Sunday, June 18, 2017

Somanathaswamy Temple Pazhayarai

Birth Place of Mangayakarasi, one of the 63 Nayanmars
Several beautiful sculptures of Narasimha and Prahalada depicting legendary tales

Located 3kms East of Patteeswaram and half a km West of Nathan Koil Divya Desam is the several centuries old Somanathaswamy Temple in Pazhaiyarai, a location whose legend dates back to the Pallava period. In different period of time, this place has come to be referred to as Mudikonda Chozha Puram, Aagavamalla Kulakaala Puram and Raja Raja Puram. The temple complex housing Lord Someswarar has been constructed in a way that horses are driving the Lord on a wheeled chariot. 

Nandi undertook Penance - Nandipuram
Legend has it that Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva, wanted to meet Lord Vishnu at Vaikuntam and in his eagerness to meet entered without securing the permission of the security guards (Dwarapalakas). This angered the Dwarapaalakaas who cursed the Nandi who then looked up to Lord Shiva for solution. As per his directions, Nandi undertake penance at this place and was relieved from the curse at this place. In memory of this legendary episode, this region came to be known as Nandipuram. 

In each of his 10 verses of praise on Nathan KoilVaishnavite Saint Poet Thiru Mangai Azhvaar refers to this place as Nandipura Vinnagram.  Nandipuram served as the capital of this region during the Chozha Period. 

In the Thevaram verses, this place was referred to as Palasai, Pazhaiyaarai and just simply as Aarai.
Thiru Gnana Sambanthar's in his verses of praise on Patteeswaram temple makes a reference to this place in two of his verses. 
Moon God's Pooja
It is believed the Moon God invoked the blessings of the Lord at this place. Hence the Lord is referred to as ‘Soma’ Nathaswamy. 

Birth Place of Mangayakarasi
This is the birth place of one of the 63 Nayanmars Mangayakarasi who later went on to marry a Pandya King. She promoted Saivism in great style in this region.

Komali (Cow) performed pooja at this temple. Hence the Ambal is referred to as Soma Kamalambigai. Another cow ‘Vimali’ performed pooja in the nearby Nurayur where there is another ancient Saivite temple dedicated to Nayaki Dharmapureeswarar.
The temple tower is entirely of brick construction similar to the one at Gopinatha Swamy temple West of Patteeswaram. Similar to that temple, the temple tower here too is in dilapidated state and has remained half complete. While the outer Gopuram is a brick construction, the entire temple complex inside is of a strong granite structure and looks strong even today. 

Pundarikakshan Temple in Thiru Vellarai near Srirangam also has a temple tower similar to the one here in Pazhayarai.
Inside the temple one finds several exquisite sculptures depicting legendary tales including those relating to Narasimha and Prahalada and the Lord’s fight with the asura. There is a stone carving of Lankan king Ravana lifting the Mount Kailasa.
There were also several inscriptions inside the temple dating back to the Chozhas that provided insights into Rajendra Chozha’s directions on contributions relating to temples. Many of these have been erased with the passing of time. 
During the Chozha rule, there was a majestic palace in Pazhaiyaarai and was referred to as Madurantakan Thiru Maaligai. There was also a reference to Rajendra Chozha Mandapa within the Palace here at this place.

Near to this temple is another Saivite temple in Panchavan Maha Deveeswaram, one dedicated by Rajendra Chozha to his mother Panchavan Maha Devi. 
A Kumbabhishekam was performed last year after a  gap of almost 400 years along with the Kumbabhishekam of the Patteeswaram temple. 

There is a Veera Durgai Sannidhi on the Northern corner of the temple.

Lord Nataraja is taken out on a procession on the occasion of Aruthra in Margazhi.
On Chitrai Rohini, the birthday of Mangayakarasi, a special abhishekam is performed with a procession accompanied by the recital of the sacred songs.

In decades gone by, Brahmotsvam used to be celebrated in a grand manner with street processions  but today the temple wears a deserted look. The priest  who comes from Patteeswaram performs a one-time pooja and it is the security who takes care of the temple for the rest of the day.
The temple is open between 6am- 1pm and 6pm-8pm.  

Contact Sabesa Gurukkal @ 99525 30576 / Balakrishnan Security @ 95007 18152 / Balaguru @ 96554 80486 (a long time resident of Pazhayarai)

How to reach
An auto from Patteeswaram will cost Rs. 75. One can reach also reach Pazhayarai from Kumbakonam via Korukkai.

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