Friday, December 28, 2012

Kal Garuda Utsavam Nachiyar Koil

Magical event of ‘Stone Garuda’ increasing in weight manifold was witnessed last Thursday evening on the occasion of the fourth day of Margazhi Brahmotsavam at the 5th Century AD Divya Desam in Nachiyar Koil
மான் கொண்ட தோல் மார்வின்.....
தென் கொண்ட சாரல் திருவேங்கடத்தானை
நான் சென்று நாடி
நறையூரில் கண்டேனே - Thiru Mangai Azhvaar

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar, who was initiated the Pancha Samaskara here by the Lord of Thiru Naraiyur, in his above verse compares him with Lord Srinivasa of Tirupathi and says that he found the same beauty here as he had seen at Tirupathi.

Thiru Mangai has sung 100verses of praise on Nachiyar Koil. The only other Divya Desam receiving a century of verses from Thiru Magai is Sowri Rajan of Thiru Kannapuram, a Divya Desam about 25kms East of Nachiyar Koil.
Thousands watch Garuda increase in weight

Sharp at 7pm on Thursday evening, Kal Garuda made his way out of his sanctum to provide darshan to tens of thousands of devotees (including a family that had come all the way from Australia) who had gathered inside this early Chozha period temple.

A special feature of this Kal Garuda Utsavam was the magical event where Kal Garuda increased in weight during the procession. While only 4 people carried Kal Garuda out of his sanctum, as he advanced further out of each Layer and prakara, his weight increased manifold that 8 people, 16, 32 and 64people were required to carry him out into the Vahana mandapa at the entrance of the temple.

After an alankara for over an hour that saw Kal Garuda draped in a new silk dhoti and decked with beautifully glittering jewels and with a huge flower garland brought specially for this occasion from Srirangam, Vanjula Valli Thaayar led the handsome Srinivasa Perumal, mounted atop the Stone Garuda, out of the temple for the 6hour procession around the four Mada Streets of Nachiyar Koil.

As Kal Garuda stepped out from the Vahana Mandapa, his weight had increased dramatically that 128 people were required to carry them. Interestingly, on the way back early next morning, the Stone Garuda mount decreased in weight and finally, back at the sanctum, only 4 people were required to carry him ( the same number as the one when he departed the previous evening).  

Garuda Sweats
Another unique feature of this Utsavam was that one could see Stone Garuda sweating profusely as he made his way out for the procession.
On Friday morning, Kal Garuda received first honours from Srinivasa Perumal at his sanctum, where the Lord of Thiru Naraiyur presented Garuda with his parivattam, dhoti and garland for having carried him effortlessly on to the streets of Nachiyar Koil, on this special festive occasion to provide darshan to all the devotees who had come from across the country and outside, thus bringing to end the one of its kind Kal Garuda Utsavam.
Vanjula Valli Thaayar leads the procession
The divya desam in Thiru Naraiyur is one of the few out of the 108 Divya Desams where Goddess has prominence over the Lord. On all festive occasions, the first rights are reserved for Nachiyar. Vanjularvalli Thaayar leads the way at the procession, ahead of Srinivasa perumal. Even the food is served first to Vanjulavalli Nachiyar and only then to Naraiyur Nambi here at this temple.  This Divya Desam is also referred to by her name as ‘Nachiyar Koil’.

Sugantha Giri Kshetram              
Built by the Chozha King Ko Chenganan, Nachiyar Koil has 16 Gopurams including the 5 Tiered Raja Gopuram. Ko Chenganan had already built 70 Saivite Temples and this one, the 71st, was his first Vaishnavite temple. Recognising this, Thiru Mangai has dedicated 10verses of praise to Ko Chenganan. While Kanchipuram is referred to as Athigiri and Tirupathi as Seshagiri, the temple here at Thiru Naraiyur is referred to as Suganthagiri.

Thirumangai's reference to Ko Chenganan 

Thirumangai has dedicated 10verses of praise to Ko Chenganan, the Chozha king who built this temple.

பைங் கண் ஆள் ஆர் உரு ஆய் வேறுவ நோக்கி ......
விரல் மன்னர் திருஅல் அழிய  வெம்மா உய்த்த
செங்கணான் கோச் சோழன் சேர்ந்த கோயில்
திருநறையூர் மணிமாடம் சேர்மின்களே

Quick Facts

Deity                :  Thiru Naraiyur Nambi, Srinivasa Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess           :  Vanjula Valli Thaayar 
Temple timing  : 630am –12.30pm and 430pm-830pm
Contact            : Gopinathan Bhattar@ 94435 97388 / 0435 2467167

How to reach

Nachiyar Koil is about 10kms from Kumbakonam on the Thiruvarur Road. Buses ply every half hour on this route. Auto from Kumbakonam Railway Station will cost Rs.150

When here, also visit Thiru Cherai, Thiru Kannamangai and Thiru Kannapuram Divya Desams.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ariyakudi Thiru Venkatamudayan Perumal Temple

The 17th Century AD temple has a connection with Three Divya Desams - The idol of Srinivasa Perumal was the Abhisheka idol of Ramanuja at Srirangam, Shatari is from Tirupathi and Sacred fire (Agni) from Thirukoshtiyur
This is the biggest Vishnu Temple in the Chettinad Region with the 7Tier Raja Gopuram measuring 80ft
Located about 4kms South East of Karaikudi Railway Station on a huge 3 1/2acre land is the over 400years old Thiru Venkatamudayan Perumal Temple in Ariyakudi. This is the biggest Perumal temple in the Chettinad and one where there are festivals all round the year just like in Srirangam.

Sevukan Chettiyar used to walk to Tirupathi with a group of devotees on the Thiruvonam day in Puratsi for a darshan of Srinivasa Perumal. On one such trip, when ill health seemed to disrupt his trip to   the hill temple, he heard an invisible voice- that of Lord Srinivasa Perumal- say that He, the Lord, would himself provide darshan at the devotee’s place rather than the devotee coming all the way here.

Connection with three Divya Desams
He was directed to Srirangam to collect the idol, one which was the Abhisheka Murthy of Ramanuja. He came back here to this dense forest area of Ariyakudi and installed the idol of Srinivasa Perumal and built the first prakara. Subsequently, the 7tiered 80ft tall Raja Gopuram was built along with a separate Sannidhi for Alarmel Mangai Thaayar.  

The speciality at this temple here at Ariyakudi is that the idol is from Srirangam, the Shatari is from Tirupathi and Agni (the sacred fire) is from Thirukoshtiyur.

In memory of the construction by Sevukan Chettiyar, his idol can be seen on one of the main pillars inside the first prakara


On the North East corner of the temple is the Garuda Sannidhi. Every month on the Swathi star day, a special Thirumanjana, with 108 sacred Kudam, is performed for Garuda, who is said to remove doshams and enemies.

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar
The 20th century Carnatic Music legend Ramanuja Iyengar hailed from Ariyakudi. An archival record dating back to 1937 features a kutcheri presentation by him here at Ariyakudi.

Ancient Herbal Paintings
There are several ancient herbal paintings inside the temple each of which still has a breadth of freshness about them.
14day Brahmotsavam in Vaikasi including Chariot Festival and Theppotsavam
Special Thirumanjana for Srinivasa Perumal in Chitrai
Swarna Garuda Vahana Procession on the opening day of Chitrai

Puratasi Thiruvonam Festival- Every year during the Thiruvonam festival in Puratasi, devotees have the honour of being blessed by the Lords from these three Divya Desams (via the Abhisheka idol, the shatari and the sacred fire brought from Thirukoshtiyur for the Karpoora Aradhana) at the Dasavathara mandapa.

Temple Tank
There is a huge tank to the North of the temple where the annual Theppotsavam takes place in the month of Vaikasi. 
Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Thiruvenkatamudyan East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar           : Alarmel Mangai Thaayar
Utsavar            : Srinivasa Perumal
Time                : 730am-12.30pm and 430pm-8pm
Contact            Srinivasa Bhattar/ Thirumalai Bhattar @ 04565 221961 or 94866 34228 / Raghurama Bhattar @ 04565 250028/ 99400 77991 /AG Raman Bhattar @ 04565 250144

How to reach
Take Chennai- Rameswaram Express to reach Karaikudi. From the railway station, an auto will cost Rs.40 to the temple. There are also town and mini buses from Karaikudi bus stand, though these are infrequent.

There are three passenger trains during the day to take one back to Pudukottai and Trichy