Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Patteeswaram Durgai Temple

Nandi moves to the left to allow a grand entry for Thiru Gnana Sambandhar
Rama installed Shiva Lingam here to liberate himself from Chaaya Hathi Dosham after the battle with Ravana
Located 8kms South West of Kumbakonam is the Durgai temple in Patteeswaram that in its current form was constructed in the 16th Century AD.  There are several stories relating to this huge temple that has 5 towering Gopurams including the 7 tier Rajagopuram. This is the 23rd Saivite Shrine South of Cauvery as praised in the Devaram.

The name Patteeswaram
Parasakthi undertook penance here invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva. Kamadhenu sent her daughter Patti to support the penance. Pleased with Parasakthi’s prayers, Shiva appeared here with his long uncombed hair (Sadai Mudi) and provided darshan. As Patti played an important role in the success of Sakthi’s penance, this place came to be called Patteeswaram.

This is one of the important places where Kamadhenu, the sacred celestial cow, visited and undertook penance invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva. Answering her prayers, Shiva appeared here and promised to fulfil the wishes of devotees who offer sincere prayers at this temple. In memory of this event, Lord came to be referred to as Dhenupureeswarar.

Rama’s visit to Patteeswaram
After defeating Ravana, it is believed that Rama visited Patteeswaram to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva to liberate him from Chaaya Hathi Dosham that had struck him for having killed Vaali striking an arrow from hiding.  He installed Shiva Lingam here at Patteeswaram, one of the three places in Tamil Nadu where he did this, the other two being Rameswaram and Vedaranyam.

Liberation from curse
Medhavi Rishi who was undertaking penance in the Maalava kingdom left his ashram to attend a yagna. He assigned his disciple Dharma Sarma to take care. On return he found that the cows had become weak significantly impacting their ability to deliver milk. An angered rishi cursed him to turn into a dog. To liberate himself from the curse, Dharma Sarma, now in the form of a dog, came here to the South of Cauvery to Devi Vanam. When the sacred water fell on the dog, he was liberated from the Sage’s curse and regained his original form.

10day Festival as thanks giving
King Chitrasena of Kaambeeli had no child. To liberate himself from the sins of the previous birth, he came here with his wife and undertook bath in the sacred tank. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Shiva appeared before him in Vaikasi and blessed him with a child. As a thanks giving to the Lord, a delighted king started the grand 10day festival in Thai.

Thiru Gnana Sambandhar’s Patteeswaram trip
The great Saivite Poet Thiru Gnana Sambandhar, who was on his way to Patteeswaram to have darshan of Lord Dhenupureeswarar and to sing praise of him, was almost knocked down by the sweltering heat. To protect him from the heat, Lord Shiva sent the invisible Devas with a pearl canopy that turned into a beautiful ‘Flower Top’ much to the surprise of Thiru Gnana Sambandhar.

When he was about to enter the temple with his disciples, Dhenupureeswarar asked his Nandi to give way to Thiru Gnana Sambandhar so he could watch the poet’s grand entry thus providing him darshan  right from the entrance. Hence to this day, the Nandi at the temple is seen slightly to the left and not directly opposite Dhenupureeswarar.

In memory of this event, Muthu Pandhal Festival is celebrated at this temple in a grand way every year in Aani.
The Great Chozha kings including Raja Raja Chozha I had great respect for Durgai and the Goddess acted as the security guard for them. Also, before their departure for any battle and also after their return, the Chozha kings would invoke the blessings of Durgai.

Towards the end of their regime and with their palace at Patteeswaram going into ruins, they moved the idol of Durgai into the Northern entrance of the Dhenupureeswarar temple from where she currently provides darshan to devotees.

At this temple, Durgai, with Simha Vahana to her left, is seen in a cool form with eight hands and lacks the typical aggressive looks.

Right from the Chozha period, Durgai has been so popular as she solves all the problems of devotees that this temple has come to be referred to as the Patteeswaram Durgai Temple.

Ancient  Landmark

In centuries gone by, the landmark to this place was denoted as being South of Arasalaru and North of Mudikondan River.

In the 8th Century AD, Pallava King Nandivarma II built the beautiful Nandipura Vinnagaram -Jagannathan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam), a few kms East of Patteeswaram giving this region a grand stature and a rich place in history. Subsequently, Rajaraja Chozha, Rajendra Chozha and Kulothunga Chozha made this an integral part of their kingdom from where  they made several important decisions    .


10day Festival in Vaikasi with all the five Utsava deities go out in a procession
Muthupandhal Festival with a palanquin of pearls
Navarathri Festival Durga Pooja
Margazhi Festival – Five Utsavars go out on a procession

How to reach
 Patteeswaram is 8kms South West of Kumbakonam. Auto from Railway station will cost Rs. 150
Town Bus and mini bus every half hour from Kumbakonam Bus Stand
One can also board Aavoor bound bus to reach the Patteeswaram temple

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