Tirukovilur- Sri Thiruvikrama Perumal

Name of the Temple

Sri Thiruvikrama Perumal temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Trivikramar

Thayar: Poongoval Nachiar

Pushkarani: Pennai River, Krishna and Sri Chakra Theertham

Vimanam: Chakkra Vimanam

Mangalaashaasanam: Poigai Azhwar, Bhoodhathazwar, Peyazhwar and Tirumangai Azhwar

Sthalapuranam:

Emperor Mahabali, though good natured, ever helpful to those in need, had a desire that none should exceed him in status and fame.  To realize this aim, he conducted a great yajna headed by his Guru Shukracharya.  Lord thought to bring down his pride.  He took the form of dwarf, came to the Yajna field and sought three foot steps of land (three steps by His foot) as dhan (charity).  Guru Shukracharge sensed some mischief in the dwarf and understood that the visitor was none other than Lord Vishnu.  He vehemently warned Mahabali and did his best to prevent his promise. Mahabali did not relent.  He was only keen to keep up his word to dwarf and offered His wish.  Lord took His Vishwarupa, measured the earth by one foot step and the Akasha by the second step and there was no place for the third step and asked Mahabali for the third.  Mahabali gracefully accepted his inability and offered his head for the third.  Lord placed his head on Mahabali and demanded that he solemnize the dhan with water from his right hand.  Mahabali took the water bowl to confirm his promise but Shuracharya took the form of a bee and blocked the hole of the bowl from releasing the water.  Lord Vishnu took a grass piece, put it on the bowl hole that blinded the Guru.  Mahabali was pressed by the Lord to the Padala Loka and taken later with Him, goes the story.

Any devotee who would indeed like to read and enjoy this Vamanavathara-Trivikrama story of Lord, should read Sriman Narayaneeyam by Narayana Pattadri and Srimad Bhagavatha by Sage Veda Vyasa.  They will have to close the book only unwillingly. The object of Lord in His Vamanavatara-Trivikrama Avatara was to teach that wealth of even great kings should not land them pride and arrogance.  He took the Vishwarupa, measured the space with His right Leg and the Earth with the right.  He stood too tall touching both earth and sky.  In His extreme delight to bless Emperor Mahabali, the illustrious grandson of Prahladha who was instrumental for His Narasimha Avtar, Lord appears here with the conch in the right hand and the discus in the left-vice-versa.  This is described as His teaching wisdom to devotees.  His posture-left leg on the earth and the right in the sky-appears as if He is asking where to place His foot for the third foot of land due from Mahabali as promised to Him.   Lord Brahmma is worshipping the foot in the sky. This is a very popular story of Lord Vishnu as a Vamana seeking three foot step land from Mahabali, which he could not afford as Lord had covered both earth and sky with two feet itself leaving no space for the third.

Sage Mrigandu wanted to have this Vishwarupa Darshan of Lord and approached Lord Brahmma for His advice.  Brahmma suggested that the sage go to Krishna Kshetra (now Tirukovilur) on the banks of Krishnabadra River to realize his wish. The sage along with his wife Mitravathi came to this place and performed severe penance for the darshan of Lord. Lord came to their abode in the guise of an old Brahmin and begged for food.  They didn’t have even a single grain of rice to offer.  The sage turned to his wife. Mitravathi went in, took a bowl in hand and prayed to Lord Narayana to fill the bowl with food if she was the chaste wife of the sage.  The bowl was full of delicious food.  Pleased with their penance, Perumal granted His Vishwarupa darshan to the sage couple.

This is the holy place where the first three Azhwars-Poigai Azhwar, Boodhathazhwar and Peyazhwar- met together incidentally by the grace of Lord.  It was night raining heavily.  Poigai Azhwar sought a place in the Ashram of Sage Mrigandu.  He was shown a place to rest down.  After a little while, Boodhathazwar came to the same place for a space.  The first Ahwar shared the space just sufficient for two to sit. The third Azhwar-Peyahwar too came there.  The two shared the space with him sufficient only for standing.  Suddenly, they were pressed due to the presence of a fourth comer who was but Perumal Himself granting His darshan. The songs sung by the three Azhwars how they were blessed with darshan of Lord as lighting a lamp to dispense the rainy darkness, is chanted even now by the devotees while lighting lamps in their houses in mornings and evenings.

The Three Azhwars attained salvation in this holy land.  Lord Perumal is praised as Ulagu Alanda Perumal-Ulagalanda Perumal as He sought a small piece of land measuring just three feet.  The idol is made of wood in a standing posture, the tallest in the country.  Against the tradition, Perumal is holding the conch in the right hand and the discus in the left.  Of the 108 Divya Desas of Perumal, this is the only temple with Swayambu Vishnu Durga.  This is an important kshetra for the Vishnavas and Hindus in general in the Nadu Nadu region.  The tower of the temple is third tallest in the state scaling 192 feet.  Shukracharya, (Venus in the zodiac sign) Guru of the Asuras, has a place in the temple.

It is noteworthy that the holy scriptures Nalayira Divya Prabandam containing 4000 verses in praise of Lord Vishnu sung by 12 Alzhwars from time to time at various places, began from Tirukovilur. It is mostly in Shiva temples, we see Mother Vishnu Durga in the prakaras. In Tirukovilur temple, Lord and His beloved Sister Durga (Maya the feminine form of Lord Vishnu) are in shrines nearby to each other.  Tirumangai Azhwar who generally praises Lord alone in his hymns had made a devotional line to Mother Durga in one of his verses.  People pray to Mother Vishnu Durga during Rahu Kalams on Tuesdays and Fridays for relief from the adverse aspects of planets. There is a 40 feet tall Garuda Pillar with a small temple built on it opposite Perumal shrine.  It is believed that Garuda Bhagwan is worshipping Lord from this temple.

Of the Pancha Krishna Sthalas – Five great temples of Lord Krishna- 1)Tirukovilur, 2) Tirukannapuram, 3) Tirukannangudi, 4) Tirukannamangai and 5) Kabisthalam, Tirukovilur is the first.  Lord Krishhna in this temple, made of Salagrama stone, graces the devotees from a shrine on the right side of the Gopuram entrance.  The devotees must begin the worship from this shrine and pass to the presiding Perumal only then.  Great Vaishnava Acharya Manavala Mamunigal also had rendered many hymns in praise of Lord Perumal. According to scriptures and Tamil literatures. Sage Parasurama and Sage Agasthya had performed penance at Tirukovilur.  The puranic age Krishnabadra River is flowing now in the name of Thenpennai.  Before butter (Vennai in Tamil) melts, Pennai (the name of the river) melts, is an old saying.

Lord Trivikrama Perumal graces the devotees from the sanctum under the Sri Chakra Vimana.  Lord Venugopala plays the Kshetra Balaka role.  There are shrines in the prakara for Lords Venugopala, Lakshmi Narayana, Lakshmi Raghava, Lakshmi Narasimha, Sri Rama and Sri Veera Anjaneya, Mother Sri Andal and Shukracharya, the Guru of Asuras. The tower of the temple is the third tallest in the state, the first at Sri Rangam, the second at Srivilliputhur.  This is a 11 tier 192 feet tall tower.  The temple area covers 5 acres.  Even after crossing the main tower, there are residential parts.  The place is praised as Nadu Nadu Tirupathi.  There is a temple for Lord Vamana Murthy in Tirukakarai in Kerala.  Vamanamurthi graces here from behind the presiding deity.

15 day Panguni Brahmmotsavam in March-April with Sri Pushpavalli Thayar Oonjal on Friday drawing huge crowd and Masi Magam in February-March, Lord visiting Cuddalore carried on the shoulders of devotees are the main festivals of the temple. Other festivals are Purattasi Pavithra Utsav and Navarathri in September-October; Chithirai Sri Rama Navami, Sri Ramanuja Jayanthi and Vasanth Utsav in April-May; Vaikasi Visaka Garuda Seva, Nammazhwar Sattrumurai in May-June; Aani Periazhwar Sattrumurai in June-July; Aadi Thiruvadipooram, Andal Utsav in July-August; Avani Sri Jayanthi, Uriyadi utsav in August-September; Aipasi Mudalazwar Sattrumurai, 10 day Sri Manavala Mamunigal utsav in October-November; Karthikai Kaisika Ekadasi; Tirukarthikai in November-December; Margazhi Rapathu, Pagal Pathu, Vaikunda Ekadasi in December-January. Besides the above, important days as Pongal-Makar Snkranti, Deepavali, Tamil and English New Year days are also observed with special pujas to Lord Trivikrama.

Route:

Tirukovilur is on the Panruti-Vellore route. Bus facility is available from Villupurm. The place is 75 km from Cuddalore, 36 km Villupuram, 36 km from Tiruvannamalai and 40 km from Kallakurichi.

Temple Timings:

6.30 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91- 94862 79990

Temple Address:

Sri Trivikrama Perumal Temple,

Tirukovilur-605 757

Villupuram district.

TiruKandiyur – Sri Brahmasirakanteeswarar temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Brahmasirakanteeswarar temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Brahmasirakanteeswarar

Ambal: Mangalambikai

Sthala Theertham: Nandi Theertham, Kudamurutti, Daksa Theertham, Brahma Theertham

Sthala Virksham: Vilvam

Devaram:  Tirunavukkarasar, Sambandar

Sthalapuranam:

To pluck the head of Brahman, the Lord assumed the garb of a hunter.  A small statue of this form is seen near the left side of the door that leads to the sanctum of Brahman opposite to the Lord’s sanctum.  In the sanctum of Navagraha, a dais is built with provision to light lamps and worship.

Since one head, out of the five heads of Brahman was plucked this place came to be known as ‘Kandanapuram’ or ‘Kandiyur’.  The Lord brought the Bael Tree fromMount Kailas for Sage Saathaathaapar; so this holy place is also called  “ Aadi Vilvaaranyam”. Sage Saathaathaapar used to go to Kaalahasti on the ‘pradosham’ day to have darshan of the Lord.  Once when he came to Kandiyur, he could not go to Kalahasti in time.  The legend is that the Lord graced him with the Kalahasti darshan at Kandiyur itself.  This sacred site is also the place to placate the Brahmahathi curse.

The sanctum of Dandapaani is a separate temple with a mandapam.  In the ‘saptha-sthaana’ festival, the Lord takes a procession.  Ambal stands south facing with four arms and with ‘abhayavaratham’ (refuge sign).  Within are the sanctum of Vinayagar, Subrahmanya with Valli-Deivanai, Mahalakshmi, Nataraja, Vishnu-Durgai, Bhairavar, many kinds of Vinayagar and Ardhanaareeswarar in the sitting posture. Chandeswarar is in separate temple.  Brahman, Lingodhbavar, Dakshinamaurthi, and Bhikshaadanar appear as koshta murthis.

Near the door-guards (dwaarapaalar), is the image of Sage Saathaathaapar, and the sanctum of Kaalathinaathar, who revealed Himself to Sage Saathaathaapar, Sapthasthaana Lingams and Panchabhuta Lingams. In the Navagrahas’ sanctum the Sungod is seen with his two spouses.  The Prime Deity a Swayambu murthi, is on a slightly high pedestal.  The statues of Brahman and Saraswathi are near the sanctum of the Lord.  The statue of seated Brahman looks lovely appearing with folded hands in prayer holding flower and rosary.  After plucking his head, Brahman prayed to the Lord to restore his beauty.  The Lord blessed him to get back the beauty of his five faces in his four countenances and Brahman gladly received this benediction.

The Rajagopuram with five stages stands majestically.  Armoured Flag-post, Nandi and altar are seen.  Lord Vinayakar is seen in the Flag-post.  In the inscription, this Lord is noted as “Thiruveerattaanaththu mahaadevar, Thirukkandiyur utaiya mahadevar”.

Maha Shivarathri in Masi (February-March) and Margazhi Thiruvadhirai (December-January)

Route:

Kandiyur is about 9 kms distance from Thanjavur, in the Thanjavur-Tiruvayyaru road. The temple is situated in the middle of the town.

Temple Timings:

6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91-4362-261 100, 262 222

Temple Address:

Shri Shirakandeeswrar Temple,

Kandiyur,

Thanjavur district.

 

Vazhuvoor – Sri Veerattaneswarar Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Veerattaneswarar Temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

 Moolavar:  Kiruthivaasar,Veerattaneswarar

 Ambal: Perianayaki, Ilankilainaayaki

Sthala Theertham: Shoola theertham

 Sthala Virksham: Sarakondrai

  Sthalapuranam:

The main attraction of the temple is the bronze idol of Gajasamhaara Moorthi. The shrine is reverentially referred to as Gnanasabhai, or the hall of knowledge, one of the Lord’s nine famous dance halls similar to the Kanaka Sabhai in Chidambaram. The Gajasamhaara Thaandava is considered to be a form of Oordhva Taandava (Dance of Fury) of the Lord. This idol is placed alongside an idol of Shakthi with Skanda in her arms. Shakthi is portrayed as trying to reluctantly run away from the spot, confused between her care for her husband and her apparent fright. Skanda, on the other hand, is depicted with his index finger pointing towards the Moorthi of Gajasamhaarar as though crying out, “Oh, there is father and mother”. The whole set of bronze sculptures has a very lifelike appearance. Just like at Chidambaram, a powerful Yantra has been installed behind the moorthi of Gajasamhaarar. Special worship is often offered to this Yantra to negate the effects of witch-craft and black magic.

Out of the 64 Maheshwara Moorthams, only the Gajasamhaara moortham and the Saha-Uma-Skandar (Somaskandar) moortham, portray the Lord in the presence of both Parvathi and Muruga. On a more esoteric note, the Gajasamhaara Moorthi represents the vanquishing of the untold miseries caused by ignorance and the realization of true knowledge. Skanda, though having originated from Shiva, acts as the middleman between us and his father, by guiding us on the correct path to the absolute truth. It is to represent this that he sits on his mother’s lap and points his finger towards his father in the Gajasamhaara Moortham.

Apart from these, there are separate shrines for Ayyappa (this is believed to be his birthplace), Vinayaka and other Parivara Devathas. Interestingly, at the Navagraha shrine, the planets are positioned in a strange manner. Guru, who is usually antagonistic towards Shani, is shown to be facing Shani here, hence making it a Grahamithra Kshetra. Shani also has a separate shrine dedicated to him, where he is shown to be bearing a bow. There is also a shrine dedicated to the bewitching moorthi of Bhikshaadanar and his companion, Mohini in bronze idols.

One of the many strange features of the temple is the location of the Theertham or the sacred pond. Usually, in Shiva temples, Nandi is found between the pond and the Linga. However, here, the theertham is located between the Nandi and the Linga. This theertham has five wells and is popularly known as the Pancha Mukha theertham. Every new moon day many devotees visit to have a dip in this theertham.

The Gajasamhaara festival in the months of February-March (Maasi) is very grand. It is a three day (on the Pusam, Ayilyam and Magha Nakshatras) celebration, with the actual Gajasamhaaram taking place on the evening of the second day.

In the legend of Bitchadanar, once the rishis of Tharukavanam thought penance itslef will provide everything and there is no superior God and their ladies were also equally egoistic. Shiva took the form of a beautiful full-nude beggar as Bitchadanar accompanied by Vishnu as Mohini with all their sheen to teach them a lesson.  On getting furious over their ladies getting attracted towards this nude beggar, the rishis did different things like creating a snake, tiger, elephant etc., through yagnas, sending mantras and vedas to fight Bitchadanar but nothing could stand in front of Him. It is believed that the heroic feat of vanquishing the rogue elephant that came from the Yagna was staged at Vazhuvoor and Shiva is being portrayed as GajaSamhara moorthy in this act. When the elephant approached Shiva, He assumed a miniscule form and jumped into the trunk of the elephant. He then took His viswaroopa inside the elephant’s body and came out explosively bursting through the stomach of the rogue elephant. Shiva finally revealed His true identity and did a furious dance in front of them. On knowing their mistake, the rishis at once surrendered to Bitchadanar. The rishis learnt hard way that learning all the mantras and vedas are only to promote the human lives and to do good to the society.

10 day Vasanth Utsav festival during Panguni-Chithirai Tamil months covering English March to May with Lord gracing from the Mandap; Chithirai (April-May) Sadayam star festival on Saint Appar Salvation event; 10 day Vaikasi Brahmmotsavam in May-June with Panchamurthi procession on silver vahan; 10 day Aadi Pooram; 10 day Manickavasagar utsav in Margazhi, 1 day Margazhi Tiruvadhirai with Theerthavari etc.

Route:

Tiruvavur to mayavaram road  you can reach Vahuvoor post you will be seeing a sighn board, as per the board you have to take 2 km to reach the village.

Temple Timings:

6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

 

Temple Address:

Sri Veerattaneswar Temple,

Vazhuvoor

Thiruvarur.

 

Thiruvirkudi – Sri Veerataneswarar temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Veerataneswarar temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Veerataneswarar

Ambal: Elavar Kuzhali, Parimala Nayaki

Sthala Theertham: Chakkara Theertham

Sthala Virksham: Tulsi

Devaram:  Tirugnanasambandar

Sthalapuranam:

Presiding deity of the temple is Lord Veerattaneswarar.  Mother is Parimala Nayaki.  Brinda in Sanskrit means Tulsi in Tamil.  Remembering this chaste woman, Tulsi plant is revered as the sacred tree of the temple.  People pray here for solutions caused by Vasthu dosha-wrong designing of a building affecting peace and prosperity.  Devotees also pray to Sri Anjaneya in the temple.

Indira the king of Devas went to Mount Kailash to have Shiva darshan with the pride of a king.  In the guise of a watchman, Lord Shiva prevented him from proceeding further.  Proud Indira struck Shiva with His vajrayutha when Lord opened His forehead eye.  Realizing the watchman was Shiva, Indira fell at His feet and sought His pardon.  Lord Shiva spilled a drop of His sweat in the milk ocean from where a demon child was born.  The child pulled the beard of Lord Brahmma who cried in pain.  His tears also fell on the child.  The child wet with Shiva’s sweat, Brahmma’s tears and the drop of the milk ocean was named Jalandarasura.

When He grew, he demanded Brahmma a life without death and the rule of the three worlds.  Brahmma denied it.  He got the boon that he would be alive till such time his chaste wife Brindhai was found mentally tainted.  His atrocities grew in leaps and bounds and finally decided to kill Lord Shiva Himself.  Lord came before the demon in the guise of an aged person, drew a round line as a chakra.  He asked the demon to take the Chakra, place it on his head and said that it would destroy him.  Arrogant demon challenged that the Chakra could not kill him as his wife was a chaste woman.

Shiva called Lord Vishnu and asked Him to appear before Brinda as Jalandarasura.  Not knowing that the visitor was not her husband, she called him in with the respect of a husband and thus got tainted mentally.  Lord Shiva placed the Chakkara on demon’s head which chopped off his head.  Knowing the design of Lord Vishnu, Brinda immolated herself cursing Lord Vishnu that He would have to suffer separation from His wife.  To come over the curse, Lord Vishnu had to take the Ramavathara later, goes the story.

Due to curse of Brinda, Lord Vishnu became mentally retarded.  To cure Him, Lord Shiva sowed a seed at the place where Brinda burnt herself.  Tulsi plant grew.  A garland was made of the Tulsi leaves and placed on Lord Vishnu.  He was cured completely.  Lord Vishnu asked Lord Shiva to gift Him the Chakra-discus.  He worshipped Lord Shiva with thousand lotus flowers.  When He found that the number was short by two, He unhesitatingly took His eyes for the puja.  Pleased Shiva rewarded Lord Vishnu with the Chakra

The temple has a five tier Rajagopuram.  Chakkara Theertham is opposite the tower with safe and convenient steps and compound wall.  It is a big tank with a Lord Vinayaka temple on the bank.  Passing the Gopuram entrance, a beautiful Nagalinga sculpture greets the devotee.  A Shiva temple worshipped by Lord Vishnu and the place from where Lord Shiva restored Brinda to life as Tulsi are in the outer prakara.  There are also shrines for Mother Mahalakshmi, Lords Muruga with His consorts Valli and Deivanai, Bhairava, Sani Bhagwan, Navagrahas the nine planets, Sun, Moon, Pidari and a well called Gnana Theertham in this prakara.  There is also a separate temple for Lord Bhairava.

Route:

The visitor has to get down at Thangalancherry on the Tiruvarur-Mayiladuthurai road to reach the temple. Buses from Tiruvarur to Aamur and Tirumarugal pass through this place.

Temple Timings:

12.00 a.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91-94439 21146

Temple Address:

Sri Veerattaneswarar Temple,

Tiruvirkudi – 609 405.

Tiruvarur district