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. 
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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good story. Informative.