Monday, May 31, 2010

Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple-Polur

Updated on 3rd Jan 2012 12: 49 PM MST :  

One of reader has an interesting information to share, he also happens to be the direct dissident of Ogur Srinivasa Rao, the devotee who bought the bells. Thanks, Raghu sir, much appreciated! 

 A group of workers were breaking down stones on a hill called Sampath Giri  in Polur village in Thiruvanamalai dist. of Tamil Nadu. Workers were busy doing their job. One of the workers sphear hit a rock, and for everyone’s shock it started bleeding. They were frightened and left for the day. One the same night, Lord Narasimhar showed in one of the devotees dream. Lord Narasimhar said that he has come one his own to sampathgiri as shantha Murty. Next day, the devotee informed this to the villagers. All villagers came to see the idol. They were all shocked to see the lord bleed. All the villagers came together and built a Maha Mantapam for the lord Narasimhar. They worshiped the lord with great bakthi and shraddha. A temple was built atop of the hill for lord Narasimhar. Later people installed Lakshmi- the consort of Lord Narasimhar.

  Lord Narasimhar invited two brothers namely kolasthiyar Rushi and Pulasthiyar Rushis to this temple. These two rushis were ardent devotees of Lord Narasimhar. These two sages did penance to lord Narasimhar and the lord was impressed by their devotions. Impressed by their bakthi, lord gave them a mango. A fight broke up between the two brothers as who would take the mango. In the spur of the moment, Pulasthiya rushi chopped his younger brother Kolasthiyar’s hands. Even after losing both hands Sage Kolasthiyar continued to worship the lord with great devotion. He took bath at ''seyyar'' (3kms from polur) for 48 days (i.e. 3 mandalams) and circled the SampathGiri. After 48th day, Kolasthiyar's hands reappeared magically! This not only surprised the sage, but also others present. It was Lord's plan that Ustavmurthy should be installed by Kolasthiyar rushi. Lord came in Kolasthiyar rushi's dream and gave direction as where the uthsava murthy was. It was in a place called Karapoondi in seyar. The sage went to look for the utsavamurthy with the direction given by the lord. He found the uthsava Murthy and established a temple i.e. down the hill.

 Later, a king from vijayanagar dynasty expanded the temple. The king built a temple for vengopala swamy and his consorts Rukmini and Staybama. They also carved 840 steps on the rocks for the devotees to reach the Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar temple. Even today the devotees use these steps. Some 160-180 years back lord again appeared in one of the devotees dream and said that he needs bells for the temples. The devotee, Srinivasa Rao later bought bells for the temples. Even today, one can find this big, majestic bell at both temples and can also see the painting of Srinivasa Rao on the wall.

There is a cave here called ''Annai Guha'' this cave was used by many spiritual leaders like vittobha, Hari das to meditate. There are two water tanks here. One in the top of the hill called Bramha theertham and the other at the bottom called Pularsthiyar Theertham There are two vultures that fly around the hill and people believe that they are the two brothers Kulasthiyar and  Pularshtriyar. The hill which is opposite to Sampatha Giri is called Sapthagiri. It is believed that the 7 sages still reside in this mountain. This temple is completely built by devotees after lord showed up in their dreams. This place is very powerful and all the prayers are answered in no time. The temple festival is celebrated according to Kamakshi temple of Kanchi!

May the lord Narasimhar bless us all!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Parvatha Malai

There are many temples, which are built on the cliff of the mountain & hill. One such hill temples is ''Mallikarjuna Temple'' in Parvatha Malai. Parvathamalai is part of the Javadhi hills. The presiding deity at this temple is Lord Shiva or Mallikarjuna.  The temple is 2000 years old and people are worshiping this temple for more than 500 years according to the Temple priest. This temple is located on the cliff of the mountain-''Parvathamalai.'' Parvathamalai is located at ''Thenmahadevamangalam '' village, which is about 20 kms off Polur. Polur is some 35 kms north of Thiruvannamalai dist. In Tamilnadu. Mallikarjuna means 'White Jasmine'.  Reaching the top of the mountain is very tedious job. It is 4560ft high vertical mountain that has iron rod steps, track steps, ladder steps, and sky steps or agayapadi (suspended bridge?), which is very rare and not found in any other mountain. 

The place attracts trekking enthusiasts from all over the country. It is also a sacred place and devotees of different age group visit this place. It has an interesting story behind this mountain. It is believed that when Lord Hanumar carried Sanjeevini hill to revive Laxman  a piece of Sanjeevenimalai fell here.  Hence, this place is also known for various herbs and shrubs that can cure the deadliest diseases. There is also another story associated with this temple. When Lord Shiva returned from Himalayas to the south, he kept his first-step in this very Parvathamalai.  There is a popular belief that the breeze from the hill, heels all the incurable diseases. Many Siddhars have made this hill as their home and also practice yoga. A lot of people from different worlds like devas, nagas, siddhars etc are said to come here every night to worship Lord Shiva. A lot of people have reported seeing many paranormal activities. People also say that many siddhars show up to a very few devotees. You can have the Jyoti Dharishanam at night. You can smell fragrance of flowers all around the temple. The goddess idol has a very dazzling beauty which can be never seen anywhere else. A divine light can be seen on cheeks of the goddess.

 This is a place vested with a lot of spiritual power. Kanchi Sri Sankaracharya saw the hill in the shape of Shiva lingam. He saw the hill as God and doesn't want to keep his foot on the hill and just went around the hill worshiping it. Ramana Maharishi said there is no need for Guru for people in and around 30 Kms of Tiruvannamalai and he will guide them as Guru. So people interested in spirituality can come here every month and attain bliss and enlightenment. One f the specialty of this temple is anyone can enter the sacred sanctum sanctorum and do abhishekam or any other form of pooja to lord Shiva here. As there are no stores on top of the mountain, it is very important that devotees carry water, viboothi and other pooja samagris. There is no restriction here that only priest are allowed inside sacred sanctum sanctorum. This hill attracts a lot of devotees on Full moon day, no moon day and new moon-day.  Every day, annadanam/prasadam is given from the temple side and from the devotees. Many siddhars are living and practicing their skills around Parvathamalai and they have given darshan to many visitors. This place is very auspicious and has powerful vibrations from the religious point of view. 

Besides trekking experience, this place serves as a spiritual centre. So if you're around Thirvanamalai do visit this place. May lord shiva bless us all! 

Ps: This is a compilation of many online sources on Parvathamalai. If you have more info or any personal experience please share it here :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Aprameya-Dodda Malluru by Nirupama Sriram

Mallur Ramaprameya Temple

 Mallur also known, as Doddamallur is famous for its ancient Sri Aprameya (Vishnu), Sri Rama and Ambegalu Navneetha (crawling Krishna) temples built and expanded by the Chola king Rajendra Simha. It is a village on the banks of river Kanva in Channapatna taluk, Bangalore rural district. Mallur is 60 Kms from Bangalore and 3 Kms from Channapatna. The temple is conveniently situated beside the Bangalore-Mysore highway.

Picture 1 – Sri Aprameya Temple
The presiding deity is Lord Sri Aprameya (another name of lord Vishnu), and the idol is carved out of the Saligrama stone found in river Gandaki. The idol is in Abhayahastha posture i.e., his two upper arms are holding the Shanka (conch shell) and Chakra (disc) and the lower arms are holding the Gadha (mace) and Hastha (assuring hands).
travel-mallur The utsava murthy (a small replica of the main idol for taking on a procession in a chariot) is placed in the sandalwood Shukanasika Mantapa (pedestal). The idol of lord Aprameya is beautifully bedecked with jewelry. Sridevi and Bhoodevi idols accompany the lord along with the idol of saint Ramanujacharya.

Picture 2 – Sri Aprameya Temple Courtyard
The legend says that Lord Rama stayed in this place and worshipped Lord Aprameya and hence the lord is also known as Sri Ramaprameya. Lord Rama also performed yagnas and homas (elaborate rituals invoking gods through fire) in Mallur and to stand testimony to these events are remnants of the structures where he conducted the yagnas and homas.
The presiding goddess of this place is Aravindavalli. The beautiful idol is placed in a separate enclosure and the divine vibrations felt while watching her glowing face is as though she is blessing you with all her energy.
Picture 3 – Ambegalu Krishna idol
The crawling Krishna idol is adorable with beautiful eyes and butter in his hands. The sight of this idol kindles the maternal instinct in every devotee. Another belief is that barren women are blessed with children if they pray to this Krishna. After they are blessed they come and thank the lord by gifting small cradles to the temple. These can be seen tied to the ceiling above the Krishna idol.
Mallur purandaradasara mantapaThere is also historical evidence that vishishta advaitha saint Sri Ramanujacharya worshipped the lord in the temple during his piligrimage to Karnataka and that the famous composer Sri Purandaradasa was so inspired and ecstatic by seeing Ambegalu Krishna, that he penned the famous song “Jagadoddharana Adisidalu Yashoda”. To commemorate him and his kriti/lyrics there is a Purandaradasa Mantapam facing the Rajagopuram.

Picture4 – Purandaradasa Mantapam
Mallur Rama templeBrahmotsava the annual festival is celebrated in the months of April/May. Surprisingly this huge temple is built on sand and does not have any solid foundation. The templearchitecture is built in such a way that the sunrays at sunrise fall directly on the grabhagudi (sanctum sanctorum) of lord Ramaapremeya during April/May.
Prasada / blessed food  is served as lunch on weekends and public holidays in the temple premises.
Rama Temple

Picture5 – Rama Temple
Mallur Rama templeFew feet away there is another temple dedicated to lord Sri Rama. Here, there is a big hall with 3 separate sanctums. The one in the center is dedicated to lord Rama along with his consort Sita in a sitting posture. Lakshmana is standing to the left of Rama’s idol and Hanuman the loyal companion of Sri Rama is depicted as worshipping lord Rama’s feet.

Picture6 – Lord Rama
To the left of Sri Rama’s sanctum, lord Venugopal’s (Krishna playing the flute) idol is installed. The most striking feature of this idol is of Venugopal with four hands, two of the upper hands are holding the Shanka (conch shell) and Chakra (disc) and the lower hands are holding the flute.
To the right of Sri Rama’s sanctum, lord Sudarshana Lakshmi Narasimha idol is installed. This idol is unique as Lord Sudarshana and Lakshmi Narasimha are depicted together in a single idol. In the Narasimha avatar (form), as Narasimha was not supposed to carry any weapons, Lord Sudarshana becomes a part of Narasimha to assist him in devouring the asuras (demons).

This temple story was taken from here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ganagadeeshwaran Kovil-Thakkolam

 Gangadeshwara temple at Thakkolam is a very unique temple in every sense. It is in the north side of Thakkolam. Thakkolam is a holy place and is believed that lord Brahma and Vishnu did deep penance to Shiva.   This placed is referred as Thiruvooral in Thevaram.   This ancient temple looks very beautiful. Thakkolam Jalanadeeswarar stala, which is called Thiruvooral, is the twelfth of the thirty-two Siva sthalas in Thondai Valanadu. The temple is at least 2000 years old. The presiding deity at this temple is Siva also called Jalanadeeshwarar or Thirivurul Mahadevar. His consort is GiriRaja Kannikamba. The temple is located at Thakkolam in Vellore dist. of Tamilnadu. The presiding deity is believed to be made of mud by Dhakshyaini the consort of Lord Shiva and the daughter of Dhaksha. As Dhakshayani herself makes the lingam the lingam is not touched by anyone including the temple priests. The Shiva lingam here is on Navapashanam (poison).  The theerthum (tank ) is ''Parvathi sathya Gangai'' Theertum and kusathalai nadhi

There are shrines for Lord Muruga, Dhakshinamurthy, Veerabadhra, Durga, etc. Camden, Yuma, and Guru every one has worshipped to lord Shiva in this temple. Brahma and Vishnu are seen seated while Goddess Durga strikes an elegant pose, with one hand on her waist. One of the specialties of this temple is the Yoga Dakshina Murthy. Yoga Dakshinamoorthy in Thakkolam has His own glories. One gets the feeling of taking to a living person while standing before this statue. Nowhere else you will find Dhakshina Murthy in uthkadi yoga asan posture. Hence he is known as Yoga Dakshina Murthy. This is a very special Dhakshina Murthy. During the transit of Guru, devotees throng this place. They say that they are blessed with prosperity and peace. Said to be the third most popular place where special poojas are performed for ``Gurupeyarchi'', Thakkolam is on the Arakkonam- Perambakkam bus route.

There are some mysteries associated with the main deity. The color of the moola lingam changes during both the Dakshinayana and Uttarayana seasons. This is a wonder. The color becomes white during Dakshinayana and red during the Uttarayana. Uttarayana is the six-month period between Makar Sankranti around (January 14) and Karka Sankranti around (July 14), when the Sun travels towards north on the celestial sphere. The period from July 14 to January 14 is known is Dakshināyana (दक्षिणायण). During uttharayana there is a plenty of rainfall, in dakshirayana there is not much rainfall in this area. This has been the practice for many centuries.

The formation of the Lingam:
When Dhakshyani in spite of lord Shiva’s objection went ahead to meet her father to talk on as why she and her husband were omitted in the guest list for the grand yagna. Instead of talking to her, she was insulted by her father who was consumed by ego. Daksha considered that he was superior to lord Shiva. As Shiva did not bow to daksha during in one of the yagna's this was his perfect revenge. Dakshayani in a bid to stop the yagna jumps in to pyre. When this was informed to lord Shiva, his father-in-law exasperated him. Lord Shiva creates Veerabadhra and Maha Kali from a stand of his hair to destroy Deksha. Veerabadhra kills Daksha by cutting his head off. Brahma and Vishnu plead to Veerabadhra to revive Daksha. Veerabadhra as per their wish revives Daksha and replaces Daksha's head with that of a goat. Daksha understands his mistakes and ask for lord’s forgiveness. The ever-loving lord forgives him and he is blessed. Mean while, Dakshayini went around visiting many sthalas and offered worship to make amends her disobedience in attending the yagna despite the Lord’s disapproval. Daksha was performing penance praying to the Lord on the banks of river Vrindha. When Dakshayini reached the banks of the river Vrindha, she made a Sivalinga with the sands of the riverbank. At that time, the river started flooding. To save the lingam from being washed away, she embraced it with both her hands. The impressions of her chest can be seen on the Sivalinga. As Daksha worshipped the Lord with loud cries here, it was called ‘Dakhan olam’, which, in course of time, became Thakkolam, we learn from the puranas.

The transcriptions on the walls of the temple also gives another interesting story. Once Dheergadhar the son of Vedic rishi Uditya and Mamathai who is also the nephew of Guru Bagavan (Uditya's elder brother) found Kamadenu near to his ashram. Since it was a practice to honor guests in ancient times, he requested Kamadenu to have supper with them. However, Kamadenu refused. Kamadenu is not supposed to eat at anyone's place with out Indira's permission. Deergadhar tried to tie the kamadenu. Angered by his action, Kamadenu cursed him. Kamadenu cursed him that going forward he will only involve in bad activities. In retaliation Dheergadhar also cursed Kamadenu to loose all its powers and to live a normal cow's life. Uditya Rishi and mother Mamathai were upset by their son’s behavior. As per Narada Rishi, they reached this place and worshipped lord Shiva. It is said that sage Uditya worshipped a Shivalinga made by him inside the cave for redemption of his son from the curse. Lord Shiva showed up to them and advised him to worship Nandhi. As per Uditya's request, Nandhi brought river Ganga (in the form of a spring). Dheergadhar did the abishekam to lord Shiva and his curse was removed. Similarly in order to remove the spell from Kamadenu, she has to perform milk abishekam on lingam’s head. Even Kamedenu performed the Milk abishekam her spell was removed. Even today, one can see spring flowing thru' nandi's mouth which pass thru' lingam's base.    

Manikyavacakar also worshipped the Shiva here. Thirugnanasambandhar has sung about the Lord at Thiruvooral, in the 7th Century itself. The greatness of the Lord here can be found in the inscriptions of the Pandyas, Cholas and the Pallavas. Even Sage Arunagirinadthur has sung in praise of lord Murugan of this temple. This place is of a lot of importance. As this place has served as battle field for the Cholas and Rashtrakutas. As a witness to the war one can see a renovated compound wall inside the temple. The temple beauty is something to look for. This is one amazing place near Chennai, if you have the time do visit the temple to see the change in the color of the lingam. The entire temple is of architectural splendor.

This temple has so much history and mystery attached to it. If you are in the vicinity please visit this temple! May Shiva bless us all!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sri Rangam or Koyil

The first and foremost among 108 Divya Desams is Srirangam. It is located on an island formed by the rivers Cauvery and Kolledam in Tiruchanapalli dist. of Tamilnadu. This temple is enormous in size and is the largest temple complex with 156 acres in extent, surrounded by seven concentric walls (the outermost wall having a perimeter of over 3 kilometers) and 21 gopurams. It has seven Prakarams or Tiru Vedees running around the sanctum. The total length of these seven walls is 32,592 feet, approximately around 9 Kms. There are magnificent towers in all Prakaras and the latest addition is the 236 feet high thirteen tiered Rajagopuram built at the southern rampart by the late 44th Jeeyar of Sri Ahobila Mutt.  The preceding deity at Srirangam is Lord Ranganathar in a reclining posture on Adeshesha. Lord Ranganathur Idol is not carved but appeared on its own. It is said that the deity faces south, instead of the traditional east, so as to face Vibhishana in Sri Lanka, to grace him and his kingdom. The sanctum (altar) faces south and the main entrance is also from the south (normally it is from the east). The consort of Lord ranganathar is Ranganayaki thayar. Ranganayaki Thayar has a sepearate shrine. The physical body of Ramanujar, who lived nearly 120 years, is still being preserved in a sitting posture in the sannidhi dedicated to him.
Shrines for all the Azhwars and Acharyas are also found within the temple precincts. There is a separate shrine for all the 10 avatars of Vishnu, making it first and oldest dasavathara temple. There also shrines for Rama, Hanuman, Krishna, Chakrathalvar, Guruda, Andal and Nachiyar. The Tank at the temple is known as Chandra pushkarani and the vimana is known as Pranavaakriti vimana. Above the main altar is the Sriranga-vimana (golden tower). On the four sides of the Ranga vimana are carvings of four forms of Lord Vishnu. On the south side is Para-Vasudeva, on the west is Acyuta, on the north Ananda, and on the east Govinda.
There is an interesting story attached to this temple. The glittering tower (vimana) sprung as a result of great penance by lord Brama who meditated in the depths of the Milky Ocean. Garuda carried this vimana while Adishesha spread his hood over it. Bramha found lord vishnu resting on Adeshesha, and he was informed by the lord himself that he has come on his own as an idol (swaymvyakta). He also informs that he will appear in similar way in 7 others places on earth. These 7 places are are Srimushnam, Venkatadri, Saligram, Naimisaranya, Thotadri, Pushkar and Badri. Brama took this idol and installed it at the banks of Viraja in styaloka. He appointed Lord Sun to perform daily pooja. This viman was later handed over to the king of Ayodhya who came from Iskwaku race or Surya Vamsha, as Brama was pleased by the king. The king took then took it to Ayodhya. People of Ayodhya and iswaku descendants worshiped this idol including Sri Rama. Sri Rama was himself an incarnation of lord vishnu hence to distinguish between these two incarnation of vishnu Lord Ranganathar Idol was known as ''Perya Perusal''.

As Vibeeshana had helped Lord Rama in finding Sita, to show his gratitude lord Rama gave away Lord Ranganathar's idol to vibheeshana for worship during lord Rama's coronation. When Vibeeshana set out for SRi Lankha He placed the idol on the Cauvery banks to perform his daily pooja. he placed the vimana at a place known as ''Shesha Peetam'' near Chandra-Pushkarani. After finishing his daily pooja, Vibeesha tried to lift the idol from the ground. He simply could not lift it. Vibeeshana was struck with great sorrow, however lord vishnu showed up and consoled Vibeeshana and informed that he loves this place very much. Vibeeshana could come and worship him daily said the lord. Even today, Vibeeshana worships the lord daily at midnight.
For any Vishnavaite ''KOYIL'' means Srirangam Temple only. Also, Ramanujar looked after the administration in this temple and saw to it that great care was exercised in the matter of control of the temple affairs. Sri Ramanujacarya made the Srirangam Temple his headquarters. His samadhi (tomb) is within the premises of the Srirangam Temple When Ramanuja finished speaking, his disciples asked him that they would not be deprived of the sight of his transcendental form. Ramanuja accepted their request and ordered that expert sculptors be brought there to carve deity in his likeness. After three days the work was finished. Then the deity was bathed with water from the Kaveri river and installed upon newly constructed altar. Yatiraja then came slowly up to the deity and filled it with his potency by breathing into the crown of the head... All Azhwars except for Madura Kavi Azhwar have composed pastramis in praise of the lord Ranganathur. Vedanta Desk composed Paddock Sahasram (1008 slouches) in different metres. Array Sevai one of the ancient arts of rendering and expressing Naalaayira Divya prabhandam, in a dance form originated at this kshetram under the auspices of Nadamuni. This is one of the beautiful temple.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

108 Divya Desam

Divya Desams are temples where Azhwars worshipped Lord Vishnu, as the presiding deity. The shrines where the divine saints Azhwars, said to be the Amsams of Sriman Narayanan, have sung - Mangalaasaasanam  - are called Divya Desams. There are 108 Divya Desams, and of these 105 are located in India and 1in Nepal, the remaining two - Parama padam and Thiruppaarkadal - are in the celestial world. Nityasuris or Divyasuris are those who reside permanently with the Lord in His Heavenly abode. They have incarnated as Azhwars - Vasihnavite Saints - to propagate Bhakthi Marga, devotion to Lord Vishnu.

The Twelve Azhwars are:

POIGAI AZHWAR     Period 7th Century AD (Kanchipuram)
BHOOTHATH AZHWAR   Period 7th Century AD  (Mahabalipuram)
PEI AZHWAR   Period 7th Century AD   (Mylapore)

Poigai Azhwar, Bhootath Azhwar and Pei Azhwar are collectively called as Mudhal Azhwars.

TIRUMAZHISAI AZHWAR   7th Century AD (Thirumazhisai)
TIRUMANGAI AZHWAR   8th Century AD (Thiru Kurayalur)
TONDARADIPODI AZHWAR   8th Century AD (Thirumandangudi)
TIRUPPAN AZHWAR    8th Century AD  (Uraiyur)
KULASEKHARA AZHWAR     8th Century AD  (Thirvanjikkolam)
PERIYAAZHWAR     9th Century AD (Sri Villiputhur)
SRI ANDAAL    9th Century AD (Sri Villiputhur)
NAMMAAZHWAR    9th Century AD Azhwar Thirunagari (Kurugoor)
MADHURAKAVI AZHWAR      9th Century AD (Thirukollur )

For the convenience of the Devotees, these Divya kshetrams are tabled into the following
groups, identifying the nearest towns with the basic facilities of Boarding/Lodging and

1. Chola Naattu Tirupathigal
2. Nadu Naattu Tirupathigal
3. Thondai Naattu Tirupathigal
4. Vada Naattu Tirupathigal
5. Malai Naattu Tirupathigal
6. Pandiya Naattu Tirupathigal

Chola Naattu Tirupathigal (40)
 Travel Base: Tiruchi
1. KOYIL - Thiruvarangam (Srirangam)
 2. Tirukkozhi (Urayur)
 3. Tirukarambanur (Uttamar Koil)
 4. Tiruvellarai
 5. Tiruvanbil
 6. Tirupper nagar (Koviladi Appakkudathan)

   Travel Base: Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Mayiladudurai

 7. Tirukkandiyur
 8. Tirukkoodaloor (Aaduthurai Perumal Koyil)
 9. Kapisthalam – ( Krishnaranya Kshetram)
 10. Tiruppullambhootangudi
 11. Tiru Aadanoor
 12. Tiru Kudandai (Kumbakonam - Bhaskara Kshetram)
 13. Thiruvinnagar (Uppiliappan Koyil - Markandeya Kshetram)
 14. Tirunaraiyur (Naachiyaar Koyil)
 15. Tirucherai (Pancha Sara Kshetram)
 16. Tirukkannamangai (Krishna Mangala Kshetram)
 17. Tiru Kannapuram
18. Tirukannankudi (Krishnaaranya Kshetram)

 19. Tiru Naagai (Nagappattinam)
 20. Tanjai Maamanikkoyil
 21. Tirunandipura Vinnagaram (Dakshina Jagannatham)
 22. Tiruvelliyankudi
 23. Tiruvazhundur
24. Tiruchirupuliyur
 25. Talaichchanga Naanmadiyam (Talaisangaadu)
 26. Tiru Indhallur

Travel Base: Mayiladudurai, Chidambaram

 27. Tirunangur  (Tirukavalampaadi)
 28. Tirukazhicheerama Vinnagaram (Sirkazhi)
 29. Tiru Arimeya Vinnagaram
 30. Tiruvanpurushottamam
 31. Tirusemponsei Koyil
 32. Tiru Manimaada koyil
 33. Tiru Vaikuntha Vinnagaram
 34. Tiruvaali and Tirunagari
 35. Tiru Devanaar Togai
 36. Tiruttetriambalam
 37. Tirumanikkoodam
 38. Tiruvellakkulam
 39. Tiruppaartanpalli
 40. Tiruchitrakootam (Chidambaram)

Nadu Naattu Tirupathigal (2)

41. Tiruvahindrapuram
 42. Tirukkovilur

Thondai Naattu Tirupathigal (22)
Travel Base: Kanchipuram

 43. Tirukachchi – (Hasthigiri)
 44. Ashtabhujakaram
 45. Tiruttankaa - Tooppul
 46. Tiruvellukai
 47. Tiruneeragam
 48. Tirupaadakam
 49. Tirunilaathingal Tundam
 50. Tiru Ooragam
 51. Tiruvegka
 52. Tirukkarakam
 53. Tirukaarvanam
 54. Tirukkalvanoor
 55. Tiruppavalavannam
 56. Parameswara Vinnagaram
 57. Tiruputkuzhi

Travel Base: Chennai
 58. Tirunindravur
 59. Tiruvallur (Thiru Evvullur)
 60. Tiruvallikkeni
61. Tiruneermalai
62. Tiruvidandai
 63. Tirukadalmallai(Mahabalipuram)
 64. Tirukkadigai (Sholangipuram)

Vada Naattu Tirupathigal (11)  - Andhra Pradesh / UP / Gujarat / Nepal

 65. Tiruayoddhi (Ayodhya - U.P.)
 66. Tiru Naimisaranyam (U.P.)
 67. Tiruppirudi (Nanda Prayag – U.P)
 68. Tirukkandam (Deva Prayag – U.P)
 69. Tiruvadariyasramam (Badrinath – U.P)
 70. Tiruchalagramam (Salagramam- Nepal)
 71. Tiruvadamadurai – (Mathura U.P.)
 72. Tiruvaipadi (Gokulam - U.P.)

 73. Tiru Dwarakai (Dwaraka - Gujarat)
 74. Singavelkunram (Ahobilam - A.P.)
 75. Tiruvenkatam (Tirumala/Tirupathi - A.P.)

   Malai Naattu Tirupathigal (13)
   Travel Base: Trivandrum, Kanyakumari
76. Tirunaavaya (Tirunaavai)
 77. Tiruvithuvakodu
 78.  Tirukkakkarai (Tirukatkarai)
 79. Tirumoozhikkalam
 80. Tiruvallavazh (Thiruvalla)
 81. Tirukodittanam
 82. Tiruchengannur
 83. Thiruppuliyur (Kuttanadu)
 84. Thiruvaaranvilai (Aaranmula)
 85. Tiruvanvandur (Tiruvanvandoor)
 86. Tiruvananthapuram
 87. Tiruvattaaru
 88. Thiruvanparisaram

Pandiya Naattu Tirupathigal (18)
Travel Base: Tirunelveli

 89. Tirukkurungudi
 90. Tiruchireevaramangai (Vanamamalai)
 91. Tiru Vaikuntam (Srivaikuntam)
 92. Tiruvaragunamangai (Nattham)
 93. Tiruppulinkudi
 94. Thirutholaivillimangalam (Irattai Tirupathi)
 95. Tirukkulandai (Perunkulam)
 96. Tirukkolur
 97. Tirupperai
 98. Tirukkurugur (Azhwar Tirunagari)
 99. Tiruvilliputtur (Srivilliputhur)
Travel Base: Madurai

 100. Tirutthangal
 101. Tirukoodal
 102. Tirumaaliruncholai
 103. Tirumogur
 104. Tirukkottiyur
 105. Tirupullani
 106. Tirumayam

 Vinnulagam (Celestial) (2)
 107. Tiruppaarkadal (Sheerasagaram)
 108. Tiru Paramapadham (Vaikuntam)

The presiding deities in these Divya Desams are found in various Thirukkolams (postures)
Kidantha Thirukkolam (Sleeping posture) in 27 Divyadesams
Veetrirundha Thirukkolam (Sitting posture) in 21 Divyadesams
Nindra Thirukkolam (Standing posture) in 60 Divyadesams

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vanchinathar Temple

One of the unique temples on the banks of cauvery is Sri Vanjiyam Temple or Vannjinathar temple. The presiding deity here is Vanchinathar (shiva) in Swayumbu linga form. Vanchinathar means compassionate shiva. This temple is located 35 kms from Kumbokona dist in Tamil Nadu. This is one of the 6 shivastalams on the banks of cauvery. The six shivastalams are Tiruvengaadu, Tiruvaiyaaru, Chaayaavanam, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvidaimarudur and Tiruvanchiam.

Sri Vannjiyam place is also known as ''purva janma paavam parihara stala''. Visiting this temple helps in absolving ones curse, sins committed either knowingly or unknowingly in ones past lives. This place is in par with Kasi. Visiting this place once is equivalent to visiting Kasi 100 times. The Ganga in Kasi has 1000 years and this 1000 years is known as 1 yuga, the current yuga running is Kali yuga. In kali yuga people are corrupted, more over sins committed by the ancestors are passed on to the succeeding generations which has adverse effects on them-pushing them to commit more sins!
Looking at the plight of the people in Kali yuga, Ganga Devi approaches Lord shiva in Kasi for a solution. Lord shiva advises her to leave one humsam in kasi and the remaining 999 humsam (disposition) at this place. The Ganga here is known as Gupta Ganga. In any shivites temple the first shrine to be visited is Lord Ganesha, however here it is Yema Dharmaraya. Yema is the lord of death who decides hell and heaven according to ones good and bad deeds. People fear him. Yema was very worried that he might have accumulated a lot of sins 'coz of his nature of work.

 In order to find a solution and liberation from all his sins, he visits more than 150  shiva stalams. However, he is not granted Moksham. While he was meditating at Thiruvayur- he receives a divine message that he will be liberated from his sins at Sri Vanjiyam shetram. He sat for penance and meditated for years. Finally, on one fine day in Masi-Bharani (Masi is a tamil month which comes in mid-February to Mid March, and bharani is one of the 27 stars), Lord Shiva shows up. Impressed by Yema's bhakthi, Lord shiva grants his wish. Yema's wish was that people should not fear him, and the devotees should first visit his shrine instead of usual lord Ganesha's shrine.

 DharmaRaja at his shrine is in the form of lord Shiva, next to him is a Nandhi(ox) is Shiva's vahanam, next to Nandhi is Chitra Gupta. Chitra Gupta is the assistant to Yema and also official ledger keeper, he writes down every ones good and bad deeds and reads it out during ones judgement day! Yema was very pleased by lord shiva, and offers to be lord shiva and Parvathi's vahanam on every Masi Barani.

The presiding deity is swayumbu Shiva linga. Some 2600 years before the linga was facing west, even the temple was facing west. During that time a major earth quake destroyed all the temples in the region, however this temple is not destroyed. saints and sages were puzzled as how this temple was saved. They soon realize that during the earth rotation, shiva linga was turned to east along with the earth; hence saving from the earth quake. As an evidence you will find lord shiva and nandhi facing at one particular direction; normally shiva and nandhi face each other. This isn't a myth, even today people can find the evidence.  Arathi is shown both sides of lord shiva linga. This place is also known to cure the rarest of rare disease.

There is another interesting story as why this place is known as Sri Vanjiyam. ''Sri'' means Laxhmi who is the goddess of wealth and also the wife of Maha Vishnu. During one conversation a small misunderstanding arises between Mahalaxshmi and vishnu.  Maha Vishnu angers Maha MahaLaxhmi and Mahalaxshmi comes to this place. MahaLaxmi reaches out to Lord shiva with her problem. Lord shiva helps in bringing them together hence this place is also known as Sri Vanjiyam. The goddess here is known as Mangalambikai. She is worshiped as Durga in the morning, as Mahalaxshmi in the evening and after 6 pm she is worshipped as Saraswathi (goddess of knowledge). There are separate shrine for mahalaxmi and for Mahishasuramardhini(Durga). Worshipping Her with 108 lotus flowers during Rahu kalam is considered special. The swayumbu lingam is worshiped with sandalwood leaves instead of usual vilvam (wood apple tree leaves!).

The major attraction here is that there are no navagrahas in this temple and Saneeswaran (Saturn) is housed in a separate niche. There is a separate shrine for Bhairavar.  Bhairavar is in yoga posture, without his usual mount, the dog, is another rare feature of this temple. Next to the shrine of Bhairavar is the shrine for Rahu-kethu, both carved out in one composite sculpture which is another unique feature of this temple. Milk poured over this Rahu-Kethu sculpture turns blue. Performing prayers and worship at this shrine are said to bless devotees with marriage and progeny and cure nervous disorders.    
The 3 sacred tanks at Tiruvanchiam temple - Lakshmi Theeratham, Naga Theeratham and Chakra Theeratham - were created by MahaLakshmi, Adiseshan and Chakrathazhwar. A holy dip in Lakshmi Theeratham is said to reunite a person with his estranged family. A holy dip in Naga Theeratham is said to liberate one of all Naga Doshas. It is said that by taking a holy dip in Chakra Theeratham, one is absolved of Brahmahatti dosham.

This is one of the largest temples in Tanjavur. Visiting this temple is not an easy task. Only if you're destined to you can visit this temple! Plan a trip to this temple, it is one of the few places where you can wash away with all your sins.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jayaveera Abhayahastha Anjaneya Temple

I dedicate this stala puranam in my mom's memory. She grew up in this same place and every time I  hear about this temple it reminds me of her. I love you mum, you take care and do remember you're the best \m/

Sri Jayaveera Abhayahastha Anjaneya temple, at Krishnapuram, near Kadayanallur ... a holy spot that dates back to the Ramayana.

Devotees of Lord Anjaneya, the temple dedicated to the `Son of Vaayu Bhagawan' at Krishnapuram, near Kadayanallur, in Tirunelveli district comes first, The sthalapuranam of the temple is interesting as Sri Anjaneya himself is said to have visited the place during the time of the Ramayana. The six feet high, south-facing Anjaneya at this temple attracts devotees from all parts of Tamil Nadu, who believe that miracles happen in their life within a short period of their visit. The temple situated in the middle of paddy field.

After Ravana abducted Sita, Sri Rama sought the help of Sugriva, the king of Kishkinta, to locate the whereabouts of his beloved wife. And Sugriva, who had returned to power with the help of Sri Rama, sent his forces in all directions. Sri Anjaneya, led a mighty team to the South, with a ring given by Rama. Before the large contingent left Kishkinta in search of Sita, Sugriva asked his friends to return home after a month without fail, so that the next course of action can be designed according to the information gathered during the first phase of the mission.

Except the contingent that left under the leadership of Anjaneya, all the other groups returned to Kishkinta after a month-long search operation that was in vain.Though Anjaneya was not able to collect any vital clues that would lead them to Sita, he moved ahead with the hope of getting useful information about her. They reached a desert-like area after they crossed Vindhya Hills and being famished and thirsty, they began to frantically look for food and water. Then Anjaneya found some birds coming out of a cave looking wet and led his forces to the cave. Inside the cave, they saw a beautiful city, and a meditating tapasvini - Swayamprabha - sitting at the centre.

Sri Anjaneya told her about the purpose of his mission and Swayamprabha offered them fruit and water
and told Him the story of the city, which was built by Mayan. Mayan was later killed by Lord Indra, as the architect had committed a sin. Indra, who had to take a holy dip after killing Mayan, prayed to Lord Siva who, in turn, sent a branch of the Ganges to the place. "I was asked to stay here till your visit here. Now it's time for me to leave this place," she said. But Sri Anjaneya asked her to remain there since he had to find Sita.

After Sita was found and rescued by Sri Rama, He, along with Sri Anjaneya came to the place again and Swayamprabha handed over the regime to Sri Anjaneya and left the place. The place, which was then ruled over by Sri Anjaneya, is now called Krishnapuram. The beautiful temple, sitting pretty amidst a paddy field, attracts every passer-by. The actual date of construction of the temple is not known as it dates back to the period of Sri Rama and is now known as Sri Abhayahastha Jayaveera Anjaneya temple.

In sudarakandam Hanuman is described as one for whom nothing is impossible and who is the embodiment of faith, devotion, loyalty to the master, fearlessness and self confidence. Success is the outcome of an attitude like this. If we want to be successful in life we have to combine the above qualities.

This particular Kandam is very important for each one of us because it really enlightens us in our spiritual quest. Hanuman is the awakened soul, Jambavan is the enlightened teacher, the vast ocean is the samasara which each one of us wishes to cross. We have to struggle to overcome the worldly sorrows which form the obstacles. We may not be always successful in this effort; but if we are undaunted and we have faith in GOD then we will at the end discover divinity which is manifested in Sita Devi

Jayaveera Abhayastha Anjeneyar kovil-Part 3
The actual date of construction of the temple is not known as it dates back to the period of Sri Rama and is now known as Sri Abhayahastha Jayaveera Anjaneya temple. An awesome spectacle ... the 77ft. Anjaneya statue at Sri Raja Rajeswari temple at Deivaseyalpuram.
The entrance to the cave, which is in a damaged condition, can be seen inside the temple tank even now. Another cave leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. As Rama visited the place with Sri Anjaneya, they reportedly performed a special yagna before establishing their regime there.

Now, the idols of Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Anjaneya have been installed at the spot where they actually performed yagna. Besides attracting a large crowd, even from distant places every Saturday, the temple has also become a place of worship for Muslims, who visit the temple to offer special prayers and pujas. "As this temple has become a symbol of secularism, special prayers and pujas are performed during Ramzan and Christmas," says K.P. Raman, a retired teacher of Krishnapuram, who gave his land for the construction of a concrete path to the temple, from the nearby road. The temple premises has samadhis of five sadhus. The temple administration has constructed a Thulasi maadam and planted a Vilvamaram, near these samadhis. The holy place had geared up in full swing for Hanuman Jayanthi that fell on January 2. Devotees can reach the small village, so close to the Western Ghats, via Tenkasi or Sankarankoil. Sri Anjaneya devotees can also visit Sri Rajarajeswari temple at Deivaseyalpuram on the Tirunelveli-Tuticorin highway, to have a glimpse of the 77ft statue of Sri Anjaneya, the tallest one for Him in Tamil Nadu.

Source :

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This is a Shiva Temple. Mukteeshwara is composed of ''Mukthi'' means liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and rebirth (reincarnation). Eshwara meaning controller or the Supreme controller here it means Lord Shiva. This temple is located in Murugamalla of Chinthamani Taluk, Chikkabalapura dist. in Karnataka. The temple is located at the top of a mountain ( made out of only rocks) This place is also called Baradwaja Shetra. Baradwaja is one of the greatest Hindu sages (Maharshis), descendant of rishi Angirasa, whose accomplishments are detailed in the Puranas. He is one of the Saptarshis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the present Manvantara; with others being Atri, Vashishtha, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa. This temple is many 1000 years old. The shiva linga here was worshipped by the great sage Baradwaja many thousand years ago.

There is a cave below the temple. This cave was used by many saints and sages to attain Siddhi and Mukthi. Siddhi in sanskrit means ''Perfection'', ''accomplishment'' , ''attainment'', or ''success''. As a result even today one can find human remains in this cave.  These remains are believed to be that of saints and sages. This place attracted many saints and sages, and still does. One of the very well know sages who made this place his home was Bardwaja Maha rushi. This whole area is known as Baradwaja Shetra. Through his divine knowledge Baradwaja realized the significance and importance of this place and migrated here with his parents. Baradwaja Maha rushi used this very same cave to meditate. Through his yogic knowledge, his soul travelled to Kasi every day and took bath at the holy Ganges river.  When his parents were bed ridden, he could not go to Kashi and his routine was broken. Sensing his difficulty, Ganges showed up to Bardwaja Muni at the cave (where he meditates) making it easy for him. Upon her order, a spring popped from the underground. And Baradwaja Munni used this spring to bathe from then on. This spring water never wizens up and it possesses medicinal properties too. There are several witnesses and recipients whose rarest disease have been cured with this spring water. The water here is known as ''servaroganivahrini''. This small temple was recently renovated by some good samaritans from Bangalore. There is a mukthi mutt located at the foot of the hill. The spring waters from the cave flows throw virabadreshwara swamy's feet and then through the help of Nandhi, it reaches the temple pond. And for many 1000s years this is how the water (ganges) flow from the caves to the pond. The water has never wizened up in the past and will not in the future too. Baradwaja maha rushi worshipped ''sapta matrikeyars ''( 7 mothers). Even today these idols are worshipped in the caves by the devotees. People who are the victims of black magic and other witch crafts can get rid of their spell here (at the 7 mothers sanidhi) all they need to do is bring tiny small black bangles and keep them in front of the idols, and pray to the Sapta Matrikeyars. Even monthly period problems for women will be cured here all by praying sincerely and taking the ganges water as medicine. The entire Baradwaja place is divine as Mukteeshwaras divine energy is spread through out!

This place is free of communal violence and is known for its communal harmony, in fact people from muslim community too are devotees. There are two Dargas located at close proximity to this temple. For the annual sandalwood festival at Abbajan and Ammajan Dargas the water used to make the sandalwood paste comes from this temple. This has been the practice for many decades. Also, muktheeshwara promptly shows up in some muslim devotees dream, and summons to visit the temple. And Muslim devotees promptly show up at the temple, and seek lords blessings by offering prayers to Mukteeshwara.

In order to make your wish come true, devotees are asked to tie 1 Re or 11 Rs (coins) in a piece of red cloth and later tied to stala virkusham or temple tree ( temple trees varies from temple to temple). The temple tree at mukteeshwara is ''hatthi'' mara (sorry, I do not know the english name for this tree). Before tying it to the tree, one has to hold it in the hand and pray to the god with complete faith and then tie it to the tree. There are many people whose wishes and prayers have been answered.

This temple is not too far from Bangalore. And also, if you're not able to visit Kashi for what ever reason, you may get a glimpse of ganges here at Mukteeshwara temple. Why wait, visit this temple whenever you can and seek the blesings of lord shiva.

Shambo Mahadeva!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kurudumale Ganesha

This is has to be one of my favorite temple stories so far. This temple is very unique from the rest of the temple stories that we know. To begin with, its massive saligrama Ganesha Idol. The Ganesh Idol here is at least 12 feet long and 6 to 7 feet in width. This is a unique Lord Ganesha statue. This temple is located in Kurudumale in Mulabagalu taluk of Kolar district in Karnataka. The interesting fact about this temple is, that it is built of a single rock without any foundation.  The Ganesha idol here is considered to be very powerful. Many people start new jobs or new work only after taking the blessing of Lord Ganesha. There are no other saligrama Ganesha idol as big as this anywhere on this earth!

Lord Ganesh is one of the best-known and most widely worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and more generally as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles (Vighnesha, Vighneshvara), patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom. He is honored at the beginning of rituals and ceremonies and invoked as Patron of Letters during writing sessions.

This Ganesha Idol was established by the trinities (of hinduism) such as Bhrama-God of Creation,  Vishnu-God of Protection, and Shiva-God of destruction  in Satya Yuga to destroy the demon TRIPURASURA. Yuga is the name of an 'epoch' or 'era' within a cycle of four ages. These are the Satya Yuga (or Krita Yuga), the Treta Yuga, the Dvapara Yuga and finally the Kali Yuga.  We are in Kali yuga. Tripurasura was an asura(demon) who tormented people, saints , sages demigods, gods in Krita or Satya yoga. He who inhabited Tripura, a mythological triplet fortress made of iron, silver and gold constructed by Mayasura.  From a boon he had grown very powerful and gods could not destroy him. However his end would come from a bachelor who enters wedlock, yet lives a celibate life! All the gods came together formed  shakthis known as Siddhi and Buddhi (vruddhi in north India)  as Lord Ganesha's brides. Lord Ganesha married both Siddhi and buddhi in the presence of all, and later the shakthis turned into his weapons. Lord Ganesha holds these weapons in his hands, always. Meanwhile Tripurasura roams freely causing all the mayhem and chaos around the world. His end is by this Lord Ganesha in Kaliyuga!

As Hindu trinity established this idol, the place came to known as kotadri, and the hill in which it is located is known as ''Kootamale'.' However, over the years it became kurudumale, a very rude form to say. This saligrama Ganesha Idol is the epicenter of all positive energy. This energy is omnipresent, and indestructible. This energy can create any sort of miracle. This idol is being worshipped from past four yugas. Another speciality of this idol is no matter how far you stand and view, the idol only grows bigger and bigger! Something even eye physicians cannot give a conclusive explanation! This is the same idol lord Rama first worshipped in treta yuga before fighting Ravana. Rama emerges victorious and rescues his wife Sita, who was held captive by Ravana! In Dawapara yuga, Sri Krishna worshiped this Ganesha in order to get rid of shamantha kamaniya's curse. The spell is removed and Krishna is absolved of his curse. In fact, this is the same temple where Pandavas visited before they went to war with Kuravas, the former emerge victorious and regains their kingdom! In Kaliyuga, Krishna Devaraya of vijayanagara dynasty understood its importance after lord ganesh show up in his dreams and requested a temple  to be built around the idol with meticulous details depicting its importance. Today, one can find fine stone carvings etched on the temple pillars depicting the stories of Lord Rama, and Lord Krishna.

The basic belief here is anyone who comes to this temple and worship with clean heart before beginning any work; he is sure to taste success in all his endeavors! Not only it has rich mythological history to it, even today one can find a lot of paranormal activities in and around the temple. Koundanya Munni one of the sapta Rushis comes every day to this temple, and sings in praise of lord Ganesha! It is believed that Koundanya rushi is still residing in the nearby caves. These caves are accessible to public! This Ganesh is  worshiped by koundanya rushi every day at midnight. Not only Koundaniya munni but also other gods and demigods visit this place every night. People here have reported many tiny lights hovering above, and also have heard a lot of varieties of music, prayers.  ''OM'' is resonated very loudly in the night and no one knows the sources of it. Also, one can find a lot of yagna kundalam! This place is very sacred. Anyone who occupies temple property illegally or indulge in money laundering, death be upon him. During Ratha sapthami, many lights travel from the nearby mountain towards the temple. These lights take a round about and travel back to the mountain. This happens every year and there are many witnesses to this phenomenon! You may catch a glimpse of it, if you are lucky enough.

This is a favorite temple for politicians, many politicians come here to get Ganesha's blessing. All their prayers have been answered. This place is closer to Bangalore.