Sunday, December 26, 2010

Aadi Jagannatha Perumal temple- Tirupullani, Sethukkarai and Navagraha Pashanam

Tirupullani is yet another famous temple in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu and this is the 44th divya desam of Vishnu.This is situated at a distance of about 64 Kms.from the Ramanathaswamy temple, Rameshwaram.This temple is related to the great epic Ramayana in more than one way.The temple's main deity is Lord Jagannatha with his consorts Bhoodevi and Sreedevi and the  Panchaloha  idol of the Lord here  is known as Kalyana Jagannathar . There is also a small idol of Krishna known as Santhana Gopalan. It is believed that king Dasratha prayed here for progeny and worshipped Santhana Gopala. The king got the sweet  payasam which he offered to his wives and  was blessed with offspring.

Devotees pray here fervently for their marriage and also install serpent images and partake the payasam offered here in the temple to get progeny. One can find hundreds of such images under the sthala vrickasham. There are separate  shrines for Mahalakshmi, Rama, Santhana Gopala and Aandal . Rama, in this temple is in a reclining position with bow and arrow on his chest with Lakshmana as Aadisesha and Brahma in a lotus. Rama is lying on a bed of Darbha, fasting, for Lord Varuna to appear.  

Sethukkarai-  5 Kms from this temple is Sethu where it is believed that Rama and his entourage built the famous Sethu (bridge) to reach Lanka. Just a kilometer into the sea one can view this famous bridge but I could not do so as no boats were plying at that time. This is  also known as Adam's bridge.There is a temple for Sethu bandhana Aanjaneya right on the sea shore. Many perform obsequies here for the departed souls.

14 Kms from Sethu is the the village of Devipattanam and here one finds the Navapashanam in the sea, 9 pillars believed to be navagrahas ,worshipped and installed by Lord Rama before he set out to Lanka for claiming his wife Seeta who was abducted by Ravana, a Rakshasa. During low tide these Navapashanams are very much visible and now there is small bridge built for the convenience of the pilgrims to reach this place. Devotees get inside the water and offer worship to Navagrahas .

Yet another famous temple nearby is Uttarkosamangai which is only at a distance of 9 Kms from Tirupullani. Shall post about that soon.

How to reach-  Madurai is the nearest airport. The distance is about 100Kms.
Accommodation-  Luxury , budget hotels are available in Madurai and it is well connected by road, rail and air.
Location is given along with labels.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Ramanathaswamy temple - Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu

Rameshwaram  island is in the Gulf of Mannar which lies at the very  tip of Indian Peninsula. This island  is also known as Pamban island and is connected to the main land by  Pamban rail bridge, an engineering marvel and a great attraction for the tourists. There is another  road bridge running parallel to the Pamban bridge for all other vehicles. The view of the azure sea from the bridge is breath - taking and I have included   some photos for all of you  to enjoy along with the temple photos. This island lies very close to Srilanka across the sea.

Ramanathaswamy temple, is on this island  and is just 100 meters from the sea shore. This bustling pilgrim centre  is considered as  South Kashi. (Kashi or Varanasi is in  North India, an abode of Siva and Hindus believe that  one who is graced to die in Kashi  would attain salvation. I would reserve the details for a later post) . This temple is also part of the 4 dham pilgrimage - the 4 holy places  highly reverred by Hindus, the other three being  Dwaraka in Gujarat, Puri  in Orissa and  Badarinath in Uttarakhand.

Ramanathaswamy is Siva, one of the 12 Jyothirlingams in India. This temple is associated  with Ramayana  epic. To expiate the killing of the demon king Ravana, Rama  and Seeta consecrated the Sivalinga and worshipped the God and hence Siva here is known as Ramanathaswamy. The temple also has 22 theerthams (Holy wells) and devotees make it a point to bathe in these before offering worship to the Lord here. 

Rama had requested Aanjaneya to bring a Sivalinga from Kailash. He did not return at the auspicious hour and Seeta made one, out of sand and that is believed to have been installed here. When  Aanjaneya  returned,  he tried to remove the Lingam made by Seeta with his tail and He was unsuccessful as one made by Seeta got rooted. The one brought by Hanuman is at the Eastern entrance and  devotees worship  this Lingam first, before offering worship to Ramanathaswamy.

Amman here is known as Parvatha Vardhini, there are Vinayagar and Murugan shrines on either side  of Ramanathaswamy temple and a huge Nandi in the centre, facing the inner prakaram. This temple houses the longest multi- pillared corridor in Asia , with more than 1000 pillars and one can enjoy the beauty of this magnificient corridors which is about 230 metres long, a side . Tourist from all over the world flock to watch this grand corridor. This temple also houses a spatika Linga and there is a worship early in the morning at 4 am and devotees are allowed to have a darshan of the same, only at that time.

There is also a separate shrine for Natarajar and Sivakami and this shrine is fully decorated with rudraksha.

Aadi Amavasi festival is very important here and pilgrims converge here and  perform  holy 'duties' for the departed ancestors, pray for their salvation and to redeem themselves from the sins of the previous births.

A few kilometeres from this wonderful temple is Rama Paduka temple situated on a small hillock known as  Gandhamadhana Parvata. One has to climb a few steps to reach this temple.  We can see imprints of  Lord Rama's feet here. It is believed that Rama had a view of Lanka from this place.There is also a temple of Kothandaramaswamy  in Rameshwaram  on the road to Dhanushkodi , a  pilgrim town the whole of which was washed away during a heavy cyclone in 1964.  One can find  remnants of this town as one proceeds along the road, a few kilometers towards the old location of Dhanushkodi.

How to reach : The nearest airport is at Madurai - distance 165 Kms. 
Rameshwaram is well connected by rail from Chennai and Madurai.
Buses ply from all parts of Tamil Nadu to this holy town.
Accommodation:  This  temple town has many hotels, lodges and mutts .
Location map is given along with labels.

Other temples near Rameshwaram are Sethukkarai, Navagrahas at Devipattanam and Tirupullani.  All these temples are connected with Ramayana epic. Shall post these one by one.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sree Hanuman Kovil - Ernakulam, Kerala

Right in the heart of the city of Ernakulam is the temple of Hanuman worshipped by thousands. This little temple is close to the Ernakulathappan (the post about this temple  is in the offing ) temple. Hanuman or Anjaneya  is very well known for his strength, valour, knowledge, devotion, humbleness,service and modesty.

 The  temple  here is about 150 years old.  Mr. Venkat rao , Dewan  ( 1856- 1860 AD)of erstwhile Cochin State under the  Maharaja Ravi Varma used to worship this idol in his house and wanted to have a separate place to worship the Lord. His Highness, gifted  him a place to build a temple where it is seen presently. A granite block mentioning the event is inscribed in Sanskrit in front of the temple. 

The idol here was consecrated by His Holiness Viswapriya Tirtha  Swamiji ( 1776- 1865) of Udupi Sode Vadiraja Mutt .Generally all the temples consecrated in Madhwa Sampradaya has Lord Krishna as the presiding deity. This temple, at Ernakulam is an exception as it is probably, the only temple in Kerala dedicated to Anajneya and consecrated by a Matadhipathi of Udupi. 

The temple is neat and clean, excellently managed by  the temple administration.  Devotees flock to this temple as they get solace from all worries and this 'Karya siddhi Anjaneya' (one who grants wishes) takes care of His devotees well.  Peace descends as one enters the temple precincts and the serene atmosphere is magical and captivating.

 The temple also has a Naga pratishta and a small shrine for the 18th century saint Raghavendra. Those having Nagadosha perform here abhishekam and various other poojas to appease the Nagas.

 The temple celebrates various festivals like Rama Navami, Hanumat Jayanti, Naga Panchami, Durga pooja. etc. A must see for those who are interested in temples.

Temple timings- 4.30 am - 10.30 am., Evening- 5.00 pm - 8.15  pm. Phone No- 0484-2371353,2382631

How to reach- Ernakulam- also known as Kochi now a days, is well connected by air, road and rail.  Nedumbassery International airport is 45 Kms. away. 
 Railway station is just 2 Kms from this temple. One can hire an auto from any part of the town to get here.
Town buses are also available to reach this place.
Accomodation- Ernkaulam  has budget, deluxe and luxury hotels. 


The other  Anjaneya temple on ' My Pilgrimage' click here.
 Map of this temple is given along with labels.

 List of temples in Kochi. check the list here
The last 4 pictures are from the temple gallery.



Monday, December 6, 2010

Kuzhandai Velappar (Mittai Murugan)- Oddanchatharam

A recent visit to a temple  at Oddachatram ( Tamil Nadu)  near Dindigul was really intersting and amusing.The God in this temple  is  Kuzhandai velappar  (infant Muruga) also known as Mittai Murugan, a lover of candy. I was really surprised to see the interesting ritual in the temple where chocolates and candies were offered to God. The  story related to the  temple goes like this..........

A certain devotee prayed to God for an offspring and when his  wish was fulfilled he offered worship to the Lord here and distributed chocolates among his relatives who accompanied him.That night Lord appeared in his dream and asked  why He was not  offered any candy. Immediately the devotee rushed to the temple and made his offerings of candy. Since then worshipping God by offering candy became a routine here. It was really a pleasant sight to see this ritual being  performed by devotees.There are counters outside the temple to sell candies.

We were also offered chocolates by one of the devotees who had come with the family to celebrate their  child's birthday. This temple is attached to the famous Palani Andavar temple which is 20 Kms. from here and is on  NH 209. This  temple is quite small but has 3 sub-shrines and has beautiful paintings  on the   inner walls of the temple.

How to reach- Dindigul is the nearest railway station.  The nearest airport is at Coimbatore which is at a distance of 100 Kms.
  
Many buses ply from Palani as well as Dindigul to Oddanchatram. The temple is just 5 Kms, from the Oddanchatram town.

Accomodation :  For stay - It is better to stay in Dindigul or Coimbatore.

Location map is given along with the labels.