Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aaduthurai Temples

Our ancestors had clearly distinguished similar names of different places mostly by adding a prefix. But the present trend is to shorten the names of places and persons. For instance, the name Thiruchchirappalli is shortened as Trichy which carries no meaning at all. There are places where the shortened form of the original name does not affect the meaning much. Paandikkodumudi is called as Kodumudi now but still sounds meaningful. It is true with the case of Mylapore when it is called as Mayilai.

There are places with similar names such as Thirumullai voil (the one near Chennai  and the other near Sirkazhi). Likewise we have the name Aduthurai at two places,the one on Kumbakonam- Mayiladithurai road and the other on Kumbakonam- Thiruvaiyaru road. While Thevaram Hymns have clearly identified the former located on the southern banks of river Cauvery, the later on the northern banks. Hence the Thevaram text address them as "Then Kurangaduthurai" and "Vada Kurangaduthurai". Unfortunately, we have shortened the name as Aduthurai and apply it to both these places, giving rise to confusion.

"Then Kurangaduthurai"got the name as Lord Shiva was worshipped here by Sugreeva,the vanara King. The word "Kurangu"refers to monkey in Tamil.  It is located some 17 km from Kumbakonam. The Temple ,built by Sembiyan Maadevi,the Chola Queen. It has a 5 tier Rajagopuram in the front. We have dharshan of Ganapathi, Subramanya,Dhakshinamurthi , Durga and Chandikeswara in the first Prakaram.The main Deity in the sanctum is called Aabhathsahayeswarar  and the Goddess is known as Pavalakkodi.Fifteen inscriptions are available here that belong to Chola and Pandya period. Thirugnanasambandhar and Appar have sung Thevaram Hymns in praise of the Lord. Deva Koshtams include Agasthya,Nataraja and Bhikashadana.

Vadakurangaduthurai is 21 km from Kumbakonam and 10 km fom Thiruvaiyaru. This Temple is managed by Thanjavur Devasthanam. A 5-tierd Rajagopuram presents a majestic look at the entrance. On entering the outer Prakaram we find Panchamurthi Mandapam and Ambal Sannadhi A very big Cow shed is seen in this Prakaram that reminds us the good number of cows gifted to the Temple in the olden days. When we cross the second entrance,we reach the Mahamandapan where we see murthis of Shaiva Acharyas, "Settippenn",Saneeswara and Bhairava. The second Prakaram has Sannadhis for Ganesa,Subramanya and Maha Lakshmi.

Terracotta figures of of Vali worshipping Shiva Linga and The Lord blessing the pregnant "Setti"lady by offering a tender coconut to quench her thirst are seen on Swami Vimanam. Garbagra Koshta figures are those of Dhakshinamurthi,Lingothbava and Adhanareeswara which are beautifully carved.We also see coconut tree as  Sthala Vruksham  in this Prakaram.  Nataraja & Sivakami give Dharshan as stone sculptures in Nataraja Sabhai.

Big sculptures of Dwara Palakas stand at the entrance to the Sanctum. The Lord is called as Dhayanidheeswarar and the Goddess as "Azhagu sadaimudi ammai" Thirugnanasambandhar has sung Thevaram Hymns on Dhayanidheeswarar.Inscriptions of Chola and Pandya Emperors are found on the walls of the shrine.

One can easily cover both the places on a single day by staying at Kumbakonam where boarding and Lodging facilities are available at affordable rates.