Friday, March 26, 2010

A Celestial Wedding

Thirumazhapadi is a small village situated on the banks of the river Coleroon,a branch of Cauvery. This river is flowing northwards in front of the temple.It is auspicious to have dip in the river that runs towards North("Uththara Vaahini"). This place is connected by road on the ThiruMaanur- Tiruchirappalli route via Pullambadi and Lalgudi..The bus stops right in front of the temple. It is a very big shrine,built and renovated by the Chola Emperors. Sambandar,Appar and Sundarar have sung Thevaram Hymns in praise of the deity, Vaidhyanatha,also known as Vajrasthamba Natha. The Goddess is named as Sundarambikai.Lakshmi Theertham is a small Tank facing Her shrine.

A five story RajaGopuram is at the entrance followed by another Gopuram at the second entrance. An enclosure for Nandi can be seen in between these Gopurams.

People offer poojas to Nandi on auspicious days.The outer prakara has majestically carved Veerabhadra,and Somaskanda(in a single stone),sixty three Nayanmars and shrines for Kaathyaayani devi,Balambikai,GajaSamhara murthi,Durga and Ardha Naareeswara.A palm tree and a dais having four richly carved nandis are also seen in the prakara.

Deva koshtas include Ganapathi,Dhakshinamurthi,Lingothbhava,Brahma & Durga.Two Dwarapalakaas stand at the entrance of the Sanctum.Lord Vaidyanatha in the form of Shiva Linga faces East. Ambal shrine is on His left with separate prakaram.

This village witnesses a great event every year in the Tamil month of Panguni(March/April) coincided by the star Punarvasu. The legend says that Adhikara Nandikeswara is born to a sage called Silatha Rishi at Thiruvaiyaaru which is 5 km east of Thirumazhapadi.The Lord Himself comes forward to conduct the wedding of Adhikaranandikeswara at Thirumazhapadi,where the bride was born.Usthava idols of Lord Panchanatheeswara and Dharmasamvardhani are decorated and taken to Thirumazhapadi in a palanquin fitted with glass pieces.People who carry the palanquin on the shoulders cross the river by foot as the level of water at this part of the year is too low. Lord Vaidyanatha and Goddess Sundarambika are also taken in a palanquin to receive Panchanadheeswara on the sands of the river along with Adhikara Nandhikeswara.The whole village takes a festive look.Plantain trees are tied at the entrance of many houses to greet the newly wedded couple and the Divine couple.

The marriage starts in the evening in a dais situated near the Rajagopuram. The Divine couples in palanquins are brought near the dais to witness the marriage.Adhikaranandhikeswara and the bride(Suyasambika) are beutifully decorated and the marriage is conducted. Then the deities are taken in a procession and brought towards the sands of the river.Crackers are burst to give a nice send off to the newly wedded couple. Finally the palanquin of Panchanadheeswara departs for Thiruvaiyaaru along with Adhikaranandikeswara and Suyasambika. Lord Vaidyanatha's palanquin returns to Thirumazhapadi temple to mark the end of the event.

People throng to see the wedding in large numbers from surrounding villages and the administration arranges special buses for the event from Ariyalur,Thanjavur,Trichy and Thirumanur.There is a saying in Tamil,"Nandi Kalyanam kandaal Pindhi kalyanam Illai", which means that if a person witnesses Nandikeswara's wedding(at Thirumazhapadi) will not have Married life in his next birth.In other words there is no rebirth for those who witnesses the marriage of Adhikara Nandhikeswara.