Sunday, November 30, 2008

Singaperumal Koil Narasimha

Ugra Narasimha inside the cave
The 1500 year old temple near Madras is believed to be one of the several cave temples built by the Pallavas

Located about 50 kms South of Madras is the cave temple of Padalathri Narasimha at Singaperumal Koil that finds a mention in the Brahmmanda Purana.
The temple is said to be one among the several cave temples built by the Pallavas. A rock carving at this temple refers to a donation given to this temple around 500 century AD. Hence, this temple can be said to be at least 1500 years old and can be called as a Puraana Sthalam.
(Pallava King Mahendra Varma (580-630AD) had built about ten cave temples during his time)

The Story
During the Narasimha Avataaram time, this place was said to be a big forest. It is believed that Japali Rishi undertook penance at this place and had darshan of the Lord, after the killing of Hiranyakashipu. Given the timing, the Lord here is seen in an angry posture as Ugra Narasimha.
To the North East of the main deity is the Lakshmi Narasimha Sannidhi, who is said to cool the ‘Ugra Narasimha’. Every Pradhosham, special poojas are conducted for the Pradhosha deity.The temple tank, found east of the temple, is said to be full through the year.While Azhvaars have not praised this temple, the Goddess here is the same as the one in Ahobilam (Ahobila Valli).

Quick Facts

Moolavar : Padalathri (Ugra) Narasimha Sitting Posture with Goddess Lakshmi in his chest
Goddess   : Ahobila Valli Thaayar
Utsavar    : Prahalada Varadar with a maze in his left hand
Time        : 7am-12noon and 4pm-830pm
Priest       : V. Gopalakrishna Bhattar @93801 14686 / 044 2746 4441

Brahmotsavam in Vaikasi
Pavitrotsavam in Aavani
Davana Utsavam in Maasi

How to reach Singaperumal Koil
All Sub-Urban Trains from Chennai Beach –Chengalpet stop at Singaperumal Koil Station. (Trains once every hour).Autos charge Rs. 30 from Station to the temple(a distance of less than a km).

New Deluxe buses have been introduced between Chennai city and Chengalpet.
Buses Stop in front of the Temple.These buses are quite comfortable to travel in.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mayakoothan Thiru Kulanthai

Perungulam Nava Tirupathi Divya Desam
Sani Sthalam

Garuda seen alongside Utsavar -a unique feature at this Divya Desam
10kms North of Thiru Pulingkudi and 12kms North East of Srivaikuntam is the Mayakoothan Divya Desam in Perungulam and part of the Nava Tirupathi near Tirunelveli. Devotees see this as a Sani Sthalam.

The Story
Vedhacharan and Kumudavalli were childless. They bathed in the river here and undertook penance. Pleased with their prayers, Lord Vishnu blessed them with a daughter. The daughter, Kamalavathi, turned out to be no ordinary girl. She desired to marry the Lord himself and to this end, she relentlessly pursued the Lord offering daily prayers. Moved by her sincerity, the Lord appeared before her and asked for her wishes. Delighted at having darshan of the Lord, she said that her mind had not changed and HE was the one that she wanted. Granting her wishes, he accepted her and took her in his chest.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu came on his Garuda Vaahanam to defeat Asura Asmachaaran. Having defeated the asura, Vishnu is said to have performed his victory dance standing on the asura’s body. The Devas who watched this 'dancing victory' of Lord Vishnu wanted him to provide darshan here as ‘Maaya’ ‘Koothan’.
Special Status for Garuda
Since Garuda was instrumental in bringing the Lord to this place, he was accorded a special status at this temple and is seen as a Utsavar.

Lord is seen alongside Sree Devi, Bhoo Devi and Neela Devi at this temple with Kamaladevi in his chest.

NamAzhvaar Praise
In his only verse on Mayakoothan, NamAzhvaar refers to him as a wonder dancer,riding on Garuda in the West in Southern Kulanthai. His reference to groves and big mansions indicates that this was a prosperous location in centuries gone by. NamAzhvaar says that desiring to see the beauty of the Lord, he went all the way only to lose himself completely on seeing the handsome Lord Mayakoothan.

கூடச் சென்றேன் இனி என் கொடுக்கேன்
கோல்வளை நெஞ்சக் தொடக்கம் எல்லாம்
பாடு அற்று ஒழிய இழந்து வைகல்
பல்வளையார்முன் பரிசு அழிந்தேன்

மாடக் கொடி மதிள் தென் குளந்தை
வன்குட பால் நின்ற மாயகூத்தன்
ஆடல் பறவை உயர்த்த வெல் போர்
ஆழி வலவனை ஆதரித்தே
Thiruvoi Mozhi (8-2-4)

For auto to Nava Tirupathi temples contact:  9442370844 / 94435 27620  or For Cabs @ 9952755336

Quick Facts
Moolavar      : Sora Nathan (Sora Naattiyan), Srinivasan East facing Standing Posture
Thayar          : Kulanthai Valli Thaayar, Alarmel Mangai Thaayar
Utsavar         : Maaya Koothan
Azhavaar      : Nam Azhvaar- 1 Pasuram
Temple timing : 730am-1230pm and 430pm-730pm
Contact    : Venkatesa Bhattar @ 94436 19222/Muthukrishnan Bhattar@99940 98664

How to reach:
Perungulam is just over 10kms North East of Sri Vaikuntam and near Eral. After finishing Mayakoothan Perumal Temple, one can visit Rettai Tirupathi (about 5kms from here and then move West to finish the Nava Tirupathi trip with Thiru Pulingudi and Natham Varagunamangai Divya Desams.

Thirumangai Azhvaar on Thiru Vinnagar UppiliAppan

Lord -Free me from this birth

Paar Ezhu, Kadal Ezhu, Malai Ezhumaai
Seer Kezhum Ivvulagu Ezham Ellaam
Aar Kezhu Vayitrunil Adakki Ninru, Angu
Or Ezhuthu Or Uru Aanavaney

Aandaai, Unai Kaanbathu Or Arul
Enakku Arulaathiyel, Venden,Manai Vaazhkaiyai
Vinnagar Meyavaney – 1452

To you belongs the 7 Continents, the 7 Oceans and the 7 hills and everything else in this world. You who decided not to eat salty food. I request you to grace me- I have had enough of this world. I seek no more from this world. Lord of Vinnagar - Please free me from this birth

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Madurantakam Eri Kaatha Raamar

Kothanda Raamar is seen holding the hand of Sita
Located about 80kms South of Madras on the Madras-Tiruchirapalli Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road is the Kothandaraamar(Eri Kaatha Raamar) Temple in Madurantakam. This place was once referred to as Vakularanya Kshetram (this place is believed to have been full of Maghizham flowers- Vakulam= Maghizham flowers. Hence the name.). 
The story- Raama visiting this place Vibandaka Maharishi’s son Rishya Singar was the one who helped King Dasharatha conduct the Putra Kameshti Yaagam which resulted in the birth of Raama. In his search for Sita, Rama and Lakshmana reached Vibandaka Maharishi’s ashram here in Madurantakam. It is believed that the Rishi reassured Raama that he will locate Sita and wanted him to visit this place and provide Darshan along with Sita. After having defeated Ravana, Rama comes back with Sita on the Pushpaka Vimaanam showing her, on the way, all the places that he had been to in search of her. On reaching Nyana Giri Parvatham, he was reminded of his promise to Vibandaka Rishi. To fulfil this commitment, he is said to have landed here in the Pushpaka Vimanam and given darshan to Vibandaka Rishi along with Sita and Lakshmana. No Hanuman inside the temple A unique feature at this temple is the absence of Hanuman inside the temple. As Raama had sent Hanuman as a messenger to inform Bharata that he was on his way and did not come along with Raama in the Pushpaka Vimaanam, Hanuman is not seen inside the temple. It is also believed that having given the idol of Lord Ranganatha to the new Lankan king Vibeeshana, Raama, the king of Ayodhya, is said to have invoked the blessings of Karunakara Perumal and that he was the pooja deity of Raama. Karunakara Perumal The Name-Eri Kaatha Raamar Just over a couple of centuries ago, in 1798, the people of Madurantakam sought the help of the then British Collector at Chengalpet Lionel Blaze to protect the temple from the floods that would strike the town every year, resulting in the breach of the tank bund, thus ravaging the villages and the crop. The collector, who found some granite stones behind the temple, suggested that these be used to prevent the breach. In the argument that followed, he was told that these stones were to be used for the construction of the Sannidhi for the Goddess inside the Kothandarama temple. Not pleased with this answer, the General questioned as to why their favourite Lord could not protect this place. Reacting to this, the people of Madurantakam performed Vishnu Sahasranama Parayanam seeking Lord Raama’s help. With the rains belting down and the lake close to its brim, the Collecter visited Madurantakam once again and this time is believed to have camped here on the night that the tank bud was expected to breach and lash out into the temple and the entire town. What he saw that night was a miraculous event. Amidst the flash of lightening, he saw two people in the lake holding a bow (and arrow). The next morning, to everyone’s surprise, there was no breach and everything was normal. A delighted collector is said to have immediately allocated 10000 Pagodas for the construction of the Thaayar Sannidhi and a bridge across the lake, just behind the temple. As Lord Raama is believed to have protected this place from the bursting of the lake bud, this place is called ‘Eri Kaatha Raamar’. The meeting of Ramanuja with Periya Nambi Ramanuja, coming from Kanchipuram, met with his Acharya Periya Nambi, sent by Lord Ranganatha to bring Ramanuja to Srirangam, at this temple below the Makila tree and Pancha Samskaram took place here. Amongst Ashtaacharam, Dwayam and Saramaslokam, Ramanuja is said to have been specifically initiated with the ‘Dwayam’ manthiram here. Hence, this place is also called ‘Dwayam Valaintha Tirupathi’. Rama Navami Celebrations – The Lord in 5 different attires  
On the Rama Navami day, Raama provides darshan in five different attires- ‘Lord with a Plait’, ‘Ekaantha Vastram’, ‘ThiruAabarana Alankaaram’, ‘Vaira Mudi Sevai’ and ‘Muthu Kondai’. 
  Parivettai Utsavam  
 Once a year, on the 3rd day of the Tamil Calendar month of Thai (mid January to mid February) on the occasion of Parivettai Utsavam, Karunakara Perumal goes on a procession to Nyana Giri Parvatham, the hill where Raama is believed to have descended on his Pushpaka Vimaanam. 
History This temple is believed to be about 1500 years old. Uthama Chozhan, the ancestor of the great Chozha king Raja Raja Chozhan, is said to have played a role in the construction of this temple and is believed to have dedicated and given this temple to those learned Vedic Scholars (Vedham Othum Anthanar). Later, Pandya and Naayak kings are said to have helped in the renovation and contributed to the improvement of the temple. Naayaks are believed to have constructed the Raja Gopuram that is seen today.

Ahobila Mutt Educational Institution Outside the Eri Kaatha Raamar temple is a six decade old Oriental high school run by Ahobila Mutt with hostel facilities. Started in 1950, the school runs classes from 6th to 10th standard with Sanskrit as the first language. The Ahobila Mutt also runs, entirely free of cost for the students, a 7 year Vedic Education class, a 5 year class to learn Divya Prabhandham and a 5 year Shiromani class (equivalent to MA). The school currently has around 150 students, who have come from across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Kothanda Raamar(Kalyana Raamar) with a bow in Hand, East Facing Standing Posture Goddess : Janaka Valli Thaayar Utsavar : 1. Karunakara Perumal 2. Raama 
 Temple Time : 730am-12noon and 430pm-830pm 
 Contact :AT Madhavan/ R Vijayaraghavan/V Vijayaraghavan/ V Varadhan Bhattar @ 97916 60150 ( Rangarajan Bhattar @98429 09880 or 93814 82008- quit)  
Address : Lord Kothanda Raamar Temple, Madurantakam- 603 306 Festival : Sri Raama Navami in Panguni, 15 day Brahmotsavam in Aani,Bashyakaarar Jayanthi in Chitrai  
How to reach Madurantakam 
Buses every 5-10mts between Madras (Chennai) and Tindivanam/Villipuram/Trichy By Train One may also take the Sub-Urban train to Chengalpet and then a 30 minute bus drive to Madurantakam (25kms from Chengalpet)is a good option. By Car With the 6 laning of the Chennai-Trichy highway, one can reach Madurantakam from Chennai in an hour and half by car

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kalyanapuram Srinivasa Perumal

A Temple that finds a reference in a historical scripture relating to Kandiyur Divya Desam

Located in a serene location about 10kms North of Thanjavur and 2kms South of Thiruvayaru is the temple of Lord Srinivasa in Kalyanapuram, one that dates back a 1000 years or so. One finds reference to this temple in the verse relating to Kandiyur Divya Desam which is about 2 kms South of Kalyanapuram. This place was once referred to as the Srinivasa Kshetram.

“Cauverya….Dakshinney Subhataayakey…….
Siddhi Kshetrothrarey….. Nairudhyaam Sangama….
Srinivasya Vaayavye Kandan Kshetramuthamam.”

Centuries ago, the direction to this temple, was given as 4miles North of Vannar Banks, South West of Aaduthurai Perumal Divya Desam and East of Srirangam.

Talking about the historical importance of Kalyanapuram, Thirumeiyam Shri. S. Satyamurthy, who has been here for the last 6 decades says, “Shivaji Nayakkar, who was ruling Thanjavur, took a trip to Kasi and was quite impressed with the surroundings there around the Ganges. He came back and built bridges across the five famous rivers between Thanjavur and Thiruvayaru. This serene place- Srinivasa Kshetram- was dedicated to his wife Kalyani Bai and this became the hub of educational and vedic learning. This place came to be called Kalyanipuram after her name, and over time became Kalyanapuram.”

One can find inscriptions relating to the construction in the old river bridge on the Thanjavur Thiruvayaru road.

*River Cauvery splits into 5 small rivers and the sight of these rivers, amidst greenery, is beautiful to watch and experience

Quick Facts
Deity : Srinivasa Perumal, Standing Posture East facing
Goddess : Alarmel Mangai Thaayar

Contact : Prasanna Bhattar @ 94424 21029 or S. Sathya Murthy @ 04362 262903

Timing : 730am-1030am and 530pm-8pm

Festivals: Garuda Sevai and Praarthanai Kalyana Utsavam are very special here.

How to reach Kalyanapuram
Local buses every 5-10minutes between Thanjavur and Thiruvayaru. One can also take the bus between Thanjavur and Ariyalur to get down at Kalyanapuram

Auto will charge Rs.100-120/- from Thanjavur Railway Station/Old Bus Stand