Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Yadava Narayana Perumal Kizhvelur

It was at Kizhvelur that Lord Subramanya presented sacred cows to the Yadavas to whom Lord Vishnu provided darshan as Yadava Narayanan
Thiru Kalyanam is Celebrated in a grand manner on the Shravanam day in May every year
Located 1km South of the Nagapattinam-Tiruvarur Highway is the Yadava Narayana Perumal temple in Kizhvelur. This is the fifth among the Pancha Narayana Kshetrams around Thiru Kannangudi Divya Desam Damodara Narayana Perumal Divya Desam praised by Thiru Mangai Azhvaar is a couple of kms from here (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2008/06/thiru-kannangudi.html).
Lord Subramanya undertook penance at the Anju Vettathu Amman temple, the Thevaram Sthalam a couple of hundred yards from the Yadava Narayana Perumal temple. To support his penance, Parasakthi is believed to have protected the place from all five sides. Lord Subramanya secured the spear at Sikkal just over 5kms from here and he completed the Samhara of the Asura at Tiruchendur. When he invoked the blessings of Brahmma seeking liberation from the dosham of killing, he was directed to go back to the same place where he undertook penance and present cows to the devotees.

Thus, Subramanya came back here and presented milk bearing cows to the Yadava devotees of Kizhvelur. When the delighted devotees began invoking the blessings of the Lord and presenting the milk, Lord Vishnu presented himself as Yadava Narayana and provided darshan to them.

The biggest festival takes place on the Shravanam day when Thiru Kalyanam is celebrated. The entire town congregates at the temple on this day to watch the celestial wedding. 
Puratasi Saturdays have also become a day of celebration in the recent past.

The temple is open between 8am and 12noon and 5pm and 830pm. Contact Suresh Bhattar @ 98427 55732.

The 2nd among the Pancha Narayana Kshtrem, Anantha Narayana Perumal temple in Aabaranadhari is just 5kms East of here (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2018/08/anantha-narayana-perumal-aabaranadhari.html). 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Thiru Nellikaval Nellivananathar Temple

Praised by three Saint Poets, this historic temple built by Amala Kesa Chozhan is one of the five ‘Kka’ Sthalams
Sundarar refers to this temple alongside the temples of Kanjanur, Panaiyar and Nannilam 
One of the Five ‘Kka’ Kshetrams, Thiru Nellivananathar temple in Thiru Nellikaval is located 15kms from Tiruvarur off the Thiruthuraipoondi highway. The temple has been praised by Thiru Gnana Sambandhar, Appar and Sundarar. 

Commitment of the Gurukal family
Dhandapani Gurukal has been performing for five decades at a salary of a few hundreds. His 82 year old father had performed service at the temple for over six decades at a meager salary. His grand father too had performed pooja for several decades in the early part of the 20th century, such has been the commitment of the family to keep the service going without much of a salary.

Chozha Period Construction
It is believed that Amala Kesa Chozhan built this temple. His son Uthama Chozhan invoked the blessings of Nellivananathar on the Pradosham day seeking a child. Answering his prayers, it is believed that Ambal herself presented before him as a 3 year old child whom Uthama Chozhan accepted as his own. After she grew into a beautiful young girl, she visited the Thyageswarar temple in Tiruvarur. Much to her delight, an invisible voice told her that the Lord himself would come to Thiru Nellikaval and marry her. Accordingly, he came here on the first Friday of Avani and married Mangalambal. This episode of the celestial wedding is enacted every year on the first Friday day of Avani.

Being a temple built by Amala Kesa Chozhan, this place is also referred to as Amala Kesa Puram.

Ancient Reference
In ancient times, this place was referred to as Panchakshara Moorthy Puram. Thirunathingudi, Thiru Keraveyil, Thiru Thengoor and Thiru Namasivaya Puram are the other four sacred Saivite temples in this region and these along with Thiru Nellikaval constitution the Panchakshara Moorthy Sthalam.

Praise by Saint Poets
Sundarar refers to Thiru Nellikaval as being South of Kanjanur and North of Panaiyur with Nannilam being in the middle.
The connection with Ramayana
A young Susanma, who later went on to become a Rishi, was introduced into wrong habits as a result of mixing with wrong friends. When his father once questioned his wrongful conduct, the young boy killed his father in anger. Struck with Brahmma Hathi Dosham, he went along with his mother to Tiruvarur.  There he was requested the learned rishis to direct him on the route to liberation from the Dosham.

The rishis of Tiruvarur,(http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2015/12/thiruvarur-thyagaraja-temple.html)
who were performing a penance, narrated the story of how Kakasura, chased by the arrow of Lord Rama, came here seeking salvation. After having bath in the Theertham, he invoked the blessings of Lord Shiva and Ambal who directed him back to Lord Rama for liberation.

Being the place for liberation from Dosham, the rishis pointing to the crow’s story asked him to have bath in the sacred five Theerthams of Thiru Nellikaval. Upon reaching here, he had bath as directed and performed the Anga Pradakshinam at the temple. After presenting food to the cow, he invoked the blessings of the Lord and Ambal, upon which he was liberated from the dosham.

Gandharva’s arrogance and liberation from disease
Divyarupan, a Gandharva specialized in music, grew arrogant and presented in ‘abaswaram’. He incurred the wrath of Saptha Matha and was inflicted with a disease. He was directed to Thiru Nellikaval. Here after he had finished his bath in the sacred Brahmma Theertham, he was liberated from his curse when a spot of water from the wet hair of the wife of Susanma Rishi fell on him while she was in the process of drying her hair. 

A special feature of the temple is the five Theerthams. Opposite the Ambal Sannidhi is the Brahmma Theertham.
It is here that Sage Durvasa who is renowned for his instant anger undertook pooja and is said to have attained a softer form here.

Sun’s rays on the Lord
The Sun’s rays fall on the Lord in the evening between 5.30pm and 6pm between the 18th and 24th day of Maasi.

‘Kka Kshetrams’

Appar's praise
In his praise of the Lord of Thiru Nellikaval, Appar ends each of his verses as Nellikaavul Nilaayavaney. 
Festivals
Chitrai Brahmotsavam with Theerthavari on Chitrai day
Chitrai Theppotsavam
Maasi – Sun’s rays on the Lord

As Nellikai is the Sthala Vriksham, it is believed that those offering sincere prayers at this temple will be blessed with a healthy life.

The temple is open between 630am-1130am and 5pm-8pm. Contact: Dhandapani Gurukal @97861 93292.

How to reach
Buses every 15 minutes from Tiruvarur to Thiruthuraipoondi. Get down at Four (Cross) Road. From there, an auto to the temple will cost Rs. 80 (4kms). Contact Auto Ayyappan @ 96557 53604.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Anantha Narayana Perumal Aabaranadhari

The only temple where the Moolavar Lord sports ornaments from Head to Toe
The 21 Feet Lord is seen atop the 7 Hooded Serpent and with a beautiful smile

Inscriptions dating back to the 12th Century refer to this location as Aabaranadhari Chaturvedi Mangalam 
Located 3 kms East of Thiru Kannangudi Divya Desam is the Ananatha Narayana Perumal Temple in Abaranadhari where the Lord is seen in a sleeping posture sporting a beautiful smile. This is one of the five temples dedicated to Lord Narayana in the ‘Pancha Narayana’ Kshetram. Anantha Narayana Perumal is an Abhimana Lord for the Thiru Kannangudi Divya Desam.

The 21 feet Anantha Narayana Perumal seen in a Sayana Kolam atop the seven hooded serpent is one of the longest among the Perumal temples. This is possibly the only Perumal temple where the Moolavar Lord in a sleeping posture is seen with ornaments from head to toe. As the Moolavar Lord sports ornaments across his body, he came to be referred to as ‘Aabarana’ Dhari, one who adorns Aabaranam.

Vedic Recital
Inscriptions inside the temple dating back to the period of Raja Raja Chozhan refer to this place as Aabaranadhari Chaturvedi Mangalam indicating that vedic recital was integral to this location. 
During the rule of Dippaya Deva Raya, a couple of centuries later, this place was referred to as Aabaranadhari Uthira Ananthapuram ‘Palli Konda’ Perumal temple, giving an indication about the physical features of the Lord and his posture.

Location of the temple
Also, as per the ancient inscription, the location of the Aabaranadhari temple was recorded as being South of Sikkal, home to the famous Murugan temple. 

Large Gifts to the temple
Inscriptions refer to the donation of several tracts of land towards the maintenance of the temple. As with the Damodara Narayana Perumal temple in Thiru Kannangudi Divya Desam, despite the existence of several acres of land, income has not accrued to the temple from these lands for several years. And thus the salary of the priests have remained in three digits for decades and the other support personnel have long gone in search of greener pastures, leaving the single Bhattar to manage the entire activity.

The Moolavar Lord
Sri Devi Thayar and Brigu Rishi are seen invoking the Lord’s blessings near the Lord’s head while Bhoo Devi Thayar is seen pressing the feet of the Lord. Vyasa Rishi is also seen at the Lord’s feet. All the other deities except Garuda are also seen sporting ornaments.

The Ornaments
A unique feature of this temple is that the Moolavar Lord is seen with ornaments from head to toe. As one sets his eyes on the Lord from the top, one finds ornaments such as Dhandam, Dharanam, Shireshanam, and Ghatakam, Kanganam on his arm, Beautiful long ear rings, Vaira Jada Mudi, Kavacham across the chest, Uddiyanam on his hip and Yagnjopavitham across the body. Down to his legs, the Lord is seen sporting anklets. A ring is seen on each of the fingers of his hands and the toes of his legs.

Alankara Valli Thayar, who too is seen with a beautiful smile, is in a separate Sannidhi. 

Raja Gopuram destroyed by the Cyclone
There was a Raja Gopuram at the Eastern Entrance till the 1950s. This was destroyed in the devastating cyclone of 1952. A Samprokshanam was performed in 1957 and another one almost 50 years later in 2005. The authorities are planning to reconstruct the Raja Gopuram before the next Samprokshanam. 

Utsava Deity in Tiruvarur
As is the trend in so many of the remote temples administered by the HR & CE, the utsava idol has been moved to Tiruvarur for security reasons. And thus, the processional deity is seen only on a couple of occasions every year during the big utsavams in Maasi and Margazhi. In the centuries gone by, Utsavams were celebrated in a grand manner every month but a lot of this has come to pass.

Currently, a 4 day Pavitrotsavam, Thailakappu in Vaikasi, Thirumanjanam in Aani and Thayar Abhishekam in Aadi is performed.

Pancha Narayana Kshtrem
The other Narayana Temples in the region are Damodara Narayanan in Thiru Kannangudi (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2008/06/thiru-kannangudi.html), Deva Narayanan in Thevur, Yadava Narayanan in Kizhvelur and Varada Narayanan in Vadakalathur. Historically there was a Pancha Garuda Sevai at Thiru Kannangudi Divya Desam with the Lords from the other four temples congregating and providing a Garuda Sevai darshan around the big Mada Streets of Thiru Kannangudi.
With the traditionalists moving away from this ancient and historical location, the utsavam had to be done away with. The locals are keen to revive the Pancha Garuda Sevai. Time will tell if this indeed can be revived.

The temple is open between 8am-12noon and 5pm-8pm. Contact: S Kumar Bhattar @ 82203 18842

How to reach
The temple is about 5kms South of Sikkal. An auto from Sikkal bus stop will cost Rs. 100. Contact auto @ 97898 76911. Buses ply once 3 hours on the Sikkal- Aabarandhari route.

When here also visit Damodara Narayana Perumal Divya Desam in Thiru Kannangudi (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2015/11/thiru-kannangudi-dilapidated-state.html) and Soundararaja Perumal Divya Desam in Thiru Nagai (https://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2017/04/thiru-nagai-divya-desam-bhattars.html).

Monday, August 6, 2018

Kodaganallur Kailasanathar temple

The second among the Nava Kailayam temples, the Kailasanathar Temple in Kodaganallur has survived thanks to the initiative from a devoted Gurukal who comes every morning from Tirunelveli
Special Pooja on Tuesdays to liberate one from Sarpa Dosham
Located 10kms West of Tirunelveli off the Mukoodal Highway is the Kailasanathar Temple in Kodaganallur, third in the Nava Kailasam temples.  It was here that Romasa Rishi found a Shiva Lingam after the Lotus let afloat in Papanasam by Sage Agastya came to a halt on the Northern Banks of Tamaraibarani.

Belief is that no one dies of snake bite here as Kargodaga the snake attained Moksham at Kodaganallur.

Ambal who is seen seated on a snake is referred to as ‘Sarpayaatchi’ Anandha Gowri Ambal. On Tuesdays, Thuvaram Paruppu rice is presented to liberate one from Sarpa Dosham. 

The current archakar has been here at the temple from his childhood. He current receives Rs. 150 as salary every month. His father had performed service for 85 years at this temple. 

While Papanasam (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2018/07/papanasam-nava-kailayam.html) the first among the Nava Kailasam temples receives an annual income of over Rs. 1crore, a temple under its control and its priest have been ignored for far too long.

Renovation plans are afoot at the temple and they are targeting to conduct the Kumbabhishekam in 2019.

Auto to reach the temple from the Tirunelveli-Mukoodal Highway: 93450 27779.

The temple is open between 7am -1030am and from 4pm to 6pm. Contact: Suresh Gurukal @ 96597 28621.

The Amma Nathar temple in Cheran Maha Devi, the 2nd among the Nava Kailasam temples is 2kms West of Kodaganallur (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2018/07/cheran-maha-devi-amma-nathar-koil.html).