Sunday, October 23, 2016

Thillaisthanam Neiyarappar Temple



7 Lords congregate here as part of the Sapthasthanam Festival in Chitrai
Historical Temple with significant contributions made from the 9th Century AD
Located 2 kms west of Thiruvayaru on the Northern Banks of Cauvery is the Kritha Pureeswarar temple in Thillaisthanam, one that has been praised by Thiru Gnana Sambandhar and Thirunavukarasarar. The temple finds historical references dating back to the 9th century AD to the Pallava rule. Lighting a perpetual lamp was an important contribution that was made at this temple during the rule of the Pallavas, Cholas and Pandyas.

Fraudulent acts were brought to book and the collections made through fines were repaid back to the temple in form of ornaments for the deities. Even the instrument players failing in their duties were punished and had to pay back to the temple. Allocations were made for Abhishekams. Festivals such as Vaikasi Utsavam and 10 day Maasi Utsavam were celebrated in a grand manner at this temple. It is here at the Thillaisthanam temple that one can have darshan of all the 7 Lords during the Sapthasthana Festival in Chitrai.

Overall the temple was very prosperous and people seemed to have lived a happy life. However, this is a case of yet another Thevaram temple with historical importance that is lying in a forlorn state. Devotees rarely visit the temple during the weekdays. There is a huge Nandavanam that has a healthy growth of trees but really the positive energy created by vibrant devotees is missing. The Gurukal is seen sitting at the entrance waiting for the next devotee who seems still far away!!!

The Name – ‘Nei’arappar
 Legend goes that invoking the blessings of Saraswathi, Kamadhenu performed pooja here with Ghee instead of milk. In memory of this event, this temple is referred to as ‘Nei-Arappar’ temple. Hence Ghee Abhishekam is special here.

Lord blesses a true devotee
An old lady, who was keen to perform Kainkaryam for the Lord at Thillaisthanam, sold Keerai and lit ghee lamp from the sale proceeds to light the Lord. When she invoked his blessings for improved income, the Lord informed that the very thought of performing Kainkaryam had led to her becoming an entrepreneur.

The Lord was always well lit
During the rule of Nandi Varma Pallava III in the 2nd half of the 9th Century AD, there was a gift of 60 Kalanju of pure gold to light a perpetual lamp at the temple. A decade later during the rule of Varaguna Pandya II, there was a gift of 200 kasu by the Pandya Queen and then 100 kasu by the crown prince towards lamp service at the temple. The Sabha at Thillaisthanam received the cash and agreed to measure the ghee everyday for the lamp service.

The contributions to light the lamp for the Lord continued during the rule of Aditya Chola I, when there was initially a gift of 96 sheep and then of 100 sheep for supply of an olukku of ghee and a gift of 25 kalanju of gold for burning the perpetual lamp. The sabha undertook to distribute the sheep among the shepherds.

How accounts were scrutinised
In 932AD, an officer came to scrutinise the accounts under the order of the king. The officer levied a fine of 12 kalanju of gold on the sabha for failing to attend the previous meeting. With this fine, a forehead plate was made for the deity.

Three decades later, in 968 AD, there was yet another investigation of the temple affairs. This time a fine of 13 ¾ kalanju of gold was collected in addition to two Manjadi of gold. With this collection, the officer made two forehead plates for the deity.

Vaikasi Festival
 Details relating to celebration of the grand festival in Vaikasi were to be followed as found engraved on Uttiram, Padigai and Virkandam at the Southern entrance of the Artha Mandapa in the big temple and on Jagati Pettikai, Kandan and Kumudam in Namana Mandapa in the east of the entrance.

In 934AD, there was a gift of 19 5/8 kalanju of gold for lamp service. Later two devotees provided for supply of oil by assigning some land.

Provisions for Abhishakam
During the rule of Vikrama Chola, provisions for offerings such as ghee, milk, curd were made. Cows were distributed to the nearby villages and there were agreements made to provide for stipulated quantity of the above. In 967AD, there was a gift of paddy for offerings.

Drummer Punished
An undertaking was made by a drummer to burn two perpetual lamps in lieu of 83 kalanju of old he owed to the temple on account of some missing instruments and an ornament worn by the deity during the rule of Para Kesari Varma Chola.

The temple is open between 10am and 11.30am and 5pm-7pm. Contact Shankara Gurukal @ 94893 60563 or 04362 260553

How to reach
Auto from Thiruvayaru costs Rs. 50. Bus Numbers 13, 23 and 5 towards Thirukattupalli stop in front of the temple.

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