Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sri Mundaka Kanniamman temple, Mylapore, Chennai

This Temple is around 1000 years old. In the olden days there was a lotus pond in this place. Under the Banyan tree in the banks of this pond, Ambal manifested herself in swayambu form.  In the beginning, the devotees erected a small hut as sanctum for Ambal and worshipped her.  Later, an elaborate temple was structured.  Since there has been no sanction from Ambal, the Prime sanctum continues to be the hut.  It is said that Ambal in order to indicate simplicity lives in the hut and graces us. Ambal’s swayambu form of this holy place looks like a lotus bud. Hence, she is called ‘Mundaka Kanniamman”.  ‘Mundakam’ means ‘lotus’. The significant feature is of the trident, the primary weapon of Devi, seen at the center of the swayambu form. 
The swayumbu Goddess Sri Munda KanniAmman

The Naga (sacred snake of the temple)

A portrait of the Amman

Uchava Murthi

Temple Tree
The traditional belief is that Mundaka Kanniamman holds the power of the Trinity – Siva, Vishnu and Brahma.  The Banyan tree is behind Ambal’s sanctum.  Within the tree is the snake-cove and beside the tree is the sanctum of Naaga Devathai. Those with serpent-curse, worship the Naaga Devathai by offering milk, rose-water, turmeric abishekam and by lighting ghee-lamp.  On the left of the Prime sanctum, the procession Ambal graces us seated on the throne, flanked in both sides with Simha Vahanam – lion carriers.  In the prakaaram are the sapta kannikas appearing in the linga form. Jamadagni Maharishi and his son Parasuramar are seen as security gods on both their sides.  In front of the temple is Lord Vinayaka under the pipal tree.  Those with serpent-curse install Nagar (serpent) images under this tree.  This is the holy place where Vaayilaar, one of the Nayanmar and Peyaalvaar, one of the aalvaars were born.  Around this temple are the famous  Kapaleeswarar temple,  Parthasarathy and Madhavap Perumal temples.  By having the darshan of Mundaka Kanniamman, we can also go to these temples.

The Ambal is swayambu and appear with twin arms and donned with serpent crown.  There is a small vimanam constructed above her, in which are the female doorkeepers.  During the abishekam  performed from morning 6.00 to 11.30 we can worship the swayambu form of the Amman.  A fee of Rs.150/- is collected from the devotees to participate in the abishekam function.

Those who pray to her offer turmeric, sandal, saffron powder, kaappu and also annabishekam.  Generally, only in the Siva temples, the Lord is worshipped performing annabishekam.  Since the Ambal here is an aspect of Parvati Devi, she is worshipped by performing annaabishekam.  To prepare the Pongal offering to her, the temple uses only the dried cowdung.  The residue ashes are distributed as prasaadam.

1008 flower-basket Abishekam   :  The main prasaadma in this temple are the neem leaves, lime fruits, turmeric and holy water that are offered toAmman during prayer.
At the frontage of the Ambigai’s sanctum are the saptakannikas (the seven virgins) Brahmi, Maheswari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Kaumari, Indirani and Chamundi in the sculpture forms.  The whole of Aaadi and Thai months festivals are celebrated.  The ‘Porridge distribution’ festival in the month of Aadi and the ‘Pongal offering’ in the month of Thai are very famous festivals.  The 1008 Flower-basket abishekam on the last Friday of Aadi, the 108 Lamp Pooja on the last Friday of Thai and on the Chithira Pournami day, the 1008 Milk-pot abishekam are important features.  On the ninth day of the Navarathiri festival, Ambal in the guise of Mahishasuramarthini goes in procession along the streets.   There is also a practice amidst the devotees who take vow to her of going round the sanctum wearing neem leaves attire. Every evening Ambal goes in procession in her golden chariot.  The fee to participate in this is Rs.1000/-.

Those afflicted with chickenpox, by praying to her gets relief is the stern belief.  Devotees who confront impediments in getting married and those affected with eye diseases also pray to her.  By lighting 23 lamps, people pray to her to attain rank in studies.

When their prayers are fulfilled, the devotees perform abhishekam to Ambal and do ‘angaprathakshinam’ (body-rolling around the sanctum).

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Sri MariyAmman Temple - Punainallur,Thanjavur

This temple is situated at Punnainallur, a small village near Thanjavur, Tamilnadu, India. 
The history states that, before waging a war with the demon Tanja of Tanjore, Lore Siva stationed the Ashta Saktis (eight powers) one at each of the eight directions, and the one stationed at the eastern direction is now the presiding deity of this temple. In the year 1680, when the Maharashtra king Venkoji Maharaja Chatrapati (1676 - 1688) of Tanjore was on a pilgrimage at Samaya- puram, where there is a famous temple dedicated to Kali, Mariamman appeared to the King in his dream and told him -that she (the idol) was in a forest of Punna trees at a distance of about 3 miles from Tanjore. The King lost no time in rushing to the spot indicated to him and recovered the idol from the jungle. 

The goddess cures her devotees of all physical ailments. A charismatic yet considerate form is seen here. Mud replicas of the different parts of the human body are placed in the temple as offering and pleading the mother for cure. This temple was constructed at the place and the idol installed and so the deity of this temple is known as Punnainallur Mariamman. It is said that the daughter of Tulaja Raja (1729-35) of Tanjore, who lost her eyesight in an illness, regained it on offering worship at this temple.

In general all fridays are special, in particular the fridays of the tamil month Aadi will be more special. Devotees throng the temple in August/September, the season which relates a lot with this goddess. Sundays are considered to be the most auspicious days for worshipping the Goddess, when huge crowds mainly consisting of womenfolk and children pay their homage. Poojas listed here are applicable for this temple only.The tariff shown are not actual cost payable to the temple. It includes our service charge, cost of pooja items and Delivery charges.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Seetha Parvathi Temple, Avani Village in Kolar Dist

It gives me immense pleasure in narrating the following temple story. This one story should be enough to feed hopes among childless couple. If you're trying for a baby with no luck, then this is the temple you should be visiting soon. The story I am going to narrate is that of Seetha Parvathi Temple in Avani Village in Mubagalu Taluk, Kolar district in Karnataka.

This is a very ancient temple with rich history to it. The temple history dates back to Ramayana Period.  After rescuing Seetha from Ravana's captivity, Seetha returns home. Seetha is pregnant with twins, Lava and Kusha. During the victory procession, a washerman doubts Seetha's chastity and gossip's with a fellow worker. Hearing this, disturbed Lord Rama sends pregnant Seetha back to exile. Sage Valmiki comes to Seetha's rescue, he takes her to his Ashram. There he nurtures pregnant Seetha with great devotion.  Seetha worship's Godess Parvathi with lots of love and devotion.  During this time Seetha gives birth to twins they live in the Ashram for several years. As young boys Lava & Kusha, challenges their father for a war by tying the AshwaMedha (Horse).  A war breaks out between Lava & Kusha, and Rama & his brothers. Lord Rama and his 3 brothers commit garve mistake by waging war on children. To absolve their bad karma, they establish Couple of shiva lingas called Ramalingeshwara, Lakshmanalingeshwara, Bharathalingeshwara & Shatrugnalingeshwara and cleansed their sins. This place is called Gaya of the south. This place also happens to be where Lord Krishna tied knot to Jambavathi. Successive kings later constructed temple complex around the sacred lingas.


The Valmiki cave

Bharatha lingeshwara and Shatrugnalingeshwara

in the background on the other cliff is the Sita Paravthi temple

Swayumbu Parvathi Devi

a view from different angle

The idol of parvathi Devi is a swayumbu and the goddess temple is located further away; at an elevated platform from the Shiva temple.  Many centuries later, Parvathi Devi appeared to Adhi Shankara Charya and expresses her desire to establish a Seetha statue next to her swayumbu vigraha. As a great devotee of Shakthi, Adhi Shankara Charya execute her order with great care. Hence this temple came to be known as Seetha Parvathi Temple.

The Dhanushkodi water Tank
The speciality of this temple is you can experience goddess Parvathi Devi's miracle while you're at the temple premises. This temple is located in the premises of Valmiki Ashram. Sage Valmiki lived in this harsh terrain of large boulders. He meditated inside caves. Even today one can find this cave in good condition.  The mud found inside the cave has medicinal properties and used extensively by the villagers to cure stomach ailments. This temple is famous among childless couples. The temple is quite different from the other temples in every aspect. Couple who wish to have children should undertake a small hike to reach the temple (The temples are located on top of the cliff). One will find a water tank called '' Danushkodi''. Here woman should bathe. Without changing the cloths she should carry unbroken coconut with other pooja ingredients and pass through the caves. As soon as you reach the main GarbhaGudi of goddess of Parvathi, the woman starts feeling sleepy and eventually falls asleep and starts dreaming immediately. What you see in your dream is the answer to your questions. Most women describe seeing a woman with ''big bindhi'' on forehand, dressed traditionally & handing out things related to pregnancy like cribs, or baby's anklet etc. This mystery woman is none other than goddess Parvathi. What is more important here is devotion and belief. Also, following the rules of the temple strictly.

Some women who did not believe this, went ahead to test for themselves. And as a result they all did fall asleep at the temple. Instead of seeing a calm, loving woman, what they saw was a scary lady who scared the hell out of them.  When they realized their mistake, the ever loving Parvathi devi blessed them all and fulfilled their wishes too, hence turning non-beleivers to believers. What these woman saw was the ''ugrarupa Parvathi Devi''.  Also, not every women gets to fall asleep. If you're pre-occupied with things then the chances are you may not fall asleep. Even if you fall asleep, you may not see the godess. So please take care of your thoughts and pay attention in following the rituals when you visit this temple.

May all your dreams come true! jai mata Di!!