Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kuruvi Thurai Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal

A temple dedicated to Guru  
Lord Vishnu came here on a special chariot and provided darshan to Guru   
Temple in its current form and structure was built by Jadavarma Vallabha Pandya in the 12th Century AD
Located 30kms from Madurai and about 8kms west of Sholavandan in a beautiful remote scenic location on the Western Ghats is the historical Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal temple in Kuruvi Thurai, a temple dedicated to Guru (Jupiter).

The Moolavar Deity Vallabha Perumal is almost a 10feet sandalwood idol seen in a majestic standing posture along with Sri and Bhoo devi.

Guru Iruntha Thurai ( Kuruvi Thurai)
Devas’ Guru, Brihaspathi assigned his son Kacha to secure the secret Sanjeevini mantra from Sukracharya, the preceptor of the Asuras that would help bring the dead back to life. While Devayani the daughter of Sukracharya fell in love with Kacha, the suspicious asuras killed him and mixed his ashes in a glass of water and handed over to Sukracharya. Saddened by her lover’s absence, Devayani forced her father to bring him back. Understanding the real mission behind Kacha’s visit, Sukracharya initiated the secret mantra to Kacha who came out of Sukracharya’s stomach. Kacha in turn chanted the mantra and brought back Sukracharya’s life.

Having accomplished his mission, Kacha justified to Devayani that she was his sister as he had come out of her father’s stomach and decided to leave the Asura kingdom. Angered at Kacha deserting her, Devayani prevented his departure to the Deva Kingdom.
Worried at the inordinate delay, Guru Bhagwan (Jupiter) undertook penance here invoking the blessings of Lord Narayana to save his son from the Asuras and to bring him safe to the Deva Kingdom. Hence, this place came to be called Guru- Iruntha-Thurai (later Kuruvi Thurai).

Pleased with the prayers, Lord Narayana used his discus (Chakrath Azhwar) to save Kacha from the Asuras.

The Lord’s Name
Lord came here on a special chariot and provided darshan to Guru on the Chitra star day in the Tamil Calendar month of Chitrai. Hence the Lord here is referred to as ‘Chitra Ratha’ Vallabha Perumal.

Prarthana Sthalam
Those who visit this temple and offer sincere prayers to Vallabha Perumal and Guru Bhagawan are said to be relieved from Guru Dosham and other problems in life. Thursdays are special prarthana and parikara days at this temple.

Swayambu Idols
Guru Bhagwan Sannidhi is in front of the Eastern five Tier Raja Gopuram where he is seen in a west facing posture in the direction of Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal. Guru Bhagawan and ChakrathAzhwar are Swayambu idols.

The temple, which has a strong granite structure, has several inscriptions in the Northern and Southern walls of the Prakara dating back a 1000years. The temple in its current form and structure is believed to have been built in the early 12th century AD during the rule of Jadavarma Vallabha Pandya.

NamAzhwar’s Thiruvoimozhi verse
While this is not a Divya Desam, NamAzhwar in his Thiruvoimozhi verse sings praise referring to both the ‘chariot and the discus’ used to demolish the asuras leaving one to wonder if NamAzhwar had actually directed his praise at Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal here at Kuruvi Thurai.
 சித்திரத் தேர் வளவ, திரு சக்கரத் தாய் அருளாய்
எத்தனை ஓர் உகமும் அவை ஆய், அவற்றுள் இயலும்

ஒத்த ஒன பல் பொருள்கள் உலப்பு இல்லன ஆய், வியவு ஆய்
வித்தகத்தாய் நிற்றி நீ இவை, என்ன விடமங்களே
When here, also visit the ancient Janaka Narayana Perumal temple at Sholavandan.

Guru Peyarchi is special at this temple
Chitra Pournami
On Vaikunta Ekadesi day, Vallabha Perumal goes on a procession in a Garuda Vahana and makes his way back from the Kuruvi Thurai Village on a Horse Vahana

Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal in a standing posture with Sri and Bhoo Devi
Thayar             : Shenbagavalli Thaayar
Temple Time    : 830am-1230pm and 330pm-530pm
Contact            : Raghurama Bhattar @93445 73367

How to reach
Take Bus No. 68 from Periyar Bus Stand in Madurai to reach Kuruvi Thurai in an hour. Several buses between Madurai and Sholavandan. From Sholavandan Janaka Narayana Perumal temple, one can take an auto about Rs. 75-100

Auto from Madurai Junction to Kuruvi Thurai and back will cost Rs.400-500. Chennai - Tirunelveli Nellai Express stops at Sholavandan (4.45am). From Sholavandan Railway station, one can reach Kuruvi Thurai within 30 minutes

Monday, August 27, 2012

Abhaya Pradhana Ranganatha Temple Karur

Twin Perumal Temples of Karur
A beautiful Ranganatha temple on the banks of Amaravathi
Displays his Karkodaga Anantha Sayanam Posture
Located 1km south of the Railway Station on the Northern banks of River Amaravathi off the Mettu Street is an ancient Abhaya Pradhana Ranganatha Temple in Karur, one that was constructed during the rule of Muchukunda Chakravarthy dating back several centuries.

Muchukunda also played a role in the construction of Kalyana Venkatramana Swamy temple in Thanthoni Malai on the outskirts of the city.

Providing darshan in a Karkodaga Anantha Sayana posture, Lord Ranganatha is believed to have promised abhayam to Markandeya Rishi protecting him from evil forces. Lord Ranganatha is seen in a beautiful Posture resting himself on the five hooded Serpent with his right hand placed on the Rishi’s head in a sign of blessing him and promising protection.

Belief is that Lord Ranganatha will provide abhayam to devotees who offer sincere prayers at this temple.
Brahmotsavam in Chitrai
20day Utsavam in Margazhi
Opening of Swarga Vaasal on Vaikunta Ekadesi 

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Ranganatha East Facing Karkodaga Sayanam
Thaayar   : Ranganayaki Thaayar (Separate Sannidhi)
Utsavar   : Srinivasa Perumal

Time        : 630am-1130am and 430pm-830pm
Contact    : VV Narasimha Bhattar @ 94439 04088 or 04324 257640

How to reach
Auto from Railway Station / Karur Bus Stand will cost Rs.30

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thanthoni Malai Kalyana Venkatramana Swamy

8th Century AD Rock cut Cave Temple bears similarity in Architecture to the Narasimha temple at Namakkal
Prarthana Sthalam for the unmarried and the Childless

Located 4kms from Karur on the Dindigul highway is the 8th Century AD historical Rock cut Cave temple of Kalyana Venkatramana Swamy in Thanthoni Malai where the 10feet Swayambu Lord is seen in a majestic standing posture facing the West. The temple tower has been constructed right at the top of the huge rock.
The wide sanctum of Kalyana Venkatramana Swamy has been carved along the cave out of the rock.
The Maha Mandapa and other Sannidhis at the temple were a later time additions possibly in the 12-13th Century AD.

Similar to Thanjai Maa Mani Narasimha Sanctum
Inside the sanctum, that reminds one of Thanjai Maa Mani Narasimha Divya Desam both in terms of the huge size of the Moolavar Lord as well as the big sized Sanctum, there are 16 specially carved sculptures each of whom is seen playing a musical instrument.

Piece of Rock falls at Thanthoni Malai
When a fight broke out between the Serpant King Adhisesha and the Wind God Vayu as to whowas more stronger and who played a more important role, Lord Vishnu asked Adhisesha to hold on to the Tirumala Hills and Vayu to try and remove the hills from the clutches of the Serpant Lord.

An angry Vayu who could not remove from Adhisesha’s hold turned into a cyclone. Pieces of the rock from the hills fell in different places. One such piece is the rock we find here at Thanthoni Malai in Karur where Venkatachalapathy provides darshan as Kalyana Venkatramana perumal.

Another story goes that Susarma who did not have a child invoked the blessings of Lord Vishnu. He was asked to come to the rock here.  Pleased with his prayers, Lord Vishnu provided darshan as Kalyana Venkatramana Perumal and blessed him with a child.

Chola King Muchukunda, a Saivite devotee, was cursed to have the face of a monkey.  To liberate himself from the curse, he built several Vishnu temples including the two perumal temples of Karur- this one at Thanthonimalai and the Abhaya Pradhana Ranganatha temple in the city of Karur.

Later on, Thirumalai Nayak of Madurai contributed to the temple.

Historical Cave temple
The Cave Temple here at Thanthoni Malai was excavated in the 8th Century AD. There is a similarity of this rock and the cave structure with the architecture seen at the Narasimha temple at Namakkal about 45kms from here though the Thanthoni Malai rock cave is a little bigger than the one at the Narasimha temple in Namakkal.

Prarthana Sthalam 
Those who offer their sincere prayers and present this slipper as suggested by Kalyana Venkatramana Perumal have their wedding wishes fulfilled.

Thiru Kalyana Utsavam is a special feature at this temple. On Shravanam Star every month, there is a special abhisheka performed for childless couples. There is a daily Thirumanjanam at this temple every day at 1130am for the Moolavar deity.
Two Brahmotsavams- One in Maasi and One in Puratasi
Pavitrotsavam in Avani
Navarathri Utsavam

On the third day after Maasi, Theppotsavam is celebrated in a grand manner at this temple.
There is a big temple tank on the Western side of the temple.

Chariot Festival on the Thiruvonam day in Puratasi and Magam day in Maasi
Puratasi 3rd Saturday is a special occasion at this temple

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Venkatramana Swamy in a West Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar  : No Separate thaayar ( Mahalakshmi is seen on the chest of the Lord)
Utsavar   : Srinivasa Perumal

Time       : 6am-1pm, 3pm-7pm
Contact   : Harish Bhattar @ 98940 17928

How to reach
Chennai Egmore- Mangalore Express via Tiruchirapalli reaches Karur @ 630am
Direct Trains to Karur from Coimbatore, Mysore, Bangalore

From Karur Station, auto will cost Rs.70 to the temple
From Karur Bus Stand, auto will cost Rs. 50/-

Local buses and mini buses to Thanthoni malai both from Railway Station and Bus Stand

PS: This story has been edited, subsequently.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sholavandan Janaka Narayana Perumal

5th Century AD Inscription refers to Granite Construction
Azhagar of Maliruncholai and Perumal of Sholavandan used to visit Alankanallur every year in a special alankara
Located 22kms from Madurai off the Madurai-Dindigul NH is the Janaka Narayana Perumal temple in Sholavandan, where Sita’s father is believed to have undertaken penance invoking the blessings of Lord Narayana to find a bridegroom for his daughter. Answering his prayers, Lord Narayana is believed to have provided darshan here to Janaka. Hence, he is referred to at this temple as Janaka Narayana Perumal.

This place was earlier referred to as Janaka Puri. Moolavar deity Janaka Narayana Perumal is a Saligrama idol seen in a standing posture with Sri and Bhoo devi.

The Utsava deity is Rama seen along with Sita and Lakshmana. In earlier times, this temple was referred to as the Rama temple of Sholavandan.

In centuries gone by, on the same day that Azhagar used to get into the Vaigai at Thenur about 7kms from here, the Lord of Sholavandan too used to get into the Vaigai here at Sholavandan.

Also, in the past, Azhagar and Perumal of Sholavandan used to go to Nallur, a village between Thiru Maliruncholai and Sholavandan in a special alankara. Hence that place has come to be known as Alanka Nallur.

There are many inscriptions inside the temple. An inscription on the Northern wall of the inner prakara makes reference to construction of a granite structure in the 5th Century AD.

Prarthana Sthalam
This is a prarthana Sthalam for the unmarried and those without children. Those who visit this temple and offer their sincere prayers are likely to have their wishes fulfilled.
10day Brahmotsavam in Panguni
Aadi Pooram
Pushpa Alankaram on Puratasi Saturdays

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Janaka Narayana Perumal in an East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar  : Janakavalli Thaayar ( Separate Sannidhi)
Utsavar   : Rama seen with Sita and Lakshmana
Time       : 630am-12noon and 430pm-830pm
Contact   : S Raghurama Krishnan Bhattar @ 93454 45554

How to reach
Nellai Express from Chennai stops at Sholavandan station (4.45am arrival)
Number of buses to Sholavandan from Periyar Bus stand in Madurai- will take 1hour
Auto from Madurai Junction and back will cost Rs. 400

When here, also visit Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal at Kuruvi Thurai, about 8kms West of Sholavandan