Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thondanur Parthasarathy Perumal Temple

Dwapara Yuga Idol installed by Yudhistra
Popularly referred to as ‘Veetrirundha Perumal’, Lord Parthasarathy is seen in a handsome Sitting Posture here at this temple

The Hoysala Style Chariot makes its way around the streets of Thondanur during the Brahmotsavam in Maasi
In the 11th Century AD, an endowment of money was made by Udaya Pillai to God Veetrirundha Perumal, one of the three ancient Vishnu temples of Thondanur. From the interest received from this endowment, copper and silver vessels and other worship objects like Thaligai utensils, Tiruvadi, Kendi, Mani (bell) and Cup (Vettil) were made to the handsome Lord Parthasarathy seen in a grand sitting posture along with Sri and Bhoo Devi.

Gopalakrishnan Temple is located East of the Nambi Narayana Perumal temple in Thondanur. The moolavar idol of Lord Parthasarathy is believed to date back to the Dwapara Yuga and was installed by the Pandava King Yudhistra.

Consecrated by Ramanuja
Parthasarathy temple is one of the three ancient Vishnu temples of Thondanur that were consecrated during Ramanuja’s stay here at Thondanur before he made his way North to Melkote.

Out of the three Perumal temples of Thondanur, Lord Parthasarathy is rich in inscriptions dating back to early 11th Century AD that gives us an indication of the name of this place, the kings ruling this place at that time, the way this Lord was referred to and the posture of this Lord. All the three Vishnu temples of Thondanur have been designated as a heritage monument and comes under the control of ASI.

Hoysala Rulers
In 1177AD, during the rule of Vira Ballaala Deva, a grant of Bhoganahalli Village along with its hamlet was made. In addition, the income from taxes on loom and houses was directed to the service of Veetrirundha Perumal. Another Hoysala ruler, Narasimha, granted villages of Bottahalli, Sirimakkanahalli and Maarurumhalli along with income from taxes – Olavaaru, Horavaaru and Hole-Sunka to Veetrirundha Perumal of Yadava Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam.

Panguni Festival
In the 13th Century AD, the people of Yadava Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam gifted 20 Pons to organise festivals in Panguni here at the temple of Veetrirundha Perumal.
During the rule of Hoysala King, Jagadakomalla Narasimha Deva who ruled from Dorasamudra, there was construction and consecration of the temple of Veetrirundha Perumal and Goddess Lakshmi in 1157AD through a grant of Villages.

Names of the Lord
In the 11th and 12th Century AD, Lord Parthasarathy here at Thondanur was referred to as ‘Veetrirundha Perumal’ indicating his grand sitting posture.

In 1191AD, Hoysala Vira Ballala II made a gift to Lord Gopinathan, another name for Veetrirundha Perumal in those days. This Lord who was also referred to as ‘God Vennai Kutta’ was gifted 10Pon for supply of 2Naali of rice for food offerings. In the 13th Century AD, this temple was referred to as the Krishna temple of Yadava Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam. During this period, this temple was also referred to as Ainnurruva Vinnagaram.

Regular Thaligai for Lord Parthasarathy
One comes to know that there was regular early morning service of food offerings to Lord Parthasarathy through a gift made to the temple of 20Gadyaanas.  Ramanuja’s disciple gifted a village to Veetrirundha Perumal to ensure the daily food offerings to the Lord at this temple. In the 12th Century AD, Kodai Andal Ammai gifted a share for maintaining lamp at this temple.

When at Thondanur, visit the Thonnur Kere ( the huge dam) built by Thondanur Nambi, the disciple of Ramanuja.
5day Maasi Brahmotsavam including Chariot Festival
Thirumanjanam every Rohini

Quick Facts
Moolavar        : Lord Parthasarathy with Sri and Bhoo Devi
Utsavar           : Gopalakrishnan with Rukmini and Satyabhama
Time                :  830am-1 pm and 3pm-530pm
Contact           : Raghurama Bhattar @ 08236 251795 / 94493 72453

How to reach
Pandavapura is about 100kms from Bangalore on the Mandya- Srirangapatna- Mysore Highway. From Pandavapura, buses every one hour to Thondanur (Thonnur Kere) – take the Narayanapura bound bus.

Auto from Pandavapura bus stand will cost Rs. 100/-

Number of Share autos ply between Pandavapura and Thonnur – they will charge Rs. 7.  

Thiru Narayanapuram, Melkote is just around 20kms from here 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yoga Narasimha Thondanur

Ramanuja seen in a one of its kind Sesha Roopam at this temple
The Magical Dhanda used to liberate Hoysala King Bitta Deva’s daughter can be seen to this day inside the Yoga Narasimha Sannidhi
Located 20kms North of Srirangapatna and just North of the Nambi Narayana Temple is the Yoga Narasimha Perumal temple in Thondanur, one whose idol is believed to have been installed by Prahalada in the Kretha Yuga. Hence, the idol here is said to date back about 5500years. One has to climb about 15steps to reach the temple. This temple is seen as a special Abhimana Sthalam of Ramanuja.

Ramanuja’s debate at this temple
After his exile from Srirangam, Ramanuja came first, here to Thondanur, before proceeding to Melkote.  

Here at Thondanur, Ramanuja’s disciple Thondanur Nambi, who also built the famous Thonnur kere (the huge dam North of this temple) brought the Hoysala King Bitta Deva and his daughter to Ramanuja.

The King’s daughter had been afflicted with Brahma Rakshasha and was not in a proper state of mind. Ramanuja directed the king to take his daughter to the huge Eri (Sarovar) known as ‘Pancha Apsara Thataka’. He asked the king’s daughter to bathe there and then invoke the blessings of Yoga Narasimha at the temple South of the dam. At the temple, the Archaka placed the Narasimha Dhanda on the daughter and to the king’s surprise she was instantly liberated from the illness. To this day, one sees Yoga Narasimha holding this magical Dhanda in his right hand.

Belief is that Lord Yoga Narasimha fulfils all the prayers of the devotees here at this temple. Once fulfilled, the devotees present a 10x6 Veshti to Yoga Narasimha and an Orange Veshti to Ramanuja at this temple as a thanks giving gesture. 
Spreading Vishishtaadvaitha in this region
When asked what he wanted, Ramanuja informed the king that he was here to propagate Vishistaadvaitha and that he would like the King to convert to a Vaishnavite.

Bitta Deva, much against the wishes of his people, became a Vaishnavite and changed his name to Vishnu Vardhan reasoning out to his people that in this Kali Yuga, Ramanuja was the avathara of Sesha (similar to how Lakshmana was in the Tretha Yuga).

An unhappy lot, the 1000 Jains of Thondanur wanted to confront Ramanuja in a debate. Outside the Yoga Narasimha Temple, after Ramanuja invoked the blessings of the Lord, he was thrown 1000 questions by the people of the kingdom. And in one go Ramanuja hit back at them with 1000 answers much to the delight of the people. Pleased with his answers, the Jains converted to Vaishnavism.

Moving from Thondanur, he later built/renovated the temples at Melkote, Gadag, Belur and Thalakkad. He also renovated the Amara Narayana temple at Eka Chakra Puram in Kaivara, a temple that relates to the legend of Hidumba Samhara.

Ramanuja in Sarpa Roopam
When the time had come for him to leave for Srirangam, the people of Thondanur, who had become fond of him, asked him to stay back here.

He told them that he would have to leave but would leave his powers here and installed his own idol here at Yoga Narasimha temple with Vaikanasa Agama Sastras and is seen even today in the Sarpa Roopa form. While in Melkote, he has an Abhimana status, in Srirangam he is seen in ‘Shareeram’ (body form) and in a Sthoola Roopam (Athma form) at Sriperambadur. Here in Thondanur at the Yoga Narasimha temple on the banks of the Thonnur Eri, Ramanuja is seen in a Sookshma Roopam (Atom) with conch and chakra.

A box used by Ramanuja in the 12th Century AD is still seen inside the temple. 
This temple too like the Lakshmi Narayana temple in Thondanur has a Chola Style Architecture but was built / renovated by Hoysala Kings. Hence there is no Raja Gopuram at the entrance.

A couple of 12th Century AD inscriptions at the temple refer to the assignment of 7ma of 30Kuli of taxable land to Lakshmi Narayana by the priests of Yoga Narasimha temple of Yadava Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam.

A 2nd inscription refers to the gift of 6Pon from out of interest for conducting festivals/ceremonies in the temple of Singa Perumal built by Chokkandai Pergadi.

Narasimha Jayanthi
Ramanuja Utsavam
Swathi Thirumanjanam

Quick Facts
Moolavar :  Yoga Narasimha East facing Sitting Posture
Time         : 930am-530pm
Contact    : R Raghurama Bhattar @ 08236 251795

How to reach
Direct buses from Pandavapura Bus Stand (bus bound for Narayanapura) every one hour- will take 30minutes from Pandavapura. Auto from Pandavapura to Yoga Narasimha temple will cost Rs. 125.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thondanur Lakshmi Narayana Temple

The first and the oldest of the Pancha Narayana Temples in the region
Hoysala rulers made significant contribution to this ancient temple 

Inscriptions refer to this place as Yadava Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam
Located 15kms from Pandavapura off the Melkote Highway in a serene location in the Mandya District is the 1000years old Lakshmi Narayana (Nambi Narayana) Temple in Thondanur, where the lord is seen in a handsome tall standing posture. This is one of the Pancha Narayana temples in this region. This place is now referred to as Thonnur (and Thonnur Kere- reference to the huge dam 1km North of the temple built by Thondanur Nambi).

While the temple was renovated by Ramanuja during his exile from Srirangam, the idol and the sanctum is said to be over 5500years old and dates back to the Dwapara Yuga. Ramanuja built new mandapas outside the sanctum and renovated and consecrated the temple. 

While the architecture design is said to have come from the Chozhas, the temple was built by Hoysala Kings. There is no Raja Gopuram at the entrance as was the style of the Hoysalas. But the entire inner prakara and the outside walls have a strong Granite base structure and has a solid look to this day.

This is one of the three temples in Thonnur, the other two being Gopalakrishnan temple ( opposite the Nambi Narayana temple) and Yoga Narasimha temple.
The Story
At the end of the Dwapara Yuga, in the Sura Sura war, Indra was afflicted with Brahmma Hathi Dosham. To liberate himself from this, he undertook penance and invoked the blessings for Lord Vishnu.

He was directed to install 5 Narayana Idols in this region to liberate himself from his dosham. Thondanur is the first and the oldest of the Pancha Narayana Kshetrams. The others in this region being – Cheluva Narayana at Melkote, Keerthi Narayana at Thalakkad, Veera Narayana at Gadag and Sowmya Narayana at Belur.

Belief is that one will attain Vaikunta Moksham if he visited the Pancha Narayana Kshetram.

There are several inscriptions dating back to the 11th Century AD that describe the contributions made by different rulers of that period to the upkeep and maintenance of the temple and the conduct of various festivals during the year.

A 12th Century AD inscription in Tamil with Grantha Characters refers to a gift of 5Gadyanas of gold paid into treasury by Kunraara Deva Perumal Bhattar for maintaining a perpetual lamp at Lakshmi Narayana from out of the interest accrued upon the endowment.

Old Name
Centuries ago, this place was referred to as Yadava Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam. Inscriptions refer to Veera Narasimha, the Hoysala ruler leading his kingdom with Dorasamudram as his capital and granting 64 gadayaanas to the people of Thondanur Agrahara for undertaking any repairs to the temple.

Vahana Mandapa in the 12-13th Century AD
A Vahana Mandapa  was erected in the 12-13th Century AD by Mahapradhana Srikaranada Heggade Naganna.

Hoysala Kings and Contribution
In 1174AD, Ballala II granted an income towards service of Lakshmi Narayana Perumal. The king also granted income from an oil mill towards monthly oil for Lakshmi Narayana. Hoysala King Bitta Deva constructed a new Mandapa at this temple. During the rule of Hoysala King Narasimha III, there was a gift of 4Pon annually for the maintenance of the huge Nandavanam at the Lakshmi Narayana temple. Narasimha who ruled the kingdom from Kodala also granted lands for the temple.

Inscriptions in Kannada and Sanskrit on 15copper plates refer to Krishna Raja II, the King of Mysore directing the conversion of two villages – Yadavapura and Attikuppam to Agraharam so that the daily rites and festivals can be performed at the Lakshmi Narayana temple. The Agrahara lands were divided into 112 vrittis and distributed among Brahmana families who were invited from different parts of the country to come and reside here permanently at Thondanur.

Regular Recital of Thiruvoimozhi
An 1175AD inscription refers to a gift of gold to Viravallalan Mandapa at Lakshmi Narayana temple by a staunch devotee who used to recite Thiruvoimozhi regularly at this temple. In  1286AD, there was a grant of 10 Salagai of Kalani lands for food offerings to Lord Lakshmi Narayana on the occasion of Thiruvoimozhi festival and for Prayischitam Ceremony at the temple as well as for the consecration of images at this temple. There was regular recital of Thiruvoimozhi inside the temple here.

Food Offering for Lakshmi Narayana
In 1214AD, the people of Thondanur came together and presented a gift of 100kuli to Lakshmi Narayana for food offerings.

White Washing of the Temple
There was a grant of 50Gadyanas made in the 13th Century for white washing the Viravallalan Mandapa at the Lakshmi Narayana Temple by Thirunaraiyur Dasan.

5 day Brahmotsavam in Mesham (Chitrai/Vaikasi)

Quick Facts
Moolavar: Lakshmi Narayana/ Nambi Narayana East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess : Aravinda Nayaki Thaayar
Utsavar  : Lakshmi Narayana with Sri and Bhoo Devi

Time       : 930am-530pm
Contact   : Seshadri Bhattar @ 97418 19202

How to reach
From Chennai, take Mysore Express to get down at Pandavapura station (630am). From Pandavapura railway station, auto to the temple will cost Rs. 110/- (it will take about 20minutes)

Also, one can take a share auto from railway station (Rs. 5) to Pandavapura bus stand and then take a Narayanapura / Kamakana Halli bound bus to get down at Thondanur (buses every one hour). It will take 30minutes from Pandavapura bus stand to reach Thondanur.

When at Thondanur, also visit Gopalakrishna Temple and Yoga Narasimha Temple. Also, visit Thiru Narayana Temple at Melkote, about 20kms from here.