Sunday, July 8, 2018

Cheran Maha Devi Amma Nathar Koil

The 2nd among the Nava Kailayam Temples, the Amma Nathar Koil has beautiful sculptures and inscriptions dating back at least a 1000 years

Archakar has been performing daily service for two decades and now gets just Rs. 1400 every month for his selfless service!!! 
Located 4kms off the Railway Station on the Southern Banks of Tamaraibarani on a long winding dark road without Street Lights is the huge Ammanathar Koil in Cheran Maha Devi, the 2nd among the Nava Kailayam temples and one dedicated to Chandran among the Nava Graham.  The Lord is flanked on his right in a separate sannidhi by Avudayambal (Gomathi Ambal).

Sangili Bhoothathar seen in a separate sannidhi in front of the temple is said to provide security to the temple. Historically there was a road leading from the Appan Venkatachalapathy Perumal temple (, just half a km away. However, in recent decades, this road has been shut and hence the archakar as well as the devotees have to take long winding dark route through the Ramaswamy temple ( If the authorities relay the route connecting the Srinivasa Perumal temple and Amman Nathar temple, devotees will be able to reach the temple from the Cheran Maha Devi – Mukoodal highway.
Selfless Service without financial returns
As with many ancient temples in this region, there is a huge amount of land attached to the temple but the income from the lands do not accrue to the temple. Hence it is the same story of the archakar being left in the lurch and having to find that devotee to present something to the Lord including basic requirements such as oil to light the lamp and provisions for the madapalli for the daily sacred offering to the Lord.

Despite the difficulty in reaching the temple, Chandrasekara Bhattar has been performing selfless service at the temple for over two decades. He now gets a salary of a mere Rs. 1400 for his service every month. One wonders as to how an archaka can run a family with a salary from the HR & CE as meager as this. And yet unmindful of the financial difficulty, he is present at the temple every morning before 7am to perform pooja. On most week days, he is seen sitting along with the security, who assists him at the temple, waiting for that elusive devotee find his way through to the temple at the far Northern end of Cheran Maha Devi. And when finally that devotee arrives, his eyes light up and he performs an archanai in a most devoted way chanting in a special loud tone. 

Over the decades, when lady devotees visited the temple in the evening, it was he who ensured their safe trip back to Cheran Maha Devi before locking the temple for there are absolutely no lights anywhere in the vicinity of the temple and the only lights one now finds are the ones from inside the train that runs very close to the temple.
HR & CE's lack of Support and care
The HR & CE which manages the  temple receives an annual income of Rs. 1.5 crore from the Papanasam temple alone, the first among the Nava Kailayam temples. And yet, the salary paid to an archakar within this set of temples is abysmally low.

Support from Venu Srinivasan's Trust??
It is heard that the Venu Srinivasan led TVS Trust, that has transformed the Nava Tirupathi (Perumal) temples, has also been supporting a couple of the Nava Kailayam temples in Srivaikuntam and Thenthiruperai, East of Tirunelveli. It is hoped that he will be able to look into this ancient temple as well and the service this archakar has been providing for a long period of time and support this one as well.

The temple surrounded by big walls on all the four sides has some of the most beautiful sculptures on the pillars. There are also a number of inscriptions on the walls dating back a 1000 years. Kulothungo Chozha is believed to have contributed improvements to the temple. 
Romasa Rishi’s penance – Tamaraibarani banks
Seeking Mukthi, Romasa Rishi, the disciple of Agastya, went to this preceptor who was performing penance at the Pothigai Hills and asked for the way to attain this. Agastya picked up 9 Lotus buds from his Kamandalam and let them down. He asked Romasa Rishi to install a Shiva Lingam at each of the places where this bud rests and to invoke the blessings of Lord Shiva at each of those places.  
It was at Cheran Maha Devi that Lord Shiva presented darshan as Amma Nathar to Romasa Rishi. There is a stone sculpture of the rishi performing the penance invoking the blessings of the Shiva  Lingam in front of the Amma Nathar Sannidhi.

Nandanar stood at the entrance of the temple and sang praise of the Lord but the Nandi was blocking his darshan. It is said that the Lord asked the Nandi to move slightly so Nandanar could have darshan of the Lord from his standing position.

The Devoted Sisters
The story goes that two sisters, who wanted to make contributions to the temple, chanted the name of Lord Shiva and grounded paddy on a traditional stone grinder. When they presented their offerings to the Lord, they were surprised to find gold coins as prasadam, an indication of how the Lord rewards sincere prayers of devotees.

They used this to renovate and make improvements to the temple. In memory of this episode, one finds a sculpture of the two sisters grinding the stone at the entrance to the main sanctum.

Aipasi Uthiram Kalyana Utsavam
Aani Anusham Varusha Abhishekam
Margazhi Aruthira for Moolavar Natarajar

On Maha Sivarathri in Maasi, the temple is open the whole day with four Kaalam pooja in the night. 
Liberation from Chandra Dosham – Monday Pooja
Monday Pooja is special at this temple. To liberate one from Chandra Doshma, five Abhisekams are done with Pomegranate and Venpongal or Kalkandu Chakkarai Pongal is presented to the Lord on Monday morning.

How to reach
From Cheran Maha Devi bus stand, an auto to the temple will cost Rs. 80. There are no buses to the temple.

The temple is open between 7am-10am and 5pm-6pm. Contact Chandrasekara Bhattar @ 94422 26511.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great to know. Look forward to other Nava Kailayam temples...