Saturday, May 22, 2010

Varagur Venkatesa Perumal Temple

Located about 5kms East of Thirukattupalli on the Kandiyur Road is the 400 year old Venkatesa Perumal Koil in Varagur. This place was originally called Bhoopathiraja puram.



The Story

Narayana Theerthar, a Sanyasi from Guntur, had developed severe stomach pain and invoked the blessings of Thirupathi Lord to relieve him from the pain. It is believed that Lord Varaha directed him to the entrance of this place and disappeared from here. Hence, this place came to be called ‘Vara’gur.

Lord Krishna is said to have danced to the Krishna Leela songs presented by Narayana Theertha at this temple. A unique feature at this temple is the sculpture of Anjaneya in a special posture of putting Thaalam to these Krishna Leela songs.



Prarthana Sthalam for the jobless
One is said to find a job immediately if he visits this temple and prays sincerely and promises to offer the first month salary to the Lord here.

Festivals

Chitrai Akshaya Trithi
10day Sri Jayanthi
Puratasi Saturdays
Margazhi Mohana Alankaram
Maasi Narayana Theerthar Special Arathana


Quick Facts

Moolavar : Lakshmi Narayana East Facing Sitting Posture
Utsavar : Venkatesa Perumal

Temple Time : 7am-12noon and 5pm-8pm
Contact No. : 04362 287510

How to reach

The temple is about 10kms East of Koviladi Divya Desam on the Thirukattupalli-Kandiyur road. Direct bus from Thanjavur to Varagur (25kms) – First bus at 530am from old bus stand. Bus will take over an hour to reach Varagur.

One can also reach the temple via Srirangam-Kallanai-Koviladi-Thirukattupalli

Friday, May 21, 2010

Varadaraja Perumal Pasupathi Koil

Periya Nambi attained Moksham at this place at the age of 105


Located about 2kms South West of Ayyampettai and 10kms North East of Thanjavur off the Kumbakonam highway is the 900year old Varadaraja Perumal temple in Pasupathi Koil.

The Story
Kulothunga, a chozha king, directed his people to sign a document that Lord Siva was the greatest. A Vaishnavite devotee refused to sign and asked the king to get Ramanuja to sign, if he really believed that Siva was the Supreme Lord. Accordingly, the king ordered for Ramanuja to be brought to his court.

Anxious at the anger of the king and worried as to what could happen to his Acharya, KoorathAzhvaan, disguised as Ramanuja, entered the court of the Chozha King and as expected, refused to sign. He was accompanied by his preceptor Periya Nambi.

Angered at his refusal to sign and having found out his disguised form, the king ordered the plucking of his eyes. Not wanting the king’s messenger to touch him, KoorathAzhvaan did the unthinkable- he removed both his eyes with his own hands using his long sharp nails. The eyes of Periya Nambi, who was aged 105, were plucked.

Unable to see and over burdened by his age, Periya Nambi struggled to make his way to Srirangam. Varadaraja Perumal appeared here at Pasupathi Koil and provided darshan to Periya Nambi who attained Moksham here.

Later, Ramanuja is believed to have come here and built the temple and Sannidhi for Periya Nambi.

Festivals
Margazhi Kettai Utsavam is special at this temple
(Periya Nambi was born on Margazhi Kettai Nakshatram)

Special Pooja on Thiruvonam Nakshatram every month



Quick Facts

Moolavar : Varadaraja Perumal East Facing Standing Posture

Thaayar : Perundevi Thaayar

Temple Time: 7am-9am and 5pm-8pm

Priest : A.K. Vijayaraghava Bhattar

Contact Telephone Number: 97903 42581

How to reach
Buses every 5minutes between Kumbakonam and Thanjavur. One can get down at Ayyampettai (15kms from Thanjavur/25kms from Kumbakonam) and take an auto to the temple (Rs.30-40)

One can also get down at the Pasupathi Koil Railway Station( Trichy-Kumbakonam Passenger trains stop here)and walk half a kilometer to reach the temple.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Kalinga Narthana Temple Oothukadu

Then Gokulam
Prarthana Sthalam for liberation from Rahu, Kethu and Sarpa Dosham



Located about 12kms South West of Kumbakonam, off the Aavoor-Thirukarugavur –Thittai road, is the Kalinga Narthana temple in Oothukadu, the only temple that is exclusively dedicated to him (Kalinga Narthana). The temple dates back to the Chozha period though specific data/proof is not available.

The Story

The story goes that this place was once a Pushpa Vanam. Residing at the Kailasanatha temple in Aavoor, Nandini and Patti, the children of Kamadhenu, were providing milk to the Lord. Every morning, the two would also graze across to the nearby Oothukadu Village (2kms away) and collect flowers for the Lord from the Pushpa Vanam.

On one such occasion, the two little ones listened to Sage Narada’s narration of the story of Lord Krishna and his Kalinga Narthana. Hearing the story of the five year old (Child) Krishna taking on the poisonous asura snake (Kalinga) and performing the Kalinga Narthana, Nandini and Patti are said to have broken out into tears for the hardship and the onerous task imposed on the little boy Krishna.

Worried about her children, Kamadhenu approached Krishna at Vaikuntam seeking a solution to her children’s shocked state of mind. Responding to her request, Krishna appeared here at the Pushpa Vanam at Oothukadu and performed yet again, with ease, the Kalinga Narthana in front of a delighted Nandini and Patti thus convincing them that this was a child’s play for him.

Wanting all the devotees to enjoy this unique form of Krishna, Narada requested the Lord to be present here at Oothukadu as Kalinga Nardana.

Narada is said to have installed the idol of Krishna as Kalinga Narthana with Nandini and Patti standing on either side of the Lord in front of him and referred to this place as ‘Then Gokulam’.

Unique Posture of the Lord


An interesting feature at this temple is the posture of Kalinga Narthana - his left leg is seen on top of the Asura Snake but not touching the snake. His left thumb alone is holding the tail of the snake with none of his other four fingers in contact with the tail!! His right leg is seen above the ground in a dance posture. On a close look, one can find the scars on his leg below the knee, the result of his fight with Kalinga.

The great Venkata Kavi lived here


The Kalinga Narthana temple at Oothukadu has attached to it a significant connection with the music world. It was living here in Oothukadu that Venkata (Kavi) Subba Iyer composed many of his memorable and to-date unforgettable songs on Krishna including specific ones on Kalinga Narthana of Oothukadu.

Prarthana Sthalam


This temple is believed to be a Prarthana Sthalam for upcoming music and dance artistes. Kalinga Narthana is said to fulfill all their prayers and bring them success in their art.

This is also believed to be a Prarthana Sthalam for the unmarried as well as childless couples.

A visit to the Kalinga Narthana temple will liberate one from Rahu and Kethu doshams and Sarpa Dosham as well.

Festivals

Uriyadi Utsavam on Gokulashtami
Special Alankaram and Abhishekam on Rohini star every month

Quick facts
Moolavar : Veda Narayana Perumal East Facing
Goddess : Mahalakshmi
Utsavar : Kalinga Nardhana flanked by Rukmini and Satyabhama
Temple Time: 930am-12noon and 5pm-8pm

Priest : Jayarama Bhattar@94426 99355 or 04374 268549.

How to reach Oothukadu
Buses every half hour between Kumbakonam and Aavoor. The temple is about 2kms from Aavoor. There are also direct buses to the temple (Oothukadu) from Kumbakonam.

Auto from Kumbakonam Railway Station will cost Rs.125-150.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anthili Lakshmi Narasimha

An Upset Garuda undertook penance at Anthili
Lord Vishnu provided darshan in his Narasimha form to Garuda


Located 195kms South West of Madras off the Villupuram-Thiru Kovilur SH7 on the banks of Then Pennai River is the 1600 year old Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Anthili. This is one of the four Narasimha temples in this region, the others being at Parikkal, Poovarasan Kuppam and Singiri and is part of the Eight Prominent Narasimha temples in Tamil Nadu(others being Namakkal, Sholingur, Singaperumal Koil and Sinthalavadi).

Garuda’s Anger
As he did during the Gajendra Moksham episode, Lord Vishnu, skipped his vehicle(Garuda) on his way to kill Hiranya. This act of his Lord angered Garuda and he left Vaikuntam and reached the rock here at Anthili. Sitting atop the rock, he undertook severe penance that sent heat waves every where that over time generated raging fire.

Anxious at this development, Brahma and the Devas sought the help of Lord Vishnu to cool down his exclusive vehicle, Garuda.


Lord Vishnu set out on a mission from Vaikuntam along with Goddess Lakshmi, finally reaching the rock where the angry Garuda was undertaking penance. An inquisitive Lakshmi questioned her Lord's reasoning for leaving Garuda behind on such an important trip to kill the Asura and she also suggested that it was unreasonable to put Garuda to such hardship.

Lord Vishnu explained the urgency of his task and the immediate need to put an end to Asura Hiranya's wrong doings meant he had to leave without Garuda.

Pleased with Garuda's penance, Lord Vishnu provided darshan here as Narasimha with Lakshmi on his lap. Garuda immediately cooled down on seeing his Lord once again, especially in the Narasimha form which he had missed earlier as he did not accompany the Lord at the time of killing Hiranya.

He requested the Lord to remain here in this cool form (shantha roopi) and provide darshan to all devotees. Also, having missed taking him on the trip to kill Hiranya, Garuda sought the opportunity now to carry the two of them around this place.

An overjoyed Garuda is said to have taken them around Thiru Kovilur, Mugaiyur, Arakandanallur and Paranur, among others.

Festivals
Swathi Thirumanjanam
Narasimha Jayanthi
Hanuman Jayanthi
Vaikunta Ekadesi



Pooja is performed at this temple as per Madhwa Sampradaya. Some of the sculptures inside the temple seem to indicate that there may be a Karnataka connection to the construction.

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Lakshmi Narasimha
Temple Time : 7am-6pm
Priest: Srikanth Bhattar
Telephone Number : 94867 89200

How to reach

Anthili is 35kms West of Villupuram and 1km East of Arakandanallur/ ThiruKovilur Railway Station
( Villupuram-Mugaiyur-Thirukovilur route)

Buses every half hour between Villupuram and Thiru Kovilur Divya Desam.
One can get down at Arakandanallur Police Station ( 2kms before Thiru Kovilur) and walk one km or take an auto (Rs. 30/-)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thiru Mukoodal Appan Venkatesan

Lord changed his original Sayana Kolam to provide darshan to Thondaiman Chakravarthy in a standing posture
Tirupathi Lord sent his Original Conch and Chakra, to the king, which are now seen here at this temple
Varadar makes his annual trip to Thiru Mukoodal on Maatu Pongal day


Located about 70kms South of Madras, off the Chengalpet-Kanchipuram SH58 at the confluence of three rivers – Palar, Vegavathi and Cheyyar- is the 2000 year old Appan Venkatesan temple in Thiru Mukoodal. The temple is one km South of Pazhaya Seevaram Narasimha temple on the Salavakkam Highway.

The Story
Kanchi King Thondaiman invoked the blessings of Tirupathi Lord seeking Moksham. The Lord asked him to postpone his trip to Tirupathi as there was a battle to be undertaken at Kanchi and his presence was required there. As part of his best wishes, Lord Venkatachalapathy sent his Conch and Chakra to Thondaiman and helped him win the battle. To this day, the original Conch and Chakra of Tirupathi Lord are seen here at this temple.

When Thondaiman once again sought Tirupathi Lord’s blessings for Moksham, he was asked to go to Thiru Mukoodal. When Thondaimaan Chakravarthy reached here, the Lord who was in a Sayanam Posture stood up and provided darshan in a majestic standing posture. A delighted king called out to him as ‘Appa Venkatesa’ and that name has now come to stay.

Brighu Rishi


Lord Srinivasa provided darshan, facing North, to Brighu Maha Rishi who undertook penance here and hence he is seen in a standing posture facing Northern Direction.

Divya Desam connection


While this is not a Divya Desam, there are some interesting connections with Tirupathi and Oppiliappan Divya Desams. One finds Tirupathi Lord’s Conch and Chakra at this temple. Similar to Oppiliappan temple, Lord Srinivasa is said to have provided darshan to Markandeya Rishi (as Ranganatha in his sayana kolam) and to Bhoodevi as Kannan. Hence, Markandeya Rishi and Bhoo devi are seen by the side of Appan Venkatesan.

Equivalent to Kasi

Having bath at the confluence of the three rivers and undertaking Pitru Tharpanam on the river bank is said to provide Punyam equivalent to having bath in Kasi.

Kanchi Varadar’s annual visit to Thiru Mukoodal


The most popular event at this temple is the annual visit of Lord Varadarajan of Kanchipuram on Maatu Pongal day in January. On this evening, Lord Srinivasa of Thiru Mukoodal welcomes Salavakkam Perumal and Pazhaya Seevaram Narasimha as well as Varadar at this temple. Later in the evening, all these four deities go out on a street procession around Thiru Mukoodal.

Tri Murthy temple
This is a TriMurthy temple- Brahma, Siva and Vishnu. On the head is the matted hair and Netrikan (the third eye) that is symbolic of Shiva. One can see this matted hair at this temple only in the month of Karthigai. The Abhaya hastham Posture of the Lord seen with a Lotus flower is symbolic of Brahma. The Lord seen with a Conch and Chakra is symbolic of Vishnu.

Appar Thirunavukarasar has sung praise of the Lord. Hence, this is also referred to as the ‘Appar’ koil.


Culverts


One of the distinguishing features at the Thiru Mukoodal temple is the large number of inscriptions across the entire stretch on the Eastern walls of the complex. Stories relating to our culture dating back to Raja Raja Chozha, details of lands donated to this temple, performance of daily poojas, festivals round the year have been clearly laid out.

Hospitals
The other interesting aspect was the Hospital and Vedic School that flourished at this place just behind the temple in centuries gone by. There was a full fledged hospital with a number of beds, doctors & nurses and a medicine center.

Vedic School
As seen in other temple stories in this region including Uthira Merur, this place too was renowned for Vedic Education where one was always a witness to vedic chanting and Prabhandham recitals. However, with passage of time, both of these have taken a back seat. The Hospital has been damaged to an extent of no revival.

The temple itself, which is now part of ASI and designated as a protected monument, is in fine shape but no more do we hear the constant vedic recital that was once symbolic of this place.

Priest

Having said that, Shri. Raghunathan Bhattar, the priest here, is a shining example of how priests should be. He must rank as one of the most devoted in a perumal temple performing poojas with utmost sincerity and devotion to the Lord.

Festivals


Krishna Jayanthi
Vaikunta Ekadesi Garuda Sevai
Karthigai

Thiruvonam (Perumal’s star) is special every month

Quick Facts

Moolavar : Appan Venkatesan North Facing Standing Posture
Goddess : Alarmel Mangai (Separate Sannidhi)
Utsavar : Srinivasa Perumal

Temple Time : 830am-11am and 4pm-6pm

On Thiruvonam day every month, the temple will be open between 8am- 1pm and 3pm-7pm

On Weekends, temple will be open as above.

Priest: R. Raghunathan Bhattar @ 94437 78352

How to reach


1. Chennai- Tambaram-Walajapet- Pazhaya Seevaram. One has to take a right at Pazhaya Seevaram and cross the Palar Bridge to reach Thiru Mukoodal- 65kms

2. Chennai-Singaperumal Koil- Palur (SH57) - SH58-Pazhaya Seevaram. One has to take a right at Singaperumal Koil (45kms from Madras) on to the SH57. 12kms on this road, just after crossing the Chengalpet-Kanchipuram railway gate at Palur, one will join Chengalpet- Kanchipuram SH 58. 5kms on this road, one should take at left at Pazhaya Seevaram and cross the Palar Bridge to reach Thiru Mukoodal- 65kms

3. Chennai- Chengalpet-Kanchipuram Highway (NH45-SH58). Take a left at Pazhaya Seevaram to reach Thiru Mukoodal-72kms

It is better to take the third route. One can reach Thiru Mukoodal in 20minutes from Chengalpet.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bed Bugs and Cockroaches stop Sethu Express!!!

Bushes near the shunting station are a reason for cockroaches to find their way into the coaches

In a bizarre incident, Bed Bugs and Cockroaches in the AC Compartment of the Rameswaram-Chennai Egmore Sethu Express meant the train had to be halted for almost 90minutes at the Tiruchchirapalli Junction last week.

When the train was about to leave the station, well past mid night, the passengers pulled down the chain. After spraying the disinfectants and cockroach repellents, when the train was about to leave again, the passengers from the next AC coach rushed out complaining that the cockroaches had changed coaches thanks to the spray.

And now, it was time to spray the disinfectant in the other coach.

Railway Sources say that the reason for this is the lack of attention and supervision at the shunting station. Another important reason is the sprouting of big bushes at many of the shunting places that has aided the bugs and cockroaches to find their way into the coaches.

While cockroaches have been part and parcel of the Sleeper coaches, their presence in the AC coaches leaves one raising the question on the quality of maintenance of the coaches.