Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kallankuruchi Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal

Vanniyars of Udayarpalayam created a Perumal Temple near Ariyalur in the early 18th Century AD that now attracts lakhs of devotees during Brahmotsavam and Puratasi
Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal is the Kula Deivam for people from 10nearby villages
Located 6kms East of Ariyalur is the 18th Century AD over 250years old Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal temple, one that was built by the Padaiyaachi Vanniyars of Sithalavadi Village in Udayarpalayam.

The story
Gopalan Padaiyaachi moved to Kadugur village and built several small houses in the place that was until then an uninhabited forest area thus converting it into a vibrant commercial location. Pleased with his efforts, the villagers named this place as ‘Gopalan Kudikadu’.

The story goes that once his son Mangaan took out a herd of cows and found one of the cows missing on his return. Despite extensive search, he failed to locate the pregnant cow, an event that left him dejected back home.

A few days later, he heard an invisible voice directing him to a particular place here in Kallankuruchi where he found the cow with her new born. Pleased with this, he brought home the mother and the new born. A day later he heard the invisible voice again, this time expressing disappointment at not having thanked him for helping locate his lost cow.

When Mangaan Padaiyaachi went back to that place, he found a sacred pillar with the cow’s milk on it and immediately that it was Lord Vishnu who had himself come and helped him the previous day. Mangaan performed abhisheka and erected the sacred pillar with an anjaneya idol at the bottom of sacred pillar. It was an accepted practice in olden days to erect the pillar as the deity when people were short of funds to install an idol.

Kula Deivam - Varadaraja Perumal
From the grains generated, Mangaan Padaiyaachi built the temple here at Kallankuruchi with the sacred pillar as the moolavar deity. While originally, poojas were conducted only on a weekly basis, later the Utsava deity of South Facing Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal with Sri Bhoo Devi was installed and a pooja process as per Vaikanasa Agama was created and Bhattars were appointed to perform daily poojas which is now followed diligently at this temple.

Interestingly, only the Vanniyars perform pooja inside the Moolavar Sannidhi, while the Vaishnavite Bhattars perform pooja at the Utsava Sannidhi.

Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal is the Kula Deivam for people from 10nearby villages.

Brahmotsavam – Rama Navami - Procession during Brahmotsavam is on Silver Vahanas.
Raksha Bandhan

There are two chariots here at this temple- one for the utsava deity and one for Anjaneya. Chariot Festival too attracts huge number of devotees.

During Puratasi Saturdays, devotees throng in lakhs starting from mid night

Every morning, sharp at 7am, there is a milk abhishekam for the Moolavar – the sacred pillar. Every Saturday, there is a Thirumanjanam for the Utsava deity Varadaraja Perumal.

Quick Facts
Moolavar: Sacred Pillar East Facing
Utsavar   : Kaliyuga Varadaraja Perumal South Facing
Time       : 7am-1230pm and 3pm-9pm
                On Saturday, the temple is open from 630am to 9pm without a break
 Contact   : Srinivasa Bhattar @ 94435 15842

How to reach
 Kallankuruchi is 6kms East of Ariyalur Railway station and about 4kms from the bus stand. Regular town buses ply to the temple starting at 4am in the morning. Auto to the temple from Ariyalur bus stand will cost Rs. 150.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pey Azhvaar Parthasarathy Koil annual trip

On Tuesday (October 1), Pey Azhvaar, one of the Muthal Azhvaars, of Kesava Perumal Temple made his annual trip from his Avathaara Sthalam in the Maaya Puri Kshetram of Mylapore to Parthasarathy Koil Divya Desam in Thiruvallikeni. 
This was a centuries old tradition that had been discontinued in the middle of the 20th century. Over the last dozen years, this tradition of Pey Azhvaar making his annual trip to Thiruvallikeni Divya Desam has been revived.

It has also been tradition for Lord Parthasarathy to have a stop-over at Mylapore en-route his annual visit to Iyyapanthangal in Thai, for in many of the verses of Thirumangai Azhvaar, one finds Thiruvallikeni and Mylai being praised in the same breath. Thirumazhisai Azhvaar too talks about the close connection between the two.

Thirumazhisai's reference to Mylapore and Thiruvalllikeni 
தாளால் உலகம் அளந்த அசைவேய்கோல்
வாள கிடந்தருளும் வாய்ந்திறவான் நீள்  ஓதம்
வந்து அலைக்கும்  மா மயிலை மா அல்லிக்கேணி யான்
ஆஇய்ந்தலை வாய் நாகத்து ஆணை

Pey Azhvaar is believed to have performed daily Aradhana for Kesavaperumal here in Mylapore and is said to have visited Lord Parthasarathy at Thiruvallikeni.

Leaves for Thiruvallikeni
Starting at 3pm after recital of his composition ‘Thiru Kanden, Ponmeni Kanden.., from Moondraam Thiruvanthathi, he made a stop-over at his avathara sthalam in Mylapore. 

He reached the South end of Parthasarathy Koil at 4pm where he was welcomed by Senai Mudhalayar and Sri. Sadagopan opposite the Narasimha Sannidhi with the presentation of Pey Azhvaar’s Moonraam Thiruvanthaathi verses.

An hour later, Pey Azhvaar made his way into the Parthasarathy Koil paying respects in each of the Sannidhi presenting Thirumangai Azhvaar’s Periya Thirumozhi verses praising the Lord of Thiruvallikeni - Lord Parthasarathy (விற்பெரு விழாவும் கஞ்சனும் மல்லும்), Vedavalli Thaayar (வேதத்தை வேதத்தின்), Varadaraja Perumal (மீனவர்  பொய்கை நாண்மலர் கொய்வான்), Thelliya Singar (பள்ளியிலோதி வந்த தன்  சிறுவன்......தெள்ளிய சிங்கம் ஆகிய தேவை) and Andal (இன் துணை பதுமத் ..... பஞ்ச பாண்டவர்காகி) in that order.

Joint Procession with Lord Parthasarathy
Sharp at 7pm, Parthasarathy and Pey Azhvaar, accompanied by the recital of Moonraam Thiruvanthaathi made a joint trip across the four big Mada streets of Triplicane providing darshan to devotees who had gathered there to seek the blessings of the ‘Mudhal Azhvaar’.
930pm was time for Pey Azhvaar of Mylapore to bid good bye to Lord Parthasarathy of Triplicane for another year. After being presented with Lord Parthasarathy’s garland and parivattam, Pey Azhvaar made his way back to his Avathara Sthalam of Mylapore reaching the Kesavaperumal temple at 1030pm.

Brahmotsavam in Panguni
Theppotsavam in Thai
Pey Azhvaar Avathara Utsavam in Aipasi

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Kesavaperumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar   : Mayuravalli Thaayar
Time         : 7am-1130am and 430pm-830pm
Contact     : Veera Raghava Bhattar @ 94442 74557 / 24618106

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cricket Stories of the 1990s - The Untold Story of MRF Cricket Team

Fast Bouncers have battered and bruised batsmen on the cricket pitch. With practice, one can counter that, and over time, one can face that challenge and overcome that. That's on the cricket field, though.

But a continuous set of googlies and wrong-ones bowled after the playing hours was almost unplayable (There is no leg spinner involved here!!). Or at least one hugely talented player with a prospective cricket career ahead of him chose to let go the googlies and declared himself out just over 20years ago.

A player who started his career in the same year as I did had a terrific start to his cricketing innings in his teens. On the field, he scored tons of runs and formed a great partnership with another slam bang well known upcoming player of the late 1980s in local cricket. But in his early phase in first division cricket handling the who’s who of Madras cricket became unmanageable for this youngster. But for the good of cricket, he left the scene with his head held high, showcasing how every youngster should behave and take on the injustice by senior players in the team.

By the time he was out of his teens, the amount of runs he had scored had helped him move up into the first division league and he joined MRF - one of the top 3-4 private teams of first division in those years.

It was there that his cricketing innings took a dramatic turn. It was there that he realised what playing cricket in Madras was. This callous attitude of the 'established' players on the TN scene and the 'feudal system' led to aspirations being crushed, on or off the field.

In the first two years that he played there at MRF, he topped 600runs/800runs in the league season winning accolades but the battering off the field left him completely bruised, mentally.

Two of the now biggest names of Tamil Nadu cricket - WV Raman, the current coach of Tamil Nadu and M. Senthilnathan, the current head of MRF Pace Foundation and the man who played his early cricket in Udumalpet for the respectable SVPB, made him do stuff that shattered him and his outlook to life.

The daily routine during those days at MRF included having to pick up the ‘chappals’ of the current TN coach and placing it at his feet. The once quiet boy from Udumalpet who played his early cricket under NP Madhavan and Brijesh Patel, two of the most ‘quiet’ and ‘respected’ cricketers in the league went many steps forward (or backward should one say). For him, the requirements included 'youngsters' massaging his back and legs, picking his kit to the car, in addition to carrying his chappals and handing it to him at his feet!!!

While this happened and the youngster wanted to move on to another team, he was assured by the authorities that be that there would be better treatment into the third year. And he stayed back, for he had scored a lot of runs and was in the peak of his career with a possible Ranji call round the corner. Or at least he was just a few steps away.

However, the flipper on the night of one outstation tour was unplayable and got this youngster to take a most unprecedented step for any youngster of that era. Senthilnathan’s instructions and orders to massage his bare back shook this youngster. It was no request or ‘can you please do’ but a 'its part of your job' here if you want to progress kind of scenario for this youngster.

No more could he tolerate this inhuman treatment. He realised that he could not go any further in this team without falling in line with these off-field activities every evening.  

He told himself that massaging another’s back was not his way to go up the cricketing ladder. He explained this continuous torture to the relevant authority but to no avail. Next morning, he packed his cricketing bag and made his trip back ( at his own expense and choosing his own mode of transport) to Madras even before the tournament had ended – a big step, for a young boy, and a brave move against the biggest names of TN cricket.

He brought this entire episode of ‘torturous treatment’ to the notice of the Executive Director of the company before he put in his papers. But this was the order of the day and it seemed that one had to comply with this and take it as part of the cricket career to progress in cricket.

And this cricketer chose not to comply.  Kudos to him for taking that big step against the biggies at such a young age!!! Things may have changed a lot in the last 20years but one wonders as to what will be the fate of youngsters in TN with those two at the helm, one of the state team and the other of the most renowned fast bowling academy.

PS: It is another matter that within 6months of this episode, this youngster who had signed up for another team scored 2centuries at the start of the season to be picked for the Buchi Babu Tournament to bat alongside the two big names mentioned above!!! And he scored there as well!!!