354108

Vegetarian Mess

Sri Mangalambiga Vilas

No, 2 -17 Sannadhi Street

Sri Vanchiyam

+91-9894726839

04366-229675

 

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

 

 

Balu – a friend of mine & I visited quite a few temples in and around Kumbakonam, Tanjore & Trichy between 1st January 2010 and 4th January 2010. On 4th of January 2010, we visited a very nice temple and wanted to share some details about the temple. Ulaganayaki sametha Vasishteswaraswamy temple in Thittai is about 10kms from Tanjore on the Tanjore Melathur Road.

Thittai Guru Temple

Thittai Guru Parihara Sthalam

 

Thittai, in Tamil means a Mound. It here during the Great Deluge (Pralayam) that Brahma & Vishnu worshiped Lord Shiva for protection. This was the only place which had not submerged in the deluge. They worshiped the Lingam that they found here. Pleased with their Devotion, Lord Shiva delegated the duties of Creation & Protection to Brahma & Vishnu respectively.

The Lingam here is Swayambhu (Swayam – self & bhu – to be; Swayambhu means self manifest). Sage Vasishta is believed to have worshiped the Lord here and hence the name Vasishteswarar. He is also called Theerurnathar, Pasupathynathar, Radhapureeswarar or Dheenupureeswarar. Yama got rid of curse after worshiping this deity. The divine consort of Vasishteswarar is Ulaganayaki, Sugantha Kunthaleswari and Mangaleswari. The Goddess Ulaganayaki is known as Sugantha Kunthalambigai since a Vaisya girl by name Sugantha Kunthala got her deceased husband back to life after worshiping Ulaganayaki here. Therefore, Ulaganayaki is worshiped by the married women for the long life of their husband.

There are four Lingas in the four corners and the fifth linga is the main deity, hence this is a pancha linga kshetram. This is also called the Pancha Bhootha Kshetra.  The temple tank here is Chakra Theertham, believed to have been created by Lord Vishnu’s chakra.

This is a Parihara sthalam for Guru. Lord Guru is seen in a separate shrine between swami and ambal. Guru here is Raja Guru and is in standing posture, with 4 hands holding his weapons and a book. (In Alangudi, the main Guru Parihara sthalam, Lord Dakshinamurthy is worshipped as Guru.) He is believed to have given upadesam to Vasishta muni. Worshiping the Guru here and subsequently worshiping Chandran at Thingalur, on the same day, is supposed to bring the Guru Chandra Yogam in ones horoscope. This is supposed to be very good for the inmate of the horoscope.


This temple is MUST SEE even for those who are not religiously inclined.
Devotees are allowed right upto the entrance of the garbagraham. There is a small hole on the ceiling in the GarbaGraham, and a drop of water falls on the linga every 24 minutes ie 1 Nazhigai. If you are patient enough, you can actually witness this amazing phenomenon. The Chandragandham and the Suryagandham stones in the tower are supposed to be absorbing the moisture from the atmosphere and converting it to water. The amazing fact is that the interval of 24 minutes per drop is maintained irrespective of whether it is day or night, summer or winter.  This part is unexplained. The complete temple is built of stones, including the walls, pillars, roof and the floor. A real Architectural Marvel. Clearly, an evidence of Scientific and Architectural advancement in ancient India.

Temple Location:

Temple Location Map


Temple Address:

VASISHTESWARAR temple

THITTAI 613003,

Tanjore dt.

Ph 0436 252858

Mr. T. Govindaraju

Administration Officer

Mobile No:  9443445864