Saturday, July 25, 2015

Kaarana Kari Varadaraja Perumal Coimbatore Venkittapuram

Grand Procession on Periya Thiruvonam in Aavani at this 400years old temple

Located 15kms from Coimbatore off the Salem Highway near Chinniyampalayam is the 400years old Kaarana Kari Varadaraja Perumal temple in Venkittapuram, one that has been built in the Kerala style architecture.

Centuries ago, this place was dense with Kaarai trees. Grazing cows was the popular profession in this region. The owner of one such cow found that she was not providing milk. As he followed the cow in her morning walk, he found that at this place she was offering her milk to an invisible person.

An invisible voice suggested the presence of the Lord’s presence here. The villagers found the idol of the Lord and installed it at this place and began worshipping Lord Kaarana Kari Varadaraja Perumal.

There is a separate South facing Sannidhi for the Utsava deity at this temple, a special feature at this temple. Opposite the Utsava deity is the sannidhi for Garuda, another speciality at this temple.


Avani Periya Thiruvonam – Grand Procession in the evening

Puratasi Kalyana Utsavam – Moolavar, Utsavar Thirumanjanam
Procession on Garuda Vahana

On the first day in Aipasi, Kona Vaiyali and Vedu Pari enacted inside the temple in the evening

Aipasi Deepavali – Saali Alankara and Procession inside the temple

Karthigai Thiru Mangai Azhvaar Avathara Utsavam - Thirumanjanam

Vaikunta Ekadasi – Sesha Vahana Procession, Pathi Ulathal, Rathnangi Seva

Every Saturday morning at 5am, there is a special rendition of Nalayira Divya Prabhandham

Lord Kari Varadaraja Perumal goes out on different vahana processions through the year.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Varadaraja Perumal, East Facing Standing Posture
Time        : 6am-11am and 5pm-8pm
Contact   : Marumozhi Nambi @ 98422 19373

How to reach
Cab from Coimbatore Railway Station and back will cost Rs. 500.
Bus every 10minutes from Gandhipuram Moffusil bus Stand (Avinashi/Erode/Salem bound buses)
Get down at Chinniyampalayam bus stop and walk ½ a kilometre east to reach the temple.

Town buses every 15minutes from Gandhipuram

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Avoor Pasupatheeswarar Temple

Pancha Bairava Sannidhi is a speciality at the temple
Parikara Sthalam for Pithru and Drishti Dosham

Located 15kms South West of Kumbakonam on the Melattur/Thittai Highway is the huge Chozha Period Pasupatheeswarar temple in Avoor, a temple praised by Thiru Gnana Sambandhar and one of the 70 Mada Koils of Ko Chenganan Chozha. One is welcomed by a big tower on the Eastern side.

The Name
Since Kamadhenu performed pooja for Lord Shiva at this temple and he provided darshan to the sacred cow, he came to be referred to as ‘Pasupatheeswarar’

King Dasaratha came here and finding only the idol of Lord Shiva, he installed the idol of Pankaja Valli and performed pooja invoking the blessings of both. On the Eastern wall opposite the Pankaja Valli Sannidhi, one finds the sculpture of King Dasaratha offering his prayers to Lord Shiva.

An invisible voice indicated to him the location of ‘Pancha Bairava’ idols hidden beneath. Dasaratha located these unique idols and installed the idols of Pancha Bairava opposite the Pankaja Valli Sannidhi. This is a Parikara Sthalam for Pithru Dosham and Drishti Dosham. It is believed one would be liberated from these after offering sincere prayers to the Pancha Bairava.

Sambandhar’s Praise
In each of his praise, Thiru Gnana Sambandhar refers to this place as ‘Avoor Pasupatheeswaram’. He also showers verses of praise on Pankaja Valli. He refers to the palace like mansions that were seen in the Mada Streets of Pasupatheeswaram. Sambandhar talks about the sacred cows that were always seen at the temple here.

Mada Koil
This is one of the 70 Mada Temples built by Ko Chenganan Chozhan and one finds steep steps leading up to the Sannidhi of Lord Shiva making it difficult for elephant to make an entry here. Another of the Mada Koil at Thiru Nallur ( is just 6kms North of here. 

On each of the four Sundays of Karthigai, Lord Pasupatheeswarar goes out on a street procession and Theerthavari is performed.

Lord goes out on a street procession on Thei Pirai (immediately after the full moon day) on the Ashtami day every month with Homam, Abhishekam and Anna Dhanam being a special feature on that day.

In centuries gone by, Brahmotsavam was celebrated in a grand manner with Lord Shiva going out on street processions in majestic vahanas each day. However most of the vahanas have been damaged and only the Rishaba, Horse and Peacock Vahana are in shape currently. But similar to the Thiru Nallur temple, Brahmotsavam here too has not taken place for over half a century and the festivals that were once the pride of this temple, have lost its grandeur.

While this is a HR & CE managed temple, there is just one priest to take care of the entire temple. Mahalingam Gurkkal, who hails from Mannargudi, has been here for over three decades taking care of the pooja, almost on his own.

Lord Muruga with a bow and arrow
Seeking a handsome boy, King Dasaratha invoked the blessings of Lord Muruga at this temple.
It is believed that Rama was born subsequent to the prayers offered by Dasaratha here. Hence in memory of this event, Lord Subramanya is seen in a unique posture with a bow and arrow in hand.

Quick Facts
Moolavar: Pasupatheeswarar
Goddess : Mangalambigai and Pankaja Valli ( Separate Sannidhis)
Saint Poet: Thiru Gnana Sambandhar

The temple is open between 630am and 12noon and 4pm and 830pm
Contact : Mahalingam Gurukkal @ 94863 03484

How to reach
Avoor is located on the Kumbakonam/Patteeswara – Melattur/Thittai Highway. Buses / Mini Buses ply every 15minutes from Kumbakonam bus stand and Patteswaram to Avoor via Govindakudy (Bus Numbers: 52/67/11/72/25/8)

Direct buses (484 and 48) also ply from Thanjavur via Thiru Karugavur.

One can also reach the temple from Papanasam ( 9kms) and Sundara Perumal Koil (5kms)

Auto from Patteeswaram Durgai Temple will cost Rs. 100.

The ancient Kalinga Narathana temple at Oothukadu ( is about 2kms from here

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sulur Venkatanathan Perumal Temple

Chozha Period Temple near Coimbatore
Offering of Pepper to the Lord is a speciality at this temple

The current Bhattar's clan have been performing pooja for over 800years at this temple 

(This story is dedicated to my class teacher Imam of 40 years ago (in the mid 70s) who used to come every morning by bus (25kms) from Sulur near this temple to the school in Saibaba Colony in Coimbatore to teach us. She did that for many years).

Located 20kms from Coimbatore on the Trichy Highway  and just a couple of kms off the Air Force Base is the 1100years old Venkatanathan Perumal temple in Sulur (original name Suralur), a temple with huge outer walls and grand vahanas. The temple dates back to the early 10th Century AD to the Chozha period with earliest records dating back to 908AD. 1000s of acres were allotted to the temple most of which have been usurped during the passage of time.

Recognition for the 24 Service officials
It is fascinating to find that the 24 different service officials of the temple were granted lands and specific duties and responsibilities relating to the temple. They received monthly grants in terms of provisions / sacred food. These service officials include Archakas, Maniam, Sthanigam, those who did Parayanam, Parijathakar, the ones who played the instruments during festive occasions and during poojas, the ones who brought and made sacred flowers for the Lord and the ones who blew the conch.

The Name of the Place
In centuries gone by, this place was referred to as Suralur, an indication of the swirling winds that used to be a feature at this place (Soora + Kaatru). With passage of time, Suralur became Sulur. Even in peak summer, one finds the swirling breeze here around this temple keeping the place cool.

During the rule of Kadiraditya Chozha, this place was referred to as Ariya Piratti Nallur. During the Pandya rule, this place was referred to as Sundara Pandya Nallur. Sundara Pandyan renovated the tank and lakes here in Sulur in the 13th Century AD.

King Ko Kandan Veera Narayanan donated liberally to the temple during his rule.

One of the oldest Trade routes
Sulur was an integral part of one of the oldest trade routes between Palghat in Kerala and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu with Pepper (Milagu) being an important commodity of Trade. This important route also comprised of Perur and Vellalur in Coimbatore, Palladam, Kangeyam and Karur East of Coimbatore and Uraiyur in Trichy.

The temple legend
Traders used to congregate at Kangeyam Palayam about 3kms East of the Venkatanathan temple to put together the pepper in sacks for the next day sales in the market in Sulur and other neighbouring places.

One night after a tired day’s work, they were woken up late in the night by a shabby looking old Brahmin. He had developed Stomach pain and requested the trader for some pepper that could solve his ailment. In his anger of being disturbed from his slumber, the trader remarked that he had no pepper and that all he had was only black gram (Ulunthu).

The next morning as the traders made their way to the market, they found that the entire pepper sacks had turned to black gram. The trader then realised the conversation from the previous night and went in search of the old man.

It was here at this location in Sulur that he found a huge stone with an old man leaning on it. The old man consoled the trader asking him to forget about the now lost Pepper and to go back to the market with the promise that his black gram would fetch just as good a bargain as Pepper and that he should do something good with the extra profits he was to derive.
Much to his surprise, the trader found that the black gram which usually fetches a price much lower than pepper was up significantly that day and he made a great profit. Delighted at this, he came to the 2nd location and promised to build a temple here with the Lord in a grand standing posture.

Nandi in front of the Lord
Cows are said to have assisted the construction of the temple. When they fell tired and were hungry, it is believed that the Lord provided them with his food. As a thanking gesture, Nandi sat in front of him. Hence Nandi in front of the Perumal is a unique feature at this temple.

Only Sweet Dishes -Sacred Food
The Lord who provided a third darshan to the trader presented him with a packet of pepper since that is what he had asked the trader in the first instance when he met at Kangeyam Palayam and asked him to include pepper in the presentation of the sacred food every day and as prasadam to the devotees who visit the temple.

Given the legend relating to this temple, only sweet dishes are offered to the Lord every day since the Lord is already presented with the spicy pepper all the time. All other Thaligai at this temple are only sweet dishes, mostly Chakkarai Pongal. No other spicy dishes are presented here at the temple on any day of the year, except for this sweet offering.

In addition to Tulasi, Pepper is also presented to the devotees who visit this temple.

Many Divya Desams are home to specific delicacies. If in Koviladi Divya Desam in Thiruper Nagar, Appam is a speciality, at Oppiliappan temple in Thiru Vinnagar, ‘Saltless’ food is the order of the day. Similarly here at this  Abhimana Sthalam in Sulur, pepper is a speciality in the offering to the Lord.

Rayar Temple - The location where the Lord asked for Pepper
Three Kms east of here is the ‘Rayar Temple’ where the Lord provided the first of his three darshans as an old Brahmin late in the night. It is said that sitting from here, the Lord watches the offerings to him at the Thiru Venkatanathan temple in Sulur to confirm that Pepper is being offered every day.

Both the temples were built in its current form by Dasa Palanjika Chettiars who hailed from Mysore and who spread themselves across this region as trade merchants. They were Vishnu devotees. Pepper was one of the prominent items they traded in.

Grand Festivals and Vahana Procession

The Lord is driven on different vahanas during the annual Brahmotsavam that is celebrated in a grand way in Navarathri ( Puratasi/ Aipasi). Vahanas include Sesha Vahana, Hanumantha Vahana, Elephant and Horse Vahana and the beautiful Garuda Vahana. A temple chariot that had been constructed in the early 19th Century AD (1816AD) was damaged in the last century and a new one has been recently built.

Gopalakrishna Bhattar
Gopalakrishna Bhattar’s clan has been taking care of the temple for the last 16 generations – almost 800years. Gopalakrishna Bhattar has been here at the temple for over four decades. His performance of the Archanai is a treat to hear and watch, such is his devotion to the Lord.

10 day Brahmotsavam during Navarathri
Vaikunta Ekadasi
Hanuman Jayanthi – the only day in the year when he is anointed with Vada Malai

Quick Facts
Moolavar: Venkatanathan in an East Facing Standing Posture
Time         : 730am-1pm and 430pm – 8pm
Contact : Gopalakrishna Bhattar @  0422 2680204 / 78100 21957 or Ramesh Bhattar @ 95433 34476

How to reach
Take the Tiruppur /Trichy bound bus and get down at Sulur Police Station stop. The temple is 5minute walk north of the bus stop.

Take an auto from this temple to Kangeyam Palayam to reach the Rayar Temple behind the Air Force in Sulur (3kms). Auto from Venkatanathan temple and back to Sulur bus stand will cost Rs. 125. (Auto Balaji @ 98422 56321)

Temple contact of the Rayar Temple behind the Air Force : 98941 38835 / 94431 91762