Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gopinathan Perumal Temple Reddiarchatram

Twin Temples of Reddiarchatram
A hill temple where the handsome Lord Gopinathan is seen with a butter ball in each hand
Moolavar Lord is seen playing the Flute
Located 4kms South West of Kathir Narasinga perumal temple is the Gopinathan Perumal temple in Reddiarchatram on the banks of Maangarai River, whose legend dates back to the 13th Century AD and the Nayak Period.  Lord Krishna is seen in a standing posture playing the flute. The Utsava deity, Gopinathan, is seen holding a butter ball in each of his hands. Gopinathan’s mother Koppammal is seen carrying food on her head.

In the heart of Reddiarchatram is the Kathir Narasinga Perumal temple.

The story
A devotee from the Pandya Kingdom took up a long national temple trip. On his way, he reached the drought hit Bellary. He suggested to the Vellalla king that he should visit the Pandya region which was seen in prosperous light with greenery all round with the rivers brimming with water.

The king’s wife Koppammal and their son Gopinathan along with their retinue made their way to this place accompanied by the huge number of cows that were struggling to survive in the drought.

Once here, the cows immediately took a liking to this place and refused to leave from here. They seemed to enjoy the green tinge to this place and enjoyed Gopinathan playing his flute every day sitting atop the hill.But unfortunately, the drought of which Gopinathan had become so used to, caught up with him here as well. The rivers dried up. And it seemed that the joys of the cows were short lived.

A worried Gopinathan invoked the blessings of the Lord and took an oath to give up his life as a sacrifice if the rains returned. The place was immediately blessed with plentiful rainfall and the cows were joyous once again. It was now time for Gopinathan to fulfil his promise.Leaving behind the entire herd, he took along with just one atop the hill. He left his flute on the branch of a tree and tied the cow to the tree. And fulfilling his promise, he jumped from the hill on to the horns of the cow leaving him dead.

Koppammal who used to carry food for him every noon was surprised not to hear the sweet music emanating from the flute and wondered if all was well for she only heard the saddened noises from the cows. As she reached the spot, she found blood across the cow and the body of his hanging. In a state of shock, she too joined his son in death leaving the cows to fend without support.

Construction of the idols
Later, the Zamindar from the nearby Kannivadi village came here on a hunting expedition. To his surprise, his cows came to a standing halt here at this place while the cows belonging to Gopinathan turned to deer. Despite his best efforts, the zamindar could not hunt out the deer. Back in his village, a Saint explained to him Gopinathan’s greatness and that he had actually had darshan of the Lord himself.

A pleased Zamindar built the idol of Gopinathan with a flute in hand and of Koppammal carrying food above her head. After later renovations, the temple in its current form and structure was built in the early 19th century AD. The temple is at a height of over 400feet with one having to climb over 600steps to reach the temple.

From atop the temple, one can get a glimpse of Dindigul in the East and the Western Ghats and Kongu hills in the West and the  Pothigai hills in the South.
Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Kannapiran East Facing standing Posture playing the flute
Thaayar           : Koppammal
Utsavar            : Gopinathan with Butter Ball in each hand
Time                : 8am-12noon
Contact            : JK Gopinath @ 9600519180/94439 19182 / 94434 60639 or Radhakrishnan  99766 17056

How to reach
Reddiarchatram is about 15kms West of Dindigul on the Palani highway. From Reddiarchatram bus stop, auto will cost Rs. 75 to the foot of the temple. From Kannivadi Cross Road, one has to take a right towards West to reach the temple. Currently, trains on the Dindigul-Palani route do not stop at Reddiarchatram station.

One can climb the 600+steps in about 30minutes.

Call the temple authorities on the above numbers before visiting the temple.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sanjana aims at Rowing Gold for India

Special Knack of catching up with the Technical aspects is a special trait in Sanjana- Captain M.R. Ravindra
14year old Sanjana Shyam has just come off a Gold medal in Sub Junior Girls (fours) Nationals in Calcutta and the excitement in her face is quite palpable. But her feet are firmly rooted to the ground for she believes that this is just the beginning and that there is a long way to go in realising her ultimate dream that of rowing for the country and winning a gold medal.

And her captain and mentor Captain M. R. Ravindra believes she is champion material. He pays glowing tribute to the young rower. ‘Sanjana has great potential to make it big in rowing at the international level. She has tremendous grit and a special knack of catching up with the technical aspects of rowing, which is important at this initial stage of her career. She is also a disciplined girl.’

‘She is currently on the right path and has all the right attributes to make it big. And with hard work and discipline, has it in her to carve a name at the national level.’

Quits Badminton to take up Rowing
Sanjana was a top 8 ranked player at the state junior level in badminton a couple of years ago but a combination of distance and cost led her to saying it ‘quits to badminton’ at a time when she seemed to be doing well.

It was watching her mother Saraswathi (who had represented the state in rowing in the early 1990s) row at the Madras Boat Club that inspired Sanjana to take the ‘dip’ into the Adyar River.

Later, Captain Ravindra pushed Sanjana’s mother to get Sanjana initiated into rowing. Ravindra had his reasons. ‘Rowing is a non impact Sport. Chances of injuries are less. And it provides peace and solitude to the rower. More importantly, it helps you improve on your co-ordination skills and the ability to work as a team as even the slightest mistake by a player in the fours could spoil the team’s chances. Hence each of the four players has to co-ordinate to get the best results for the team.’

Rigorous Training
If the early wins are any indication, Sanjana seems to have made the right move. And in this quest, she is training very hard. 6times a week, she wakes up at 5am and is off to the boat club before rushing off to school, even having her breakfast during her drive to the school. Back from school, she is back into the waters, atleast twice or thrice a week, to improve her timing in the doubles sculls and fours that she currently specialises in. The Ergometer tracks her fitness levels and she is constantly being monitored on various fronts.

Sanjana’s younger sister Shilpa is her best friend and fan. She keeps complete track of Sanjana’s schedules and adjusts to her elder sister in a way that is a delight to her parents.
With Rowing requiring round the year training at varied intensities, the early morning schedule is one that her parents too are getting accustomed to. Her parents wake up at the knock of five every morning to drop her at the MBC and pick her back to then drop her at school.

Captain Ravindra , who  himself was a national champion in 1982, cautions Sanjana of growting expectations and the need to keep improving.  He is pleased with the fact that her parents are very supportive, especially given that this is not a glamourous sport and is not necessarily financially lucrative at the moment for rowers in India.
Ravindra draws an interesting analogy. ‘This is more like kite flying. Only the person flying it enjoys it. Rowing is a very technical sport, even more technical than Golf.  At the moment, there is not much limelight on it in India. It is the last amateur sport in the world. Hence, you need to have passion and a drive to row. And at the moment, Sanjana seems to have the passion to progress to the next phase.’

Rowing, in the long run, could throw open significant higher education opportunities for young rowers like Sanjana, if they continue to pursue this sport. ‘It is the oldest collegiate sport in the West. And Sanjana is likely to be welcomed with open hands by the Universities in the UK and Australia if she performs to the best of her potential in the next 5-6years.’
Ravindra believes that Sanjana is currently in the ‘grounding’ phase of rowing. With age on her side, she can focus the next two years on developing her skill sets and getting into peak fitness including reaching a height of 5.5”/ 5.7” and the appropriate weight. Once into the Junior Category, her progress can be rapid, if she practices hard over the next two years. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chandomaye – An international footballer from Mylapore?

At 13, Chandomaye is working hard towards achieving her ambitious goal that of playing football for the country

From the time she was in class one, Chandomaye, daughter of Malola Kannan (renowned for his presentations on Nalayira Divya Prabhandham and Desigar Prabhandham), has been an athlete. She continued for about 3-4years until one fine day, her coach spotted her speed in running and suggested to her to focus on football for speed was an essential ingredient for footballers.

Now in class 7 at PS Sr. Sec School, Chandomaye practices for over an hour every evening on honing here football skills under the watchful eyes of the award winning coach K Kalidasan.

In the three years since she first kicked a football, Chandomaye has made rapid strides. Like her favourite Lionel Messi, she too (a forward) has scored goals that have helped her team win. During this period, Chandomaye has played in well over 10 inter school tournaments here in Chennai with her school finishing in the top three in most.

The big moment in her short career so far has been helping her school finish third in the CBSE Schools National tourney held last season. No school in South Zone had till then ever finished that high in the nationals.

Coach’s role
She credits all her interest and initial success to her coach Kalidasan who she claims is one of a kind coach. ‘He is a real motivator and knows how to get the best out of all the players. He comes all the way from Manali to coach us. He is a real inspiration for all of us at PS Sr Sec School. His way of coaching is very innovative and we enjoy every minute of the game.’ She also credits him for teaching all the football rules in a very easy and practical way.

Last year, she went to Hosur to play in the CBSE schools Nationals. She has also been to Bangalore and Coimbatore for South Zone tournaments. Recently, she was selected by the state association to be part of the Chennai District Football U 17 team that went to Dindigul.

She is also pleased of the encouragement given by her teachers and the principal. Earlier this year, the nationals tourney almost clashed with her final exams. With the team playing well and the prospect of a top finish, she was permitted to continue with the tournament.

With the possibility of figuring in different age groups tournaments over the next five years - U14, U17 and then U19 – age is on her side. With hard work and the right kind of coaching, Chandomaye could well go on to realise her dream- that of playing for the country. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Puthur Erode Lakshmi Narayana Perumal Temple

1600AD temple where Goddess Lakshmi is seen seated on Lord Narayana's left thigh
Garuda seen facing South, away from Lakshmi Narayanan Sannidhi is a unique feature

Located 7kms South of Erode Railway Station on the Oothukuzhi highway is 17th Century AD Lakshmi Narayana Perumal Temple in 46 Puthur. The temple was built in 1600 AD by Mysore Karthar kings. A 1750AD data records Deputy Collector Tulasingar attesting the construction of the temple by Mysore King.

Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan may have contributed to the temple later on like they did with a few temples here in this region.

Interesting Features
Goddess Lakshmi is seen seated on Lord Narayanan's left thigh with her feet place on Lotus petals.One finds several interesting features on the flag post at the Eastern Entrance. Navaneetha Krishnan and Anjaneya are seen in a Bala Posture. Unlike in all other temples where Garuda is seen facing the Lord, here he is seen facing South away from Lord Lakshmi Narayanan.

Inside the temple are centuries old idols of Kalinga Narthana and Vinayaka along side each other.
Dasavathara Paintings
On the inner roof of the Maha Mandapa are exquisite Dasavathara Paintings depicting each of the avatharas of Lord Narayana.

The later period additions - Maha Mandapa and Homam Mandapa have Kerala Style of architecture. Anjaneya is seen with his long tail up behind his head in a separate sannidhi facing North. 

The temple gains even more significance from the fact that Sringeri Sarada Peedam’s Barathi Theertha Swami visited this temple as part of his Theertha Yatra.

Special Homam every full moon day along with full meals to all devotees who visit the temple that day
Abhishekam on Vaikunta Ekadesi
Special pooja on Hanuman Jayanthi
Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Narayanan with Lakshmi seated on his left lap
Time                : 6am-9am, open through the day every full moon day
Contact            : Prakash/Padmanabhan @ 94422 71818 / 94423 01001

How to reach
From Bus stand, take bus 19/19A to reach the temple. Mini Buses every 30minutes to 46Puthur.

Auto from Erode Station will cost Rs.100-120. Contact: 93641 08310