Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Divine Journey from Thiruvanjaikkalam

Historians are of the view that '" Cheraman'" was a title held by  Kings of Chera Dynasty. According to them, Raja Sekara Varman,also known as Cheraman Perumal Nayanar, the ruler of the later Chera Dynasty became the close friend of Sundara Murthi Nayanar, one of the four great Acharyars of Saiva Tradition. during his reign in 800- 840 A.D.  He was such a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva  that he could hear the sound of the cosmic dance at the end of his daily Puja to Lord Nataraja. Readers need not get confused with Cheraman Perumal of 620A.D. because of the resemblance in their names. Later Cheras ruled from Magothai ( also known as Magothayapattinam or magothayapuram) between 8th and 12 th centuries. The city was constructed around the famous Temple of Anjaikkalaththappan. and was protected by high fortress on all the sides.

Cheraman Perumal Nayanar is said to be aware of what is said around him, both by living and non living things. Hence he was known as '" Kazharitru Arivaar". He was also known for his generocity and this quality was compared to that of clouds that gift abundant rain to the world. It was for this reason he was mentioned as '" kaar konda kodai Kazharitru arivaar" by Sundaramurthi Nayanar in his Thevaram Hymn. Once he went round the city and saw a washerman with white marks all around his body. The King got it as the marks of Vibhuthi and fell on his feet as he held such people as devotees of Lord Shiva. Cheraman told him that he reminded him of the devotees of Shiva.

It was on a day when Cheraman finished his Puja, he could not hear the sound of the Cosmic Dance. He heard the Divine voice saying that it was due to the presence of Sundara Murthi Nayanar who was singing Thevaram Hymns in front of Nataraja at Chidambaram. The Chera King wondered how great a Devotee Sundarar would be to make the Lord Himself so fond of hearing his Hymns. He wanted to meet the Great Devotee and went all the way from his place to Chidambaram. He recited his own work '" Pon Vannaththu Andhadhi " (which is included in 11th Thiumurai) in front of  Lord Nataraja.

Then he went to Thiruvarur to meet Sundarar who had just returned from Nagapattinam after receiving lot of gifts from the Lord. Sundarar welcomed the King and the later stayed as a guest in his house,'"Paravaiyar Maligai'. The King accompanied Sundarar and visited various shrines of Shiva. As requested by Cheraman, Sundarar went to Thiuvanjaikalam and stayed in the palace. He returned to Thiruvarur and continued his pilgrimage. He made another visit to Thiruvanjaikalam and had Dharshan at the Temple. He prayed to Anjaikalaththu appan to free him from worldly bondage. The Lord sent the white elephant to bring Sundarar to Kailash. Sudarar sang a Thevaram Padhigam on Kailasanatha on his way to Kailash. It was sent back to Thiruvanjaikalam through Varuna. Cheraman also joined him on his horseback and reached Kailash. He recited his own work "" Thiruk Kayilaya Gnana Ula'' ( also in 11th Thirumurai) and both of them were blessed in this way without any parallel in History. Peria Puranam, a 11th century Tamil work describes the incident that took place in Adi Swathi ( July- August).

Thiruvanjaikalam,now known as Thiruvanjikulam is located about 6 km from Kodungalur, in Thrusoor District of Kerala.Thrussur is well connected by road and rail routes and good hotels to stay. The distance between Thrussur and Kodungalur is about 35 km. The western entrance is near the Kodungalur- Ernakulam Highway. It is understood that the Temple was attacked and looted by the forces of Tipu Sultan. Tipu's army fled the scene on the arrival of  Travancore Army of Dalawa Keshavdas Pillai. The Temple was rebuilt by Paliath Achan of Kochi.

As we enter the Temple, we find a Namaskara Mandapam with 16 pilliars  We come to know that the Temple was renovated in 1801. Unlike the pyramidal roofs of Kerala Temples, we find a dwithala Vimanam over the Namaskara Mandapam. Inscriptions are found in the west Prakaram. Konrai tree,the sthala Vruksham is seen in the outer prakaam. Unlike the presence of a separate shine for Goddess Parvathi, this Temple has Shiva sannadhi only wherein the Goddess takes a part of the Supreme Lord and therefore the murthi is known as Uma Maheswara.  Images of nataraja, Sundarar and Cheraman are seen in a separate sannadhi.  Murals portraying Ramayana characters are seen in five panels.

Gopuram thevar,Dhakshinamuthi,Pasupathi, Nattakal Sivan,Sandhyavela sivan, Palliyara Sivan, Unni Thevar, Konnakal Sivan are the Murthis housed in separate shrines.

The annual festival is conducted in Feb-March for eight days. It concludes with aarattu in the nearby sea. on new-moon day. Aanaiyottam is also a part of the festival. Mahashivarathri at this Temple is very famous in this region which attracts lage number of people.
Keezhthali Sivan Temple at Thiru Kulasekarapuram and  Sringapuram Siva Temple(installed by Sage Rishyasringa), are some important temples located close to Kodungalur.

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