Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Vada Kurangaduthurai Dayanidheeswarar

Only Temple dedicated to ‘Dayanidhi’
Thiru Gnana Sambanthar praises the devotion of Vaali in his verses 
It is a road that links Kallanai in the West to Poompuhar on the Eastern Sea Shore. The stretch to Kumbakonam alone houses several ancient temples both Vaishnavite Divya Desams and Saivite Thevaram Sthalams along the banks of the Cauvery. Starting with Koviladi Appakudathan temple (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2007/11/108-divya-desam-koviladi-appakudathaan.html) near Kallanai, there are huge temples in Thillaisthanam (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2016/10/thillaisthanam-neiyarappar-temple.html) and Thiruvayaru (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2014/11/thiruvaiyaru-pancha-natheeswarar-temple.html).  Despite being praised by both the Saivite and Vaishnavite Saint Poets as glorious temples, the temples along the stretch to Kumbakonam now find themselves ignored with the priests constantly stretching their neck out of the Sannidhi to see if that elusive devotee makes his way into the temple.

One such temple is the Dayanidheeswarar temple in Vada Kurangaduthurai, a temple whose legend dates back to the Ramayana and to the penance of Vaali. This is the only temple dedicated to ‘Dayanidhi’ among the Thevaram temples. Ambal is referred to as Jataa Makuda Nayaki.  The Lord is housed in a huge complex surrounded by tall coconut trees in a beautiful Nandavanam but on a normal day, there is not a devotee around. Similar is the story of the Vaishnavite Divya Desam a few 100 yards West of this temple (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2007/05/108-divya-desam-thiru-koodalur.html). The Jagathrakshakan Perumal Koil in Koodalur too has failed to lure the devotees in big numbers in recent decades.

The temple architecture in its current form is said to date to back 1300 years. 

Vaali's strength, including of his tail, was so great that even Ravana feared his presence. Just his tail was many times enough to round out his opponents who would be circled and thrown many hundreds of yards away.  In the legendary episode from the Ramayana, Vaali in his last moments addresses Rama expressing regret that the son of Dasaratha did not inform him of his search for Sita. The very decision of Vaali going to Lanka would have forced Ravana to hand back Sita to her husband, such was the fear of Vaali in the mind of the Lankan King.

In one of the fights between the two, Vaali destroyed Ravana who to run for his life. In the process of this battle, Vaali had his long tail cut. It is believed that he came here to Vada Kurangaduthurai and performed pooja invoking the blessings of Lord Dayanideeswarar to secure back his tail in its full length. Hence the Lord here is also referred to as ‘Vaali’ Nathar. In memory of this episode one finds a sculpture atop the Vimana.

Thiru Gnana Sambanthar’s praise
Referring to this temple as being on the Northern banks of the Cauvery, Thiru Gnana Sambanthar in his verses on Vada Kurangaduthurai has praised Vaali and his devotion to the Lord of Vada Kurangaduthurai. He also refers to the Lord as Sadai Mudi Nathar. 

Provides Coconut Water to a thirsty devotee
A Chettiar lady, a true devotee of Dayanidheeswarar was on the verge of giving birth to a child. When she arrived here, ill health meant that the couple had to decide between the mother and the child. While the husband was away to secure food for the hungry wife, she surrendered to her favourite Lord and sought protection.  
With the husband not returning in time and as she could not contain her thirst, the Lord is said to have helped quench her thirst by providing coconut water and much to her husband’s surprise, she gave birth to the child without any complications.

It is believed that those who offer their sincere prayers to Lord Dayanidheeswarar will be absolved of all problems in life. To this day, there is a huge coconut grove around the temple complex.

Moksham to a devoted Sparrow
Another story goes that Lord Dayanidheeswarar provided Moksham to a sweet singing sparrow that had brought water for the Lord every day of his life from the nearby Cauvery river bank and one that would sit atop Lord’s head in joy. Hence the Lord is also referred to as Chittilingeswarar. 

Panguni Uthiram is celebrated in a grand way. There is a special alankaram for Ambal on each of the days of Navarathri. The Lord goes to the Cauvery for Theerthavari on the occasion of Aadi Pooram.

The priest comes from Ganapathi Agraharam, a couple of kms West of the Temple. However Ravi Iyer, who manages the Madapalli lives near the temple and is available for the ‘surprise’ devotees all the time at the temple @ 93642 39391 / 70942 29391.

West of this temple is the Thevaram Sthalam at Thiru Pazhanam near Thiruvayaru http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2016/12/thiru-pazhanam-abath-sahayeswarar-temple.html

Administered by the Thanjavur Samasthanam, this is a very well maintained temple as is the case with most of the temples managed by the Sarabhoji Prince (a few examples of those include Punnai Nallur Mariamman Temple and Thanjai Maa Mani Divya Desam).

How to reach
Vadakurangaduthurai is about 10 kms East of Thiruvayaru on the Kumbakonam highway. Buses ply on the Kumbakonam – Thiruvayaru highway, though this is infrequent. From Papanasam one can take a mini bus to Kapisthalam, from where, one can take the Thiruvayaru bound bus (8kms) to reach the temple.

Auto from Kapisthalam will cost Rs. 150.

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