Friday, October 19, 2012

Temples near Thiruvaiyaru - II

When we are on a Pilgrimage, we  bound to notice many things which are unique. It attracts us only when we look keenly for it. Many times we fail to observe as we do not spare the time it deserves. For example, The Subramanya murthi along with His consorts carved in a single stone was noticed only during the recent trip to Sri Panchanatheeswara Temple at Thiruvaiyaru. I wondered how I missed Him during my previous visits to this Temple. It is common that all The three Deities are carved separately and perhaps this is an unique one for me. Of course, it is not accommodated in a separate sannadhi. Yet, it meant a lot for me. Renovation work was in full swing and the consecration is likely to take place in another few months from now. Hence I confined myself with the dharshan of main deities and decided to visit again once the renovation was over.

Among the seven places in and around Thiruvaiyaru(Saptha sthanams), the first part of this writeup had covered two places namely, Kandiyur and Thirupponthuruthi. Thiruppazhanam is harly 3 km from Thiruvaiyaru on the road to Kumbakonam. Sri Abathsahayeswara Temple is close to the main road. Sambandar and Appar have sung Thevaram Hymns on this murthi. Ambal shrine is in the outer prakaram. Swami vimanam, constructed of granite is a delight to  watch. Even the sculptures in this vimanam are made of granite. It is sad that visitors to this Chola Temple are not many.

 When Saint Appar visited Thiruppazhanam, his attention was drawn to a place where devotees were supplied with drinking water. As it was named as "Thirunaavukkarasar Thanneer Pandhal",he wondered who could sponsor in his name as he knew nobody there. He was told that the charity work in Appar's name was done by Appoodhi Adigal, a staunch Shiva bhaktha who held Appar in high esteem after he came to know all that happened in Thiruvadhigai. On hearing more about Appoodhi Adigal, Appar visited his place called Thingalur which is 2 km away from Thiruppazhanam. The story goes that Appar saved Appoodhi Adigal's son from snake bite by invoking the Lord's blessings through his Thevaram Hymns.

The sign board on the main road mentions Thingalur as "Chandiran Koil"(Temple of Moon God) There is no doubt that the place is worshiped by Moon and people visit there to perform "Parihara Pujas" for moon. But the main deity of the Temple is Kailasanatha and therefore it is apt to rename the board as " Kailasanatha Temple , Thingalur, Chanrdran Parihara sthalam. "  The most unfortunate thing is the group of people who come here to perform "Parihara" for Moon during their "Navagraha Tour" seldom visit Thirupazhanam .

Temples at Thiruvedhikudi, Veerasinganpettai and Thiruchotruthurai are in the same area with a distance of say, 2- 4 km from each other. We start from Thiruvedhikudi, dedicated to Sri Mangayarkarasi sametha Sri Vedapureeswara, worshiped by Vedas. Ganapathi at the entrance of the Sanctum is in a unique posture as he He is keenly watching the Mantras pronounced by the Vedas. His head is slightly tilted ,indicating His desire to listen to Vedas. Since Thirugnanasambandar has mentioned about girls getting married with good boys in his Hymn, many people who want their wards to get married visit the Shrine to submit their prayers before the Lord. The Prakaram houses nearly 108 Shivalingas and the Vimanam , built in the same style as seen in Thirupazhanam. The Temple is undergoing renovation at a slow pace.

Another Temple drew our attention at Veerasinganpettai. We stopped for a while when we read on the wall of Sri Vaidyanatha Temple as the one which has 276 Shiva Lingas.                                                                                                                     We decided to break the journey with the thought that such a Temple should not be missed. We thanked Heavens for having seen the writing on the wall while driving through the village. As a rare dharshan, we saw 276 Bana Lingams at a same place in the Prakaram. The Temple is in a good shape and it has not come to limelight  to draw more attention from nearby places like Thanjavur and Thiruvaiyaru. Some volunteers of the village should come forward to tell people about this great Temple.

Sri Annapoorani sametha Sri Odhanavaneswara Temple is also a big one and maintained well. Considering its rich Heritage, it should attract more visitors. Pujas are carried out with lot of involvement without expecting anything in return. The Temple Trustee who lives nearby shows lot of interest in developing the Temple. More persons like him are needed to take care of the rural Temples. This Temple is sung in Thevaram Hymns by all the three Acharyas. Saint Arunagirinathar has sung Thirupugazh in praise of Shanmukha here. During "Sapthasthana festival, Lord Panchanatheeswara visits this place around noon. The devotees who follow the palanquin are fed here.

Palanquins of all the other six places come together during the summer festival and finally arrive at Thillaisthanam , mentioned in Thevaram as Thiruneithanam. Palanquin of Sri Gruthapureeswara (Neiyaadiappar) also joins them and go straight to River Cauvery which flows right opposite to the Temple.

One should not miss visiting Perumpuliyur which is not more than 3 km from Thillaisthanam. The vimanam of Sri Vyagrapureeswara Temple is marvelous and the base is circular. The main deity is sung by Thirugnanasambandar and worshiped by Sage Vyagrapatha. A Vishnu shrine (one among 108 Divya desams) is also there in the village.

All these villages were looked after by sincere devotees for many centuries and Emperors  were there to  generously gift lands for maintaining them. It was only when people started migrating from villages, the Temples suffered a lot in the absence of dedicated souls and sponsors. To make matters worst, the lands given on lease did not realise any return to meet the recurring expenses of the Temple. Hence the situation now demands help from outside to do daily Pujas and pay the salary of the staff as HR&CE dept is still paying only few hundreds as salary with which it is impossible for the archakas to run their families. We continue to appeal to well wishers to think about the plight of these people and extend all possible help at the time of distress. It is,indeed, a service to God Himself.