Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kulasekara Azhvaar Lord Rama

Lullaby to Rama that is then followed by the lament of a forlorn father
Kulasekara Azhvaar praises Thiru Kannapuram as a town with fortified walls and the temple with a huge tank

Why hasn't my heart split into two? Dasaratha on being forced to banish his son to the forest
After a couple of decads on Krishna, his love for the Gopis and mother Devaki’s feelings of missing her son through the entire growth phase, Kulasekara Azhvaar dedicates the final three decads of the Perumal Thirumozhi entirely to his favourite Lord Rama.

While the 8th decad comprises of Lullaby to Rama, the 9th one is a lament by Dasaratha on how his old promise to Kaikeyi has come to haunt him at the most inappropriate time and how, as a father, he has had the misfortune of having to banish his beloved son to the forest on the eve of his coronation.
In the 8th decad, he praises the Lord of Thiru Kannapuram while describing the different events in Rama’s life. He praises Thiru Kannapuram as a temple surrounded by huge fortified walls ingrained with gold and the sacred water being holier than the Ganges. He praises the place as one where Cauvery flowed in full speed. He describes the removal of weeds and the consequent blooming of lotus flowers in the huge tank. Kannapuram was a place where red lotus grew everywhere around the temple.

கன்னி நன் மா மதில் புடை சூழ் கணபுரத்து என் கருமணியே

களைகழுநீர் மருங்கு அலரும் கணபுரத்து கருமணியே 

Kannapuram as a Location
Early in the morning he found bees circling around the temple with a buzzing noise that seemed to be in melodious tunes. Kannapuram, he says, was a place where learned sages lived and one where elders resided.

Kannapuram is praised as a temple by the seashore where strong winds washed ashore jewels.

காலின்மணி கரை அலைக்கும் கணபுரத்து என் கருமணியே

Kulasekara Azhvaar praises the Lord of Kannapuram as one who is seen with fragrant flower garland in his crown.
The Greatness of Rama
Through the verses, he describes the greatness of Rama through the different events including the removal of the ten heads of Ravana, the king of Lanka in the South. It was his arrow that pounded the chest of Tadaka who did not give up till the end. 

He praises Rama’s handsome features and sees him as one with lovely locks.His greatness is then brought out through his clan. Rama is praised as the Son in Law of Janaka and as Dasarathi, the descendent of Emperor Dasaratha and as the consort of Mythili.

கொங்கு மலி கருங்குழாள் கௌசலைதன் குலமாதலாய்
தங்கு  பெரும் புகழ்ச்சனைகள் திருமருகா தாசரதீ

Leaving charge of the kingdom to his brother Baratha, who is praised as being the noblest, Rama entered the blazing forest unmindful of the heat along with his devoted brother.
பார் ஆளும் படர் செல்வம் பரத தம்பிக்கே அருளி 

ஆரா அன்பு இளையவனோடு அருங்கானம்  அடைந்தவனே 

He killed Vali and handed over the Vanara Kingdom to the younger brother Sugreeva. He describes beautifully in a verse the event of building a causeway with big boulders and rocks amidst high waves in the sea  

Description of Lanka
Lanka is praised as a city with high fortified walls alongside the huge sea. It had to be his special bow, incomparable in its features, that he destroyed the huge city.

He makes a comparison of Srirangam and Thiru Kannapuram.

Dasaratha’s moaning
Kulasekar Azhvaar dedicates an entire decad, the only such in the entire Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, to moaning of a desolate Dasaratha.

While the entire city of Ayodhya was awaiting the coronation and eagerly looking to see Rama as the king, Dasaratha laments that the step mother has ordered his dear son to the dangerous forest. ‘Listening to her, I have taken the kingdom away from you. It is a pity this I have done this.’

You were to lead the royal elephant of our kingdom. You were to drive the chariot and the horses. But the harsh words from my cruel tongue has driven you to the wild forest accompanied by your consort, who looked beautiful adorning the jewels.

Sita’s eyes are praised as being lovely and long and he compares the sharpness to a spear smeared with ghee. He asks as to how he would move along the thorny forest and tehn wonders as to what he could do now having sent him away.

Dasaratha then describes the physical features of Rama and his valour.

‘His eyes are beautiful and shoulders long and strong like a mountain. Calling himself a sinner, he says that his son who was to sleep on the soft bed in the palace has to now learn to lie down under a leafless tree with the rock as his bed in the cruel forest.

He describes Sita as one whose hair was decked afresh with flowers and whose beautiful shoulders shone like a bamboo.

Once again, he is reminded of his son and asks him to return at least for a while just for a glance.

He wails that it is his past sins that have damned him to such a state. As he visualizes this dear son straying away into the forest amidst the deadly wild elephants, Dasaratha wonders as to how his heart has not yet split into two.

How unfortunate would it be if in the forest where sharp stones under the heat of the blazing sun cut open the sole of Rama’s feet causing it to bleed? “You have to now bear the torturous heat that will cause severe hunger. Listening to the words of my wicked wife, I have turned a sinner but what can be done now. There is no remedy in place’.

My son may still be calling me father with his dear sweet voice but I am not able to hear it. No more will I be able to embrace his chest and be able to enjoy his gentle caress. His steps when he walked were like elephant’s majestic walk, his face like a blossomed lotus.

Dasaratha laments as to why he should still live having sent his Godly son away in a moment of thoughtlessness.

He calls out for Sumantra and Sage Vashista and cries out that his son should have been in silk robe but instead is likely to be in dabha grass. He adds that it was time for him to be decked with flowers, but he is now with matted plaits. Would not his body be losing its lustrous beauty.

He then poses a question to Kaikeyi. By sending out the learned Rama and the beautiful Sita and handing over the kingdom to Bharata will she not be bring infamy to him and by sending her husband to his death bed, has she gained anything. He taunts her saying that they can all enjoy the huge wealth of the land.

He describes the greatness of Rama by reminding one of the episodes relating to Parasurama. Despite possessing features that are rare and keeping aside all the greatness (of Rama) and not considering mother Kausalya’s painful afflictions, it has finally come down to my earlier promise to Kaikeyi. Nothing else is important now for the son to fulfill. He lauds the greatness of Rama and says that in all his future births he would desire a son like him.

Finally, he bids adieu to this life stating that having left Kausalya and Sumantra in a state of grief and having had to listen to kaikeyi who was unduly influenced by hunch back Mantra and meeting her unfair demands, ‘I made my son leave this city that was all set for festive celebrations.’

With this he says he cannot live anymore and is willingly taking his path to heaven.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Madanagopal finally cracks the elusive

BREAKING STORY
Big New Year Gift
Madanagopal and his long time friend Ananthapadmanabhan to umpire Ranji Semi Final
Two months after I had written about JR Madanagopal (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2016/10/madanagopal-j.html still awaiting the big break in Umpiring) the big call has finally come this evening. The Ranji Trophy knock out posting that had remained elusive all these years has finally arrived. He has been posted for the knock out semi Final Clash between Gujarat and Jharkhand starting this Sunday.

JR Madanagopal, whose umpiring prospects I had first written in 2012 (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2012/05/.-set-for-big-leap-as-umpire.html) has finally managed to draw the attention of the powers that be with an impressive performance in the league phase of the current Ranji season, where he umpired some crucial matches including ones involving Bombay.

Interestingly, his umpiring partner for the Ranji Knock out is former Kerala and South Zone leggie KN Ananthapadmanabhan.  Both Madanagopal and Ananthapadmanabhan passed the umpiring board exam in the same year a decade ago with almost identical marks!!

Ananthapadmanabhan (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2016/09/ananthapadmanabhan-kn.html) had told prtraveller earlier this year that he and Madan were constantly engaged in intellectual discussions on umpiring over the last many years.
This is the first time Madanagopal will be umpiring a knock out Ranji game. A good game could possibly land him a Finals opportunity as well (if Bombay makes the final).

With the Semi Final match, it is likely that Madanagopal would jump into the top 10 in India this year. And that would throw open opportunities for him in the 2017 edition of the IPL.

It is hoped that both of them who played their cricket with a lot of commitment over a long period of time, will be able to soon make it into the (inter) national level in umpiring.

PS: Madanagopal should have made his knock out debut last week but unfortunately as the Ranji quarter final clashed with the U19 match that he was umpiring earlier last week, he had to let go that opportunity. Thankfully, he has had to wait only a week longer. 

Nachiyar Koil Divya Desam

Bhattars struggled in the 2nd half of the 20th Century ending up in poverty
Revival of Nachiyar Koil driven by the new gen enterprising Bhattars and the new 'Donor' contribution Model 

(KAL GARUDA SEVAI TAKES PLACE NEXT WEDNESDAY - JANUARY 4)

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar composed over a 1000 verses in the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham. Out of these, he accorded a 100 or more verses only to two temples one of which was Nachiyar Koil (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2007/11/108-divya-desam-naachiyaar-koil-thiru.html) where he was initiated with the Pancha Samskaram and hence saw the Lord as his Acharya. Both the Madals – Siriya and Periya Thiru Madal are also dedicated to the Lord of Thiru Naraiyur.

In his praise, he has described the town and its people as it was during his times, the festivals, the greatness of the Lord and has compared the temple with other temples such as Srirangam. He says that he saw the Lord at Thiru Naraiyur as the one he had seen in a handsome standing posture at Thiru  Venkatam.

The Green Fields of Thiru Naraiyur
During his times, the Lord was surrounded by Areca and Fruit orchards. The fields were fertile and different varieties of fish danced around in the waters. The Cuckoos came in large numbers and pecked on the Mango Trees. Peacocks danced to the tunes of the bees, swans swam in pairs and drank nectar from the lotuses and soon after slept around the lotuses.

Dripping Honey from Jack Fruit
He also found Jack Fruit with honey oozing out on to the trees. Another stand out feature of Thiru Naraiyur was the huge Plantation fields where huge bunch of bananas were seen slipping out of the branches.

களை கொண்ட பலங்கனிகள் தேன் பரிய
கதலிகளின் தில்லை கொண்ட பழம் கெழுமித்
திகழ் சோலைத் திருநறையூர்

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar saw the birds flying far and wide searching for food and came back later into the resting place in the trees. The White storks went after the big fish and consumed them. Later they too went and drank nectar from the Lotuses. Cranes too were seen in the fields. He says that the groves were full of nectar.

Ripe Paddy grew in the green fields along with beautiful red lotuses. Tall Sugarcane plants were also seen in big numbers in the fields of Naraiyur.

சீர் தழைத்து கதிர்ச் செந்நெல் செங் கமலத்து இடை இடையில்
பார் தழைத்துக் கரும்பு ஓங்கிப் பயன் விளைக்கும் திருநறையூர்

Flowers @ Thiru Naraiyur
Different varieties of flowers were seen in the groves of Thiru Naraiyur. The bees moved from the fragrant Shenbagam and Mullai flowers to the Vakula and Panal flowers.

A speciality of the 100 verses in the Periya Thiurmozhi is a decad dedicated completely to Ko Chenganan Chozhan in recognition of the beautiful construction of the first Mani Mada Koil in a Perumal temple after having completed the construction of70 such Saivite temples (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2014/12/ko-chenganan-and-nachiyar-koil-divya.html).

Mani Mada Koil is a special type of construction to prevent the entry of elephants anywhere near the sanctum (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2014/12/thiruvanaikaval-jambukeswarar.html).

வம்பு அவிழும் செண்பகத்தின் வாசம் உண்டு
மணி வண்டு வகுளத்தின் மலர்மேல் வைகு
செம்பியன் கோச் செங்கணான் சேர்ந்த கோயில்
திருநறையூர் மணிமாடம் சேர்மின்களே

A rich and vibrant location - Cauvery and her greatness
 Cauvery is described as a perennial river from where pearls, gold and sandal wood were washed ashore on to Thiru Naraiyur, a town that he praises as wealthy. People came to the banks to pick it up. He compares the red lily to the eyes of the beautiful girls of Thiru Naraiyur and the lotus to the face of these lovely maidens.

அகில் குறடும் சந்தனமும் அம் பொன்னும் அணி முத்தும்
மிகக் கொணர்ந்து திரை உந்தும் வியன் பொன்னித் திருநறையூர்

The people
The place resonated with Vedic Chants of the Seers who, he says, even surpassed Brahmma and Shiva in the sincerity of their chants. They practiced each day to perfect the art of the recital of the four Vedas. The streets were filled with people who he compared in their handsome features to Manmatha.
  
நலம் கொள் வாய்மை அந்தணர் வாழும் நறையூரே

An interesting episode
He narrates the story of an angry female crab at Thiru Naraiyur. A tired male crab had slept the night in the lotus flower buds of the sacred tank at Thiru Naraiyur. The partner who waited all night long showed her anger in the morning on his return to the fields.

Round the Year Festivals
Thiru Naraiyur was a place where there were endless festivities all through the year.  Thiru Mangai Azhvaar makes a specific mention of the festivals there.

He praises Thiru Naraiyur as a place where one heard festive sounds emanating from the temple every day of the year and the Lord enjoying the festive beats on the streets.

He says that Thiru Naraiyur was a place of ‘endless’ festivals.

வேள்வும் விழவும் வீதியில் என்றும் ஆறாத ஊர்
நாளும் நறையூர் நாம் தொழுதும் ஏழு நெஞ்சமே

                     Vasantha Mandapam - Vasanthotsavam

Lord compared to other temples
He says that he searched for an equivalent of the Lord of Thiru Venkatam and finally found him in Thiru Naraiyur. He is also the one who he had seen earlier at Vayalali. In fact, he refers to seeing the Lord of a number of other temples (divya desams) including Vayalali, Moozhikalam, Kudanthai, Kottiyur, Neer Malai and Meiyam here at this temple. It is probably for this reason that one sees the idols of all the Divya Desams at this temple (near the Moolavar Sannidhi).

Roll on a 1000 years and into the 20th Century
This had been one of the richest temples in the region with over 100 veli of land. Naidus were the ones who managed the temple as trustees prior to the entry of the HR & CE officials in the early part of the 20th century. All the utsavams were conducted by the temple. There was no concept of ubayams and donors. Not one rupee was taken from the donar for the conduct of the festivals. The devotees just had to be part of the festivities and offer their prayers to the Lord and seek his blessings. The trustees acted in a fair and transparent way and there was happiness all around.

Grand Utsavams without the glamour factor!!!
The 2 Brahmotsavams were celebrated in a grand way as were other festivals such as Pavitrotsavam, Adyayana Utsavam and Navarathri. There was one Thiru Kalyana Utsavam in the year. The Theppotsavam in the huge tank North of the temple took place in Margazhi while the Chariot festival took place in Panguni.  There was also a Panch Parva procession every month. Till the middle of the 20th century, the utsavams evoked memories of what Thiru Mangai Azhvaar described in his Periya Thirumozhi verses. The devotees numbered only a 100 or 200 even for the Kal Garuda utsavam but there was extreme devotion. The mada vilagam were strewn with beautiful kolams artistically drawn by the ladies of the household welcoming the Lord into their respective streets. It was all about devotion to the Lord.

The Sirpanthigal carried the Lord on their shoulders on all the street processions where Petromax lights were used. There were 25 of such Sirpanthigal in earlier days. After HR & CE’s entry, this number has now come down to just 6.

Over 25 Vaishnavite families had lived a healthy and satisfactory life before going into financial turmoil from the 1960s. There were over 50 Rayar families and 10 Saivite families in the agraharam/Mada Vilagam. Almost all of them have exited the place since the takeover of control by the HR & CE.

In earlier periods, prior of HR & CE coming into force, they had had the daily share of ‘provisions/ koil thaligai’. And they were a contended and happy lot.

Debt ridden Bhattar Families
And then the traditional Bhattar families at Thiru Naraiyur went into debt and in despair were forced to auction their ancestral house on Sannidhi Street for just Rs. 500. They had no income in the 1960s and 70s. 
61 year old Kannan Bhattar who had started performing temple poojas in the 1960s, first at Nathan Koil and then at Nachiyar Koil faced a tough time. Along with his brothers, he had to take care of 20 members of their joint family. His father was in such dire financial condition that he would wear the same veshti everyday the year. He would wash it each day and then wear it again to the temple the next morning.

A Bullock Cart every morning to perform pooja
Kannan Bhattar’s ancestors also performed kainkaryam at Nathan Koil Divya Desam. His father would come early in the morning on a 10kms bullock cart trip to Nachiyar Koil after finishing pooja at Nathan Koil and would then go back to Nathan Koil after the evening pooja.

In those days, arathanam at temple was considered important. The priests lived in poverty but even in that state did not do anything in expectation of contribution from devotees. Their dedication and devotion was to the Lord.
Daily Thattu Kasu of 25 Paise
Kannan Bhattar and his family spent a life of every day survival. His mother would typically shout out at his father for provisions in the morning. But there was no money. His father would say ‘Do not worry. God would show the way.’ That day some devotee would turn up and present Rs. 2 on the plate. And he would pass it on to his mother. And that day had been survived.   They slogged through the day but barely got anything in return from the HR & CE. There were days when the daily Thattu Kasu was just 25 paise which they had to take back home. There were no holidays for the Bhattars. Through the 60s and 70s, they had to be at the temple through the year without a break awaiting the visit of the unlikely devotee. There were months through those dark decades when Thattu Kasu did not top Rs. 10 in a month. But Bhattars of that generation from Nachiyar Koil did not complain. They related themselves with God and performed the duty to him without fail each day of the year.

Once HR & CE came into being, even the quantity of Thaligai prepared at the madapalli that they banked on for every day survival was dramatically reduced.

Pakshirajan Bhattar ( Kannan Bhattar’s elder brother) who had performed pooja for several decades at Nachiyar Koil and who passed away a few years ago was paid a monthly salary of Rs. 25 by the HR & CE from the 1960s.

Till the 2nd half of the 20th Century, Prabhandham recital was a daily feature at the temple. Smarthas presented Veda Parayanam every evening at Nachiyar Koil. Theerthakars were also present. Now there are just three Adyapakas. There are just a couple of Brahmin families in this once sacred town that had been praised with a century of verses by Thiru Mangai Azhvaar as one that was wealthy and prosperous.

Every ‘Expense’ passed on to ‘Donors’ from the late 80s
From the late 1980s, yet another dramatic negative transformation took place at Nachiyar Koil in the conduct of its daily activities. HR & CE directed the move to ubayams and shifted all the expenses of the temple to the donors.

Today, there is very little coming back into the temple from the HR & CE from the income generated at the temple. Even genuine allocations made towards festivals and daily thaligai are not passed on by the temple authorities to the priests/madapalli.

Gopinathan Bhattar, who has been there for almost the last three decades, is still not a temple staffer and gets no salary from the temple. He has been the most recognizable face for devotees since the turn of the century. He has pooled together devotees from across the country to help the temple survive the HR & CE onslaught. 

It has become customary for even a ‘pay back’ to the ‘authorities’ from the donor contributions to allow the smooth conduct of the festivals and for the officials to grant the permission.

Despite all this, credit should be given to the Bhattars of Nachiyar Koil for having survived the testing times over the last 50 years and for having kept this huge temple in good shape. It is their single minded devotion to the Lord that has helped securing the grandeur of some of the centuries old festivals that are exclusive to this temple.

The huge Nandavanam in the outer prakara that had been in a dilapidated and uncared for state is now being revived once again by Gopinathan Bhattar. The Vasantha Mandapa at the Western End of the temple in the outer prakara too is being revived and one can expect the Vasantha Utsavam to see ‘summer days’ once again.
Today, the income from the temple goes to the HR & CE and the expenses are funded by the devotees. And the temple has survived half a century of tyranny solely due to the efforts of the untiring and devoted Bhattars.  Else, Thaligai would be in minimal quantity, flower garland would be down to a single simple one, musical accompaniments would be out during festive processions.

Without the efforts of these Bhattars, who do not want to let go service that their ancestors had performed selflessly through their lives, it is likely that the vibrant activities at Nachiyar Koil would have been brought to a standstill by the HR & CE like has happened in many remote temples of Tamil Nadu. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Thiru Pazhanam Abath Sahayeswarar temple

In the Saint Poets praised 1000+ year old temple, no salary has been paid to the archaka for decades

Located 3kms from Thiruvaiyaru on the Kumbakonam Highway is the Abathsahayeswarar temple in Thiru Pazhanam, the 2nd among the Sapthasthanam temples.
It is a temple praised by the four great Saint Poets well over a 1000years ago and a temple said to be built in its current form and structure by Aditya Chozha I. Thiru Gnana Sambanthar praised the Lord as one who would liberate a sincere devotee from all his previous sins if he surrenders to this Lord.
வேதம் ஓதி வெண்ணூல் பூண்டு வெள்ளி எருதேறி
பூதம் சூழப் பொலிய வருவார் புலியின் உரிதோலார்
நாதா எனவும் நக்கா எனவும் நம்பா என நின்று
பாதந் தொழுவார் பாவந் தீர்ப்பார் பழன நகராரே - ஞாந  சம்பந்தர்

The temple legend relates to Kubera regaining his lost powers and the Lord safe guarding the nectar from the asuras.

There are also several inscriptions dating back a 1000 years on South and Western walls of the inner prakara.

No Salary to the Priest
At such a historical and legendary Thevaram temple, Raja Gurukal has been taking care of the poojas all alone for the last few decades. His father and grandfather too had performed poojas through the 20th century. Prior to them, their ancestors performed for 5 generations over the last few centuries.

This is a HR & CE administered temple but Raja Gurukal does not know what his salary is for he has never been paid one in his life. He has never asked them once. While the staffers of HR & CE including the peon and clerks are paid a monthly salary, the archakas are left to fend for themselves.

Raja Gurukal is deeply devoted to the Lord, one for whom his ancestors had performed pooja and hence he is continuing to serve the Lord mindless of the lack of income.

While there is a case currently on in the Madras High Court on issues relating to renovation at HR & CE administered temple, it would also be good for the court to order an investigation into the salary structure / payment made to archakas in temples across the state.

The Legend
Kousika Rishi who had secured a part of the nectar from the Lord at Thiru Parkadal reached Kathali vanam (the historical name of this place), set up an ashram and undertook penance. The Asuras tracked him to this place and made their way to his ashram to grab a share of the nectar. To prevent them from gaining an aura of invincibility, he placed the nectar in a secret box inside the ashram and undertook severe penance invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva here at Thiru Pazhanam. Answering his sincere prayers, Lord Shiva sent Ayyanar and Kali to destroy the asuras.

At the end of this battle, on opening the box, he was delighted to find a Shiva lingam. Pleased with the blessings of the Lord, Koushika Rishi installed the Lingam at its current location and named it as Amrutha Lingam (as it was the one that transformed from the nectar) and performed pooja.

In memory of this episode, there is a stone carving on the Southern Prakara of the Shiva Lingam with Nandi. Kousika Rishi is seen in a posture of undertaking penance.
Kubera’s penance at Thiru Pazhanam
Lost in the greed of power, Kubera ignored the enquiries of a sincere devotee who had arrived at his kingdom. Angered at this, the devotee invoked the blessings of the Lord and sought to teach the power ingrained Kubera a lesson. Kubera lost his powers and wandered around when in mid air an invisible voice directed him to Kathali vanam and to surrender to Kousika Rishi, who further directed him to perform pooja at this place.

Kubera performed pooja with sacred water taken from the tank here. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Shiva provided darshan and helped him regain his original powers.

Mahalakshmi's penance at Pazhanam
As Lakshmi performed pooja here having left her husband and Lord Vishnu reached here having come in search of her, this place came to be referred to as Piriyana Puri and the Lord as Piriyana Pureeswarar. There is a separate sannidhi behind the sanctum for Lord Venugopalan who is seen in a posture of playing the flute. There is also an idol of Gaja Lakshmi at this temple, seen holding the Lotus Petal.

As Kubera regained his powers here, belief is that one will be driven of poverty and will regain lost wealth if one offers his sincere prayers to the Lord at this temple.

A sincere devotee saved from untimely death – The name ‘Aabath Sahayar’
Susareethan had lost his parents and in the sadness of that event, went to different shiva temples. He came to Thiru Pazhanam and after darshan of the Lord slept the night here. That night, Yama gave him an advance notice of the impending death and stated that he would be there in 5 days to pick him up. An unwavering Susareethan performed sincere pooja at this temple and surrendered to the Lord who asked him to immediately go to thiruvayaru and undertake penance there reciting Pancha aksharam.

When Yama was headed in that direction towards Thiruvaiyaru from the south to pick him, the Lord opened his third eye and sent out sparks of fire. Yama was not able to cross the fire and reach the young boy. Lord told Yama that the young one was his sincere devotee and that it was his duty to protect him. And that he had to have a longer life. As it was the Lord here at Thiru Pazhanam who had directed the devotee to Thiruvayaru, he is referred to as Aabath Sahayar.

As the Lord saved a sincere devotee from death, offering sincere prayers to this Lord is believed to save one from untimely death and health issues.

Saint Poets’ Praise of Pazhanam
Thiru Gnana Sambanthar, Appar and Sundarar have sung praised of the Lord here.  In his praise, Thiru gnana Sambanthar says that it enough just to look at the Lord’s feet with sincere devotion for one to be liberated from his sins.

Appar naming a devotee – Apputhi- in his verse is a speciality of the Saint Poet’s praise of this temple. Apputhadigal performed pooja every day here and died reciting the name of Appar.

Both  Appar and Gnana Sambanthar came back here a 2nd time first after visiting Thiru Aduthurai. And then once again after visiting Thillaisthanam and Thiruvaiyaru.

There was once a long agraharam here with 100s of Saivite Families but all of them have moved out in recent decades. Thingalur is just a walking distance south of this temple.

Karungal Architecture
Aditya Chozha I is believed to have built this fairly big temple in its current form with a complete Karungal structure. There were separate streets here for musicians. There are several 1000 year old inscriptions inside the temple. There is a towering Raja Gopuram at the Eastern entrance. There is a separate sannidhi for Ambal to the North of the Swami Sannidhi. There is a beautiful Nandavanam of the Southern side of the temple that includes tall coconut trees.
Vishnu and Shiva- Joint Procession around Pazhanam
There is a separate sannidhi for Venugopalan right behind the Moolavar Sannidhi of the Lord. In centuries gone by, Uriyadi Utsavam was a popular festival here with Lord Venugopalan and Lord Shiva providing darshan on a Sesha Vahana around the streets of Thiru pazhanam. Hence there are two Sesha Vahanas here.
Lord Pancha Natheeswarar from Thiruvayaru makes his way here on the occasion of the Sapthasthanam festival in Chitrai and the two of them go jointly to Thiru Chotruthurai from here.This is one of the only temples among the Sapthasthanam temples to have sacred tank inside the temple.

Pancha Murthy Abhishekam is special at this temple.

There is a separate Sannidhi for Periya Nayaki Ambal on the Northern side of the temple in the outer prakara..

Currently, there is a two time pooja performed at the temple in the morning and evening. Contact Raja Gurukal @ 97902 07773/ 99943 89328

How to reach
Buses ply every 15 minutes from Thiruvaiyaru, stops in front of the temple. Auto from Thiruvaiyaru bus stand to the temple will cost Rs. 100.