Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Uchi Pillayar Temple
Rockfort - My native place.
Located in Trichy, the central district of Tamil Nadu, has reference to several historical events.
River Kaveri flows through the city and makes agriculture one of the key sector here.
The rockfort temple is a famous temple. It is built out of rocks by the chola kings. The pallava kings (Mahendra varman especially) added new sculptures to the areas in and around the temple. There will be a rock cut cave near the temple, that was created by the pallavas. There are two temples - Uchi pillayar temple and Thaayumaanava swami temple.
Origin of Uchi pillayar temple dates back to the Ramayana period. Vibheeshana, the younger brother of Ravana, who won the favour of Lord Rama, after surrendering to Him, was returning from Ayodhya, after the enthronement ceremony of Rama, as the king. He was carrying an idol of Lord Vishnu who was lying on the serpant - Aadhi sesha to Lanka. This idol was given to him by Rama as a gift. Rama warned Vibheeshana that if he place the idol down some where then he would not be in a position to take it out and asked him to be careful about that. Vibheeshana agreed and he was on the way to Lanka with the idol in his hand and he was crossing Trichy (also known as Tiruchirapalli).
The river Kaveri attracted him by its beautiful course. He was tempted to take a bath in the river. But alas! He dont have anyone near by to hold the idol in their hand. Then came a boy by his side. Vibheeshana requested the boy to hold the idol in his hand so that he can have a bath in the river. The boy agreed, but with a condition that Vibheeshana should return before he counts 10, otherwise the idol will be kept down. Just 10 seconds was given for Vibheeshana to have a bath. Vibheeshana agreed. He went down the river and took a dip. The boy was almost to count 10. Still Vibheeshana didnt reach the boy. He was completely lost in the comfort that the river water provided. The boy counted 10 and placed the idol down with it's face facing the direction of Lanka, i.e, south.
Vibheeshana, struck by the memory of idol, realised that it was late and hurriedly advanced towards the boy. But all in vain. He had kept the idol down. It got fixed in that place. Vibheeshana tried to move it. But he couldnt. Vibheeshana became very angry and he chased the boy who had kept the idol down. The boy ran and climbed up the rock that was at a distance and settled on a small stone. Vibheeshana after reaching the hill top, hit the boy hard on his forehead.
Then came the surprise. The boy before him turned into Lord Vinayaka. It was a divine plan that was made to retain the idol in India itself and not to let it go outside India. Vibheeshana offered his prayers, got the blessings of Vinayaka and left for Lanka. He ruled Lanka with fairness.
The rocky place got converted to Uchi pillayar temple. The vinayakar was known by the name "Uchi vinayakar" (Vinayaka who sat on the top). The place near river Kaveri where the idol was kept is known by the name "Srirangam", with the idol - known by the name - Sri Ranganatha swamy as the presiding deity.
Since Vibheeshana hit the boy on his forehead, one could see the cavity on the right side of the forehead of Uchi vinayakar, even today.
One need to climb more than 700 steps to reach the Uchi Pillayar temple.