Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sankar Narayanar Temple at Sankaran Kovil

The Sankar Narayanar Kovil is situated 50 kms. From Tirunelveli, or around 75Kms. from Madurai. The place takes its name from the temple and is called Sankaran Koil and is the second largest town in Tirunelveli District .This temple is 900 years old. Here the main deities are Siva, Sankar Narayan and Parvati. This temple wears a festive look during the month of Aadi (that falls In August) as Aadi Tapasu festival is famous here.
Sankaran koil

There are three different sannidhis (Three temples) in this temple complex. As we enter,the first sannidhi is that of Sankar and the second one is that of Shankarnarayan and third one is of Gomati (Parvati).
This is the place where Goddess Parvati, known here as Gomathi Amman had performed a penance to have the darshan of Vishnu and Siva in unison. She performed the tapasu in the month of Aadi which is an auspicious month for the south Indians. Both Vishnu and Siva appeared before her in unison called Shankar Narayan. The deity here is half Vishnu and half Siva and this can be easily distinguished by the costume that is adorned to the deity. One onside it is tiger skin cloth and ash on forehead representing Siva and on the other half it is white cloth and the Tirunamam which is typical of Vishnu.
Inside the Gomathi Amman temple there is a place where devotees can take Puttruman ( i.e. Holy sand of ant hill as a prasadam. The general belief is that the Holy Sand- "Puttruman" is capable of curing all the diseases. Devotees believe that Sankarankoil‘s Nagasunai (sacred tank) have been dug by serpent kings named PadumanSangam which has a miraculous power to heal those who bathe there. It is believed that all devotees who pray to the goddess Gomati Amman get her divine blessings . As it is festival time during the month of Aadi this temple gets crowded with pilgrims. and
This temple is held sacred by both vaishanavites and Saivites as it a fine example to depict that both Vishnu and Siva are same. Another legend associated with the temple is that once there was a quarrel between and Shaivites, the followers of Siva and Vaishanavites, the followers of Vishnu as to who is the greater god. To put all notions of people at rest to show that both Vishnu and Siva are same , both Gods appeared before their devotees in unison one half representing Siva and other half as Vishnu.
The Temple tower is huge and has beautiful engravings of mythological figures. Inside the Sankaran kovil there is a separate shrine for the Nagaraja and one can see many devotees lighting lamps and performing pal abhishekam (bathing with milk) for the serpent gods here. Then there are other shrines for Durga, Chandikeshwarar, and Vinayagar and Dakshinamoorthy.
By air- nearest airport is Madurai.
By train- Major railway station is Tirunelveli, is well connected with trains from Chennai, and other Metros.
Nearest railway station is at Rajapalayam which is 25 kms. From Sankaran Kovil.
There is a train from Chennai (Podhigai express) to reach Rajapalayam.
By road- cabs are available from Tirunelveli and Rajapalayam and Madurai
Plenty of state transport buses are available and well connected with the nearby towns like Kovilpatti, Virudhunagar etc.
One can visit Kuttralam water falls (also known as Courtallam) tourist spot which is very famous on the way on Sankaran Kovil.


Unknown said...

Ah! SankaranKoil.This place is not only famous for the ShankarNarayana temple but also for the Sulthan Biriyani.You should see the crowd thronging this place during the Courtallam season or during the sabarimala season when the devotees who have finished their Ayyappa dharshan on their return journey back halt at this famous Sulthan biriyani shop

chitra said...

I have heard of sultan biriyani but didn't mention it here as this post is on Pilgrimage.Any way for those who are interested it is a good news.thanks for your comment.

virgo said...

Just visited the sankaran koil this past week. simply beautiful and had a great great darshan..fewer crowds and decent weather.

Shankar Iyer said...

My kuladevi is Gomathi Amman. I go there as many times as I can. One can go by Podigai to sankarankovil by rail. One can go to Kovilpatti and travel by bus. Temple closes at 1 o clock afternoon, opens 4 o clock. The office has photos of Amman and Swami. I try and visualize Amman in my prayers. We are 4th Gen Tamils settled in North India. Children now live abroad