Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thiruvali Thirunagari Divya Desam

Pancha Narasimha Kshetram
Ugra Narasimha, Veera Narasimha, Yoga Narasimha, Hiranya Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha in and around Thirvali - Thirunagari
Birth Place of Thirumangai Azhvaar is just a km away @ Thiru Kuraiyalur

Grand Enactment through  the night of Thirumangai Azhvaar's Vedu Pari in Panguni
Two temples north of ThiruNangur, and within a few kms of each other, Thiruvaali and Thirunagari, make up one Divya Desam. This is a Pancha Narasimha Shetram. There are 5 Narasimha temples in and around Thiruvaali and Thirunagari.

Thiruvali
Goddess Lakshmi wanted the Lord to recognize the efforts of Thirumangai Mannan. Granting her wishes, Lord Vishnu directed her to be born as the daughter of Sage Poorna with the promise that he would come there to provide darshan to Thirumangai Mannan.
Mangai Mannan way lays the Lord!!
At Vedarajapuram, a village in between Thiruvali and Thirunagari, Mangai Mannan stops the Lord in an effort to relieve him of his belongings. It is here that the Lord reveals his true form and utters the Astakshara Mantra in the ears of Mangai Mannan. This entire event is enacted here every year in Panguni on the day before Panguni Uthiram. Being the place where Lord Vishnu appeared to share the Thiru Manthiram, Thiruvaali is said to be equivalent to Badri.

Accepting the prayers of the Devas (they wanted Goddess Lakshmi to help protect the world from any further destruction after the Lord had slain Hiranyakashipu), the Goddess came here and sat on the Lord’s right thigh. Hence, this place came to be called ‘Thiru’Vali.

Thirumangai Azhvaar refers to the huge number of peacocks dancing around at Thiruvali

சோலைத்தலைக் கண மா மயில் நடம் ஆட 
மழை முகில் போன்று எழுந்து 
எங்கும் ஆளைப் புகை கமழும் 
அணி ஆலி அம்மானே 
Punnai and Serundi trees and fragrant Jasmine and Shenbagam Flowers were seen every where in the groves in Thiruvali. Bees made buzzing noises after drinking the nectar from the buds.

Thirumangai Azhvaar also refers to Thiruvali as a place where Vedic Seers lived and chanted the Vedas for several generations. They also taught the Vedas to the next generation and the entire place reverberated in Vedic Chants all the time. The sound of Conches, Chants and dances never ceased at Thiruvali.

சாந்தி வேள்வி சடங்கு நான்மறை 
ஓதி  ஓதுவித்து ஆதியாய் வரும் 

அந்தணாளர் அறா அணி ஆலி அம்மானே 

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Lakshmi Narasimha East Facing Sitting Posture
Thayar     : Poorna Valli Thayar
Utsavar    : Thiruvali Nagaraalan

Pancha Narasimha Kshetram
With five Narasimha temples in and around Thiruvali-Thirunagari, this Divya Desam is referred to as a Pancha Narasimha Kshetram. At Kuraiyalur, the birth place of Thirumangai Azhvaar, one finds Ugira Narasimha. At Mangai Mutt, where Mangai Mannan fed a 1000 Vaishnavites as per the wishes of Kumudavalli, there is Veera Narasimha.

At Thirunagari, there are two Narasimha idols- Yoga Narasimha and Hiranya Narasimha and here at Thiruvali, one sees Lakshmi Narasimha with the Goddess on his right lap.

Kulasekhara Azhvaar and his reference to Thiru Vali
Kulasekhara Azhvaar praises the Lord here referring to him as ‘The Ruler of Aali Nagar’

ஆளின் இல்லை பாலகனாய்  அன்று உலகம் உண்டவனே 
வாலியை கொன்று அரசு இளைய வானரதுக்கு அளித்தவனே 
காலின்மணி கரை அலைக்கும் கனபுரத்து என் கருமணியே 
ஆலி நகருக்கு அதிபதியே அயோதிமானே தாலேலோ

Thirunagari
This is the only Divya Desam where one can see ‘Kalyana Ranganathar’ in a sitting posture.


Brahmma’s son Karthama Prajaapathi undertook penance at Thirunagari wanting Moksham. With Lord Vishnu refusing to consider Goddess’ request of providing Moksham to Prajaapathi, an upset Lakshmi left Paramapatham and hid herself here at Thirunagari. Missing her presence, Lord came down in search and finally found her in a pond here. Hence this place came to be called‘Thiru’(Sri) Nagari, to mark the event of Goddess Lakshmi having stayed here.

While the Lord informed Prajaapathi that there was still time left for Moksham, he offered to grant any other wishes to Brahmma’s son. Though dejected, Prajaapathi requested that the Lord and Goddess remain here in the same form so all the devotees could have darshan.

Thirumangai Azhvaar seen with his trademark spear (Vel)

Thirumangai, who had won over Thirugnana Sambandhar(seen earlier in the Seerkazhi Kaazhi Cheerama Vinnagaram story) is seen here like a hunter with a spear. Thirumangai had a golden sculpture of his done at Thirukurungudi. It is believed that he transferred all his powers to this sculpture before he attained Moksham at Thirukurungudi. This idol was then moved to Thirunagari, near the birth place of Thirumangai Azhvaar and to date remains the idol of Thirumangai, on whom the daily pooja is undertaken here at ThiruNagari.

To win over his sweet heart Kumudavalli, Thirumangai fed a 1000 vaishnavites here as per the condition laid down by her). To this day, one can see the mandapam, called Mangai Mutt, where Thirumangai fed these Vaishnavites.

Quick Facts
Moolavar   : Vedaraajan, West Facing Sitting Posture
Thayar       : Amrutha valli
Utsavar      : Kalyana Ranganathar - Vayalali Manavala

Thiruvali Thirunagari details
Temple Timing : 8am-1130am and 5.30pm-730pm
Contact : Padmanabha Bhattar @ 04364 275699/94433 72567
Azhvaar : Kulasekhara Azhvaar, Thiru Mangai Azhvaar

How to reach
Take Sirkazhi- Poompuhar bus to get down at Thirunagari. Auto from Sirkazhi bus stand will cost Rs. 200. Contact Auto Moorthy @ 98432 65787

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cricket Commentary on the IPL

IPL TV cricket broadcast on Mute

While some of the on-ground performances and the kind of strokes played (called innovation these days) has not been anything to write home about, the off the field stuff i.e commentary at the IPL, has been deplorable and possibly the worst one has heard in the last two decades.

Terrible anchors, shockingly (un)fashionable ‘on the ground’ correspondent with minimal knowledge of the game and commentators with nothing more than clichéd description of the game - If the T20 has been a Tamaasha for the traditionalists, listening to the broadcast has been truly miserable to those who grew up listening to Alan McGilvery, Norman O’Neil, Brian Johnston, CMJ, John Arlott, Fred Trueman and Trevor Bailey and in the last couple of decades and more to Richie Benaud and co.

Taking the game to the Youth
There has been enough written about taking the game to the youth, especially to the women population in the country. That might seem a fair objective to have(at least that might take one set of audence from mega serials to sport). Having half clad women, in the name of professional dancers, is another so called innovation that has been brought in at the T20 in an effort to draw the youth to the ground.

Almost 15 years ago, Michael Holding, who had just got into cricket commentary,
(early on Holding was an expert on the radio for Carribean Broadcasting Corporation) spoke about the difficulty of being a TV commentator. He summarized it quite nicely at that time: "Unlike radio, TV commentary required a different kind of skill. As a TV commentator, describing a shot was not as important as analyzing the stroke/ball/ situation of the game and providing insights on the game and the match scenario."

Clichéd stuff
Unfortunately, the Asian commentators seem to have not understood the basics of TV commentary. A six is always a ‘huge six’ (even if it has managed to just cross the line), a boundary is always a great shot (even if it goes to third man off the edge), a win for Mumbai Indians always means great captaincy by Sachin. Fantastic and magnificent has to figure every alternate ball. Adjectives, the IPL commentators seem to believe, are everything is in ‘cricket commentary’.

Thankfully Robin Jackman and Greg Chappell have proved to be an exception and to a lesser extent L. Sivaramakrishnan. Surprisingly, even Tony Cozier and Ravi Shastri sounded more ‘Noise’ than knowledge. Every time at the toss/ presentation, Ravi seemed to raise his voice and sound forceful than be knowledgeable.

And why would one have Krishnamachari Srikkanth at every Super Kings match as the so called expert, trying to provide insights and inside information into his home team. While, like always, he has been 'straight off the bat' or 'Straight from the heart',some of his comments have been comical to say the least. "....gummaa vaa.......chennai super kings na summaa vaa".

When a 35+ year old hits a six or takes a wicket, it is always experience. When a 20 year does something negative, it is always inexperience!!!!

A few of these left me truly shocked:

“ The Boundary Line reporter asking the Umpire as to who he thought will win the match when there were still 5+ overs left in the game”

“ The same one asking Anil Kumble, in the first 10 days of the IPL, as to what his team had to do that week given that the finalists would be decided by the end of that week- Left Anil Kumble stunned as well….”

Arun Lal’s repeated comments (his first comment on this came 2 balls after the event happened) that the batsmen should not have taken a run of the no ball so the inform bat would have remained on strike and that taking the run of the no ball was the turning point of the match.

Aamir Sohail’s one word/two word questions during his interviews- ‘Great match?’, ‘Great pitch?’, ‘Great crowd?’!!!!!

‘What do you think of the crowd’ seemed another clichéd question during every interview

One wonders as to why these greatly paid commentators, (almost all of them have been international cricketers themselves) would not take the trouble of doing a little bit of home work on players and the game, so as to be able to offer more insights than mere description of the game.

TMS and Sky Sports- A different league
Those who watched /heard the commentary on the England V New Zealand first test at Lords would have seen a startling difference in the standards of broadcast. The IPL TV team would do well to take a tape of the commentary provided by the Sky Sports team comprising Michael Atherton, David Lloyd, Michael Holding, David Gower, Nasser Hussain and team or the one provided by Jonathan Agnew, CMJ, Brian Woddell, Henry Blofeld, Geoffery Boycott and Jeremy Coney of the TMS team.

It was insightful analysis every single ball on different aspects of the game. They truly have set a very high standard in TV broadcast and raised the bar, originally set by Channel 9, to another level. Time and again, the IPL TV commentators have ended up with clichéd cricketing terminologies and if they desire to hold on to their audience, they will need to do a lot of catching up. Till such time, it is best that true cricket followers watch the match on ‘mute’.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

ThiruVelliyankudi Kola Villi Raama

The Divya Desam where Sukraacharya regained his lost vision
Garuda with 4 hands - Conch and Chakra is a unique feature at this temple
Visiting ThiruVelliyankudi is equivalent to visiting all the 108 Divya Desams

Located about 25 kms North East of Kumbakonam off the Madras road is the Kola Villi Raama Divya Desam in Thiru Velliyankudi. A small 10 feet road leads one along the 6 km path from Sholapuram to ThiruVelliyankudi with complete greenery and swirling breeze welcoming one all the way to the Divya Desam.

The story - Sukracharya regains lost vision
Having understood the intent of the Vaamana Avataaram and fearing the possible demise of his disciple King Bali, Sukracharya took the form of an insect and hid himself inside the sacred bowl in an effort to prevent Bali from giving away the promises to the little Brahmin( Lord Vishnu in his tiny form). Seeing Sukran as the hurdle, Lord Vishnu inserts a stick into the sacred bowl thus blinding an eye of the Acharya.

Having visited several other Divya Desams, it is said that Sukran finally undertook penance here at Velliyankudi and regained the vision in his other eye. To this day, Sukran’s regained vision is said to be present inside this temple, burning in the form of a lamp called ‘ Netra Deepam’.

Regaining one’s vision
It is believed that a visit to this temple will cure devotees of their eye problems including helping regain lost vision. Kola Villi Raama is also said to immediately grant all of devotees’ wishes as can be seen from Thirumangai Azhvaar’s praise:

Lord Vishnu appears before Asura’s Sculptor

Saddened by the fact that Viswakarma, the sculptor of the Devas secured all the glory for the construction of the Divya Desams and that he was sidelined, Maayan, the Sculptor of the Asuras, undertook penance here at Thiru Velliyankudi. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Vishnu appeared before him and provided darshan in his full form with Conch and Chakra.

However, Maayan wanted to see the Lord in his Avataaram from the Raamayana. It is said that Lord Vishnu gave away his Conch and Chakra to Garuda and gave darshan to the Asura’s Sculptor as Raama, with his bow and arrow. Hence, this Lord came to be called Kola Villi Raama. Thirumangai Azhvaar also saw the Lord in the form of Kola Villi Raama. The moolavar Lord, Kola Villi Raama, is seen in the form of Varnakalameni.

Garuda with 4 hands- A unique Feature

This is the only Divya Desam where Garuda is seen with 4 hands with Conch and Chakra, handed to him by Lord Vishnu.

Birth Place of Periya Vaachaan Pillai
The great Vaishnavite Scholar Periyavaachan Pillai was born near ThiruVelliyankudi in a place called Shenganur.

ThiruVelliyankudi is a Sukra Sthalam. It is believed that visiting this Divya Desam is equivalent to visiting all the 108 Divya Desams.

Thirumangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thirumozhi verse refers to the name of the Lord - Kola Villi Rama


Quick Facts


Moolavar     : Sheeraabdhi Naathan/ Kolavilli Raama
Thaayar        : Maragadavalli Thaayar
Utsavar        : Srungaara Sundar
Azhvaar       : Thirumangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams (4.10)
Time           : 8am-12.30pm and 5pm-7pm
Priest          : S. Ramamoorthy Bhattachar @ 0435 2943152 or 94433 96212 / 93457 94354

How to reach ThiruVelliyankudi
One can reach this Divya Desam by taking Town Bus No. 2( low frequency) from Kumbakonam. However, it is better to take the Kumbakonam – Chennai bus and get down at Sholapuram (about 20kms from Kumbakonam). From Sholapuram, one can take an auto/car to the temple (6kms) and come back again by the same auto to Sholapuram.This will cost about Rs. 200 ( to and fro).

Friday, May 16, 2008

ThiruNangur Divya Desams

11 Divya Desams in and around Thiru Nangur near Seerkazhi
Deities from each of the Thiru Nangur temples go out on a street procession on Garuda Vahanam and come together at Mani Mada Koil in Thai

Angered at not being invited for the Yaagam conducted by Parasakthi’s father Dakshan, Shiva is said to have performed the Rudra Thaandavam in a place called Ubaya Cauvery (between Cauvery in the South and Mani River in the North), a few kms South East of Seerkazhi.

So aggressive was his performance that for every hair that fell down on the ground, a new form of Shiva emerged. And very quickly 11 forms of Shiva were each performing the Rudra Thaandavam. Sensing a possible damage to the world as a result of Shiva’s fury, Lord Vishnu appeared here before Shiva as Paramapatha Naathan.

Softened by the presence of Lord Vishnu, Rudra requested Vishnu appear in just as many forms. Lord Vishnu is said to have acceded to this request and provided darshan to Rudra in 11 different forms here in Thiru Nangur, having taken one form each from 11 different Divya Desams. These together constitue the 11 Divya Desams in and around Thiru Nangur.

In the Tamil calendar month of Thai (mid Jan-mid February), the deities from these Divya Desams go out on a street procession in the Garuda Vaahanam and congregate at the Mandapam in the Narayana Perumal Mani Maada Koil in ThiruNangur. At the Mani Maada Koil, Thiru Mangai Azhvaar sings praise of each of the 11 forms of Vishnu.

How to reach Seerkazhi
One can reach Seerkazhi from Madras in about 5 ½ hours by bus via Cuddalore, Chidambaram. Currently, there are no trains to Seerkazhi as the Villipuram-Mayavaram stretch is under broad gauge conversion.

It is best to visit the Thiru Nangur Divya Desams in the first half of the day. One can start with Kazhi Cheerama Vinnagaram in Seerkazhi at 7am. From Seerkazhi, one can take an auto and visit all the Thiru Nangur Divya Desams in one go. It will take about 5- 6 hours and will cost about Rs. 250-300.

Where to Stay
Best to Stay in Mayavaram. One can also stay at Hotel Sadabishekam in Vaitheeswaran Koil

1. ThiruVellankulam Annan Koil
Sincere prayers at this temple will provide devotees with life security

Located away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities, Annan Koil Divya Desam is located in the middle of a village, 8 kms South East of Seerkazhi off the Poompuhar- Thirukadaiyur road.

Looked at as the elder brother of Tirupathi Srinivasa, it is believed that those who cannot go to Tirupathi can come here and ‘Annan’ is said to fulfill their wishes. Lord here is seen together with the Goddess (Alar Mel Mangai) unlike in Tirupathi where he is seen alone. This is the only Divya Desam where the diety and Goddess have the same names as in Tirupathi.

Thiru Mangai Mannan wanted to marry Kumudha Valli who belonged to the generation of the Devas. Mangai Mannan is said to have worked with utmost sincerity towards fulfilling each of Kumuda Valli’s conditions to marry him. It is believed that Mangai Mannan finally married Kumudavalli at this place. Hence, there is a separate sannidhi for Kumudha Valli at this temple.

The Story
King Dhundhu Maaran, who belonged to the Surya dynasty, had a son Swethan who was destined to die at the tender age of 9. Swethan came here to undertake penance to increase his lifetime. Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared before him as Srinivasa and fulfilled his prayers. Hence, this is said to be a place when one’s sincere prayers will prevent untimely death.

Thirumangai Azhvaar came here, had darshan of the Lord and praised him here as if he has seen Lord Srinivasa himself. His Paasurams also reflect the fact that the Lord is the elder brother of Tirupathi Srinivasa.

“ Kaliyan Sonna Maalai Vallaaravar Vaanaraguvai Thaamey” shows this Lord as the elder brother.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Annan Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess  : Alar Mel Mangai
Utsavar   : Srinivasa Perumal
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams ( Periya Thirumozhi)
Time      : 8am-1130am and 5.30pm-830pm
Contact : Madhav Bhattar @ 94898 56554/ 04364 266534

2. Thiru Purushottamar


Located 3 kms East of Annan Koil is Purushottamar Koil in Thiru Nangur, near Seerkazhi. The story goes that Sage Vyagra Paadha was busy collecting flowers as part of his daily process of making a garland for the Lord. It is believed that Purushottamar brought Thiru Paarkadal to this place and gave milk to the hungry child of the sage. The Ayodhya Lord appeared here as Purushottamar.


Quick Facts
Moolavar : Purushottamar East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess   : Purushottam Naayaki
Azhvaar  : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Time       : 8am-11am and 5pm-8pm
Contact    : Balaji Bhattar @ 04364-256221

3. Thiru Sempon Sei Koil

Located under ½ km East of Purushottamar Divya Desam is Sempon Sei Arangar Divya Desam in Thirunangur. Sempon Arangar is said to have come from Uraiyur. Hence the Lord here has 2 Goddesses similar to Azhagiya Manavaalan of Uraiyur.

The story
After killing Raavana, Lord Raama is said to have stayed here for a few days. While here, he is said to have a made a golden cow and given it to a Brahmin, who is said to have built this temple.

It is believed that a poor person came here and uttered the Thiru Manthiram repeatedly for a few days. Answering his prayers, the lord here is said to have given him wealth and made him happy. The belief here is that if one would recover his lost wealth, if one offers sincere prayers to Sempon Arangan.



Quick Facts
Moolavar : Perarulaalan East Facing Standing Posture
Thayar    : Alli Maamalar Naachiyar
Utsavar : Sempon Arangar
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Temple Timing : 8am-12noon and 5pm-7pm
Priest : Ramani Deekshithar @ 97900 76425/ 04364 256172

4. Arimeya Vinnagaram Kudamaadu Koothan Koil

Legend has it that Hari who lifted the Govardhana mountain himself came and resided here with the intention of destroying the evil forces. It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared as Gopala Kannan, pleased with the penance of Sage Uthanga.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Kudamaadu Koothan East Facing Sitting Posture
Thayar     : Amrutha Kada Valli
Utsavar : Gopalan
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Temple Timing : 8am-12noon and 4pm-7pm
Priest : R. Narayana/ Rajagopalan Bhattar @ 04364 275689 / 94439 85843

5. Vaikunta Vinnagaram

Located 100 yards North of Purushottamar Divya Desam, the Lord here at Vaikunta Vinnagaram is said to be the one who came from Vaikuntam to cool Shiva’s Rudra Thaandavam. Hence, he appears here in the same way as in Paramapatham. It is said that Ubarisavasu and Uthanga rishi attained Moksham after praying to this Lord.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Vaikunta Naathan East Facing Sitting Posture
Thayar   : Vaikunta Valli
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Temple Timing : 9am-1130am and 4pm-6pm
Priest : Rangan Bhattar / Balaji Bhattar @ 99904 39331/ 04364-256221

6. Thiru Thetriyambalam Palli Konda Perumal




Located ½ km South East of Purushottamar Koil, this is the only Divya Desam in Tamil Nadu to be called Ambalam. Palli Konda Perumal at Thetriyambalam is said to grant the wishes of ‘power’. This is a form of Srirangam Lord Ranganatha and is seen in a Sayana Kolam with the Serpant King Adiseshan on top of him. This Divya Desam along with Mani Maada Koil and Arimeya Vinnagaram is taken care of by Rajagopala Bhattar, who at his old age and despite managing three temples, does the daily poojas with utmost sincerity and commitment.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Shengammal Ranganathar East Facing Sleeping Posture
Thayar      : Shenkamala Valli
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Temple Timing : 8am-12noon and 4pm-7pm
Priest : R. Narayanan Bhattar/ Rajagopalan Bhattar
Contact : 04364 275689/ 94439 85843

7. Mani Maada Koil Naarayana Perumal

It is said that Narayanana Perumal from Badri came here as one of the11 forms of Vishnu. The Garuda Sevai, that takes place in the Tamil Calendar month of Thai (Jan-Feb) every year takes place at the Mani Maada Koil. It is here that the 10 different forms of Vishnu from the Divya Desams in and around ThiruNangur come together to be praised by Thiru Mangai Azhvaar on the day after the No moon day. This is the most important festival in Thiru Nangur.


Quick Facts
Moolavar : Narayanan East Facing Sitting Posture
Thayar : Pundarika Valli Thaayar
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 12 Paasurams
Temple Timing : 8am-1130am and 5.30pm-730pm
Priest : R. Narayana Bhattar @  04364 275689 or 94439 85843 / 96290 75390

8. Thiru Mani Koodam


Varadaraja Perumal Mani Koodam Koil is located in Thiru Nangur and the Lord here, one of the 11 forms of Vishnu who came to Thiru Nangur as per the request of Shiva, is said to be from Kanchipuram. Like Kanchi Varadar, the Lord here is said to grant all wishes of devotees.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Varadaraja Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thayar : Thiru Maamagal Naachiyar
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Temple Timing : 8am-12noon and 5pm-7pm
Priest : R. Srinivasa Bhattar@ 96554 65756

9. Devanar Thogai Madhava Perumal koil

Located about 3 kms North East of Anna Koil and 2kms from Purushottamar koil, Madhava Perumal koil in Devanar Thogai on Keezha Salai is said to be the place where the Devas came in groups and congregated to have darshan of Lord Vishnu in his 11 different forms. The Lord here is from Thiru Vidanthai. It is believed that Sage Vashista undertook penance here and had darshan of the Lord.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Deiva Nayakan East Facing Standing Posture
Thayar    : Kadal Magal Naachiyar
Utsavar : Madhava Perumal
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Temple Timing : 8am-1130am and 5.30pm-730pm
Priest : Balaji Bhattar @ 04364-256221/ 97864 90185


10. Thiru Paarthaan Palli


Located near Thiruvenkadu (Budhan Sthala) about 15kms from Sirkazhi off the Poompuhar road, legend has it that Arjuna reached this place while on a pilgrimage. Feeling thirsty after a long trip, he could not find water anywhere.  Seeing Sage Agastya undertaking penance at this place, he was hopeful that he would be able to quench his thirst at the ashram but to his dismay he found that the Sage’s Kamandala too had gone dry.

As instructed by Parthasarathy, Arjuna struck the ground with the sword and to his surprise water poured out of that place helping him quench his thirst. To mark this event, Arjuna is seen here at this Divya Desam with a sword. Since Arjuna had this Knowledge initiation here and played the role of a student, this temple came to be known after him as ‘Parthan Palli’.

Poigai Azhwar’s praise
Lord of Parthanpalli is the only Divya Desam Lord among the 11 Vishnu Temples in Thiru Nangur who is praised by an Azhwar in addition to Thiru Mangai Azhwar.

      Festivals 
      On the No Moon day in Aadi, Parthasarathy goes on a procession to Poompuhar Sea (where River Cauvery merges with Bay of Bengal) for the Annual Theerthavari Festival. On the No Moon Day in Thai, Thirumangai Azhwar visits this temple  
        


Quick Facts
Moolavar         :  Thaamaraiaal Kelvan West Facing Standing Posture
Thayar           : Shengamalavalli Thayar (Thamarai Nayaki)
Utsava Deity    : Parthasarathy (and Kolavilli Rama)
Time                : 8am-10am and 5pm-7pm
Contact           : Seshadri Bhattar/ Sarathy Bhattar @ 94422 26413 / 90956 24150

11. Thiru Kaavalampaadi

Located quite close to Thirumangai Azhvaar’s birth place of Kuraiyalur and off the Seerkazhi-Poompuhar road is the Gopalakrishnan Divya Desam in Thiru Kaavalampaadi. Dwaraka Lord is seen here as Gopalakrishnan. This place is said to have powers equivalent to a visit to Dwaraka itself.
Quick Facts
Moolavar : Gopalakrishnan (Rajagopalan) East Facing Standing Posture
Thayar : Madavaral Mangai, Shenkamala Naachiyar
Azhvaar : ThiruMangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams
Timing : 8am-1130am and 5pm-7pm
Priest : A. Srinivasa Bhattar @ 97878 53732

How to reach the temples Contact Shri. Mohan (auto services) 94863 03430
Contact Auto Moorthy @ Sirkazhi @ 98432 65787
 
Where to stay
Hotel Sampoorna (lodge)near Seerkazhi bus stand for a quick wash and deposit of luggage.
Sathabhishekam @ Vaitheeswaran Koil

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Annan Perumal Koil Thiruvellakulam

Thirumangai Azhvaar praises the Lord as ‘Anna'
Sincere prayers at this temple will provide devotees with life security

Away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities, Annan Perumal Koil Divya Desam is located in a remote place, 8 kms South East of Seerkazhi off the Nagai/Thirukadaiyur road.

In his Periya Thirumozhi verse on Thiruvellakulam, Thirumangai Azhwar praises the temple as one with ‘Huge Walls’. The temple, he says, had a sacred tank where red lotuses bloomed and was surrounded by rich orchards, big lakes, fertile fields and flower groves, giving us an indication that this was once a very prosperous place.

Thiru Nangur seemed centric to this region that is home to 13 Divya Desams close to each other that Thiru Mangai Azhwar in his praise of the Lord of Thiruvellakulam refers to this temple in each of his verses as being in Thiru Nangur.

As seen from Thirumangai Azhwar’s praise, this place reverberated with vedic recitals through the day and there was positive energy among the people in this Divya Desam as they enjoyed listening to the recital with devotion.

It was also here that Swethan was relieved from his ‘death’ curse. Thirumangai Azhvaar in each of his verses in the Periya Thirumozhi refers to this place as Thiruvellam ‘Kulam’ pointing to the importance of the tank at this temple. 

Legend
Thiru Mangai Mannan wanted to marry Kumudha Valli who belonged to the generation of the Devas. Mangai Mannan is said to have worked with utmost sincerity towards fulfilling each of Kumuda Valli’s conditions to marry him. It is believed that Mangai Mannan finally married Kumudavalli at this place. Hence, there is a separate sannidhi for Kumudha Valli at this temple.

King Dhundhu Maaran, who belonged to the Surya dynasty, had a son Swethan who was destined to die at the tender age of 9. Swethan came here to undertake penance to increase his lifetime. Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared before him as Srinivasa and fulfilled his prayers. Hence, this is said to be a place when one’s sincere prayers will prevent untimely death.

Thirumangai Azhvaar came here, had darshan of the Lord and praised him here as if he has seen Lord Srinivasa himself. His Paasurams also reflect the fact that the Lord is the elder brother of Tirupathi Srinivasa.


Looked at as the elder brother of Tirupathi Srinivasa, it is believed that those who cannot go to Tirupathi can come here and ‘Annan’ is said to fulfill their wishes. Lord here is seen together with the Goddess (Alar Mel Mangai) unlike in Tirupathi where he is seen alone. This is the only Divya Desam where the Perumal and Thaayar have the same names as in Tirupathi.

The Priest at Thiruvellakulam
Madhava Bhattar has been performing service at the temple for nearly four decades having first performed pooja in the late 1970s. He is probably one of the very few Bhattars in Tamil Nadu to perform a 108 Divya Desam Archanai where he mentions the name of each and every Divya Desam Perumal and Thayar in his archanai. This is indeed a very special presentation at a Divya Desam.

Festivals
A Grand Brahmotsavam in Puratasi including Vahana procession
Kaisika Ekadesi/Dwadesi Avathara Utsavam

Theppotsvam in Puratasi


Highlights
Avathara Sthalam of Kumudavalli (who later married Thirumangai Azhwar)
Temple for liberation from ‘untimely’ death
Tank is special here being praised in each of Azhwar’s Pasurams
Thirumangai refers to the Lord as ‘Anna’

“ Kaliyan Sonna Maalai Vallaaravar Vaanaraguvai Thaamey” shows this Lord as the elder brother.


Quick Facts

Moolavar: Annan Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar  : Alar Mel Mangai
Utsavar  :  Srinivasa Perumal
Azhvaar  : Thiru Mangai Azhvaar 10 Paasurams ( Periya Thirumozhi)
Time       : 8am-1130am and 5pm-830pm
Priest      : Madhav Bhattar @94898 56554 /  04364 266534

How to reach Annan Koil
Best to take an auto/cab from Sirkazhi and visit all the Thiru Nangur Divya Desams in one go. It will take about 5- 6 hours. Will approx cost Rs. 800-1000 to visit the 13 temples ( excluding Thalai Changa Naan Mathiyam). Auto from Sirkazhi will cost Rs. 125 (auto number 98434 28406/ 83443 11927).

Where to stay
It is best to stay at Hotel Sadabishekam in Vaitheeswaran Koil about 5kms West of here

Thaadaalan Perumal Sirkazhi

Two great Saivite and Vaishnavite poets meet each other here at Sirkazhi
Mangai Mannan crowned as ‘Mangai Azhvaar’ and handed over the Vel by Thiru Gnana Sambandhar

Located in the heart of Sirkazhi is the Kaazhi Cheerama Vinnagara Divya Desam, one where Thiru Mangai Azhvaar met with Thiru Gnana Sambandhar.

This is one of the five Divya Desams referred by Thirumangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thirumozhi as ‘Vinnagaram’.

The others being Parameswara Vinnagaram (Kanchipuram), Arimeya Vinnagara and Vaikunta Vinnagaram (Thiru Nangur) and Nandipura Vinnagaram (Nathan Koil, Kumbakonam).

The Story
Brahma had grown arrogant about his life span. To defuse his arrogance, Sage Romasa invoked the blessings of Lord Vishnu and was granted a boon, whereby for every hair lock that fell from the Rishi, Brahmma’s life time would reduce by a year. Asked what else he wanted, the sage sought darshan of his Trivikrama form at this place. 

This is said to be the place where Lord Vishnu in his Vaamana Avatara measured his first step. At this Divya Desam, only the left foot of the Lord can be seen every day. The right foot is displayed only once a year on the Vaikunta Ekadesi day.

Thirumangai Azhvaar blocked at Sirkazhi
It is here at Sirkazhi that the great Saivite poet Thiru Gnana Sambandhar met with the Great Vaishnavite saint poet Thiru Mangai Mannan and engaged in a debate.

After visiting Thiru Chitrakoodam (Chidambaram), Thirumangai Mannan was on his way to Sirkazhi. All the way his subjects sang praise of him uttering different names of Mangai Mannan. The praise of Thirumangai Mannan by his subjects angered the disciples of Thiru Gnana Sambandhar. They blocked Thirumangai Mannan and asked his followers not to shout praises of Thiru Mangai Mannan in this birthplace of Thiru Gnana Sambandhar. They wanted Thirumangai Mannan to engage with Thiru Gnana Sambandhar in a discussion and win over him before continuing with their praise of Thirumangai Mannan.

Debate between Thiru Mangai and Thiru Gnana Sambandhar
In the first meeting between Thiru Mangai and Thiru Gnana Sambandhar, the Vaishnavite poet answered fluently each of Thiru Gnana Sambandhar’s questions and let out 10 verses of praise in the name of Vishnu.

ஒரு குறளாய்  இரு நிலம் மூவடி மண் வேண்டி 
உலகு அனைத்தும் ஈர் அடியாள் ஒடுக்கி ஒன்றும் தருக
ஏனா மாவழிய சிறையில்  வைத்த 
தாடாளன் தாள் அணைவீர் 

தக்க கீர்த்தி அரு மறையின்
திரள் நான்கும் வேள்வி ஐந்தும்
அங்கங்கள் அவை ஆறும் இசைகள் ஏழும்

தெருவில் மலி விழா வளமும் சிறக்கும்

காழிச்சீராம வின்னகரே சேர்மின் நீரே

Pleased and impressed with Mangai Mannan’s knowledge and the sweetness in his praise and description of the different forms of Vishnu, a spell bound Thiru Gnana Sambandhar acknowledged the greatness of Thirumangai and crowned him as ‘Mangai Azhvaar’ and presented him with the ‘Vel’(spear). Among the Azhvaars, Thiru Mangai is the only one who has been crowned with the ‘Vel’.

Thirumangai’s 8 different names referred here at this place
The Paasuram relating to this divya desam is the only one where Thirumangai refers to each of his 8 different names - Aali Naadan, Arul Maari, Aratha Mukki, Adayar Seeyam, Kongumalar Kuzhaliyar Vel, Mangai Venthan, Parakaalan and Kaliyan.

“…..ஆலி நாடன் அருள் மாரி  அரட்டு அமுக்கி அடையார்  சீயம் கொங்குமலர்க் குழலியர் வேள் மங்கை வேந்தன் கொற்ற வேல் பரகாலன் கலியன் சொன்ன………



Administration Kaazhi Chirama Vinnagaram Divya Desam
The temple is administered by Chola Simhapuram Koil Kanthaadai Chantamaarutham Swami Dhoddayacharyar.

Festivals
Pavitrotsavam in Aavani
Brahmotsavam in Vaikasi

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Thaadalan East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess   : Loga Naayaki
Utsavar   : Trivikrama Narayanan

Time        : 730am-1130am and 4.30pm-830pm
Priest : Badri Narayana Bhattar @  04364 270207 or 94424 19989

Located 235kms South of Madras, 20kms South of Chidambaram, 20 kms North of Maayavaramand 70kms West of Nagapattinam, there are buses every 30minutes from Madras, Chidambaram and Kumbakonam

Train Services
Daily trains between Madras and Mayavaram stop at Sirkazhi