Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mannargudi & Thiruthuraipoondi Temples

It is of utmost importance to plan the Pilgrimage. It does not mean covering of some Temples here and there and winding it up within a short time. At the same time it is not incorrect if we say that it requires patience. As often said, it demands lot of interest and devotion as well. Needless to add, that Pilgrimage to rural areas derives lot of Peace and one should be grateful to pay back whatever he can for the upliftment of these Temples.

There exist amzing places around Thiruthuraipoondi and Mannargudi and a pilgrimage in this region can be comfortable if we access them by staying in Thiruthuraipoondi and Mannargudi. Food and accomodation may not be that good over there but we can somehow manage with the existing facilities.

Bava Aushadheeswara Temple in Thiruthuraipoondi Town is otherwise known with several names such as Vilvaranyam,Brahmapuri,Navatheerthapuram,Jallikaranyam and Navagrahapuram in the Sthala Puranam. "Tharu" in Tamil means "Vriksha" in Sanskrit. The sthala Vriksha of this Temple is V(B)ilwam and it was called as Thiruththaruppondi. This west facing Temple is adorned at the entrance with a five-tier Raja  Gopuram. The shrine of Goddess  Brahannayaki faces east. Lord Nataraja performed Chanrda Choodamani Thandava for nine sages including Agasthya . On the southern side of the Sanctum is an east facing shrine for Theertha Vidanga Thyagaraja. Facing the Goddess' shrine is Mangalya Theertham and on its eatern bank is a shrine for Vedharanyeswara which was worshipped by Sage Agasthya One Jallikai, an ardent devotee,bathed in this Mangalya Theertham and  got back her husband Virupaksha who expired after killing Dharma Vratha,a Brahmin boy. The annual festival is condcted here for 25 days in a grand manner. Like in Thiruvarur Temple, we can see "Panchamuka vadyam",an ancient instrument in this Temple also. The sthala Puranam gives a detailed account of those who worshipped Lord Vilvavanesa. These names include  Nava Rishis ( Agasthya, Vamadeva, Kasyapa, Athri,Baradhwaja, Gowthama ,Viswamithra , Jamadhhagni, Vasishta) , Navagraha, Indra,Vishnu,Musukundha, Harichandra,Katwangatha, Kalmashapadha, Dilipa,Lava,Kaartha Veerya,Yayathi,Somasarma,Krishna Sarma,Vajra Sarma,Gnana Sarma,Sukesa Sarma,Merchants like Chandraguptha, Dhanarakshaka , Kamalanayana and Kruthagya. The Lord has blessed salvation for Kamalanabha, Karunakara,Vaivegi(a thief), Pandya King Vasumathi and others. Brahma Thertham infront of the Temple is so Holy that it has 16 Ghats each  on all its four sides totalling 64 which is said to be the abode of all Holy Theerthams.

A forty minute drive towards Thondiakadu takes us to another important Shrine at Idumbavanam, sung by Thirugnanasambandar in hisThevaram Hymns. The Puranam of this Temple connects events of Mahabharatha times. The Deity of this place was worshipped by Idumbi who married Bhima and stayed here. Her brother ,Idumba, a demon had a fort nearby. Hence the place got its name after them. The Temple has a 3-tier Raja Gopuram at the entrance and a Theertham in front of it. Sathgunanatha, the main Deity at the Sanctum was worshipped by Sage Agasthya. The sage who missed the Grand Divine wedding of Parvathi-Parameswara in Mount Kailash, was sent to south with a blessing that he would have the dharshan of the married couple at Vedaranyam. The sage  also had dharshan of the couple at many places,Idumbavanam being one among them. We too are blessed to see Them in the Sanctum,right behind the Shiva Linga. Goddess Mangalanayaki 's sannadhi faces south. This place is also famous for doing rituals for the ancestors. Nattukkottai Nagarathar have done the renovation work many decades ago.

Karpaganarkulam, Kadikkulam,as called in Thevaram is located some 3 km from Idumbavanam. This is yet another Temple,renovated by Nattukottai Nagarathar. Sung by Sambandhar,the main Deity is called Karpaga Natha as He blesses the devotees like a Kalpaka vruksha which grants all the desires. According to the sthala Puranam, Ganapathi got the special Mango from Shiva at this place after demonstrating to the world that Parvathi and Parameswara are our parents and making "Pradhakshina"(going round) of the couple is equivalent to circling the entire universe. There is an exclusive shrine for Ganapathi parallel to Karpakanatha's Temple. Adjacent to Karpaga Vinayaka's Temple is Kothandarama Temple. Lord Rama on His way to Lanka had worshipped here. The Tank in front of Karpakanatha's Temple is called Vinayaka Theertham and Jack Tree finds a place as the Sthala Vruksha.
The road to Muthupettai leads us to Thillai Vilagam where we find Temples for Rama & Shiva, a "must halt" for all those who travel in this region.

Koilur was called as Thiru usathanam in Thevaram days. "Usavuthal" in Tamil means inquiring something. Lord Rama was inquiring people on the way while searching Sitha Devi. When He reached here, He was blessed with Manthropadesam by none other than the main Deity of the place i.e., Manthrapureeswarar. Koilur can be reached via Muthupettai. Sambandar's Thevaram  on this Temple refers to the worship offered by Rama,Lakshmana, Hanuman & Jambavan at this place.

Pannatheru near Thiruthuraipundi was known as Thirumugathalai some thousand years ago. Santhanayaki sametha Pannakabaraneswara Temple of this place is sung in Thiruvisaipa by Karur Thevar and the Hymns find place in 9th Thirumurai. The Temple is undergoing renovation at a very slow pace.

Mannargudi is the suitable place to stay if we want to visit places around it. A "Pithru Dosha Nivarthi sthalam" called Thiru Rameswaram  is 5 km away from Mannargudi. Though the transport facility to this place is poor, people come here in large numbers to perform the rituals for their forefathers.A big Tank is there close to the Temple and people perform the rituals on the bank of this Tank. A  5 tier Rajagopuram is standing at the entrance which greets the visitors. The exqusitely carved devakoshtams around the Sanctum tell us about the dedication during Chola Period.

Kalappal , a  nearby place was called as Kalandhai during Karur Thevar's times. People refer it now as Kovil Kalappal. The Temple of Prabhanayaki sametha  Aadhitheswara is being renovated. It is said that Aadhitha chola had built the Temple. Kootruva Nayanar, one of the sixty three Nayanars was born here and his image is seen in the Temple.

Thiruvanduthurai Temple is sung by Sambandar and is connected with Sage Bringi.One can see lot of Plant growth over the Gopuram and Vimanams. It is time to remove them before they are deeply rooted. This shrine had been renovated by Nattukottai Nagarathars. Located in a tiny village,the Temple needs proper care.

Kozhundheeswarar Temple is close to the main road and easily accessable from Mannargudi  It is also renovated by Nagarathar community. The main Deity is sung in Thevaram by Gnana Sambandar. Worshipped by Brahma,Indra,Airavatha &Indrasena, the Moolavar faces West. Goddess "Thenmozhi" (Madhurabhashani)faces east. There are 9 Theerthams in this place. "Vanni" is the Holy tree of this Temple.  Annual festivals are conducted on the eve of Masi Magam and Vaigasi Visagam.

The place where the bell of Airavatha,the elephant fell is called Kottur Maniambalam where we find an ancient Temple for Airavatheswara,sung by Karur Thevar. Ani pournami is the day on which the Lord performed His dance. Renovationis planned for this Temple.

Thirukkalar can be reached from Kottur. Parasara,Dhurvasa and other sages have worshipped here. Mention has to be made for the outstanding contributions of Nagarathar community at this place. Amritha Valli Sametha Parijatha vaneswara is sung by Sambandar in his Thevaram verses. Thirukoilur mutt 's 5th Pontiff had initiated Veda patasala,Thevara patasala,Agama Patasala and Chariot for this Temple. The 7 tier Gopuram faces Dhurvasa Theertham. Sage Dhurvasa had dharshan of Anandha Thandava here to get rid of his anger. Performing Panchakshara Japam at this place is considered to yield many folded results. Brahmotsavam is conducted in the month of "Chiththirai" (April-May).
Naganatha Swami Temple at Paamani is located 3 Km off Mannargudi town. Worshipped by Adhisesha, the Deity was sung by Gnansambandar in Thevaram. Nattukkottai Nagarathar have renovated the Temple and many people visit the Temple to clear their Sarpa Dhosha. Naga Theertham is facing the Temple.

We conclude the post as usual with an appeal. Almost all Temples covered in this post require immediate attention. Philanthropists may extend their attention towards such Historic Temples which lack proper maintenance due to paucity of funds. Donating to rich places with Kgs of Gold and ornaments may fetch fame among the Public. But one should remember that these places are not secondary. All credit should go to those generous Nagarathars who had literally rebuilt the dilapidated Temples at interior villages. It is earnestly expected that their successors also follow the magnificent work done earlier. A visit to Thirukkalar will tell volumes about their dedication. Unfortunately the momentum seems to be slow as the Temple requires the same attention of the ancestors. Let us hope that somebody from Nagarathar community visit all Temples renovated by their ancestors and take stock of the situation.  People from other communities may join them in the Holy cause which  can bring back the old glory.