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.

8 comments:

  1. Very useful... thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. When is the best time to vist this temple,I am from Malaysia ...pls advise ...Ty

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Kaana

    Sorry for the delay in reply, it is 5-6 hours from chennai. With traffic and road blocks easily comes up to 7 hours. I am not very sure of the timings. All times in south India usually open at 5 Am and closes by 9 PM. They also close the sacred sanctum in afternoons, but the temple will be open.

    @Lovely Days @Ramya Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. this place is just 25 k.m. s from Kumbakonam,

    ReplyDelete
  5. very useful information.....

    ReplyDelete
  6. Srivanjiam is a Moksha Sthalam. A visit to this Temple will relieve from many
    troubles and sickness in life.

    Balasubramanian NR

    ReplyDelete