Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thottiyam Veda Narayana Perumal Koil

Lord Vishnu is seen in sleeping posture using the four Vedas as his pillow
Guru- Budhan Sthalam - Prahalada seen as a 3 year old boy

Located in a serene village amidst a lot of greenery is the Veda Narayana Perumal Koil at Thiru Narayanapuram (or Veda Narayanapuram) about 4kms South West of Thottiyam, near Musiri (Trichy District), on the Northern banks of Cauvery.

A most distinct and unique feature at the Veda Narayanan temple is that Lord Vishnu is seen in a sleeping posture resting on and using the Four Vedas as his pillow. Lord Narayanan is said to have initiated Vedic Education to Brahmma and hence is referred to here as ‘Veda’ Narayanan.

Construction of the temple
Puranic Scriptures point to the fact that King Mahabala Vaanavaraya was taking his huge army to Mysore. As night befell, he took rest at this place. Lord Narayana is said to have appeared in his dream that night and asked him to install his idol here that was lying beneath the earth and to create festivals that people could enjoy. The Lord is believed to have assured him victory in his battle at Mysore.

Delighted at this, the king built the temple and dedicated this entire village to the temple. To date, about 160 acres of land belongs to the temple. It is a completely different story that the income from this is not being passed on to the temple. Hence, despite this rich history, the Veda Narayanan temple is today seen without much income. Also, the priest is offered only a meager salary. Will this change?

Prahalada as a 3 year old boy
Prahalada, who had only seen Lord Vishnu in an angry form while he was slaying Hiranyakashipu, wanted to see the soft side of the Lord. After undertaking penance here, Prahalad is said to have had a darshan of Lord Narayana in a more peaceful and happy form as a ‘Shantha Swaroopi’.

Lord Vishnu also promised a place for Prahalad near his feet - another unique feature seen at this temple is a 3 year old boy Prahalada in a standing posture at the feet of the sleeping Lord.

Goddess Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi are seen at the feet of Lord Veda Narayanan offering their prayers.

Pillai ThiruNaraiyur Araiyar Abhimana Kshetram
Thiru Naraiyur Araiyar came here with his wife and 6 children in the hope of finding Moksham. One night, the leaves from the palm tree at the temple caught fire. Shocked at seeing this, Thiru Naraiyur Araiyar immediately threw his 6 children towards the Lord as a cover for him and to protect him from the raging flames. Unfortunately, the Lord continued to burn. Araiyar then threw himself into the flames and hugged the Lord so the fire would not touch his favourite Lord.

Pleased with his devotion, the Lord appeared before him and granted moksham to the entire family of the Araiyar. Hence, this place came to be called Pillai Thiru Naraiyur Abhimana Kshetram.

Vedic Initiation to Brahmma

Brahmma once turned arrogant as he was the only one who could ‘create’ things in this world. Wanting to teach him a lesson, Lord Vishnu created a unique idol that left Brahmma wondering about its creator. When asked, Lord Vishnu feigned ignorance saying that Brahmma was the only one bestowed with the rights of creation. While agreeing to this, Brahmma questioned the Lord as to who could have created this image and how this could have appeared without his knowledge and approval.

Lord Vishnu brought the truth before Brahmma and a message to the people at large saying that we should do what is expected of us. However, we should not become arrogant as a result of the exclusive/ special powers given to us.

‘Guru’ and ‘Budhan’ Sthalam
Realising his folly, Brahmma requested Lord Narayana for the initiation of the Vedas. Lord Narayana is believed to have appeared before him here at Thiru Narayanapuram and undertaken the Vedic initiation. As he initiated the Vedic lessons to Brahmma, the Lord is referred to here as ‘Veda Narayanan’. Having played the role of an Acharya and Brahmma having been a student/disciple of Lord Vishnu, this temple is said to be a ‘Guru’ and ‘Budhan’ sthalam.

Success in Education
Veda Narayana Perumal of Thiru Narayanapuram is said to help devotees in their education and learning. As Brahmma himself was initiated with Vedic Education, this is a special temple on the education front. Students/ children who visit this temple offering their sincere prayers and place their books at the feet of Veda Narayanan are believed to come out with flying colours in their education.

Festival
11 day festival in Vaikasi including a 9 day chariot procession
21 day Adyana Utsavam in Margazhi
Puratasi Navarathri.

There are Utsavams through out the year at this temple.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Veda Narayanan in Sleeping Posture facing East
Goddess : Vedanayaki Thaayar (Separate Sannidhi)

Temple Time : 730am -1130am and 430pm-8pm
Contact : Thiruvenkatam Bhattar/ G. Kuppusamy(madapalli)
Telephone Number : 99766 11898 / 98948 06131

How to reach the temple:
Veda Narayanapuram is located about 50kms from Trichy on the Trichy-Namakkal-Salem Highway near Thottiyam.

1. Take the Trichy- Namakkal-Salem bus. Get down at Thottiyam (about 10kms west of Musiri). Take an auto Rs. 75-100 to and fro from Thottiyam to temple
2. Take Trichy- Kulithalai bus (NH 67) or Chennai-Mangalore (6107 Exp). Get down at Kulithalai and take a bus across the new 2 km bridge across the Cauvery to Musiri bye pass. From there, take a bus to Thottiyam (buses to Namakkal/Salem)
3. Local bus No. 6A from Musiri to ThiruNarayanapuram
4. There are 2 buses every day from Trichy to Thirunarayanapuram ( 9am and 330pm)

Contact auto driver Pushparaj at Thottiyam bus stand @ 97504 12183

The temple is about 4 kms from Thottiyam bus stand on the Kaatuputhur road via the Arasalur Arch.


(This story is thanks to inspiration from one unknown Shri. Surya who posted a comment on one of my previous stories wanting me to write about this temple. My sincere thanks to him for the motivation)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thalaichanga Naanmathiyam Divya Desam

Chandran was liberated from his curse here
Lured by the beauty of the Naan Mathiyam Perumal of Thalaichangadu, Thirumangai Azhwar, sitting in Thiru Kannapuram, a Divya Desam about 50kms South West of here, indicated his instant desire to see the handsome Lord residing at this cool lotus filled Thalaichanga Nanmathiyam with his Periya Thirumozhi Verse 

கன்னார் கண்ணபுரம் ……. தன்ஆர்  தாமரை சூழ்
 தலை சங்கம் ..நான் மதியை விற்கின்ற வேன்சுடரை
  கன்னரகண்டு களிகின்ரண்டு
 இங்கு என்றுகொலோ ’.
In the Periya Thiru Madal, Thirumangai refers to the special sacred water at Thalaichanga Naan Mathiyam Perumal temple: “Nal Neer Thalai Changa Naan Madiyai”. The sacred water (Theertham) tastes special here at this temple.

Inscriptions

Several inscriptions dating back over a 1000years to the rule of Para Kesari Varma, Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola period are seen on the outer walls of the Prakara that indicate significant contribution made by these rules to this temple and the .

In ancient times, Thalaichangadu was a commercial hub renowned for Conches, with the Eastern coast of Kaveripattanam just around 7kms from here.

Thalaichanga Naan Mathiyam Perumal temple’s legend has close connections with at least two other Divya Desams – Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam and Parimala Rangan Temple at Thiru Indhalur (Mayiladuthurai).

Chandran liberated from curse
Chandran, who was learning under the tutelage of Guru Brihaspathi, fell for the beauty of his Guru’s wife and cast an evil eye on her. Brihaspathi, who came to know about this, uttered a severe curse turning Chandran into a disease prone being. A shocked Chandran pleaded with the Guru to pardon him but Brihaspathi pronounced that the biggest sin of life is to caste one’s eyes on another’s spouse and that Chandran would have to undergo the curse for having cast his eyes wrongfully on his Guru’s wife.

Another story goes that Dakshan offered the hand of his many daughters to Chandran after being impressed with his handsome looks. However, Chandran fell in love only with Rohini and disregarded the others. Dakshan viewed that Chandran had become arrogant as a result of his good looks and cursed Chandran to lose his youth and his ‘striking personality’.

Three Phased Parikara to cleanse sins
To cleanse himself from his sins, Chandran requested Brihaspati to suggest parikara and was directed by his Guru to invoke the blessings of Lord Vishnu for atonement from his sins.

As the first step in his three phased parikara, Chandran undertook bath at the Chandra Pushkarani and performed service at the Ranganatha temple in Srirangam for 15 years. This helped him liberate himself from his ‘physical disease’.

Subsequently, he moved to Thiru Indhalur (in Mayiladuthurai) and offered prayers to Lord Parimala Rangan. Answering his prayers, the Lord reduced the severity of his curse and brought back a few of his handsome features. As per Chandran’s request, this place in Mayiladuthurai came to be called Indhunna (a name denoting Chandran) - later Indhalur- and this region was referred to as Chandran Kshetram.

Finally as the culmination phase of his parikara process, he came here to Thalaichangadu Kshetram
(Aruna Vana Kshetram) had bath at the Theertham and undertook severe penance invoking the blessings of Lord Vishnu who appeared here in a Chandra Vimana along with Shengamalavalli Thaayar and liberated him fully from all his curses. Hence the Lord here is also referred to as Chandra Saabha Haran.

A pleased Chandran requested that the Lord fulfil the wishes of devotees who pray sincerely to him at this temple, just as he did and to relieve them from curses and doshams.

Priest’s long trip every day
Despite this temple now being in a remote location with very little facilities, a redeeming feature is the commitment and devotion of Varadarajan Bhattar, who travels close to 20kms every morning from Mayiladuthurai to perform service to the Lord here at this temple.

Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Naan Mathiyam Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar           : Thalaichanga Naachiyar
Utsava Deity    : Vensudar Perumal (Yoma Jothi Piraan)
Utsava Thaayar: Shengamalavalli Thaayar
Temple Time     :  10am-530pm
Contact            : Varadarajan Bhattar @ 99652 73712

Festivals
3day Pavitrotsavam in Puratasi
Navarathri Utsavam was started in 2008 after a gap of several decades.
Vensudar Perumal goes on a procession to the Thiruchangadu Village on the occasion of Vaikunta Ekadesi (the only outside procession of the year)

How to reach
Thalaichangadu is 15kms East of Mayiladuthurai (the same distance from Sirkazhi) on the Karaikal Highway and 2kms from Karuvi/Poompuhar Entrance Arch.

From Mayavaram, buses every hour to Karuvi/Thalaichangadu. From Sirkazhi, one can board the Karaikal bound bus to reach the temple in 45minutes.

From Mayiladuthurai, auto will cost Rs. 250 to Thalaichangadu.