Friday, May 9, 2014

Konerirajapuram Varadaraja Perumal

Appar in his Devaram refers to the presence of an Agraharam here
It is a different tale for two ancient chozha period temples in Konerirajapuram on the Northern banks of Keerthiman River. While Varadaraja Perumal temple has a new look with the Samprokshanam that took place last week after a gap of 16years (the previous one was in 1998), the huge Uma Maheshwarar temple that is well known for the biggest Nataraja Idol is still waiting for approval from HR & CE well over a year after plans were firmed up for renovation.

A vibrant Agraharam
Thiru Navukarasar (Appar) in his Devaram verse refers to the presence of the Agraharam here. In the last century, there were over 200families in the Nadu Agraharam opposite the Perumal temple with row of houses on both sides. A pleasing note is that a vibrant Agraharam continues to exist here with white pulli kolams seen every morning along the agraharam.

The story goes that having constructed the Uma Maheshwarar temple, the Chozha kings brought in hundreds of Brahmins from across different regions for the daily recital of Vedas and the celebration of festivals through the year. It is believed that the Varadaraja Perumal temple was constructed during this period with the Brahmins taking care of the maintenance of the temple and the performance of the daily poojas staying in the agraharam.

Majestic King like Utsava Deity
The Utsava idol, which is believed to date back over a 1000years to the Chozha period, has the majesty of a king (named as Koneri Raja Perumal) and immediately draws a devotee’s attention.

The Rama Sannidhi was a later period addition with the Rama and Sita idols believed to be around 200years old. 12day Rama Navami Utsavam is celebrated in a grand manner here at the temple with Sita Kalyanam performed on the 10th day. On this day, Rama and Sita go out on a procession around the four streets of Konerirajapuram. Hanuman Utsavam will be celebrated on the 12th and final day.

Moolavar Varadaraja Perumal now adorns a Gold Kavacham. The madapalli wears a new look and the two ancient vahanas too have seen a new coat of paint.

There are two ancient vahanas here at the temple. Garuda Vahana procession of Varadaraja Perumal takes place in Puratasi, while Rama goes on the Hanumantha Vahana procession. 

Sampath Bhattar, the hereditary priest has been here at the temple for the last 40years with his forefathers having performed pooja for Lord Varadarajan over the last 400years.

12 day Rama Navami Utsavam Rama- Sita Kalyanam on the last day
5day Jeshtabhishekam in Aadi
Vishnu Sahasranama Parayanam on Puratasi Saturdays
30day Margazhi Utsavam ending with Andal Kalyanam
Every Ekadasi, Lord Varadarajan goes on a procession.

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Varadaraja Perumal in an East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar  : Mahalakshmi Thaayar
Utsavar   : Koneri Raja Perumal
Time        : 630am-1130am and 5pm-830pm
Contact   : Sampath Bhattar @ 98432 09527 / 0435 2449517
How to reach
Konerirajapuram is 21kms East of Kumbakonam in the Kuthalam Taluk of the Nagapattinam District. From Kumbakonam, direct bus (A22) every hour to the temple. One can take the Karaikal bound bus (frequency every 15minutes), get down at S. Pudur. The temple is 3kms South of S. Pudur.

From Aduthurai railway station (express trains stop there) on the Kumbakonam-Mayavaram route, one can reach the temple via Thiru Neelakudi and S. Pudur (13kms)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Nam Azhvaar Mogur Ananthapuram

Interesting Similarities between Thiru Mogur and Thiru Ananthapuram

Nam Azhvaar has begun the last set of 100 verses of his Tiruvomozhi (which totally comprises of a 1000verses) with praise of two temples, 300kms apart but where the Lords are seen in a similar sleeping posture atop the Serpant King. Nam Azhvaar probably found a lot of similarity between the two temples and hence chose to praise them one after another as part of his last 100verses of praise in the Naalayira Divya Prabhandham.

He follows the first set of 10 verses on the Lord of Thiru Mogur in the Pandya Kingdom near Madurai with 10verses of praise on the Lord of Thiru Ananthapuram (Trivandrum/Tiruvananthapuram) which he refers to as being near the ocean.
Kaalamegha Perumal
In his praise of both Thiru Mogur and Thiru Ananthapuram, Nam Azhvaar specifically makes a mention of Lord being in a sleeping posture atop a venomous hooded Serpant.

 'படர் கொள் பாம்பணைப் பள்ளி கொள்வான் திருமோகூர்' 

'விடம் உடை அரவில் பள்ளி விரும்பினான் சுரும்பு அலற்றும் ....அனந்த புர  நகர்'
                                                     Anantha Padmanabhan

Similarity in the two places over a 1000years ago

'அண்டம் மூவுலகு அளந்தவன் அணி திருமோகூர் என் திசையும்  
ஈன்  கரும்பொடு  பெரும் செந்நெல்  விளையக்...'

'In multiple verses of his praise on Thiru Mogur, he refers to lovely groves and lakes surrounding the temple. Similarly, about Thiru Ananthapuram, he says it was full of fertile fields and he saw fishes jumping up and down in the lakes.  While he talks about Thiru Mogur being a place where Sugar Cane and Paddy was seen in vast abundance, he refers to Thiru Ananthapuram as one where Kurundu, Serundi and Punnai trees were seen in big numbers all around.

'குன்று நேர் மாடம் மாடே குருந்து சேர்  செருந்தி புன்னை 
மன்று அலற பொழில் அனந்த புர நகர்' 

Describing the Lord
If in one verse, he refers to the Lord of Thiru Mogur as being with 4arms, lotus eyes and sweet lips, in another he praises him as being Dasharatha’s son who destroyed Lanka and in yet another he names him as Kaalamegha Perumal, while he refers to the Lord of Thiru Ananthapuram with different names in different verses as Kesava first, then as Govinda, Vamana and Madhava.

Process of darshan

'முற்றும் தேவரோடு உலகு செய்வான் திருமோகூர்
கதறி நாம் வலஞ் செய்ய  நம் துயர் கெடும் கடிதே'

While he asks the devotees to visit Thiru Mogur and go around the Lord just once for our sins to go away, he provides us with a list of things to be presented to the Lord of Thiru Ananthapuram one that includes Sandal paste and incense, lighting a lamp with ghee and placing a lotus flower at the Lord’s feet at Thiru Ananthapuram for our miseries to end and for us to find eternal glory. He also goes on to say that even a simple sweeping of the floor at Thiru Ananthapuram would entitle us to the Lord’s blessing.  

'ஏய்ந்த பொன் மதில் அனந்த புர நகர் எந்தைக்கு என்று 
சாந்தொடு விளக்கம் தூபம் தாமரை மலர்கள் நல்வ ....அந்தம்  இல் புகழினாரே '