Friday, October 30, 2009

Transformed Temples

There are fine examples of how some temples which were in poor shape got transformed after the untiring efforts of devotees. To name a few, I can mention names of places such as Thiruvennai nallur , Patteswaram where the major part of the renovation work was carried with the help of Indians living abroad. It proves a point that renovation work can be undertaken at other places as well if people come forward and help generously. It is so because the temples are not given their share from the agricultural lands gifted by the emperors. Since the existing population at villages struggle for their livelyhood,the renovation work at these places take a back seat.

I was amazed to see the facelift given to Sri Kripapureeswara Temple at Thiruvennainallur when I visited the shrine after a gap of 25 years. I still remember the sorry state of the temple with the growth of weeds over the mandaps. "Vazhakkuraiththa Mandapam" where Sundara Murthi Nayanar argued with Shiva (who came as an old man with a manuscript in His hand) was in pathetic condition. I was told that a devotee living abroad had transformed it as a model temple. Now you can see the magnificent mandap as soon as you enter the temple on your right.

Thiruvennainallur can be reached by road from Villuppuram,Panruti and Thirukkovilur. Thiruvennainallur Road is the name of the railway station located between Villuppuram and Vridhachalam. But the temple is some 5 km away from the railway station. I could visit another temple(Sung by Appar in his Thevaram hymns) . enroute to Thiruvennainallur.People call this place as Graamam although the historic name is Thirumundeeswaram.

Sivaloka natha swami Temple at Thirumundeeswaram is in a quiet atmosphere. My friend who accompanied me started feeding the poor at the entrance after the worship. Despite being a Navarathri day,the temple did not attract more visitors. This is another temple saved by devotees mostly from outside the village. Now it presents a great(and clean)look , thanks to the good work of philanthropists.

The name "Thiruvennainallur" got derived from the act of Goddess Durga who worshipped Shiva here after conquering the demon,Mahisha. She performed abhishekams with butter {"Vennai")to the Lord,hence the name. According to the Sthala Puranam,Vedas,Subramanya,Rishis of Tharukavanam,Dharma devathai,Arjun & Sundaramurthi Nayanar have worshipped the deity here. There is a separate shrine for Sri Meikandadeva,a child prodigy who hailed from this place and became first Sandhanacharya ,giving a new dimention to Saiva Sidhdhantha. Parvathi Devi is called here as Mangalambhikai.

Facing the Raja Gopuram is the shrine for Sri Sundaramurthy Nayanar who started singing Thevaram here and mentioned the names of Shiva devotees in his Padigam at Thiruvarur. The vimanam of this shrine consists of idols depicting the various incidents occured in the life of Sundarar.The adjoining photo shows Sundarar and his close friend Seraman Perumal Nayanar heading to Kailash by riding on white elephant and horse respectively. Another idol nearby shows Lord Vinayaka lifting Avvaiyar by His Trunk and placing her at Kailash before Sundarar and Seraman could reach there.

Ganapathi is called here as Polla Pillayar(Swayambu- Not chisselled) and the Sthalapuranam glorifies the place as a matchless one as the Lord is so kind to remove our evils and bless us with Wealth,Wisdom.Eternal Happiness and Jeevan Mukthi. Hence He is called Kripapureeswara and the place as Arulthurai.

அருட்துறை என்றே உரைத்திடக் கேட்டோர் அகிலத்தில் செல்வமே பெறுவர்

அருட்துறை தன்னை நினைந்தவர் கல்வி அறிவுடன் மேன்மையும் உறுவர்

அருட்துறை தன்னில் வதிந்தவர் இன்பம் அடைகுவர் அவ்விடை வதியும் அருட்துறை நாதன் திருவடி தொழுவோர் அருளுடன் வீடும் எய்துவரால்.
-- Thiruvennai Nallur Puranam

May the Lord at Thiruvennainallur bless us to worship Him("அவன் அருளாலே அவன் தாள் வணங்கி ")and make us to serve Him and His Disciples.