Friday, January 30, 2015

Papanasam Thiru Palaithurai Palaivana Nathar Temple

400year old Circular cum Conical Granary can store 3000Kalams of Grain
One of the 17Devaram Praised Temples to be named after a Tree
 Located 15kms West of Kumbakonam and one km East of Papanasam on the Southern Banks of Kudamurutti (a tributary of Cauvery) is the ancient Palaivana Nathar temple in Thiru Palaithurai whose legend extends across the four Yugams. The temple in its current form and structure dates back to the 12th century AD to the Chozha Period. Thirunavukkarasar (Appar) has praised the Lord in 11 verses with each of the verse ending with ‘Palaith Thuraiyarey’.

Palaivana Nathar provides darshan in Tiger’s skin
To test the severity of the penance the rishis who were seeking Mukthi, Lord Shiva and Parvathi took the form of Bikshandar and Mohini. Angered at finding them, the rishis created a Tiger from the Yagna and let go the fierce animal on them. It was here at Thiru Palithurai that Lord Shiva killed the Tiger and appeared before the rishis with the Tiger’s skin as his dress.

Vashista instals Shiva lingam
Seeking the title of Brahmma Rishi, Vashista installed a Shiva Lingam and undertook severe penance. Pleased with his prayers, Shiva appeared before him and anointed him. He also directed Sculptor Vishwakarma to install a beautiful smiling idol of Ambal south of this Sannidhi.

Pandya King liberated from curse
Another story goes that an arrogant Malaiathuvacha Pandya ignored the advice of kalava Rishi and was cursed to become a bear. The king’s wife invoked the blessings of Agastya Rishi who directed the bear to go the Chozha Kingdom and to the sacred Thiru Palaithurai. Once here, the bear was chased down by a hunter.  A fear struck bear jumped into the Cauvery south of the temple. Instantly, he was liberated from his curse and he regained his original form. Delighted at this, Malaiathuvacha Pandya built the Mandapa and initiated the Kalyana Utsavam at this temple.

One of the 21 sacred ‘Thurai’ sthalams
Thiru Pali Thurai is one of the 21 Sacred ‘Thurai’ Sthalams on the banks of Cauvery. Some of the others include ‘Maliyadu’ Thurai, ‘Maan’ Thurai, ‘Aavadu’ Thurai, ‘Poon’ Thurai, ‘Sen’ Thurai and ‘Then Kurankadu’ Thurai.

Named after a Tree
This is one of the 17sacred Devaram praised temples named after a tree. Some of the others include Thillai Vanam, Thiru Nellikka, Thiru Pananthaal, Vilva Vanam, Thiru Erukaththam Puliyur and Thiru Idai Maruthur.

Sacred temples around Thiru Nallur
This is one of the 7sacred temples around Thiru Nallur where Appar was blessed by Lord Shiva. The others are Govindakudi, Aavur, Pasupatheesaram, Maaligaithidal, Mattaiyaamthidal and Uththani.

Kalyana Kolam Temple
This is one of the 8temples in Chozha Kingdom where Lord Shiva and Ambal are seen in a Kalyana Kolam. The others are Thiru Vidaimaruthur, Thiru Kanjanur, Thiru Maan Thurai, Thiru Ambarmaakaalam, Thiru Chotruthurai, Thiru Valanjchuzhi and Thirukkara Veeram.

400year old Granary
There is a huge 36 feet high 400 year old Granary on the Northern side of the Raja Gopuram at the Eastern entrance. This was built by Raghunatha Nayak of Thanjavur in the early 17th century AD. This is circular at the bottom and conical at the top with three different entrances – one on the Western side at the bottom and one each in the middle and the top on the Southern side. The granary has the capacity to hold 3000kalams of grains.

One finds a 5 Tier Rajagopuram at the Eastern Entrance that has beautiful sculptures recording mythological stories. There are three prakaras. The original construction of the temple complex was of brick with Chozhas improving upon it and making it stronger with Granite Construction in the 12th Century AD. Inside the temple in the inner prakara on the upper wall on the western side, one finds beautiful paintings and several different sculptures depicting ancient stories.

There are 11inscriptions dating back to the Chozha Period and the 12th Century AD that provide insights into the gifting of tax free land, donations towards conduct of Aadi Pooram festival. Inscriptions relate to the rule of Kulothunga Chozhan I and III, Vikrama Chozhan and Raja Raja Chozhan II and III.

During the rule of Kulothunga I, taxes to be paid by this village to bigger town of Nallur was waived.

Later period inscriptions relate to Pandya and Vijayanagar rulers. The pillars in the Maha Mandapa was renovated and improved upon during the Vijayanagara period.

There are two sacred tanks inside the temple one relating to Indra and the other dating back to the period of Vashista Rishi. Saneeswaran is seen facing Mahalakshmi at this temple. Lord Subramanya has taken the form of the 6faced Shanmugha at this temple.

Chitra Pournami
Sandal Bath for Ambai on the last Friday of Aadi
Street Procession on Thiruvathirai
Thai Poosam
Maha Sivarathri
Navarathri- 10day Utsavam

Quick Facts
Deity               : Palaivana Nathar East Facing Kalyana Kolam
Goddess          : Thavala Vennagai Aal - Muthu Siruppu Nayaki
   (Separate Sannidhi South of the Lord)
Devaram Verse: Thirunavukkarasar 11verses
Time                 : 730am-12noon and 430pm-8pm
Contact           : Ramalinga Gurukal@ 94435 24410

How to reach

Thiru Palaithurai is one km North East of the Papanasam Railway Station on the Thanjavur- Kumbakonam Highway. Auto from Papanasam station will cost Rs. 50. Contact : Venkatesh auto @ 99428 80433

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