Sunday, March 6, 2011
Name : Venguneswarar Temple at Vengundram
Just a km from Thennangur enroute to Vandavasi this Shiva temple at the top of a big and steep hill can be seen from the road itself.
It’s a tough hill to climb most part of it don’t have proper steps. It will really be a thrilling and adventures trip for anyone to go there. Make sure to go in a group or atleast minimum of 2 people and avoid children and aged people. Nobody and nothing is available at the top. It seems there is no priest for the temple but a person comes to do pooja once in a month. It is an open temple with a Shiva lingam, Murugan, Vinayagar and some other deities. You can do pooja yourself. The ideal time to visit is in the early morning.
Name : Mandagapattu
It is 20 kms from Villupuram and 17 kms from Gingee in the Villupuram – Gingee road.
Thirumurthy Temple :
This shrine, called the Trimurti Temple, is generally considered as the first of the Pallava cave-temples and was commissioned by Mahendra I in the early 7th century on a 100ft hillock. The Pallava temples along with a similar group by the Chalukyas of Badami represent the earliest Hindu stone temples in southern India. The temples were a significant architectural innovation as they marked the transition from wooden structures to stone. An inscription on the temple calls it the Laksitayatna and dedicates it to Brahma, Isvara, and Vishnu. “Mahendravarman showed leanings towards Jainism before he gravitated towards Hinduism — which is probably why one finds Jain settlements near his cave temples.
Steps at the end of a wide stone courtyard lead up to an uncovered porch before a simple rectangular mandapa with four massive equidistant pillars. The pillars of the mandapa facade have square bases, octagonal central sections and square capitals with curved corbels. Inside, another row of similar pillars divides the mandapa into three aisles. The aisles lead to the Trimurti shrines, deep plain niches cut into the rear wall.
Satrumalleswarar Temple (Dalavanur)
At Thalavanur, close to Mandagapattu, The central mandapa pillars have large medallions carved on each face of the square sections at the base and top. Steps lead to the entrance between these pillars. Above the entrance is an elaborately carved lintel. The temple houses door guardians flanking a linga. Above this, a gently curved eave has a row of equally spaced candrasalas with carved faces. On either side of the mandapa facade are deep niches with gently-leaning Dvarpalakas.
A small flight of rock-cut steps carved on the hill takes us to the shelters of Jain monks who probably meditated and rested there.
Name : Singavaram - Sri Ranganathesvara Cave Temple
Singavaram is located about 41 km from Viluppuram and 4 km from Gingee and comes under Viluppuram district. From Chennai it would be around 162 km.
The 7th century Ranganatha Cave temple of Lord Ranganatha, the tutelary god of Raja Desingh is on a hill top with about 150 steps. It is a good specimen of South Indian type of rock cut shrine.
The idol of Lord Ranganatha, in a reclining posture, measures 24 ft. in length which together with the inner sanctorum, is carved out of a single rock. It is said to be bigger than that of the idol in Srirangam. Like Thiruvananthapuram Ananthapadmanatha Swamy, the head, chest and leg portions of this Perumal have to be worshipped through 3 separate entrances. Mangalasasanam was done by Sri Ramanujar.
Name : Anthili Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
Anthili is a village about 2 kms south of Arakanda Nallur on the banks of the river South Pennai.
Lord Maha Vishnu in the form of Narasimha came out of a granite pillar to kill Hiranyakasibu, the father and the tormentor of Prahalad. In this avtar, the Lord rushed to help Prahalad without calling his vahanam, Garuda. So also in Gajendra Moksha. These caused much anxiety to Garuda who felt extremely depressed on being left out. He left Vaikuntam and was doing penance at Anthili. The severe penance of Garuda pleased the Lord and He gave dharshan as Lord Narasimha with Mahalakshmi seated on his lap. Due to Garuda’s penance.
Garuda immediately cooled down on seeing his Lord once again, especially in the Narasimha form which he had missed earlier as he did not accompany the Lord at the time of killing Hiranya kasibu.
He requested the Lord to remain here in this cool form (shantha roopi) and provide darshan to all devotees. Also, having missed taking him on the trip to kill Hiranya, Garuda sought the opportunity now to carry the two of them around this place.
An overjoyed Garuda is said to have taken them around Thiru Kovilur, Mugaiyur, Arakandanallur and Paranur, among others.
This Temple is located on the river banks of Then Pennai River. The Temple is 1600 year old and is one of the four Narasimha temples in this region, the others being at Parikkal, Poovarasan Kuppam and Singiri and is part of the Eight Prominent Narasimha temples in Tamil Nadu(others being Namakkal, Sholingur, Singaperumal Koil and Sinthalavadi).
Pooja is performed at this temple as per Madhwa Sampradaya. Some of the sculptures inside the temple seem to indicate that there may be a Karnataka connection to the construction.
Being aware of the importance of this place, Sri Vyasaraja Theertharu ( Sri Raghavendra Swamy in his previous birth) visited this place and spent some time here. To mark his visit, he has installed an idol of Sri Anjaneya Swamy. Sri Vyasaraja has installed over 729 hanumans at places he visited. At all these place, he drew the image of Hanuman on a stone using Angaram and the impression became a sculpture.
Name : Athulyanadheswarar temple
The temple is located at about 3 km from Thirukkovilur towards Villupuram. The temple is located in a beautiful location on a hillock adjacent to the South Pennai river and is visible from a distance across the river. There are two entrances, one through the main road and the other through the river which is very scenic.
Presiding deity :
Oppillaadha Eswarar, Oppillaadha Nayanaar
Ambal : Azhagiya Ponnammai, Soundarya Kanakaambikai
This temple is one of the 275 Shiva temples glorified by the Thevara hymns.
It is believed that the Pandavas visited Arankandanallur and that the temple tank close to the cave in which they stayed was created with Bhima’s mace. There are two sunais (water streams) on the hillock which are said to have been used by Pandavas and Draupadi.
There is an imprint of Thirugnana Sambandar’s feet here. Sambandar is said to have miraculously moved a huge rock that had been placed to block the shrine. Thirugnana Sambandhar worshipped Thiruvannamalai from this hillock top. Also It is worshipped by Prasanda rishi. Ramanar has meditated in this temple when he was a young boy.
The 160 feet high Gopuram in this shrine (dating back to the 7th century) with three prakarams Rich in inscriptions, it received Royal patronage from local chieftains, the later Cholas and the later Pandyas. This is the south most rock-cut cave temple of Pallavas, with the solitary exception of Tiruchirapalli. Thiruvannamalai is visible from this hill. There is an idol of Ramanar as a young boy in a meditative posture and the temple is visited by many Ramana Maharsishi's followers.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Name : Singiri Koil
It situated at a distance of about 25 km from Vellore and is off the main road from Vellore to Polur.
It is an exclusive shrine for Lord Lakshmi Narasimha and is believed to be at least 1,000 years old. This 10th century shrine is said to have been built by the local chieftain, Rajavarman, at the behest of Lord Narasimha, who appeared in his dream. The temple is on a small hillock, which is nearly 80 to 90 feet high and can be reached after climbing about 50 steps. As per the inscriptions around the sanctum sanctorum, this is a 1300 years old temple built during Pallava Rayar period by the King Nandhi Varman.
A tiny river flowing in front of the temple and we have to cross the river by foot.
the temple will be closed if the river flows in full stream and this happens for about a week in a year.
The main idol in the sanctum sanctorum is that of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha. The Lord is seen in a sitting posture with four hands — two hands hold the conch and the discus, His third (left) hand is on his lap and fourth (right) hand is around the waist of Goddess Lakshmi. The image of the Lord is nearly six feet in height.
The Lord with Goddess Lakshmi seated on his right lap is a unique spectacle. This inimitable posture of the Lord and the Goddess is the main attraction of the Temple.
There is a separate shrine for Sri Anjaneya, who is known here as Sri Bala Anjaneya. The idol is one foot high. Bala Anjaneya, who appears like a small child is believed to bestow the boon of parenthood to the childless. The temple also has a separate shrine for Sri Garuda.
Narasimha Jayanthi, Vaikunda Ekadesi, Ratha Sapthami, Tamil and English New Year and Purattasi Saturdays are celebrated at this temple at Singri.
Thirumanjanam is performed on every Swathi Nakshatram, which is the birth star of Narasimha.
Name : Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple
This temple is located at Polur. Polur is situated on the state highway between Tiruvannamalai and Vellore district. It is about 33 Kms from the former and 48 Kms from the latter and 55 Kms from Vandavasi.
1. Lord Narasimhar invited two brothers namely kolasthiyar Rushi and Pulasthiyar Rushis to this temple. These two rushis were ardent devotees of Lord Narasimhar. These two sages did penance to lord Narasimhar and the lord was impressed by their devotions. Impressed by their bakthi, lord gave them a mango. A fight broke up between the two brothers as who would take the mango. In the spur of the moment, Pulasthiya rushi chopped his younger brother Kolasthiyar’s hands. Even after losing both hands Sage Kolasthiyar continued to worship the lord with great devotion. He took bath at ''seyyar'' (3kms from polur) for 48 days (i.e. 3 mandalams) and circled the SampathGiri. After 48th day, Kolasthiyar's hands reappeared magically! This not only surprised the sage, but also others present. It was Lord's plan that Ustavmurthy should be installed by Kolasthiyar rushi. Lord came in Kolasthiyar rushi's dream and gave direction as where the uthsava murthy was. It was in a place called Karapoondi in seyar. The sage went to look for the utsavamurthy with the direction given by the lord. He found the uthsava Murthy and established a temple i.e. down the hill.
2. A group of workers were breaking down stones on a hill called Sampath Giri in Polur village in Thiruvanamalai dist. of Tamil Nadu. Workers were busy doing their job. One of the workers sphear hit a rock, and for everyone’s shock it started bleeding. They were frightened and left for the day. One the same night, Lord Narasimhar showed in one of the devotees dream. Lord Narasimhar said that he has come one his own to sampathgiri as shantha Murty. Next day, the devotee informed this to the villagers. All villagers came to see the idol. They were all shocked to see the lord bleed. All the villagers came together and built a Maha Mantapam for the lord Narasimhar. They worshiped the lord with great bakthi and shraddha. A temple was built atop of the hill for lord Narasimhar. Later people installed Lakshmi- the consort of Lord Narasimhar.
The hill is called Sampathgiri and the main deity is the Swayambu Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy facing south towards Thiruvannamalai along with Kanagavalli Thayar. Sage Pulathia Brahma worshipped here. Achutha Thasar, Sri Gnanananda Swamigal and Siddhar Vittoba had meditated in caves here. 2 water streams (sunais) are present. There is an Anjaneyar shrine at the base of the hill and there are 840 steps to climb.
There is a cave here called ''Annai Guha'' this cave was used by many spiritual leaders like vittobha, Hari das to meditate. There are two tanks here. One in the top of the hill called Bramha theertham and the other at the bottom called Punasthiyar Theertham. There are two vultures that fly around the hill and people believe that they are the two brothers Kulasthiyar and Pourshtriyar. The hill which is opposite to Sampatha Giri is called Sapthagiri and it is believed that the 7 sages still reside in this mountain. This temple is completely built by devotees after lord showed up in their dreams. This place is very powerful and all the prayers are answered in no time. The temple festival is celebrated according to Kamakshi temple of Kanchi.
The temple is currently served by a single priest called Sekhar Bhattachariar who also looks after a small Perumal temple below. He goes atop the hill at 4:30 AM and returns back by 8:30 AM. A Chowkidar remains on the hillock opening the temple for visitors who come later. The priest also visits the hill atop temple in the evenings.
Name : Kanagagreeswarar Temples at Devikapuram
This temple is near Arulmigu Periyanayagi Amman at Devikapuram which is located at 40 km from Vandavasi, 40 km from Thiruvannamalai, 37 km from Arani in the Vandavasi – Chetput- Polur (Thiruvannamalai) route.
The Kanagagreeswarar Temple is located on top of a small hill called Kanagachalam or Ponnmalai and the Periyanayagi amman temple, the more popular one is located at the base of the hill in the center of the town. These temples date back to 15th Century Vijayanagara Period.
In the Kanagagreeswarar temple there are three lingams in the sanctum sanctorum. One is a Swayambu lingam called Kanagagreeswarar and another one is an ancient Kasi Viswanathar lingam worshipped by Periyanayahi amman. Since there should not be two lingams, another lingam made of Rudraksha has also been installed in the wall behind the Kanagagreeswarar.
Arunagirinathar sang verses on Lord Muruga of Kanagagreeswarar temple in Thiruppugazh. At 8AM everyday, there is an abhisheham for Kanagagreeswarar with ghee and hot water and so it is better to go in the morning so that you can visit both the temples.
The sanctum sanctorum houses 3 lingams – one Kasi Viswanathar installed and worshipped by Parvathi Devi, another Swayambu lingam and the third one made of Rudhrakshas (since two lingams should not be there).
Name : Injimedu Periyamalai Shiva Temple
The temple is situated with 50 Km radius of world famous temples such as Kanchipuram, Melmaruvathur, Vellore are Thiruvannamalai.
1) Once there was an ego battle between Brahma and Vishnu, they set off to reach the top and bottom of Shiva as a competition. During that time Thazamboo (Lavender tree flower) gave a false witness to Shiva that Brahma had reached the top of Shiva. Knowing this, Shiva cursed Thazampoo that it should not be used in any Shiva pooja. In order to get rid of the curse, it stands here as the Sthala Vruksham. Nandhi’s footsteps are seen here.
2) Mythology has it that the wedding of Lord Shiva with Parvathi was performed at Mount Kailash, the eternal and ethereal abode of Lord Shiva. All the Devas, Rishis, Saints, along with Lord Vishnu, Brahma and their consorts assembled to witness the marriage. The northern part Himalayan Mountain, sunk in whereas the Southern part has gone up. So to make it balance, As desired by Lord Shiva, Agastya Risha stood on top of the Mount and hence the Mount sub-merged into the earth. Rishi Agastya witnessed the marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvathi from the top of this Mount. Therefore the prayers of the devotees for their marriages are getting fulfilled.
3) NANDI, became ‘Vaahana’ of Shiva :
Nandi, son of saint Siladara performed penance seeking blessings and acceptance of Lord Shiva. It is from this Holy Hill Periyamalai that Lord Shiva blessed Nandi to be His Vehicle, for the first time. Since then, this Hill is venerated and worshipped by the Saints and Devatas as a sacred place.
Worshipping Lord Nandeeshwara of this temple is regarded as very sacred as He grants the prayers. The village was called “Nandipuravinnagaram” (Sky high village, Nandipuram) as Periyamalai was very tall once upon a time.
Lord Shiva is in the form of lingam and is named as THIRUMANI CHERAI UDAYAR (highly decorative and attractive Shiva). The Goddess Parvati is named THIRUMANI NAYAGI (pleasant and blissful). This Shivalinga is 5 feet 6 inches tall atop the hill. Shivalinga is very elegant, attractive and vibrant. From any account, this is the tallest Shivalinga atop a Hill in India.
This small 200ft high hillock top temple has about 51 covered steps. So rain or sun will not affect the devotees. This is a 2500 years old temple which got ransacked about 700 years ago by various invasions. The Thirumanicherai Shiva lingam which was left alone without any pooja/ worship for nearly 700 years, finally got a facelift and the Kumbabhisheham took place in 1999. Sanghu theertham is present in the hill in the shape of Sanghu. It is said that there is a spacious cave here where Pampatti Chithar is living in the form of a snake.
There is a Holy spring which is perennial and is very sweet and cures many diseases.
Regular pooja timings :
Morning session – 7.30 am to 12.30 pm
Evening Session – 3.00 pm to 8.30 pm