Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Patteeswaram Thiru Gnana Sambanthar

A ‘Pearl’ Festival to celebrate the Saivite Poet’s Grand Entry into the Dhenupureeswarar temple

The Lord of Patteeswaram provides a 'Pearl Canopy' to save Gnana Sambanthar from the heat wave 

Legendary Tales from Thiru Gnana Sambanathar's life played over the three days
The centuries old three day annual festival was celebrated at the Dhenupureeswarar temple in Patteeswaram recently in memory of the grand entry of the Great Saivite Poet Thiru Gnana Sambanthar. When the Saivite Poet, Thiru Gnana Sambandhar, had finished invoking the blessings of the Lord at Thiru Sakthi Mutram and began his long walk, along with his disciples, to have darshan of the Lord at Patteeswaram, a severe heat wave swept across the region.

Similar to the Vaishnavite Lord fearing losing out on Thiru Mangai Azhvaar’s praise( / (, Lord Dhenupureeswarar too feared that the heat would take a toll on the great poet and in an effort to not miss out on Gnana Sambanthar’s praise of him, the Lord directed the Devas to carry a special ‘Pearl Canopy’ to protect him from the sweltering heat.  And much to the Saint Poet’s surprise he found a beautiful ‘Flower Top’ providing him the much needed relief from the burning Sun.

When the Saint Poet was about to enter the temple at Patteeswaram, so eager was Dhenupureeswarar to watch his grand entry in the Pearl Canopy that he asked Nandi to move a bit so as to give way to Thiru Gnana Sambanthar, thus allowing him to have darshan of the Lord right from the entrance. To this day, the Nandi at the temple is seen slightly to the left and not directly opposite Dhenupureeswarar.

As he watched the Lord in awe from the entrance of the temple, Thiru Gnana Sambanthar let out his first verse of praise on the Lord of Patteesaram…

பாடல் மறை சூடன் மதி பல் வளையொர் பாகமதில் ........

மாட மழை பாடி யுரை
பட்டிசரம் மேயகடி
வேடநிலை கொண்டவரை
வீடுநெறி கட்டிவினை வீடுமவரே

In memory of this event, a three day festival is organized every year with legendary tales in the life of Thiru Gnana Sambanthar played out on each of these days.

On the penultimate day of Vaikasi, the event of Thiru Gnana Sambanthar being presented with ‘Thirumulai Paal’ (an event that took place originally in Sirkazhi) was presented in the morning at the Gnana Vaavi tank to the loud recital of Periya Puranam, describing the tale of the 63 Saivite Saint Poets. In the evening, the tale of him being presented the Potraalam was enacted at the temple.

On the final day of Vaikasi, Thiru Gnana Sambanthar was taken around in a grand alankaram of a Muthu Kondai in the morning while in the evening he was seen in a Muthu Odam.

The legendary episode of Thiru Gnana Sambanthan making an entry into the Patteeswaram temple in the Pearl Canopy was enacted on the first day of Aani. At 7.30 am, he came out on a Pearl Palanquin, one that was carried by over 50 Sri Patham Thangis and made a two km trip to Thirumetriligai. From there, he made his way to Thiru Sakthi Mutram.
 Aani 1- Pearl Canopy Procession from Sakthi Mutram
Just after noon, with the Sun striking hot evoking memories of that hot day over a 1000 years ago, Thiru Gnana Sambanthar began the procession from Thiru Sakthi Mutram with the Grand Pearl Canopy atop him and made his entry into Patteeswaram an hour later witnessed by several thousands of devotees who had gathered there from all the nearby villages. 

Later in the evening, Thiru Gnana Sambanthar and Lord Dhenupureeswarar, seen in a Muthu Vimanam, provided a joint darshan with a procession around the streets of Patteeswaram bringing to end this unique ‘Pearl’ Festival.

The Dhenupureeswarar temple has 5 towering Gopurams including the 7 tier Rajagopuram. When Parasakthi undertook penance here invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva, the sacred cow 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.

மறையனொலி கீதமொடு பாடுவன பூதமடி மறுவி விரவார்
பறையனொலி  பெறுக நிகழ் நட்டம் அமர் பட்டிசர மேயபனிகூர்
பிறையினொடு மறுவியதொர் சடையினிடை யேற்றபுனல் தோற்ற  நிலையாம்
இறைவனடி முறை முறையின் ஏத்துமவர் தீத்தொழில்கள் இல்லர் மிகவே 

As Patti played an important role in the success of Sakthi’s penance, this place came to be called Patteeswaram.
The Great Chozha kings including Raja Raja Chozha I had great respect for Durgai and the Goddess acted as the security guard for them. Both before their departure for any battle and on their return, the Chozha kings would invoke the blessings of Durgai. 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.

How to reach
Patteeswaram is located 8 kms South West of Kumbakonam. Auto from Railway station will cost Rs. 200. Town Bus/mini bus ply every half hour from Kumbakonam Bus Stand. One can also board Aavoor/ Govindakudi bound bus to reach the Patteeswaram temple in half hour from Kumbakonam.

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