Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Namakkal Narasimha

Three Temples of Namakkal

Anjaneya carried the Saligrama stone which turned here into a mountain
Ranganatha is seen in a ‘Karkodaya’ Sayana Posture


Located about 55kms from Salem off the Bangalore- Kanyakumari NH 7 is the Narasimha temple at the Saligrama Cave Hill in Namakkal. Opposite the Narasimha temple is the Anjaneya temple where he is seen in a standing posture facing Lord Narasimha. Behind the Narasimha temple on the Eastern side is the Ranganatha temple, where the Lord is seen in a Karkodaya Sayana posture.

The Story
Given the urgency of the situation, Lord Vishnu had to make a sudden trip to slay Asura Hiranya. He embarked on this mission, on his own, without Goddess Lakshmi and Garuda. Having missed the Narasimha Avatar, Goddess Lakshmi requested him for a darshan of the Lord as Narasimha. She was asked to chant the Thiru Mandhiram at Kamalalayam banks.

At the end of the Ramayana, Anjaneya went to place the Sanjeevani Mountain back at its original location. After doing so, he found the sacred Saligrama stone on the banks of Kantaka River. On his way back, he stopped by at the Kamalalaya Pushkarni to perform his morning prayers. Finding Goddess Lakshmi undertaking penance here, he placed the Saligrama on her hand and went ahead with his prayers.

A little later, after his prayers, Anjaneya came back to find the Saligrama missing from her hands. Goddess Lakshmi told him that she found it too heavy to hold and hence had placed it on the ground only for it to turn into a Saligrama mountain.

Being the one who carried the huge Sanjeevani Mountain, it would not be too much of a task for him to carry the Saligrama Mountain as well, she said.

Narasimha provides darshan to Anjaneya and Lakshmi


As per her direction, Anjaneya unleashed his tail to pick up the Saligrama Mountain only to find a sparkling light emanating from the mountain. It was Lord Vishnu providing darshan, in his Narasimha posture, to both Mahalakshmi and Anjaneya.

Since Anjaneya brought the Saligrama to this place and helped create this place, Lord Narasimha asked him to remain here facing the Saligrama hill and provide darshan to the devotees a tall standing posture without a Gopuram.

The Name - Naama Giri


As Goddess Lakshmi undertook penance here by chanting his ‘Naama’ (On Namo Narayana’) and the hill was created after she placed the Saligrama on the ground, Lord Narasimha named this hill as ‘Naama Giri’ and referred to her as Naama Giri Thaayar. Given her contribution to this place, he gave her the first priority at this temple. Devotees are to first visit Naama Giri Thaayar before they enter the Narasimha Sannidhi.

Inside the Sanctum
At the Narasimha Sannidhi, one finds Narasimha in the middle flanked by Shiva on his right and Brahmaa on his left. Also, inside the sanctum are Sanaka and Sanaathana, Brahmma’s sons. One finds Surya and Chandra fanning Lord Narasimha.

Sculptures

Next to Narasimha inside the Sanctum are sculptures of Vaikunta Narayanan, Hiranya Samharam, Vamana, Trivikrama andVaraha, all said to be 13th Century work of the Pallavas.

Ranganatha Temple

To the East of the hill and behind the Narasimha Temple is the Ranganatha temple, where Lord Ranganatha is seen in a special Karkodaga Sayana Posture with his head resting South and his feet directed towards the North.

King of Snakes ‘Karkodagan’ undertook penance here and requested the Lord to rest on him. Hence, the posture here of Lord Ranganatha is referred to as Karkodaga Sayanam. While he is seen sleeping on top of the Snake, a unique feature here is that the face of the Snake Karkodagan is that of a roaring lion.

There are three entrances to the Ranganatha temple. The entrance in the middle is the one that is opened every day, while the other two entrances are opened only on Vaikunta Ekadesi day. One has to climb 100 steps to reach the sannidhi.

Thaligai for Lord Narasimha

On the occasion of his Thiru Kalyanam, Devas wanted to feed Thirupathi Srinivasa, who referring to this place as ‘Mel’ Ahobilam, asked them to feed the Lord here. Hence, presenting Thaligai to Lord Narasimha here is very special and is equivalent to feeding Thirupathi Lord Srinivasa.

On Pradhosham, presenting Thaligai and Paanagam (sweet drink made with jagerry) will liberate one from all troubles.

Festivals

Panguni Brahmotsavam
Vaikasi Narasimha Jayanthi
Aadi Pooram- Thaayar Utsavam
Aavani Krishna Jayanthi
Pournami Pavitrotsavam

The four Saturdays of Puratasi are special at this temple

Quick Facts

Moolavar:
Narasimha West Facing Sitting Posture
Ranganatha Karkodaga Sayanam
Anjaneya East Facing Standing Posture

Thaayar : Naama Giri Thaayar East Facing

Temple Time: 730am-1pm, 430pm-830pm
Contact phone number: V. Raja Bhattar @ 94437 23073

How to reach Namakkal
Chennai-Salem Yercaud Express(Salem arrival 5am) or Chennai Egmore-Salem Express (Salem arrival 6am)
Direct Trains also from Coimbatore and Bangalore to Salem
From Salem, one can take a one hour bus trip to Namakkal
Buses every 5minutes from Salem

By bus, Namakkal is about 7hours from Madras

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sowmya Damodara Perumal Villivakkam

Only temple dedicated to this name of Vishnu in Tamil Nadu
Amirthavalli Thaayar goes to the Garden to provide Oonjal Sevai in Thai- the only such darshan in a temple in Madras


Located 10kms West of Madras is the Sowmya Damodara Perumal Temple in Villivakkam off the Madras-Manali-Calcutta Highway, a temple that could date back at least 800years and could have been built by the Pandyas as seen from the fish symbols that one sees on the upper walls of the sanctum.

Damodaran is one of the 12 special names (Dwadasam) of Vishnu and this temple in Villivakkam is possibly the only temple, in Tamil Nadu, specifically dedicated to this special name of Lord Vishnu (The utsavar at Thiru Kannangudi is also known by this name- Damodara Narayanan).

The Story

Durvasa wanted to bring his sons-Vilvan and Vatapi – in the righteous and vedic path. However, their mother (one with asura qualities) was more inclined on the asura path. Angered at this, Durvasa left them and went to the forest.

An upset mother sought revenge and wanted her sons to destroy the rishis. Taking up her orders, the two consumed one rishi after another. They would first play host to the rishi coming their way. During lunch, Vatapi would enter the rishi through the food they consumed. Once done, Vilvan would call out for his brother Vatapi, who would then tear open the rishi and come out.

The worried rishis looked up to Lord Shiva for help, who directed them to Sage Agastiya. Vatapi and Vilvan tried their prank on Agastiya who came this way. After the Sage consumed the food, he digested Vatapi before Vilvan could call out for him in their usual planned way.

Sage Agastiya wanted Shiva and Vishnu to provide darshan at this place. Hence, at the Shiva temple, he is seen as Agasteeswarar. At the Vishnu temple, the Lord is seen as Sowmya Damodaran.

The Name Villivakkam


As the asuras were killed here, this place was referred to as ‘Konnur’. Later, this took the specific name of the two asuras- ‘Vil’( from Vilvan) and ‘Va’ (from Vatapi) and came to be referred to as Villivakkam.

This Kshetram came to be called ‘Samhara Puri’ Kshetram.

12 special names of Vishnu

While Vishnu is known by several different names, these 12 - Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Madhusudhana, Thiruvikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Rishikesava, Padmanabha and Damodaran - are particularly sacred ones.

Andal's Thiruppavai and reference to Damodaran

In the fifth verse of Andal’s Thiruppavai, this Lord finds a reference

“Maayanai Mannu Vada Madurai Mainthanai…
Thaayaik Kudalvilanjcheitha Damodaranai…..”

Festivals
Chitrai Thiruvonam 1008 Kalasa Abhishekam
Vaikasi 10day Brahmotsavam ( The Brahmotsavam here starts on the day the Brahmotsavam ends at the Kanchi Varadar temple)
Aani Thiruvonam 108 Satha Kalasam
Aavani Krishna Jayanthi ( Thirumanjanam)

Thai ‘Thotta’ Utsavam- Thaayar goes to the garden on the four Fridays in Thai and provides Oonjal Sevai

AMIRTHA VALLI THAAYAR

Theppo Utsavam in Maasi

Quick Facts

Moolavar : Sowmya Damodara Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess : Amirtha Valli Thaayar

Temple Time : 630am-1130am and 5pm-9pm
Priest : KP Raghunatha Bhattar @ 94448 07899


How to reach


The temple is 100yards North of Villivakkam bus stand in the West of Madras near the Madras-Manali-Calcutta National Highway and off the Konnur Highway

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thiruparkadal Twin Temples Kaveripakkam

Rangantha is seen in an Anantha Sayana Posture with Marakkal by his side
A visit to the Twin Temples is said to liberate one from the destiny 'curse' notes written by Chitragupta

SILVER KAVACHAM PLANNED FOR MOOLAVAR DEITY AND THAAYAR

Prasanna Venkatesan Utsavar

Located 103kms from Madras off the Bangalore National Highway near Kaveripakkam on the banks of Vegavathi and about 12kms South East of Sholingur Divya Desam are the twin temples of Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal and Ranganatha at Thiruparkadal. Visiting these two temples is said to bear fruits equivalent to visiting the 107th Divya Desam (Thiruparkadal) which one cannot visit in this Bhoo Logam.

The Story- Venkatesa Perumal provides darshan to Pundareeka Rishi

On his way back from Kanchi after visiting Brahmma’s Ashwamedha Yagna, Pundareeka Rishi, who had the special privilege of access to Thiruparkadal, wanted to visit a Perumal koil in a nearby village.

He came down to this place and found a temple. Expecting this to be a Vishnu temple, he bathed in the temple tank and entered the temple only to find a Shiva Lingam. Asuras, Karan and Dooshan, had undertaken penance here and hence Lord Shiva is referred to as Doosheshswarar at this temple.

Disappointed and worried that he would not be able to visit a Vishnu temple, he left the temple only to be greeted by Lord Shiva in a disguised form. Clarifying that this was indeed a Vishnu temple, he asked the Rishi to come back to the temple and see for himself.

To the rishi’s pleasant surprise, he found Vishnu standing atop the Shiva Lingam in a handsome smiling posture facing the East. A delighted rishi referred to him as ‘Prasanna’ Venkatesan.

The Name – Narayana Chathurveda Mangalam

TOWER
After visiting Kanchi, the Saptha Rishis went to Sholingur Divya Desam and undertook penance there. Four of the Saptha Rishsi came here to Thiruparkadal and recited the four Vedas. Hence, this place was referred to as Narayana Chathurveda Mangalam.

Special Vimanam

Above the Venkatesa Perumal Sanctum

Atop the Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Sannidhi on each side of the Pundareeka Vimanam are interesting postures - Dakshinamurthy (on the Southern side), Lakshmi Narasimha (on the Western side), Brahmma (on the Northern side) and Gajendra Varadan on the elephant (on the Eastern side).

Athi Ranganatha seen with a Marakkal – Anantha Sayana Kolam

Ranganatha Tower

In the 2nd of the two temples, north of Prasanna Venkatesan temple is the Ranganatha temple where the Lord is seen sleeping on the 9ft long 3 ft height Adisheshan. The interesting feature of Ranganatha at Thiruparkadal is that he is seen resting his head (Southern Direction) on a Marakkal (measuring bowl) in a grand Anantha Sayana Posture. Bhoo Devi is seen at the Lord’s feet.

Yet another special feature is that the entire moolavar deity of Ranganatha is made of Athi Maram. Like how Kanchi Varadarajan is referred to as Athi Varadar, Lord Ranganatha at Thiruparkadal is referred to as Athi Ranganatha.

Liberation from Chitragupta’s Destiny ‘Curse’ Notes


Chitragupta was once struck with a disease. He came here and offered his prayers to Lord Ranganatha asking for relief. The Lord asked him to bring together the ‘Athi Maram’ at this place and he conducted a yagna on the 1st day of Karthigai. Pleased with his prayers, Ranganatha relieved him from his illness.

In a happy state of mind, Chitragupta asked the Lord if he could offer anything in return. It was then that Lord Ranganatha asked him to liberate the devotees, who visit this temple and offer their sincere prayers, from Chitragupta’s Destiny ‘Curse’ Notes.

Hence the special feature at the Thiruparkadal temple is that those who visit the twin temples and have darshan of the Tri-Murthies (Vishnu, Shiva and Brahmma) will be liberated from their destiny curses, previously written by Chitragupta, if they present oil and ghee at these temples and perform Tulsi Archanai on one of the following days: Thiruvonam, Pradhosham, Full moon, No moon day and Ekadesi.

Atop the Ranga Vimanam

On the Ranga Vimanam, one finds the Mandakini hill, the posture of nectar being drilled as well as the Saptha Rishi’s penance posture

Festivals


Rangantha Utsavar
Vaikunta Ekadesi is celebrated in a big way here. Over 5lakh devotees visit the twin temples on this day

Panguni Revathi Star is a special occasion at this temple. Lord Ranganatha goes on a Sannidhi procession on the revathi star day every month

On each of the Puratasi Saturdays, there is a ‘ Flower’ decoration of the Lord

On the 9days of the Navarathri Utsavam, there is a special Thirumanjanam and Alankaram between 4pm and 6pm

It is auspicious to visit the temple on Pradhosham

It is also auspicious to go around the Vanni Maram at this temple, as Brighu Rishi himself is believed to be present as the Vanni Maram.


Temple Renovation/ Silver Kavacham for the Moolavar


The temple is currently under renovation. Silver Kavacham is being planned for Moolavar deity as well as the Thaayar.

Those interested in helping the temple renovation work as well as the Silver Kavacham can contact the Bhattar at the numbers given below.

Quick Facts

Moolavar : Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Standing atop Shiva Lingam
Ranganatha in a Sayana Kolam with Brahmma along side

Goddess : Alarmelmangai Thaayar
Ranganayaki Thaayar

Temple Time:730am-12noon and 430pm-730pm

Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Priest:
V.S. Rajagopala Bhattar @ 94861 39289 or 04177 254929
R. Venkatrangan Bhattar @ 80151 14344

Ranganatha temple:
P. Nandakumar @ 94423 12789/04177 254442
K. Srinivasan/ S. Goutam Bhattar @ 99422 91265


How to reach Thiruparkadal


From Madras, one can take the Ranipet / Vellore bus (Bangalore National Highway) and get down at Kaveripakkam (100ksm from Madras)

From Kaveripakkam, take a left to reach Thiruparkadal (3kms)

From the highway at Kaveripakkam, an auto will cost about 30-40 one way.