Friday, September 21, 2012

Navaneetha Krishna Temple Melaseval

A 14th Century AD Travancore Period Krishna temple that is rich in stone carvings
Melaseval was home to several learned scholars and one could hear Vedic Chanting through the day
Located 16kms West of Tirunelveli off the Papanasam Highway on the banks of Tamaraibarani is the over 750years old Navaneetha Krishnan temple in Melaseval. Spread over a huge 1acre complex, the temple has Saligrama Moolavar Lord in a unique standing posture holding Ghee in both his palms.

The temple dates back to reign of the Travancore kings with Kulasekara constructing the Prakara and the Thaayar Sannidhi.

The name
Tamaraibarani Mahatmiyam refers to this place as ‘Jothirvanam’ and the existence of Gowri Theertham and Prabha Theertham.

The Story
Feeling tired after a long hot morning’s work, a cowherd, slept in the hot sun. To protect him from the belting sun, a snake that passed by cast its hood and gave him protection.A lad who was watching this told the cowherd that he would one day achieve princely status and that if he attained such a status, he should reward him for the prediction.  

Surprisingly, the illiterate cowherd got a job in the kingdom of Travancore and soon through sheer hard work rose to become a minister. He searched for the lad who had predicted thus but could not find him. He then came here  and built Navaneetha Krishna temple at Melaseval where the Lord is seen in the form of a young boy. The temple was later improved upon by the kings of Venad.

During the Venad rule, this place was referred to as Veera Kerala Puram and this temple followed the Kerala Tradition of Worship. In centuries gone by, this place had two Agraharams and was rich with the presence of learned scholars and the constant chanting of the Vedas.
Composition of Tiruchendur Purana
Another story goes that Kaviraya who worked at the Madapalli at the Tiruchendur temple was once lost in thoughts of Lord Muruga that he forgot to get the sacred food ready for the Lord as a result of which he was thrown out of the temple.

He invoked the blessings of Lord Muruga who asked him to go to the Krishna temple in Jothirvanam. Arriving here, this sincere Muruga devotee sat here at the Krishna Temple and under the guidance of the senior scholars here composed the Tiruchendur Purana, which was then in the Northern language, in Tamil. 

40 ancient carvings
The upper walls of the Maha Mandapa have  over 40 exquisite carvings of Ramayana, Mahabaratha and Bhagavatha. There are also several inscriptions inside the temple in the outer prakara.
Prarthana Sthalam
Lord Navaneetha Krishna is said to answer the sincere prayers of childless couples if they place the Naga idol inside the temple and offer Milk Payasam to the Lord.

Uriyadi – Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated in a grand manner at this temple
Margazhi Utsavam- 2nd 10days
Vaikunta Ekadesi
Thai Poosam Annual Abhishekam
Thai Opening Day Garuda Seva
Chitrai Opening Day Garuda Seva

Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Navaneetha Krishnan East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar           : Rukmini/Satyabhama
Utsavar           : Krishna
Temple Time    : 10am-8pm
Contact            : Rama Bhattar @ 0462 2582213 ( comes every morning from Palayamkottai)

How to reach
Buses ply every 10minutes between Tirunelveli and Papanasam. One can get down at Melaseval (about 20minutes from Tirunelveli). From Melaseval main road, an auto to the temple will cost Rs. 25/-

From Tirunelveli Junction, direct bus to Melaseval Krishna Temple - Bus Numbers: 14, 14A, 14C, 34G
From Cheran Maha Devi, Mini bus every hour from 9am

When here also visit, Ramaswamy Temple at Cheran Maha Devi (10kms West of here), Aadhi Varaha Perumal at Kallidaikurichi ( just over 15kms from here) and Kulasekara Perumal Rajagopalaswamy Temple in Mannar Koil  near Ambasamudram (20kms from here)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kallidaikurichi Aadhi Varaha Perumal Temple

Varaha Kshetram
Kubera installed the idol of Aadhi Varaha Perumal
Muthuswamy Dikshitar has referred to this Lord in his Compositions
Located about 30kms from Tirunelveli on Tirunelveli- Papanasam Highway on the Southern Banks of Tamaraibarani river in the Varaha Kshetram is the 850 year old Aadhi Varaha Perumal temple in Kallidaikurichi where Aadhi Varaha is seen in a sitting posture with a folded left leg and the right leg leaning on the ground and with Bhoo devi on his lap.

Kubera installs Varaha idol 
Lord Aadhi Varaha Perumal is believed to have appeared from a bucket that rolled over from the Tamaraibarani where Kubera was undertaking penance. It is believed that Lord Aadhi Varaha appeared before him and provided darshan answering his prayers.

Pleased with this darshan, it is believed that Kubera installed the idol at this place. Later on, various Kings including the Nayak rulers are believed to have contributed to the improvements to this ancient temple.

Varna Kalaba Sayana Perumal
There is a Sayana Perumal seen with Sri and Bhoo Devi on the first Tier right above the sanctum of Aadhi Varaha Perumal on the Vimana.

Sacred water is brought every morning from the Tamaraibarani for the Thirumanjana that is performed every day for the moolavar deity.

There are separate sannidhis for Thaayar, Lakshmi Narayana and Dasavathara Lords.

Dikshitar's praise of Kallidaikurichi Varaha Perumal
One of the Tri Murthies of Carnatic Music, Muthuswamy Dikshitar has composed Lakshmi Varaha Bajaham Krithis (Abhogi Raga) about this Lord where he refers to this Lord as  ‘ Tamaraibarani Theera Kubera Prathistitham’.

Recently, Kallidai Vasan, a long time resident of this place, has composed 50songs on Aadhi Varaha Perumal of Kallidaikurichi that is presented at this temple regularly. These songs titled 'Vasamalargal' was launched on the 2nd Saturday of Puratasi in 2006.

Brahmotsavam in Chitrai
Vasanthotsavam in Vaikasi
Oonjal Utsavam in Aadi
Pavitrotsavam in Avani
20day Utsavam in Margazhi

There are a minimum of 40 Garuda Seva at this temple annual, one of the highest in the country.

Quick Facts
Moolavar: Aadhi Varaha Perumal East Facing Sitting Posture
Utsavar : Lakshmi Pathi
Temple Time: 7am-1030am and 5pm-730pm
Contact : Suresh ( Sundararaja Bhattar) @ 94431 59402 or 04634 250302

How to reach
From Tirunelveli new bus stand, Papanasam bound buses every 10minutes
One can reach Kallidaikurichi in 45minutes

Train Service is being resumed this Friday after a gap of five years
2 Passenger service every day from Tirunelveli ( one at 930am and another at 630pm) and from
Shengottai/Tenkasi ( 630am and another at 330pm)

Tirunelveli Tenkasi Train reopens

2Passenger Train Services to operate every day from Saturday

After several years of wait for the broad gauge conversion, there is relief for passengers in the Tirunelveli Shengottai region with the Tirunelveli- Shengottai Broad Gauge section set to be thrown open this Friday morning (  21 September 2012) for passenger service.The first train will be flagged off at 930am on Friday.

Beginning the next day, 2services will operate in each direction (one in the morning and one in the evening)
The morning service from Shengottai will start at 630am and will reach Tirunelveli at 845am
From Tirunelveli the train will start at 930am and will reach Shengottai at 1145am.

In the evening, the train will leave Shengottai and reach Tirunelveli at 545pm
The last train for the day will depart Tirunelveli Junction at 630pm and will reach Shengottai at 845pm.

The 12bogie passenger train is expected to carry around 1000passengers in each trip that is likely to have a significant impact on the peak hour bus services that have run full over the last five years.

A couple of the persons belonging to the Tirunelveli Transport Corporation said this morning that one train service in the peak hour  in this section is likely to carry passengers equivalent to 20bus trips. And hence this would have a big impact on the bus service in this section.

The trains would stop at Cheran Maha Devi, Karakurichi, Veeravanallur, Kallidakurichi, Ambasamudram among others in the 2hour 15minute trip.

All the stations in this section have been spruced up and wear a new fresh look.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Palamalai Ranganatha Temple Periyanayakkan Palayam

An ancient Ranganatha Temple on the Western Ghats near Coimbatore
Prarthana Sthalam for liberation from Diseases and Illnesses
Located 8kms West of Periyanayakkanpalayam off the Coimbatore- Mettupalayam NH 181 is the several centuries old picturesque Ranganatha Hill temple at Palamalai with the Western Ghats in the backdrop. From Kovanur, one has to navigate 7acute and steep hair pin bends to reach the temple. This is the Prarthana idol for 6 Aadhi Vaasi Villages around this area.

While this area was a dense forest and continues to be, roads have been laid in the recent past and Government bus ply to this temple twice in the morning and twice in the evening every day.

Liberation from Vashista’s Curse
The story goes that Gandharva Dhurdhaman was bathing in the tank with women. Maharishi Vashista who was returning after visiting Lord Shiva got the due regards from the women who came out of the tank and sought his blessings. However, the Gandharva disregarded the presence of the rishi and continued to bathe in the tank.

An angry rishi cursed the Gandharva to turn to a Rakshasha. Shocked at this sudden turn of event, the women folks pleaded with the rishi to bring the Gandharva back to his handsome form.Over time, Kaalava Rishi who was undertaking penance here invoking the blessings for Lord Narayana was harassed by this Gandharva turned Rakshasha.

Perturbed at this, the Rishi increased the severity of his penance. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Narayana appeared before the rishi and killed the Rakshasha with his discus thus liberating the Gandharva from his curse and helping him unite with his Gandharva wife.

Kaalava Rishi requested the Lord to stay back here and provide darshan to devotees in the same standing posture as Ranganatha.

Liberation from the Bear’s curse!!
Another story goes that King Nanda Boopala relinquished his kingdom and headed towards the forest handing over the crown to his son Dharma Gupta. One day, while returning from a trip, the king had to stay back in the forest as it had suddenly become dark.

He climbed a tree to sleep there for the night only to be joined there by a scared Bear that had been chased down by a hungry Lion. Both of them agreed to take turns and sleep half the period of the night and keep vigil against the hungry Lion.

With the Bear staying awake the first half, the Lion tried to negotiate a deal with the Bear asking him to push down the King in return for being allowed to go free. Not willing to go back on the agreement with the King, the Bear refused.

Well past mid night the Bear and the King exchanged turns and it was now time for the king to keep vigil. When the Lion tried to strike the same deal with the King, he immediately pushed the Bear down. However, to the shock of King Dharma Gupta, the Bear escaped. Once away at a distance, the bear informed the king that he was no normal Bear and that he belonged to the clan of Brigu Rishi.

The Rishi also informed the Lion that he was a Yaksha who had turned into a Lion as a result of the curse of Gautama Rishi and that it was time for him to be liberated from the rishi's curse.

The Bear who was angry at the king betraying the trust placed on him for protection during that night cursed him to turn into a lunatic. Shocked at this, king Dharma Gupta sought his father’s help. Former King Nanda Boopala took his son to a Sage who suggested that Dharma Gupta bathe in the Sacred Padma Theertham in Palamalai and invoke the blessings of Lord Ranganatha there.

Dharma Gupta was relieved from his curse at this place and went back to rule his kingdom in a righteous manner.

Prarthana Sthalam
Having been the place where the Gandharva had been liberated from Vashista's curse as well as the one where the king regained his original princely form after a bath at the sacred tank, this temple is believed to be a Prarthana Sthalam for liberation from diseases, illness and different kinds of doshams.

The priests at this temple display a great sense of sincerity in discharge their bhakthi for Lord Ranganatha.

Construction of the temple
The story goes that this was a thick and dense forest area (it still is!!). A cowherd who allowed his cow to graze here found that there was no milk left. One day, as he watched closely, he was amazed to find the milk on the Swayambu Lord that had come up here. It is believed that the invisible voice sent him the message that he should bring milk from the next morning.

A delighted cowherd followed this practice every morning. To this day, every morning inside the temple, the small idol of the swayambu Lord is presented the milk abhiseka as part of the morning pooja.

With the thick forest, devotees were keen that an outer wall be constructed around the temple but when the temple authorities fell short on construction material it is believed the Lord answered their prayers with the huge rock on the Southern side of the temple breaking up into pieces to constitute the material for the construction. Interestingly, answering the prayers, Lord provided sand in the far Northern corner of the temple.

Padma Theertham as seen in the story above is on the Northern side of the temple about 1/2km away.


Festivals are celebrated in a grand manner at this temple. There is an old small temple chariot that is replete with interesting sculptures.

Puratasi Saturdays- Procession outside the temple
11day Brahmotsavam in Chitrai (including 7days before Pournami)
Azhvaar Utsavam on their Birthday
30day Margazhi Utsavam
Thai Pongal

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Ranganatha in an East facing Standing posture
Thaayar  : Sengothai Thaayar and Poonkothai Thaayar ( separate sannidhis)
Utsavar  : Ranganatha

Temple Time: 530am-8pm

Contact : Rangaraja Bhattar @ 93604 96065, G. Krishnamurthy Bhattar @ 76395 19750, Jagadeesan, Hereditary Trustee@ 94433 48564

How to reach

Board any bus from Coimbatore ( Gandhipuram  Moffusil Bus stand) and get down at Periya Nayakkan Palayam (LMW).

From Periya Nayakkan Palayam, take a bus West to Kovanur (about 4kms)

From Kovanur, a jeep (shared basis) will cost Rs. 10-Rs.20 to reach the hill temple ( 4kms) in about 20minutes

1km from Kovanur, from the foot of the hill, there are also steps to walk up to the temple ( about 2kms- it will take about 45minutes to climb up the steps)

Bus from Railway Station / Gandhipuram (Bus No. 32) @ 530am will take you to Kovanur by 645am
From Kovanur, direct bus ply to the temple at 7am and 830am

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bhavani Adhi Kesava Perumal

Shiva and Vishnu temples within the same complex on the banks of Three Rivers
 Paadal Petra Sthalam
Located 14kms from Erode at the confluence of Cauvery, Bhavani and Amrutha Rivers is the over 1000years old Adhi Kesava Perumal temple in Bhavani where the Swayambu Lord, is seen along with Sri and Bhoo Devi in a standing posture facing the Cauvery in the East. The Adhi Kesava Perumal temple is housed inside the Sangameswarar Temple, one that has been praised in the Thevaram by Thiru Gnana Sambandar and in the Thirupugazh by Arunagirinathar.

Venugopala Sannidhi

The South Facing Lord Venugopala is believed to have been the abhimana Idol of Vyasa Raja Mutt. Venugopala, a swayambu murthy, is seen in a standing posture playing the flute. On the body of Lord Venugopala is a two headed cow.

There is also an idol of Anjaneya carved on a rock inside the temple
Thiru Gnana Sambandar referred to this place as Naana ( Nanraa) and Thiru Nanaavey.

Pancha Malai Kshetram
This is a Pancha Malai Kshetram- Sangagiri, Naagagiri, Mangalagiri, Vadagiri and Padmagiri. In centuries gone by, the temple complex was surrounded by a fortress signs of which are still seen at the Southern entrance.

Unique Feature
Between the Amman and Lord Shiva is the Murugan Sannidhi, one that has been praised in the Thirupugazh by Aruna Girinathar. Between the Soundaravalli Thaayar and Adhi Kesava Perumal is the Lakshmi Narasimha Sannidhi.

There are four entrances to the temple with the 5tier Rajagopuram in the North. To the right of the Raja Gopuram is the Swarga Vaasal relating to the Vishnu temple.

Pallavas, Cholas and Pandyas have all contributed to the growth of this ancient temple. The temple was renovated in the 16th Century by Mysore Kings and in the 17th century by Narayana Gounder.
Chitrai Brahmotsavam
Vaikunda Ekadesi
Aadi Perukku
Tharpanam on every No Moon Day

Quick Facts
Moolavar:  Adhi Kesava Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar   : Soundaravalli Thaayar
Utsavar    : Soundararajan

Time        : 6am-12noon and 430pm-730pm
Contact    : Kesavan Bhattar @ 04256 230125, Praveen Bhattar @ 94434 99780, K. Venkatesan  Bhattar @ 04256 233736

How to reach

Mettur bound buses every 15minutes from Erode Bus Stand to the temple entrance
Will take about 30minutes

Local town bus and private bus at frequent intervals from early morning