Thursday, July 26, 2012

Srivilliputhur Five Garuda Seva Utsavam

Peri Azhvaar provides Ethir Sevai to 5Lords on Garuda Seva Procession at the Vadapatrasayee Divya Desam
On Wednesday morning (July 18), Thiru Thangal Appan, the utsava deity of Ninra Narayana Divya desam at Thiru Thangal about 25kms East of Srivilliputhur began his day long trip a day to Srivilliputhur for the annual 5Garuda Seva Utsavam at the Vadapatrasayee Divya Desam making his way through the cracker town of Sivakasi. 
The next morning, Thursday (July 19) Peri Azhvaar who was to play a lead role on the fifth day of the Aadi utsavam had an early day out. After an early morning Alankara, he made his way through the Eastern Entrance of the Andal Temple at 10am to receive each of the five Lords.Over the next 5hours, Peri Azhvaar welcomed each of them by showering praise of them.

Vadapatrasayee Periya Perumal, the utsava deity of Srivilliputhur Divya Desam, was the first to receive mangalasasanam as he made his way through the 192ft high temple tower to the entrance of the Andal Temple. Peri Azhvaar welcomed him with ‘பருபததுக்  கயல்பொரித்த  பாண்டியர்  குலபதிபோல்’.

Sundararaja Perumal of Kaat Azhagar Temple located about 10kms from Srivilliputhur on the Western Ghats came in next. He was praised with Nachiyar Thirumozhi verse of ‘சிந்துரச்  செம்பொடிபோல்  திருமாலிருன்சோலை’.
At around 11.30am, Srinivasa Perumal of Thiruvannamalai Hill Temple was showered with another Nachiyar Thirumozhi verse – ‘சங்கமா  கடல்  கடைந்தான்’.

Well past noon, Thiru Thangal Appan made his way on a special flower decorated palanquin from East of Srivilliputhur where he had stayed the previous night.  Peri Azhvaar received him with Thiru Mangai’s Periya Thirumozhi verse of ‘பேரானை  குறுங்குடி  எம்  பெருமானை  திருத்தங்கள்  ஊரானை ’.
 Each of them, in a thanking gesture, presented their garland and parivattam to Peri Azhvaar. 

The events of the morning ended with Ghosti after the arrival of Rangamannar and Andal. After Thirumanjana and a few hours rest, a huge crowd gathered at the Andal temple for the much awaited event of the day.

Five Garuda Sevai
Beginning at 7pm, each of the deities and Peri Azhvaar prepared themselves behind closed doors for a special alankara and were decked up in the best attire, flower garlands and jewels for the Garuda Seva with each trying to outshine the other.

Four hours later, at 11pm, Peri Azhvaar on his Anna Pakshi Vahana led the procession from the Eastern Entrance of the Andal temple on to the Mada Street.

Over the next half hour, he was followed by Vadabadrasayee Periya Perumal, Sundararaja Perumal, Srinivasa Perumal, Rangamannar and Thiru Thangal Appan each of them in a special Alankara mounted on a beautifully decorated Garuda Vahana. They were also joined by Andal on her Anna Pakshi Vahana.

Peri Azhvaar’s Ethir Seva
For the next 7hours, Peri Azhvaar provided Ethir Seva as he proceeded around the four Mada Streets and the four Ratha Streets facing the Lords  that followed him on their respective Garuda Vahanas presenting darshan to thousands of devotees many of whom had lodged themselves on roof tops to witness this once in a year event at Srivilliputhur Divya Desam. 

Andal presents Garland
The next morning, the 6th day of Aadi, back at the temple, Andal handed over her garland to Thiru Thangal Appan who on receiving bid good bye for another year and headed back to Thiru Thangal bringing to end the Five Garuda Seva Utsavam.

(While Andal’s garland is sent to Kall Azhagar  of Thiru Maaliruncholai Divya Desam on the occasion of Chitrai Festival in Madurai, to Srinivasa Perumal on the occasion of Puratasi Brahmotsavam in Tirupathi and to Vadapatrasayee every morning at Srivilliputhur, this is the only occasion where a Divya Desam Lord comes and personally receives the sacred garland worn by Andal)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Peri Azhvaar's Senni Ongu

Peri Azhvaar thanks Lord Narayana for taking care of the devotees 

பருப்பதத்துக் கயல் பொறித்த 
பாண்டியர் குல பதி போல்

திருப் பொலிந்த சேவடி என்
சென்னியின் மேல் பொறித்தாய்


மறுப்பு ஒசித்தாய் மல் அடர்ந்தாய்
என்று என்று உன் வாசகமே

உருப் பொலிந்த நாவினேனை
உனக்கு உரித்து ஆக்கினையே
- Peri Azhvaar's Senni Ongu

In this verse, Peri Azhvaar's compares Lord Narayana planting his feet on the devotee's head with the success  achieved by the great Pandya kings.

Just as the Pandya Kings used to emboss the Fish Emblem on the high mountains after their victory in battles, so too Lord Narayana, who killed the asuras to protect the good ones,  has placed his lotus feet on the devotee's head, thus blessing him and granting all that one could ask for.

Just chanting the Lord's name repeatedly gives one great satisfaction and  a feeling that we belong to him and that He is there to take care of us.

Aushik Srinivas

Will Aushik be TN's best left arm spinner after S. Vasudevan?

One hopes Tamil Nadu under new head coach VB Chandrasekar will allow Aushik to play an attacking 'spinner' role

In February 1982, a 16 year old Vidya Mandir School boy bundled out a strong Delhi team comprising of  the Amarnath brothers, Gurusharan Singh and Kirti Azad for just 120runs (in the 2nd innings) with a 7wicket haul to give Tamil Nadu a strong hope for a comeback victory after giving away a big first innings lead (It is another matter TN fell short in its run chase that could have made it one of the great come back wins even in Ranji Knock out).

Within 15months of this sensational Ranji debut, L.Sivaramakrishnan had made his Test debut against Clive Lloyd led West Indies at Antigua, against a team comprising of Greenidge, Haynes and Richards.

Close to three decades after that sensational spell of LS, another school boy spinner, this one from Sri Nehru Vidhyalaya School Coimbatore, came into limelight with a 7wicket haul this time against the other bigwigs of Indian cricket- Bombay. If LS had shot out Delhi for just over a 100, Aushik Srinivas helped trigger a collapse that saw Bombay lose 8 wickets for around 100 on the 4th morning.

Based on that performance in December 2009, Aushik was selected for the Duleep Trophy to play for South Zone, where in the finals he came up against Yusuf Pathan and his blistering innings. Aushik’s performance since then has been more steady than spectacular.

It is another matter LS faded away within 4years of his debut season performance after peaking in 1984-85 and turning into a batsman for TN in the latter part of his Ranji career.

Aushik, who has now played almost 25Ranji matches, has not been able to capitalise on his early success and the Duleep Trophy exposure that he got in his very first season. Just over 50wickets and the 7for against Bombay being his only five wicket haul indicates that he has not been a wicket taking strike bowler for Tamil Nadu that one would have looked for, from him, after his early success. Slow wickets and defensive tactics
(from TN) are just two reasons for his below par performance after his 7wicket haul catapulted him into being just one step away (Duleep Trophy) from National reckoning.
Aushik began his cricketing career as a medium pace bowler. At a districts camp, Aushik tried his hand at spin and has stuck to it, since those school days. He plays league cricket in Coimbatore for Ramakrishna Mills. He was introduced to league cricket in Madras by R. Madhavan (Former South Zone Cricketer and Former Chairman of TN Selection Panel) when he signed to play for MCC. The next year, he moved into the first division to play for UFCC (T. Nagar). His immediate success in first division league got him a place in the team for the Buchi Babu Trophy and then into the Ranji Squad.  

Change in bowling action
One of the coaches who has worked with him for the last four years says there were a lot of changes made to his action by different coaches after Aushik’s success in his first year in Ranji Trophy ( especially after the Duleep Trophy) and that impacted his performance.

This comes as no surprise in Indian cricket as one of the first things to happen to a young spinner after early success is to ‘work’ on the spinner’s bowling action!!! One wonders why?

Role in TN team
With Tamil Nadu relying on fast bowlers last season, Aushik  has had to play a role that has now become so normal these days for spinners - ‘bowl tight’ and ‘contain’ from one end. Even in his own analysis, a year or so ago, Aushik has said that his role even in the league team was to ‘bowl tight’, this despite the fact that he has ‘flight’ as a key weapon in his armoury and is also a natural turner of the ball.

On his part, he has nodded in to the team's requirement of being a 'restrictive' bowler rather than show a little more confidence in asking for a field where he could go in for wickets. He has even expressed himself as going into matches without any expectations and sometimes even with a blank feeling and taking it as it comes.

Also, changing league teams within the first division league almost every year would have done his confidence no good ( though he has been within the India Cements fold since entering the first division league)- from UFCC to Falcon to Vijay ( this year). One again wonders as to why a bowler ( who has played Duleep Trophy) would be shunted across between league teams every year having  to work with a new captain and a new set of team mates.

The Chairman of TN Selection Panel B. Kalyanasundaram is of the view that Aushik is a good long term bet for TN and one will have to show patience and persist with him. Kalli believes that Aushik will have an important role to play into the future. For his age, he has performed reasonably well as a spinner in the last 2-3years. He believes that Aushik can only improve from here on.

In the current round of league matches in the first division- the fourth this season - Aushik, playing for Vijay CC, had a 7wkt haul, that is likely to give him a lot of confidence on the wicket taking front.

Given the right support by his captain and the coaching staff, now headed by VB Chandrasekar, Aushik has potential to develop into a match winner for Tamil Nadu from the ‘steady’ bowler he has been positioned to be in the last year or so.

It has been many years since Tamil Nadu has had a successful left arm spinner- S. Vasudevan and Sunil Subramaniam have been the only two of note in the last three decades with R Ramkumar being the other to feature in the team consistently over a period of time in the last 10years.

VB has been known to get the best out of his players and one would hope that Aushik will be allowed to don a more attacking role in the side this year as against the ‘run containing’ bowler he has been in the last two seasons.

On the academics front, Aushik has been able to achieve reasonable results in Class X as well in Class XII despite being on Ranji Trophy duty for most of that season. He came back to Coimbatore only 20days prior to his Class XII exam but thanks to support from his teachers, he was able to get through with good marks.  Currently, he is in third year of Engineering but his focus for now is all on cricket and making a mark here.

Within 3years, he has been able to cement (yes he plays for India Cements!!) his place in the TN Ranji team and has now become a regular in the team- an achievement this Coimbatorean spinner, who is not yet 20, can be proud of. 
Time will tell if Tamil Nadu will be able to leverage the best of this talented young spinner who for the moment seems to be the best bet after Vasudevan and Sunil Subramaniam. But for that to happen, the team think tank will have to be far more positive on the bowling front than they have been in recent times.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thiruvannamalai Srinivasa Perumal

Srinivasa Perumal stayed here on the hill after missing Andal's wedding 

Located about 5kms North of Srivilliputhur in the back drop of the Western Ghats is the Purana sthalam of Srinivasa Perumal temple in Thiruvannamalai where the Lord is seen in a handsome standing posture

The story goes that Venkatachalapathy of Tirupathi was making his trip to Srivilliputhur with his retinue when Narada informed him while he was crossing this place that Andal’s wedding to Rangamannar had taken place.

Venkatachalapathy decided to return to Tirupathi, however Andal requested him to stay here at this very place and provide darshan to her and to the devotees as her elder brother.

Calmed by Andal, Srinivasa Perumal acceded to her request and stayed here ever after at the top of this hill.

One has to climb over 150steps to reach the Sannidhi.

The temple poojas are Eka Pera Vithanam under the Vaikanasa Agama System with the Moolavar being a Sthaanaga Veera- positioned as a single idol without Utsavar and consorts at the hill temple.

Puratasi Saturday is special at this temple. The temple is open from 1am for early morning pooja to 8pm on these days.

The utsava deity of this temple who resides at the Andal temple in Srivilliputhur is one of the five Perumal who go on a procession in their Garuda Vahana on the fifth day of Aadi every year.

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Srinivasa Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar   : No Thaayar at this temple
Utsavar   : No Utsavar at this temple

Temple Time: 7am-7pm
Priest    : Balaji Bhattar@94874 02557 / Mapillai Bhattar@ 94425 47533

How to reach

Mini Buses from Srivilliputhur go to the foot of the hill
Auto from Srivilliputhur and back will cost Rs. 150-200/-

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ponbethi Sundararaja Perumal Temple

A sacred temple for Pithru Tharpanam
Several Inscriptions in the temple date back to the Chozha and Pandya period
Pallava Period Sculptures inside the temple

Located 15kms South West of Avudayar Koil on the Aranthangi – Thirupannavasal road in the Pudukottai District is the Purana Sthalam of Sundararaja Perumal Temple in Ponbethi where Sundararaja Perumal is seen in a sitting posture alongside Sri and Bhoo Devi.

The Name
In the Sangam Period, this region including the belt extending to Irumbanadu in West was known as Mizhalai Nadu with Ponbethi serving as the capital of Mizhalai Nadu. This place is also referred to as Swarnaranya Kshetram.

Sacred Place for Tharpanam
The story goes that 96 rishis stayed here for one year and performed Tharpanam on 96 sacred days of the year. Once upon a time, there were 96temples and 96 sacred tanks at this place.

Pleased with their sincerity in performing the Tharpanam on the 96sacred days of the year, Lord Sundararajan provided darshan to the 96Rishis at this place.


In centuries gone by, this had also been under the Pandya kingdom as can be seen from some of the inscriptions.Inscriptions also indicate that Budha Mithran ruled this place as a local king during the time of Veera Rajendra Chozha in the 11th Century AD. As per the direction of Veera Rajendra Chozha and given that there was no big literature in Tamil after Tholkaapium, Budha Mithran wrote Veera Sozhiyam.

Some of the sculptures inside the temple indicate that this temple may have been built during the Pallava Period around the 8th Century AD.

A grand festival referred to as Vishnu Pathi Festival with Thirumanjanam for the Lord was initiated by the then rule of this region Irungo Velmaan and performed every year. This was believed to have been equivalent to Brahmotsavam at this temple.

Ashtami every month is sacred at this temple with special poojas being performed

Quick Facts
Moolavar: Sundara Raja Perumal East Facing Sitting Posture
Thaayar  : Swarna Lakshmi
Time       : 7am-11am and 5pm-7pm
Contact    : Mani Bhattar @76398 74516

How to reach
Ponbethi is about 30kms from Aranthangi. Buses every half hour from Avudayar Koil to Thiru Pannavasal.
No autos at Avudayar Koil.
Taxi to Ponbethi, Theeyathur and Irambanadu Perumal Koil and back to Avudayar Koil will cost Rs.750.

When at Ponbethi, also visit Irumbanadu and Theeyathur Perumal Temples.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Parthan Palli Divya Desam

Arjuna received 'Knowledge Initiation' from Parthasarathy here
Poigai Azhvaar in his Thiruvanthathi verse makes a reference to the Moolavar deity Thaamaraiaal Kelvan

Located near Thiruvenkadu (Budhan Sthala) about 15kms from Sirkazhi off the Poompuhar road is the Parthan Palli Divya Desam, one that dates back to the Mahabharatha period and a special one for Arjuna for it was here that he had a knowledge initiated from Lord Parthasarathy.

This Divya Desam is one of the 11 Divya Desams in Thiru Nangur.

Arjuna’s Thirst at Parthanpalli
While on a pilgrimage, Arjuna reached this place. Thirsty after a long trip and not finding water anywhere, he hoped to quench his thirst at Agastya’s ashram who was undertaking penance here but to his dismay he found that the Sage’s Kamandala too had gone dry.

Realising that this was Lord Krishna’s play, Sage Agastya directed Arjuna to invoke the blessings of his favourite Lord. Answering Arjuna’s prayers, Krishna appeared here as Parthasarathy and presented Arjuna with a sword. As instructed by Parthasarathy, Arjuna struck the ground with the sword and to his surprise water poured out of that place helping him quench his thirst.  This location, south of the temple, became the sacred ‘Katka’ Pushkarani.  To mark this event, Arjuna is seen here at this Divya Desam with a sword.

Knowledge Initiation for Arjuna

It was also here that Arjuna was initiated with ‘Knowledge Education’ by Lord Parthasarathy to make Arjuna understand who he really was and what his real powers were. Since Arjuna had this Knowledge initiation here and played the role of a student, this temple came to be known after him as ‘Parthan Palli’.

Poigai Azhvaar’s praise
Lord of Parthanpalli is the only Divya Desam Lord among the 11 Vishnu Temples in Thiru Nangur who is praised by an Azhvaar in addition to Thiru Mangai Azhvaar.

Poigai Azhvaar in his Thiruvanthathi verse makes a mention of the moolavar deity Thaamarai Aal Kelvan without a specific reference to Parthanpalli:
பெயருங் கருங் கடலே நோக்கும் ஆறு ஒண் பூ
உயரும் கதிரவனே நோக்கும் உயிரும்
தருமனையே நோக்கும் ஒண் தாமரையால் கேள்வன்
ஒருவனையே நோக்கும் உணர்வு

Utsava Deities

A unique feature at the Parthanpalli Divya Desam is the presence of two Utsava Deities- Parthasarathy and Kolavilli Rama, not seen elsewhere in the Thiru Nangur Divya Desam.

10Periya Thirumozhi Verses of Thiru Mangai

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar has praised Parthasarathy, the Lord of Paarthanpalli, in 10verses in Periya Thirumozhi.
He refers to Kannan as the one who protects his devotees, provides happiness to all those who believe in him and his powers. He goes on to say that he who rules the seven worlds is also the one who resides here inside the sturdy huge walls of Paarthanpalli at Thiru Nangur.

கண்ணன் என்றும், வானவர்கள்
காதலித்து மலர்கள் தூவும்
எண்ணன் என்றும், இன்பன் என்றும்
ஏழ் உலகுக்கு ஆதி என்றும், தின்ன மாடம் நீடு நாங்கைத்

தேவ தேவன் என்று என்று ஓதி

பண்ணின் அன்ன மென் மொழியாள்

பார்த்தன்பள்ளி பாடுவாளே 

On the Amavasya day in Aadi, Parthasarathy goes on a procession to Poompuhar Sea (where River Cauvery merges with Bay of Bengal) for the Annual Theerthavari Festival
On the No Moon Day in Thai, Thirumangai Azhwar visits this temple
This is one of the 11 Divya Desam Lords to participate in the Grand Thiru Nangur Garuda Seva in Thai

Quick Facts
Moolavar         :  Thaamaraiaal Kelvan West Facing Standing Posture
Goddess           : Shengamalavalli Thayar (Thamarai Nayaki)
Utsava Deity    : Parthasarathy (and Kolavilli Rama)
Time                : 8am-10am and 5pm-7pm
Contact            : Kumar Bhattar @ 94422 26413
How to reach
From Sirkazhi, take Poompuhar bound bus (buses every half hour) via Thiruvali / Mangaimadam and get down at Thiruvenkadu. From here, Parthanpalli is about 2kms (auto will cost Rs. 40).

From Mayiladuthurai, take Poompuhar bound bus (every hour) to Thiruvenkadu (20kms)

Also, local buses (Numbers 4A, 12, 28 and 34) ply from Mayiladuthurai to Thiruvenkadu/Parthanpalli

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Irumbanadu Sundararaja Perumal Temple

Chola Period Temple is rich in inscriptions
In centuries gone by, the Lord here was referred to as the ‘Handsome Vinnagara Lord of Thiru Mizhalai Nadu’

Located 10kms West of Avudayar Koil in the Pudukottai District is an ancient over 900years old chola period Sundararaja Perumal temple in Irumbanadu. This is one of the three ancient Sundararaja Perumal temples in this region, the others being the ones at Theeyathur and Ponbethi.

Amidst  lush green fields all along the 10km drive from Avudayar Koil and away from the noise of a town life, this unspoilt and simple temple has a tall and handsome Sundararaja Perumal with a conch and chakra with his consorts Sri and Bhoo Devi by his side providing darshan in an East Facing Standing posture. The Moolavar idol is a Varnakala moorthy and hence there is no Thirumanjana for the Moolavar.

Chola Period Temple

Rich in inscriptions dating back to the Chola period, the temple with its granite construction still retains its solidity and strength of construction. The temple is under the administration of ASI. The temple has 20acres of land take care of by the ASI.

Going by the inscriptions, the idol of the Moolavar as well as the architecture, the Sundararaja Perumal temple here in Irumbanadu is believed to have been built in the later Chola period, possibly in the 12th Century AD.

The Name

As per the inscriptions, this place was referred to as Thiru Mizhalai Nadu and the perumal at this temple was known by the name of ‘The Handsome Vinnagara Lord of Thiru Mizhalai Nadu’.

On the Northern side of the Prakara are inscriptions dating back to early 13th CenturyAD and to the rule of Kulothunga Chola while on the Southern side are inscriptions dating back to the 2nd half of the 13th Century to the rule of Sadayavarma Veera Pandyan. 

There are also several exquisite sculptures on the pillars in the Maha Mandapa inside the temple. 

Similar to Azhagar Koil

An interesting feature at this temple is the presence of 18steps Karuppana Swamy Sannidhi, bringing to the devotees memories of the Azhagar Koil Divya Desam which is renowned for the 18step Karuppanaswamy as the Security guard at the Eastern Entrance.

Dedicated Bhattar
Despite not having a big devotee crowd to serve every day, the well read Padmanabha Bhattar, who has been here at the temple for many decades now and whose family has been taking care of the pooja at the temple for several generations, performs one time pooja every morning at the temple before 9am.

Padmanabha Bhattar has also taken the effort to provide inputs in Tamil on the inscriptions found at this temple in a book that also contains several religious poems in praise of Lord Vishnu.

Vaikunta Ekadesi- Opening of Swarga Vasal
Garuda Seva on the Vaikunta Ekadesi night is celebrated in a grand manner
Puratasi Saturdays are special at this temple and attracts devotees from the 10villages surrounding this temple

Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Sundararaja Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar           : Sundaravalli Thaayar
Temple Time   : 7am-10am (Bhattar Stays next to the temple. Hence please call  in advance)
Contact             : Padmanabha Bhattar@ 99760 50185

How to reach
The temple is about 60kms from Pudukottai off the Avudayar Koil –Embal route. Buses ply every 15mts between Pudukottai and Aranthangi (35kms). From Aranthangi, take a bus to Avudayar Koil (about 15kms).

From Avudayar Koil, bus every 1 to 1 1/2hours to Irumbanadu.There are no autos available at Avudayar Koil.
Taxi from Avudayar Koil to Irumbanadu and back will cost Rs. 250/- 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mondipalayam Venkatesa Perumal Temple

Located about 10kms from Puliyampatti near Sathyamangalam is the three centuries old Venkatesa Perumal temple in Mondipalayam. There are seven pits to be crossed from Puliyampatti before reaching the temple.
The Moolavar deity is in the form of a small Saligrama idol and is a swayambu murthy.

The Story
The story goes that Kondama Nayakar, who had a dream that there was a swayambu idol of Venkatesa Perumal in one of the 7pits in this region found the Saligrama idol and built this temple along with the contribution of the villagers.

10day Brahmotsavam in Thai
Rama Navami and Krishna Jayanthi
Vaikunta Ekadesi in Margazhi


Quick Facts
Moolavar : Venkatesa Perumal Swayambu Moorthy
Goddess   : Mahalakshmi Thaayar
Utsavar   : Venkatesa Perumal with Sri and Bhoo Devi
Time       : 630am-1230pm and 4pm-730pm
Contact   : Balaji Bhattar @  98422 29960
How to reach
Point to Point buses every 10minutes between Sathyamangalam and Coimbatore. Get down at Puliyampatti (25kms from Sathyamangalam/35kms from Coimbatore)

Auto to Mondipalayam will cost Rs. 125-150. Buses every 1hour between Puliyampatti and Mondipalayam.

One can also get down at Sevur on the Coimbatore-Sathyamangalam route ( non point to point buses). From Sevur, Mondipalayam is about 5kms East.