Sunday, May 18, 2014


This temple is located on the banks of Arasal aaru (A distributary of Kavery river, Hari sol aaru, meaning the movement of the river will produce a sound hari hari). Being praised by saivaite saints Appar, Sudarar, Sambandar and Manikkavachagar, this is one of the paadal petra sthalam in Chola nadu, on the southern bank of Kavery river. Reference to Arasal aaru, read this earlier post.

Lord Shiva is known by the name Veezhinaathar and his better half is known by the name Sundara kujambigai in this temple. A huge tank (full of water) welcomes  the devotees. This is indeed a treat to our eyes. In these days, where temple tanks are giving a parched sight, this is infact a boon to us. Opposite to the tank is the main gopuram (small in size) which leads to another large gopuram with full of sculptures depicting Shiva ganas, nataraja's dance etc. Before entering this gopuram, to the right one could see a majestic hall, but completely dark. This is known by the name vowaal mandapam (hall of bats), mainly due to non usage of the hall. The roof architecture of this hall resembles chidambaram temple. Once upon a time the celestial marriage celebrations were performed in this hall. But now a days since the population has grown and due to some difficulties in providing lighting arrangements, this celebrations are shifted inside the temple premises in a open hall. Marriage is performed to the utsava moorthis, kalyanasundara moorthi - kathyayani ambal in the month of chithirai on magam nakshatram day. This is performed in the evening time.

Mahavishnu's chakra lost its power and it was by worshipping lord shiva here, he got back his chakra in full power. He performed pooja with 1008 lotus flowers. While completing he was short of one flower and for that he offered his one eye as a lotus. Shiva was happy with that and asked Vishnu to take back his chakra from the temple tank. Hence the name veezhinathar (nethrarpaneswarar).

By worshipping lord shiva, one could get the illness related to eyes cured. Also by worshipping kalyanasundaramoorthi and kathyayani, unmarried ones could get married to good individuals.

We enter the large gopuram and find ourself amidtst broad open prakara that hosts the dwijasthambam and bali peetam. In front of this is a peetam where the lord offered coins to saint Tirugnanasambandar. Further we find a mandapam and this has a lingam Tirumoolanathar.

We come around this outer prakaram and there are three other peetams on the other three sides. Peetam where Saint Sundarar is offered jewels, then on the back side there is the peetam where Saint Tirunavukkarasar was offered coins. Here we find the sannidhi of padikkasu vinayakar who offered coins to the saints on behalf of Lord Siva, during famine times, for building the temple. We also see another gopuram after this sannidhi. We come to the prakaram and move further to find the peetam where manikkavachagar was shown the paadam by the lord. There is also a separate small sannidhi for mahalinga swamy and mayuranatha swamy.

We come to inner prakaram, where there are two temples. One for Veezhinathar and the other for Sundarakujambigai. Before entering the sannidhi, there is a nandhi which is located at a lower level. This is known as Patala nandhi.

There are few steps known as maasa padi, to climb the main sannidhi. On the other side, for exit, there are another set of steps known as Graha padi. We enter the sanctum sanctorum of Veezhinatha peruman. There behind the linga, there are idols of Siva - Parvati in kalyana kolam. Very few temples have these kind of arrangements in the garba graham. To the right, there is the sannidhi of Kalyanasundaramoorthi and Kathyayani in kalyana kolam. There is also a nandhi to the left of Siva. The arrangement is in such a way that siva keeps his hand on nandhi in a resting posture.

Inside the mandapam hosting garba graham, there are places for other utsava idols like Balambal, Bikshandar, Mahavishnu(getting his chakra back by bathing in the temple tank) and few more.

We come around this inner prakara and we see Dakshinamoorthi. Here there is no muyalagan below his feet. Instead, his feet rests on a lotus. There is a hole on the back side of siva sannidhi through which parrots use to worship lord shiva daily. Usually, lingothbhavar will be in this place in all other temples. This is a rare one. There are many other linga structures like Ekambreswarar. The sthala vruksha is Jack tree (palaa maram). Even now a days in villages in and around this place, in all houses there will be jack trees and jack fruit is one of the favourite fruit for the people here. The vahanas are also present in the mandapams in this prakaram. Other sannidhis for Nataraja - Sivakami, Vaidyanathar, Suryan, Chandran, Bhairavar, Murga, Irattai Vinayakar are seen in the front entrance of ths prakaram.

We then enter the temple of sundarakujambikai (azhagiya mamulai amman). This too has a gopuram, to enter from the outer prakaram, but it is rarely opened. Normally we enter from shiva temple. This gopuram has sculptures, predominantly female deities. This has a sannidhi where sundarakujambigai blesses her devotees in a standing posture. With four hands, top two holding sangu and chakra and bottom two with varada abhaya mudras, this deity is said to have beautiful breasts full of grace and hence the name azhagiya mamulai amman. There is a sannidhi for Vinayaka on one side and Muruga on the other side in this prakara.

This temple is maintained by Tiruvavaduthurai aadheenam. Nice temple to have darshan.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Uttamar Kovil

This temple has something special and unique when compared to all other temples. Yes.. This has the shrines of Brahmma, Vishnu and Shiva with their consorts. Vishnu is known by the name Purushottama perumal and hence the name of the place - Uttamar Kovil. Goddess Lakshmi is known as Pooranavalli thayar, who grants the boon to give a complete satisfaction to the devotees. Shiva is known by the name Bikshandar and this place has another name - Bikshandar kovil too. Soundarya Parvathi is the name of Lord shiva's consort in this temple. As the name says, the ambal is so beautiful. For lord Brahmma who does not have a form in this bhoolokha, this temple is an exception. There is a separate sannidhi for Brahmma. Goddess Saraswathi with veena, akshamala also sits in a separate sannidhi, bestowing boons to the people is found in this temple. This is one of 108 divya desams (praised by Tirumangai alwar) and is known by the name Thirukkarambanoor and the sthala vruksham is Banana tree. Banana are found to be grown on the banks of river cauvery. One more temple tiruppaigneele near Trichy is also said to have banana as sthala vruksham.

This is a small temple in terms of area. If we enter from No.1 tollgate bus stop, past Kollidam (coleroon) river in Trichy, we are welcomed by a dwajasthambam. Before that stands the garudazhwar (Periya thiruvadi) sannidhi. Opposite to this is the shrine of Purushottama perumal. Perumal lays on his serpent aadhi sesha - similar to Sri Ranganatha swamy of Srirangam. To the left of this sannidhi is Sri Mahalakshmi thayar, who is adorned with beautiful ornaments. To the right of perumal sannidhi is the sanctum sanctoram of Hanuman(Chiriya thiruvadi). All these are built with in a mandapam. To the left of this mandapam is another mandapam, that hosts the sannidhi of Poorana valli thaayar.

We come around the temple to find the small sannidhis of Twin Vinayaka (Irattai pillayar), Bala lingam (a tiny lingam). Then we come to the Dakshina moorthi sannidhi. Here they call dakshinamoorthi as Siva guru. Then we enter a hall which has the shrines of Bikshandar and Soundarya parvathi (sakthi guru). Nandi deva stands in front of Bikshandar. There are also some idols of utsava moorthis, Lord Subrahmanya, vinayaka in this hall.

Again in the path where we circum ambulate, we find the sannidhis of Lord Rama with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman and a separate sannidhi for Lakshmi Narayana.

We cross the nandi and reach a small mandapam that has the sannidhi of Lord Venugopala. we move further to see the navagraha sannidhis and Durgai amman. There is another small sannidhi of Lingam that was worshipped by King Dasaratha and the name of that lingam itself is Dasaratha lingam.

We complete the round and come near the dwajasthambam in front of perumal. There on our side we find another mandapam hosting sannidhis of Varadharaja perumal (called as vishnu guru), aazhwars. Brahmma and saraswathi are seated in separate sannidhis.

This sthala is also known by the name saptha guru sthalam. They are Deva guru (brahaspathi), Asura guru (Sukracharya), Siva guru (Dakshina moorthi), Sakthi guru (Soundarya parvathi), Vishnu guru (Varadharaja perumal), Brahmma guru (Brahmma), Gnana guru (Subrahmanya).

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


No sooner did I utter this name, immediate thought of the famous halwa (a sweet made out of wheat and sugar) comes to our mind. Also known by another name Nellai, this is an important, siva sthala, situated on the banks of river Tamiraparani (shuddha tamraparni thadasthitham as pointed out by Muthuswami dikshitar in his kriti Sri Kantimatim in hemavathy). Out of pancha maha sabhai (5 sacred halls), this is thamira sabhai (copper hall). Lord Nataraja's dance was seen by saints in these 5 halls.

1. Kanaka sabhai (Hall of gold) - Tillai (chidambaram)
2. Velli ambalam (Hall of silver) - Aalavai (Madurai)
3. Rathna Sabhai (Hall of gems) - Tiruvalangadu
4. Chitra Sabhai (Hall of paintings) - Tirukuttralam
5. Thamira Sabhai (Hall of copper) - Tirunelveli (Nellai)

In all the 4 places except Madurai, Nataraja's right leg is on the ground and left leg lifted. In Madurai alone, it is reversed (right leg lifted and left leg on the ground).

As soon as we enter the Nellaiappar temple, we could see the kerala type architecture on the ceilings interior to the main entrance. A big nandhi (constructed during recent times) welcomes you. Then we can see the dwajasthambam and a small nandhi (ancient one). Further if you go inside, there is the sannidhi of Nellaiappar. But it is customary to first see Kanthimathi amman sannidhi first. So we circumambulate the prakaram. We enter a sannidhi where Vinayaka, Shiva (in linga form) and Parvati were seated under a roof, with Nandi deva infront of them. Then we further go inside to see a hall full of sculptured pillars with yali. In two of those pillars we could see Hanuman and Sugreeva. Near Hanuman carved pillar, we find the sannidhi of Mahishasura Mardhini. To the left we see the temple tank. On the banks of the tank we see lot of lingas named, Kashi viswanatha. The tank is considered to be as pure as the Ganges.

We further cross the hall, to enter the prakaram of Kanthimathi amman. We see the thousand pillared hall and the oonjal mandapam, where ambal sits on the swing during the month of Aadi (in this month, valaikappu function is celebrated for amman) and Chitirai (during kalyana utsavam). We enter Kanthimathi amman's sannidhi. Oh... one could feel like hugging her.. for she is full of grace. On the day when I saw her, she was wearing a yellow coloured cotton saree, so simple... but I got a feeling that a child will get after seeing her mother after a long time. coming out of Kanthimathi amman temple, we could see Mahalingaswamy sannidhi and few more shiva lingams.

On the other side we were welcomed by the temple elephant (Kanthimathi). She blessed us. For her the authorites have put 3 ceiling fans to enable her to sleep without any disturbance during night. Its a move to be welcomed. We came across the ancient temple of Mahalinga swamy which is located below the ground level. Due to passage of time, it went down, as I could hear from the temple authorities. To its right there is the Nellaiappar sannidhi. The entrance is adorned by pillars holding sculptures of Karnan, Arjunan, Veerabhadran and one more siva gana with garland made of human skulls. All were very realistic. Both Kanthimathi amman temple and nellaiappar temple are famous for the musical pillars. There are few pillars in the amman temple and more in siva temple. One could hear Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa in a set of pillars. One could hear the sound of jalatharangam, tabla in others.

Nellaiappar is swayambu (self created). So the shape of linga is not that perfect. There is a cut that passes from top right to centre. Interesting thing here in the sanctum sanctorum is, there is a sannidhi for Vishnu. Named as Nellai Govindar, vishnu lays on the serpent bed, performing pooja to another siva lingam (just like ananthapadmanabhaswamy). There is also a utsava moorthi for Vishnnu, with a kamandalam in his hands, standing after performing marriage of his sister Kanthimathi  with Nellaiappar.

There is also a Shanmukar sannidhi. Unique thing here is, the six faces of muruga were placed symmetrically that from the front we could see three faces and the other three faces could be seen from the back side only. Here Indra himself stands as peacock. Normally asura will be peacock. In that case peacock's beak will be on Muruga's right side. If deva is a peacock, it's beak will be on Muruga's left side. Realistic Sculptures of Manmadhan (with a romantic smile) and Rathi adornes the entrance to Muruga's sannidhi. There is an image of Sri chakram painted before the entrance of murugan's sannidhi.

Another stunning shrine is Sandana nataraja (Nataraja will always be bathed in sandal paste). There is a hall before this sannidhi which is decorated by wood carvings.

This temple is larger than madurai temple. Also well maintained and very clean and tidy.