Monday, July 19, 2010

Vallimalai Vijayam

When Lord Subramanya stayed at Skandhagiri after conquering Soorapadma and his army, Devendra prayed the Lord to marry his daughter,Gajavalli, who performed penace to join Sri Subramanya.Sri Shanmukha married her at Thirupparankunram near Madurai. As the Sage Naradha informed Him to bless Sundaravalli who was also conducting "Tapas" at Valli Malai near Vellore to marry the Victorious Lord, He went to Vallimalai and stood in front of Sundaravalli who was born there and brought up by the King of Hunters. Whenever the King appeared there,the Lord stood as "Vengai" tree and once he vanished,He took the form of a young Hunter as if He was mad after Valli. Without realising the fact that the Lord Himself has appeared in front of her,she hesitated the very presence of the young "Hunter" and the Lord finally took the form of an old man and expressed His willingness to marry Her. When Valli turned down the request, the Lord thought of His big brother,Ganapathi. The Elephant God appeared as an Elephant to frighten Valli. On seeing the elephant she asked the old man to chase away the elephant and obliged to marry him. Sri Subramanya appeared in front of her and the marriage took place in the presence of her family members.

Vallimalai can be accessed from Katpadi, the nearest Railway Junction on Chennai-Jolarpet route. Buses are available from Vellore,Thiruthani and Thiruvalam. Those who want to reach the place by road have to take Bangalore High way. After crossing the outskirts of Kanchipuram, a Vaishnavite temple called Thirupputkuzhi can be reached. Mahavishnu in sitting form facing East, gives dharshan at the sanctum. Sri VijayaRaghava Perumal had performed rites to Jatayu of Ramayana period and the tank in front of the temple is called Jatayu Theertham. Thirumangai Alvar has sung pasurams in praise of the Lord.

A 15 minutes drive from Thirupputkuzhi takes us to Thiruppaarkadal ,near Kaverippaakkam where we find two old temples ,the first one dedicated to Srinivasa perumal ,standing on an "aavudayaar" and the other one also a Vishnu shrine, wherein the Lord is seen in the form of Ranganatha,a huge deity.

If we drive further for another 40 minutes,we can reach a historic Shiva temple at Thiruvalam on the banks of Neevaa nadhi. Both the Swayambhu Linga murthi (Vilvavaneswarar)and Nandhi in front of Him face east. The Nandhi near the flag post is huge in size .The Lord has been sung by Thirugnanasambandar in Thevaram Hymns.The Goddess in this temple is known as Dhanurmadhyaambikai.

While proceeding towards Vallimalai,we come across a wonderful Chola Temple,maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. The main deities are known as Somanadheshwarar and Thapas kruthaambikai.This place is known as Melpadi,referred in Kanda Puranam. Arinjaya Chola's Pallippadai (Samadhi koil) is said to be close to the site. Those visiting Vallimalai should make it a point to visit this temple.

As soon as we reach Vallimalai, we come across a majestic entrance to the Subramanya temple at the foot of the Hill. Then comes the Temple Tank on the way to the Hills.We have to take nearly 500 steps to reach the top where we find a Subramanya temple,carved inside a rock.A small shrine for Valli carved out of the rock is seen at the entrance. Small ponds of water are also seen at this height!! This deity was sung by Saint Arunagirinathar in his Thiruppugazh. A special mention has to be made for Sri Vallimalai Swamigal, who stayed here in a cave and propagated Thiruppugazh to his disciples. His ashram can be reached on the other side of the hill.There are no proper steps to reach this place.However one can reach there within 30 mins. without difficulty. Swamigal's samadhi is seen near the ashram. the rock nearby looks like a huge elephant- that reminds us Ganapathi who came to scare Valli at the behest of Subramanya.

Another spot called Ponnai is a must for devotees as there is a rare Ganapathi (Swarna Ganapathi) temple in which there are atleast 108 idols of Ganesa are seen. Navagrahaas are seen behind the sannadhi with respective trees&vahanas. People call it as Navagraha Kottai.
Thus our Vallimalai Vijayam covers temples of Ganapathi, Shiva,Vishnu, Subramanya and Navagraha on the same day.