Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kaduthuruthy Mahadeva Kshetram

Kaduthuruthy-Thaliyil Mahadeva Kshetram ( temple ) is 15 Kms. from Ettumanur or Vaikom  but lesser known to pilgrims than the other two temples. As I have mentioned earlier, visiting these triad of temples  before Uccha (Noon) pooja is considered to be auspicious. This temple is situated on a small hillock and compared to the  other  temples, it is  smaller in size.  The Sivalingam here is only  3" in size, faces East  and is also believed to have  been installed by Khara, the demon who installed the other two Lingams in Ettumanur, and Vaikom. There are also shrines dedicated to  Ettumanurappan and Vaikathappan here, in the outer prakaram. It is also  said that visiting this temple is equivalent to  visiting  the other two temples . The  beautiful greenery around,  the pristine surroundings  adds a certain charm to this  temple.

The temple architecture is simple and I could find a lot of wooden carvings on the Vimanam above the sanctum.  A fire engulfed this temple 300 years ago and the chief priest sacrificed his life  in protecting the deity by  embracing the  Lingam . A statue of this chief priest is installed at the Northen side of the temple to commemorate the event.

How to reach: Nearest towns are Kottayam and  Kochi (Ernakulam) on the main rail route between Chennai and Trivandrum . Kochi  is also having an international airport and harbour.Kaduthuruthy is on the State highway connecting Kochi and Trivandrum through Kottayam and Kollam.
Accomodation is very easily available as luxury , economy and budget hotels are quite a few here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ettumanur Siva Temple -- Kottayam district

 Ettumanur temple is also very old and famous and is always thronged by devotees. Like Vaikathappan, Siva here is known as Ettumanurappan.  This temple is at a distance of  about 15 Kms. from Vaikom. This Siva temple was built in 16 th century.  The  conical tower above the sanctum is copper plated and looks stunning. This temple has exquisite mural paintings  from Ramayana, Bhagavatha and  Siva's cosmic dance. The deity here faces the West.

The dwajasthambha is very  tall and  gold plated. It is a real visual treat  to watch this gleaming dwaja with a Nandi atop and small bells hanging below.  There is metal lamp called Valiavilakku inside the temple and pilgrims keep offering  oil and this lamp is  kept burning through out day and night.  It is believed that Siva himself lighted this lamp first. The soot from the lamp is believed to cure eye problems.

Offering Tulabharam is famous here.  By Tulabharam, it  means  a devotee offering his worship, would contribute equivalent of  his or her weight of  banana/ sugar/ jaggery/ coins/ gold/ flowers etc.what ever they can afford in fulfillment of their wishes granted by the Lord.

There  are other shrines dedicated to Bhagavathi, Ganapathy, Dharmasastha, Dakshinamoorthy and Yakshi.  There is no idol for Parvathy here but  still she is  worshipped here on the Eastern side. The Ezharara Ponnana ,the  golden elephants and golden umbrella are a great attraction which is unique to this temple and it is used on the last day  of the annual  festival here. During the festival days ,all four sides of the temple would be lit with thousands of oil lamps which is a very attractive sight to watch.

There is a Krishna's temple just outside the Siva temple facing east,  also believed to have been  installed by Khara the demon who brought the other Sivalingas of Vaikom, and Kaduthiruthy temples. Here  Mahadeva(Siva) gives darshan  to his devotees in three bhavas one as Aghora Moorthi, then as Santha swaroopi and third as  Uma Maheshwaran.

How to reach
The temple is on  Kochi -Kottayam highway. It is about 50 Kms. from Kochi and 12 kms. from Kottayam.
Accomodation - Very good  hotels are  available in Kottayam town.

1 Entrance of temple -view from highway, 2. Nataraja 3. Mandapam in front of the temple 4West Gopuram. 5. Side view of the Gopuram.6. The main temple 7. Lamps on the side walls which are lit during festival.8 &;9 Dwajasthambha  10. Krishana temple outside.11. Lamps on the walls of the temple

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vaikom Mahadeva temple - Kerala

I happened to be in Kerala recently and had a wonderful opportunity to visit some ancient temples there.
Vaikom Mahadeva Kshetram ( temple) dedicated to  Lord Siva , is  very famous and one of the oldest  temples in Kerala. It is  in Kottayam district. This temple is fairly big one  and attracts pilgrims from all over the state and neighbouring ones too. There are 2 more famous temples situated at equi distance from Vaikom and it is considered auspicious if one can visit all the 3 temples in one day before Uccha pooja (Noon worship). The other two temples are Ettumanoor and  Kadathuruthy, again in Kottayam district. These temples are also very big  and  one can enjoy  the simple arichitecture,  typical of Kerala.

Vaikom temple shot to fame during the period of Vaikom Satya Graha ( a movement to allow  all sections of Hindus inside the temple) was intitiated here. This temple attracts foreign tourists also but non- Hindus are not allowed into the inner most walls of the temple and near the sanctum.

The Lord here is known as Vaikkathappan and the festival, Vaikathashtami is very famous here. He is also referred to as  the Annadana Prabhu meaning provider of  feast or food  and many pilgrims are fed here everyday. The devotees rich and  poor sit side by side and partake in the feast and it is believed that it is  provided by the God himself and it  has curative powers for stomach ailments.

The temple premises are always kept spic and span and everybody makes it a point to maintain the sanctity of the temple. It is believed that the demon Khara, brother of Surpanakka (of Ramayana)  got  3 Sivalingams from Kailash in Treta Yuga, one was installed here and the remaining ones  were consecrated at Ettumanoor and Kadathuruthy.

  How to reach: Vaikom is  45 Kms from  Kochi and is connected by rail and road. The nearest airport is Nedumbassery is another 40 Kms. from Ernakulam. Excellent accomodation luxury, executive and  budget class are available at Kochi.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trichy- Tiruvanaikal Jambukeshwara temple.

Tiruvanaikal Jambukeswara temple is on the banks of Kaveri and is very near to Ranganatha swamy temple in Srirangam.This temple is one of the Pancha Bhootha Lingas and it is a Jala (water) Linga. I have already made posts on Arunachaleshwara (Fire) at Tiruvannamalai and Ekambareshwar(Earth)at Kanchipuram. This temple is also quite huge and and there are about 5 towers till we reach the temple. The main temple complex also houses the shrine of Amman known here as Akhilandeshwari.

There is water around the main Sivalinga here and it gets immersed in water when water rises in Kaveri. The Jambu fruit tree is behind the sanctum hence the Lord here is known as Jambukeshwarar. The corridors around the temple are as long as 1 mile and it is lined with beautiful paintings. The wall surrounding the temple is around 25 feet in height.There are mandapams with exiquisite sculptures. It is believed that Lord Siva participated in the construction of this temple.

There is an interesting story how this place came to be known as Tiruvanaikal or Tiruvanaikaval. An elephant and a spider were devotees of Siva and they used to offer their worship here . They were also jealous of each other. The spider was reborn as a king and he built a huge temple here but he made the door of the sanctum very small that no elephant would enter. Even today the door leading to sanctum is only around 3 feet. One has to stoop low to enter the inner most part of the temple.

It is also believed that Parvati offered worship here by making a Linga with water and it is called as Jala Linga. There is an idol of Prasanna Vinayagar opposite to Amman sannidhi.The Goddess here is a spinster and there is no Kalyanotsavam in this temple. The temple worships cows and during the worship the priest wears costumes (saree) like a woman and offers the worship . There are also separate shrines for Kubera Lingam ,Vinayagar and Muruga.

Another legend associated with this temple is that Lord Ranganathar stayed in Srirangam only to worship Jambugeshwarar and he makes a visit to this temple once a year and stays there for a day.

How to reach: Trichy is well connected by rail air and road.
Srirangam also has a railway station but for a good stay it better to stay in Trichy town which is just 5 Kms.
Here are some photos I could collect during my recent visit to this ancient temple.