Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chandikeswara Sannadhis

Madhyarjunam, also known as Thiruvidaimarudur occupies an unique place in the map of Shiva Temples. The Purana says that it is centrally located as the Main sanctum and the Linga murthi is not named as seen in other places. he is simply called Mahalingamurthi, considering the importance of the place. It is also viewed as the Shiva Sannadhi of a temple for which the sub shrines(Parivara sannadhis) are surrounded though distantly. Ganapathi Sannadhi is at Thiruvalanchuzhi on Kumbakonam- Thanjavur route and Subramanya sannadhi is at Swamimalai, about 5 Km from Kumbakonam.

Thiruvalanchuzhi Temple is of Chola Period and is very big in size. The Vinayaka Sannadhi is unique as the window in front of Vinayaka is made of single stone and gives a look as if it is made of wood. In those days, the sculptors refused to reproduce certain masterpieces before entering into new contracts , Thiruvalanchuzhi Window is one among them. Ganapathi inside the sannadhi is worshipped by Indra and Vishnu. The utsava murthi has two consorts namely Siddhi and Buddhi. Kapardheeswara Sannadhi behind this shrine is a splendour in stone.

One has to cross the rivers Cauvery and Arasalaru before reaching Swamimalai, the abode of Subramanya. His Sannadhi is located at an elevated place with sixty steps representing Tamil years. Since this place falls under the six abodes of Subramanya, people visit in large numbers to offer their prayers.

Chandikeswara sannadhi for Mahalingamurthi is at Thirucheignalur, which is around 15 km from Kumbakonam on the way to Thirupanandal on Chennai High way. The temple is situated two km away from the High way. This is the birth place of Chandikeswara. His boyhood name was Vichara sarma. When he was seven years old , upanayanam was conducted for him and everyone was surprised to see the pace at which he learnt the Vedas. As it was his turn to take the cows to green pastures, he obliged to do it willingly as he had passion to do it. He worshipped Lord Shiva by making a Lingam out of the sands of the river manniyaaru. The river attained this name after Subramanya who once visited the place and performed Sivapuja. Hence the place got the name, "Seignalur" as the word "Sei" in Tamil means "Kumara" or son. On seeing his son milking the cows and performing abhishekam to sivalingam under an ""Aathi" tree, Vicharasarma's father became angry and kicked the milkpot with his leg. Vicharasarma instantly realised that whoever does "Sivaparatha" should be punished. The stick he had in his hand became an axe and he cut his father's leg with that. The Lord appeared in front of the child and blessed him by offering the garland taken from His head and was crowned as Chandikeswara.
The Temple at Thirucheignalur is in good shape as the renovation was carried out few years back. Sathyagireeswara shrine is on an elevated place. He is praised in Thevaram Humns by Thirugnanasambandar wherein Chandikeswara's story is mentioned. Sekkizhar in his Periapuranam gives a detailed account of the place and the devotion of Vicharasarma . This place was also one among the five venues where the new Kings of Chola dynasty were crowned. There is a separate sannadhi for Subramanya in the Prakara in which the Lord is seen riding on a peacock.The priest comes here once in a day from a nearby village to offer Puja.

Thiruvapadi can be reached from Thirucheignalur by taking the High way again and proceeding towards Thirupanandal. This is the place where Chandikeswara performed abhisheka with Cow's milk under the "Aathi" tree. Hence the Lord is known as "Paal Ugantha Nathar" . The Temple presents a new look, thanks to the renovation committee members. "aathi" tree is seen in the Prakara, Unusually, the vimanam above Chandikeswara shrine is a huge one. It shows the importance attached to him by the Chola Emperors.Thirunavukkarasu Nayanar has sung Thevaram Hymns on the Lord in which he has indicated the Sivapuja done by the young Vicharasarma.

Both Thirucheignalur and Thiruvapadi deserve better attention as we find only one kala puja in both places. Milk is rarely offered for abhishekam and there are no sponors either within the village or from outside.Our efforts to offer cows to the Temple was not welcomed as no one was prepared to look after them. The only option left is to purchase Cow's milk from the villagers and offer the same to the temple. The primary concern is the absence of a person who can take lead role and organise things properly without any break. People should think loud instead of just visiting the temples. We must instil confidence in the mind of sponsors and assure that their initiative will never go as a waste and utilised in the way they wanted.