Monday, April 26, 2010

Kadali Baneshwarar

Kadhali Baneshwarar- Kadhali Baneshwarar Temple is located in Thirukulambur Village of Pudhukottai District in Tamil Nadu. In Sanskrit Kadhali means Banana, and Ban is forest, and Eshwara is the other name for lord Shiva. The specialty of this temple is the Banana trees inside the Temple complex. Hence, this temple gets its name ''Kadhali Baneshwarar''. The temple is at least 2000 years old and was built by the Pandyas. Pandyan Dynasty is one of the four Dravidian Dynasties. Pandyas were believed to be founded around 5 to 6 centuries before the Christian era. The Pandyan Empire was home to temples including Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, and Nellaiappar Temple built on the bank of the river Thamirabarani in Tirunelveli. Unlike Meenakshi Amman or Nellaippar Temple, this temple is quite small.

There is an interesting story as how this temple came in to existence. Today's Thirukulambur was once a thick dense forest. One of the Pandyas had come on a hunting trip to this forest. He was riding a ferocious horse, and his horse went berserk and knocked one of the Banana Trees with his hoof. The banana tree started to bleed, this shocked the King. The king got down from his horse to take a close look; he just could not believe what he was seeing 'blood oozed out from the tree'. As he was starring at it a sudden flash of light from the tree blinded the king. The king was now completely blind, and was unable to do anything, and lost his way out. An old man passing by recognized the king and said,  ''Lord Shiva resides in the Banana Tree'', he continues to narrate,  ''if you agree to built a temple here, your vision will be restored’’ the king readily agrees, and with in the matter of seconds his sight is restored. The king looks for the old man, however the old man is no way to be found. King understood that the old man was none other than Lord Shiva himself. As promised, the King built the temple. Hence Lord Shiva in this temple is known as Kadhali Baneshwarar.  bBanana tree is carved on the temple tower, narrating the story. This story was passed on to many generations. It is also believed that  Sita mata did Shiva pooja when she was in Ravanas captivity.

In recent times, people have noticed that a red color liquid oozing out from one of the banana trees inside the temple complex. After Pandya, it is only now that the red color liquid oozing out from a cut tree. People here believe it to be Lord Shiva's blood. Also, a lot of things did not make sense to the locals starting from the fruits like fruits from these trees resembles  Malapazham (a type of banana) when peeled it resembels Rastali (again, a type of banana) This discovery has baffled the neighborhood, who are farmers by profession and bananas are harvested frequently. Farmers say without enough water, a banana tree would die down, however the banana trees inside the temple complex are not maintained and these plants solely depend on the rain. Recently, the temple underwent renovation, and because of heavy construction work all the trees inside the complex died. After completion of the work and Kumbabhi Shekam, it rained and again the banana trees started sprouting on its own.

So far we have known that the villagers revere these trees as divine, however people are very cautious when it comes to using these trees. You can see a kind of fear in their eyes when it comes to harvesting these plants. Their strongest belief is that anyone who touches/plucks/fiddles/nips/pinch the tree for whatever reason, they will suffer from leucoderma, and finally death will come knocking ones door! Only exception is the temple priests. The fruits are first offered to god in the form of ''Panchammrutham'' (a special fruit salad) and people should have it as prasadam. They say that a former temple priest's relative did not believe such things, and plucked the fruit without offering it  to the god as panchamrutham and ate it. However, with in few days she suffered from leucoderma and she died. Muthamma a 70-year-old granny suffers from leucoderma on both her hands. It is believed she is used a leaf for personal use.

This temple will make an interesting visit. This place is accessible by car, bus and by train. From Chennai it takes 5 hrs 40min, from Madurai it takes 2 hrs. 20 min, and from Kovai or Coimbatore it takes 4hrs 40min.

Shivaya Gauri vadanabjavrunda
Suryaya Dakshadhvara Nashakaya
Shrinilakanthaya Vrushhadhvajaya
Tasmai Shikaraya Namah Shivaya ..

Salutations to Shiva, who is all-auspiciousness, who is the sun that causes the lotus face of Gauri (Parvati) to blossom, who is the destroyer of the yajna of Daksha, whose throat is blue (Nilakantha), whose flag bears the emblem of the bull, and who is represented by the syllable ``shi. ''

OM Namah Shivaya!!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post.. one more destination getting added to my travel plans...


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