Sunday, March 26, 2017

Achalpuram Shiva Loga Thyagaraja Temple

The place of Thiru Gnana Sambandhar’s Wedding and Mukthi – This legendary episode is enacted on Vaikasi Kettai and Moolam every year
Sacred Ash is presented in the Ambal Sannidhi in memory of the historical event

It is 5.30 am on a Monday morning in this remote location 5 kms east of Kollidam and 11 kms from Chidambaram on the Northern Banks of the Cauvery. The small town is already buzzing with devotional activity. The pooja items at the shops outside near the huge temple tank are ready in several hundreds. Inside the temple, the  temple staff are putting together the tokens for the first batch. One of the Gurukals is already present and the other one follows soon after. 

Every Monday morning, a special prarthana pooja is performed to fulfil one’s wishes. This pooja is performed for 10 Mondays followed by a special Abhishekam on the 11th Monday.

By 6.30 am, the second batch of devotees were locked in a queue to pick up the tokens for the second batch of 'Sankalpam'. A few hours later, one finds happy faces of devotees having completed the Prarthana pooja and having had darshan of the Lord and Ambal.

This huge Shiva Loga Thyagaraja Swamy temple in Achalpuram is the place where Saivite Saint Poet Thiru Gnana Sambandhar attained Mukthi immediately after his wedding. The episode of the Saint Poet’s wedding is played out in its entirety similar to a traditional Brahmin wedding on Vaikasi Kettai followed by the event of his merging with the Lord the next morning. 
The last of his verses
Thiru Gnana Sambandhar sang the last of his Thevaram verses on the Lord of this temple.  He made 7 long trips from Sirkazhi and back. It was on the 7th trip that he reached Achalpuram. 
In his verses, he refers to himself as being from Sirkazhi and assures the devotees that their sincere prayers at Nallur Perumanam (the ancient name of this place) will see them being liberated from their sins.

In another verse, he specifically refers to the names of both the Lord and Ambal.
Several of the great rishis including Sage Vashishta and Sage Vishwamitra undertook severe penance seeking darshan of the Shiva Logam. They were directed to go to Achalpuram for their wishes to be fulfilled. Here after bathing in the Panchaakshara Theertham opposite the temple, the revered sages had darshan of the Shiva Logam.

Wedding and Mukthi on the same day
Thiru Gnana Sambandhar was disinterested in marriage but his father Shiva Paatha Iravayar suggested to him that the world would blame the parents for not finding the right match for their son. Psyched by this emotional reasoning of his father, Thiru Gnana Sambandhar reluctantly agreed. The wedding formalities were performed here at Aachalpuram and he tied the knot to Poornaambigai, the daughter of Nambandar Nambi Embar, who belonged to this place. In memory of this episode, Thiru Gnana Sambandhar is seen in a separate sannidhi along with his wife in wedding posture. 
As he took her around the sacred fire, he received the message from Lord Thyagesar, who showed him the Shiva Logam that his time had come and soon after merged with the Lord here at this place.

Name of the Place
The place is named after Ambal as ‘Achal’ Puram. ‘Achal’ Ambal had appeared here and handed the sacred ash to those that had been present for Thiru Gnana Sambandhar’s wedding. Also, in memory of this episode, she is referred to as Thiru Veneetru Umaiammai and the sacred ash is presented in her sannidhi to devotees.

There is a 5 Tier Raja Gopuram on the East with huge walls on each of the four sides. There are several inscriptions dating back a 1000 years to the Chozha period on the outer walls of the 2nd prakara. The Lord is also referred to as Nallur Perumaan.
The temple is administered by Dharumpuram Atheenam.

Enactment of the legendary episode of Thiru Gnana Sambandhar and his attaining Mukthi will take place on Kettai/Moolam days in Vaikasi
Navarathri is celebrated in a grand manner

The temple is open 630am-12noon and 430pm-8pm. Contact: Balaji Gurukal @ 98653 26636

How to reach

Buses ply every 15-20minutes from Kollidam. There are also direct buses from Chidambaram to Achalpuram. Auto from Kollidam will cost Rs. 100.

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