Monday, September 17, 2012

Temples near Thiruvaiyaru

Music lovers who pay Homage to  Saint Thyagaraja, the Great composer at Thiruvaiyaru on the eve of his Aradhana rarely visit the wonderful Temples of the region. Likewise, the devotees  who assemble here for Saptha sthana festival in summer miss the opportunity of visiting the ancient Temples around Thiruvaiyaru. People who come to see Thingalur on the outskirts of Thiruvaiyaru under "Navagraha Tour" do not take time to visit the Temple at Thirupazhanam although they need to pass through it.

Kandiyur comes under "Saptha sthanams" of Thiruvaiyaru, the other places being Thiruvedhikudi, ThiruChotruthurai, Thiruppazhanam,  Thirupoonthuruthi and Thiruneithaanam. It is about 3 km from Thiruvaiyaru on the road to Thanjavur. Sri Brahma Sira Kandeeswarar Temple of Kandiyur, facing west is considered similar to Kalahasthi as The Lord gave dharshan to a saint who used to visit Sri Kalahasthi regularly on Pradosham days. A beautifully carved Nandhi welcomes the devotees soon after entering the Raja Gopuram. Sambandar and Appar have sung Thevaram Hymns on the main deity. The south facing Goddess is called Mangalambigai. Vilvam is the holy tree of this Temple. While making a round in the prakaram,one can see a big idol of Brahma seated along with Saraswathi.The Palanquin festival of Kandiyur is a famous one and draws huge crowds from nearby villages. As Lord Panchanatheeswara of Thiruvaiyaru along with Dharmasamvardhani decorated in a Palanquin visits the other six places to introduce the newly wedded couple, Nandhikeswara and Suyasambika, the deities of the six places welcome Him amd join Him in the procession and go upto Thiruneithaanam(Thillai sthanam) and return to their respective places on the next day. Kandiyur has also got a Vishnu Temple, sung by Thirumangai Azhwar.

The road that branches towards west at Kandiyur takes us to Thirukkattuppalli and beyond. We come across many Temples which are to be visited atleast once in a lifetime. The first leg on this stretch is Thiruppoonthuruthi where we see a huge Temple sung by Appar . Sri Pushpavaneswara Temple will certainly be admired by lovers of architecture. The sculptures of Nandhi, Ardhanaari, Dhakshinamurthi worth watching several times. Saint Appar had stayed here for a long time and during this period, Sambandar joined him after the successsful tour of Pandya Kingdom where he reestablished Saivism. This Temple which surely deserves to draw many devotees and admirers is left unnoticed!

Another five minutes drive on the same road will lead us to Thiruvalampozhil, where the shrine in located very close to the road. Gnanambika sametha Athmanatheswara (Vatamoolanatha) Temple of this place faces east. The priest comes here from Thiruppoonthuruthi once in a day to do poojas. Appar has sung in praise of the moolavar.He advocates us to meditate by thinking The Lord of this place.
Nadukaveri is the next place where we find two Shiva Temples one on each side of the road. The Temples of Haribrahmeswara and Kalakandeswara are usually kept locked and one must be fortunate to have dharshan only when the priest arrives.By proeeding further on the same road and taking a diversion , we reach Varahur, where there are two well maintained Temples of Kailasanatha and Srinivasa Perumal. Uriyadi festival of this place involves people from many parts of the country.

Sri Sundareswara Temple at Senthalai is the next destination. This rarely visited Temple is quite old and Poojas are carried out only once in a day. The entrance is adorned by a Raja Gopuram in which we find many sculptures made of lime. Saptha mathas are worshipped here on the prakaram who grant wishes of the devotees.

Another diversion from the main road takes us to Ranganathapuram , known for Srinivasa Temple where the Kalinganardhana Krishna's idol is kept. Sri Gajaranyeswara Temple, constructed on an elevated platform is there on the way to the village.

The Temple at Nemam some 3 km from Thirukkattupalli is adjacent to the main road. Sri Alankara Valli sametha Sri Airavadheswara Temple, though small, is a must for devotees. This is considered as a " Vaipu sthalam" as it is mentioned in the Hymns of other place.The  life size murthi of the Goddess is fascinating.

Sri Gnanambika sametha Sri Vijaya Vidangeswara swami Temple at Ilankadu  near Nemam has witnessed renovation and Kumbabishekam recently and the huge vimanam and the well carved Nandhi are real treasures to be watched and cherished. Mullaikaadu, Arkadu,Pazhamaneri,Karuppur,Konerirajapuram and Kanda mangalam are nearby places where Shiva Temples are located. Vishnampettai near Thirukkattuppalli also has a Temple and the one at Thirukkanoor on the banks of the river Kollidam is sung by Sambandar and Appar.

Before winding up the short tour of this region, we visit Sri Agneeswara swami Temple at Thirukkattuppalli. Since People visit here from nearby villages in good numbers, getting  dharshan at  the Temple should not be a problem. Agni worshipped Lord Shiva here and created "Agni Theertham", a Holy Temple Tank. Sambandar and Appar have sung Thevaram Hymns on Sri Agneeswara.The annual festival of the Temple is conducted in liew of "Panguni Uthiram" that falls arround the month of April.

As in the past we appeal to the readers to visit these places and create awareness among well wishers so that the Temples can be maintained in a better manner. Poojas at most of these places , once done for four times in a day have been reduced to only once because of poor patronage. Those who contribute liberally to rich and well known Temples can also have a look at these places and help in such a way that even the one "kala" puja is not stopped at any cost. Of course, this is the least we can do and it is our duty too.