Thursday, July 21, 2011

TiruKoshtiyur- Sowmya Narayana Perumal Temple, Tamilnadu

Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple in Tirukoshtiyur is in Sivagangai district and is 10 Kms from Tirupathur town, on Madurai Karaikudi road.  This is one of the 108 divyadeshams of Vishnu and I would say this was the most adventurous trip to a temple I ever undertook as I climbed the Vimanam ( tower) of the temple.

The temple is situated in a serene village and  a huge tower welcomes us inside the temple. The uniqueness of this temple is, there are 3 tiers  in the main Vimanam above the sanctum and and each tier houses a deity, the main one being on the first floor.

This   is a rock cut temple and here we can see the blend of Vaishanavism and Saivism .At the entrance there is a separate shrine for Siva with Nandi mandapam in front.  As we enter the Perumal temple,  there is a small shrine for Vinayagar , On the ground floor there is a beautifully carved statue of dancing Krishna  with Rukmani and Satyabhama.  There are many idols of Azhwars (Vaishnavite saints)  in this prakaram.  Turning left, climbing a few steps one would reach the Sowmya Narayana Perumal's sanctum. The Moolavar ( the main deity) is Vishnu in Anantha Sayanam known as Ugramellanaiyan and along with him are Boodevi and Sreedevi. The Utsavar is Sowmaya Narayana Perumal with his consorts and there are also idols of dancing Krishna, Chakrathazhwar, Ramanujar and Nambigal. On the ground floor is the shrine of  the Thayar , known here as Thirumamagal .  From the Thayar sannidhi there are a fleet of steps which  takes one  to the top of the Vimanam .

A trip up the vimanam is adventurous , scary and cannot be accessed without the help of a guide as the maze like formation may make one feel  dis -oriented. The width of the narrow rock- cut staircase is just about 21/2 feet. Lack of air, the dark interiors , frequent twist and turns in the steep staircase without railings does create panic. At times one has to bend double as the ceiling is too low. At one point it was just a hole through which we had crawl to get on to the terrace.

 On  the 2 nd  floor is the sannidhi of the Upendra Narayana with his consorts and here the Lord is in a standing position . There are beautiful murals on the walls of this temple and it is believed to be one thousand years old . Above this sanctum is another sannidhi of Paravasudevan with his consorts (All different names of Vishnu)  . From the terrace of the Vimanam  we  could see the house of  Sri Tirukoshtiyur Nambigal who was the Guru of  Ramanujana, God's devotee and a great Vaishnava saint. It is believed that Ramanujam gave the Mantropadesham of Om Namo Narayana to all his disciples from this place. It is also said that from the top of the vimanam one could also watch the Meenakshi Kovil's tower at Madurai which is 70 Kms. away.

Outside, when we circumambulate there are shrines for  Emperumanar ,Chakrathazhwar, Nambigal, all Vaishnava saints.

Facing the west we could see two huge idols of Narasimha Moorthy fighting Hiranya Kashipu and tearing him by putting him on his lap ( photos included). The Vimanam is ashtanga vimanam. Similar Vimanams are in Madurai ,  Koodal azhagar temple and other one in Chengalpet near Chennai  .

The legend is that this was the place of Kadamba Maharshi's ashram and he was being tormented by Hiranya Kashipu.To find a solution to this, all the rishis and devas assembled in Goshti ( group ) and hence this place came to be known as Tiru Koshtiyur. Here only the Prahlada charithram and slaying of  Hirnyakashipu was planned. It is also believed that Vishnu gave the Anantha sayana darshanam to Lord Indra here and the Sowmaya Narayana Perumal who is also known as Madhavan was given to Kadamba Maharishi by Lord Indra.

How to reach-   Karaikudi is the nearest town which is 20-25 Kms. The nearest airport is at Madurai.Karaikudi is well connected with road and rail .

Accommodation: Good hotels are available in town of Karaikudi .
For other temples near Karaikudi click here


Friday, July 15, 2011

Tirukkozhi, Azhagiya Manavalan temple - Urayur, Trichy, Tamil Nadu

 Azhagiya Manvalan temple is second Divya desam after sri Ranganatha Swamy temple.   There is no Utsavar here. Namperumal, the Utsavar of Sri Rangam temple is brought here for the yearly Panguni Uthram  festival. This place is also the birth place of Tirupaana Alwar, a great devotee of Vishnu. Temple architecture is very simple. This temple is not crowded like the Srirangam temple. One can worship the God, in peace.
This is the place where Lord married Mahalakshmi  known here as Kamalavalli Nachiyar when she was born as an ordinary human being because of a curse incurred. Here the deities are in kalyana Tirukolam.

Trichy is well connected by road, air and rail.Excellent accommodation facilities are available in the town.
To see other temples in and around trichy click here


Friday, July 8, 2011

Tiruvinnagaram- Uppiliappan temple, Kumbhakonam , Tamilnadu

This an important divya desam of Vishnu and the Lord here resembles the Tirupati Balaji. This the place where He married Boodevi , the daughter of Markendaya Muni. Here She is enshrined in the sanctum itself.  The legend is that as Boodevi cooked food for the Lord with out salt when he appeared as an old man to marry  her so as to avoid marriage to an old person. But the  Lord accepted the food and revealed himself as Vishnu and married Boodevi. In this temple salt is not used when offerings are made to God, hence the name uppila..appan (Uppu means salt in Tamil)

There is also a shrine for Aanjaneya just outside the sanctum.

This temple is 7 Kms from the town of Kumbhakonam.A must see for those who visit Kumbhakonam as the beauty of the idol adorned with silks and jewels cannot be described in words.
The temple is just one Km from Tiru Nageshwaram - the temple famous for Rahu , one of the nine planets . Shall post soon about that too.
How to reach- Kumbhakonam well connected with rail, road . Nearest airport is at Trichy.
 Accommodation- Good hotels are available in Kumbhakonam town itself.