Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Amazing Sculptures of Thiruvanaikoil

Thiruvanaikoil Tower with SculpturesThiruvanaikoil Tower with Sculptures

Adjacent to Srirangam there is an ancient temple of sculptural marvels called Thiruvanaikoil. This magnificent temple is full of beautiful stone sculptures dating back to 17th century. This temple had been there for thousands of years.

It is around 3 Kms away from the heart of Tiruchirapalli city, Tamilnadu in South India. Thiruvanaikoil and Srirangam are in the banks of river Cauvery. Literally these two places form an island, surrounded by river Cauvery and river Coleroon.

Presiding deities are Lord Shiva called ‘Jambukeswarar’ and Shakthi called ‘Akilandeswari’. As this temple represents water this is also called as 'Appu sthalam' and the Shivalinga here is called as 'Appu Linga'. Even today you can see water oozing out near the Shivalinga idol in the temple.

Temple priest dressed as a lady representing Akilandeswari does the noon pooja, daily to the Jambukeswarar and to the sacred Cow. Devotees throng to the temple to see this ritual and to get the blessings of the Jambukeswarar. We too participated in the pooja.

Sculpture In Thousand Pillar MandapamAlign Center Thousand Pillar Mandapam

The massive outer wall, known as the Vibudi Prakara, stretches over a mile long, and is two feet thick and over 25 feet in height. Legend maintains that the wall was built by Shiva working along with the laborers.

There are so many mandapams and temples in this temple complex. One will find sculptures of rare and exquisite beauty of workmanship in the temple. Devi’s temple had been built of marble stones.

Sculptures In Thiruvanaikaval TherBeautiful Sculptures In Thiruvanaikaval Ther

Several hundred years back the Godess Akilandeswari was fierce and Sri Adi Sankara reduced Devi’s ferocity by transferring the same into Gold earrings. Adi Shankarcharya is known to have made two sets of earrings called Tatankam, a pair of powerful Sri Chakra Yantra studs adorning both the ears of the Goddess, which one can find in the ears of Mother Akhilandeswari.

The Legend of the - 'Thiru Aanai Kaa'


Once Devi Parvati, mocked at Lord Shiva’s penance for betterment of the World. Lord Shiva wanted to condemn her act and directed her to go to the earth from 'Kailayam' and do penance.

Devi Parvathi (Akilandeswari) as per Shiva's wish found 'Jambu' forest (Thiruvanaikoil) to conduct her penance. Devi made a Lingam out of water of river Cauvery under the Jambu tree and commenced her worship. The Lingam is known as 'Appu Lingam' (Water Lingam).

There were two Siva Ganas (Siva’s disciples who live in Kailash) by name 'Malyavan' and 'Pushpadanta'. Though they are Shiva Ganas they always quarrel with each other and fight for one thing or other. On top of all in one fight 'Malyavan' cursed 'Pushpadanta' to become an elephant in earth and the latter cursed the former to become a spider in earth.

Both the elephant and the spider came to Jambukeshwaram and continued their Shiva worship. The elephant collected water from river Cauvery and conducted Abhishekam to the lingam under the Jambu tree daily. The spider constructed his web over the lingam to prevent dry leaves from dropping on it and prevent Sunlight directly felling on Shiva.

When the elephant saw the web and thought that as dust on Lord Shiva and tore them and cleaned the Linga by pouring water. This happened daily. The spider became angry one day and crawled into the trunk of the elephant and bit the elephant to death killing itself. Lord Siva, moved by the deep devotion of the two relieved them from one other curse.

As an elephant worshiped the Lord here, this place came to be known as 'Thiru Aanai Kaa' (Holy Elephant Forest).

In the next birth the Spider was born as the King Ko Chengot Chola and built 70 temples and Thiruvanaikoil is the one among them. Remembering his enmity with the elephant in his previous birth, he built the Lord Shiva 'Sannathi'(Sanctorum) such that not even a small elephant can enter. The entrance on the sanctorum of Lord Shiva is only 4 foot high and 2.5 foot wide.

Closer View of Awesome  Temple Tower with colorful Sculptures Closer View of Awesome Temple Tower with colorful Sculptures

Thiruvanaikoil is also called as 'Jambukeswaram' and the Lord as Jambukeswara, Jambunathan and Jambulingam. The myth behind this is, there was a Sage by name 'Jambu Munivar'. He once got a rare and sacred 'Venn Naaval' fruit and he offered that fruit to Lord Siva. The Lord after eating the fruit spitted the seed.

Jambu Munivar took and swallowed the seed, as it is sacred as the seed came from the Lord’s mouth. Immediately a 'Naaval' tree began to grow in the Saint's head. The Saint prayed to Lord Siva that He should take his abode under that tree. Lord accepted and asked him to continue his penance in the forest on the banks of river Cauvery and said that he will one day come there and abode under that tree.

After many years Devi Akilandeswari worshiped Lord Shiva under that tree during her penance. Thus as he took adobe under the tree on Jambu Munivar he was called as 'Jambukeshwara' and the place is called as 'Jambukeshwaram'. Also thus the 'Venn Naaval' became the 'Sthala Vriksham' (Temple’s sacred tree). The Shiva Lingam is placed under the Venn naaval tree in this temple. Even today you can see that Venn Naaval tree at the temple, which is said to be many hundred years old.

A cook named Kalamegam, an ardent devotee of Siva had an appearance of Divine Mother Akilandeswari and Mother had spat chewed betal leaves into his mouth, which gave him wisdom and he went on to become a very famous Tamil poet named Kavi Kalamegam. We prayed to the mother to give us too some wisdom.

Sculpture of ThiruvanaikaA Sculpture in Thiruvanaikoil Temple

We took some photographs of the awesome sculptures in the temple and returned to the hotel room.
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Friday, September 4, 2009

Srirangam Ranganatha

Srirangam Renganatha

Srirangam is the abode of Lord Mahavishnu called here as Sri Ranaganatha Perumal. It is considered as the first, foremost and the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divyadesams). Srirangam is the foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines (Swayam Vyakta Kshetras) of Lord Vishnu.

Srirangam is the major pilgrimage destination for Hindus (especially Vaishnavites). Though the term Kovil is generically used in Tamil to signify any temple, for many Vaishnavas the term Kovil exclusively refers to this temple, indicating its extreme importance for them.

This temple is also known as Thiruvaranga Tirupati, Periyakoil, Bhoologa Vaikundam, Bhogamandabam. The temple at Srirangam boasts an historic past of great kingdom and a civilization thousands of years old.

srirangam_gopuram_in_goldGopurams (Towers) of Srirangam Temple

The temple is enormous in size. The temple complex is 156 acres in extent. It has seven prakaras or enclosures. These enclosures are formed by thick and huge rampart walls which run round the sanctum. There are 21 magnificent towers in all prakaras providing a unique sight to any visitor. This temple lies on an islet formed by the Twin Rivers Cauvery and Coleroon.

Srirangam Temple TowerSrirangam Temple Tower

Srirangam temple is the biggest functioning Hindu temple in the world as it covers an area of about 631,000 m². It is very near to Tiruchirapalli town in Tamilnadu, India.

This temple enshrines Ranganathar in the central sanctum, crowned with gold plated Pranava Vimanam or Paravasudeva Vimanam. A total of 7 concentric prakarams surround this shrine, housing several mandapams, tanks and shrines.

Srirangam Ranganathar is enshrined in a reclining posture (facing the South); while Namperumaal the festival deity in a standing posture is also housed in the main sanctum. There is a shrine in the fourth prakaram, housing Ranganayaki Taayaar.

srirangam_renganatha_temple-sculptureSculpture in Srirangam Renganathar Temple

Sriranga Mahathmiyam is the compilation of religious accounts of the temple, detailing the origins of its greatness. According to it, Lord Brahma, the Lord of Creation in Hindu mythology was once in a state of deep meditation and in His supreme trance received the gift of the Lord Vishnu's idol, "Ranga Vimana". He was told by the Supreme Lord that there would be seven other appearances of such idols on earth -- Srirangam, Srimushnam, Venkatadri (Tirumala), Saligram (Muktinath), Naimisaranya, Totadri, Pushkara and Badrinath.

The idol was then passed on by Brahma to Viraja, Vaiswatha, Manu, Ishwaku and finally to Rama. Lord Rama, himself an avatar of Vishnu, worshipped the idol for a long time, and when he returned victoriously from Sri Lanka after destroying Ravana, he gave it to King Vibhishana as a token of appreciation for the latter's support for Rama against his own brother, Ravana.

When Vibhishana was going via Trichyirapalli, now called as Tiruchy, en route to Sri Lanka, the Lord wanted to stay in Srirangam. Vibhishana wanted to do his daily Karma [Sandhyavandhanam] in the river Kaveri. In order to do this without placing the idol on the ground, Vibishana gave the idol to LordGanesh disguised as a cowherd boy.

SriranganatharSrirangam Renganatha

When Vibhishana was fully into the water, Ganesha placed the idol firmly on the sand on the banks of the Kaveri. Seeing this, the angry Vibhishana chased the boy to punish him, but the boy kept running and climbed over the rock near the Kaveri bank. Vibhishana finally caught the boy and hit him on the fore-head, upon which the boy revealed himself to be Lord Ganesha. Vibhishana immediately apologized and the Lord gave him his blessings after which Vibhishana continued on his way to Lanka leaving the idole in Srirangam.

The location where the Ranganathan idol was placed was later covered by an overgrowth of deep forests, due to disuse. After a very long time, a Chola king, chasing a parrot, accidentally found the idol. He then established the Ranganathaswamy temple as one of the largest temple complexes in the world.

According to historians, most dynasties that ruled the South India -- Cholas, Pandiyas, Hoysalas, Nayakkas -- assisted with renovation and assisted in the observance of the traditional customs. Even during periods of internal conflicts amongst these dynasties, utter importance was given to the safety and maintenance of these temples.

srirangam_rajagopuramSrirangam Gopuram

Interesting historical stories:

During the period of invasion by the Emperor Malik Kafur and his forces in 1310–1311, Namperumal (Urchavar idole) was stolen and taken to Delhi. In a daring exploit, devotees of Srirangam ventured to Delhi and enthralled the emperor with their histrionics. Moved by their talent, the emperor was pleased to gift them the idole Namperumal, which was requested by the performers.

Things took a drastic turn immediately. Surathani, his daughter, fell in love with the deity and followed him to Srirangam. She prostrated herself to the God in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum and is believed to have attained the Heavenly Abode immediately. Even today, a painting of "Surathani" (known as "Thulukha Nachiyar" in Tamil) can be seen in the Arjuna Mandap adjacent to the Sanctum Sanctorum for whom, "chappathis" are made daily. This greatly explains the secular nature of the temple and also its all inclusive nature.

srirangam_urchavamSrirangam Namperumal in Urchavam (Festival)

Having assumed that the magical power of the deity had killed his daughter, there was a second invasion to Srirangam in 1323 A.D. This time it was more severe. The presiding deity was taken away before the emperor's troops reached Srirangam by a group led by the Vaishnavite Acharaya, Pillai Lokacharyar, who died en-route to Thirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. The Goddess "Renganayaki" was taken in another separate procession.

Swami Vedanta Desika, instrumental in planning the operations during the siege of the temple, closed the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple with bricks, after the processions of the presiding deities had left -- thereby protected the temple for generations to come.

13,000 Sri Vaishnavas, the people of Srirangam, laid down their lives in the fierce battle to ensure that the institution was protected. In the end, "Devadasis", the dancers of Srirangam, seduced the army chief, to save the temple.

After nearly six decades, the presiding deity returned to Srirangam and the same Swami Vedanta Desika, who had built a brick wall in front of the sanctum sanctorum, broke it open. We learn that the deity of Srirangam had lived in the hills of Tirumala Tirupati for quite a long period of time.

It is not surprising to note that the temple and the life of the people, even today, are intertwined. The Lord is their Ruler and also their Child. It is believed that Sriman Narayana presently lives in Srirangam and not in His abode, Vaikuntham.

Srirangam Golden GopuramSrirangam Golden Gopuram

Srirangam cannot be discussed without mentioning the great Vaishnavite scholar of Ramanujacharya who attained divinity here. His "Swayam Thirumeni" (the symbolic body) is preserved and offered prayers even today after 8 centuries. His Shrine is found in the fourth "prakara" of the temple and his "Thirumeni" is preserved in the temple in a seated position, by applying saffron and camphor every six months in a ritualistic style.

Srirangam RenganathaSrirangam Renganatha

"Kovil Ozhugu" is a codification of all temple practices, religious and administrative, shaped and institutionalised by Sri Ramanuja after receiving the due rights from Sri Periya Nambi.

My self and my wife did prayers in the Srirangam temple Sanctum and at Sri Ramanujacharya shrine to have the harmony in the society and returned to our hotel room in Thiruchirapalli.

srirangam_renganatha_templeBeautiful carvings in the Srirangam Temple
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kanchipuram Kamatchi

Kanchipuram Kamatchi Aman Temple and TankKanchipuram Kamatchi Aman Temple and Tank

Kanchipuram is called place of thousand temples. It has 128 temples. Each temple is associated with Hindu Puranas and legends. Kanchepuram is also noted for its Silk Sarees. Best quality of Silk sarees is woven here. It is a land of God and talented workmen of silk sarees. It is 3 hours travel from Chennai to Kanchipuram. Hotels in Kanchipuram are very close by to temples and bazaar where you can get good quality Kanchipuram Sarees. Here we will cover some important temples in Kanchipuram.

Kamatchi Amman Temple:

Kamatchi with Shri ChakraKamatchi with Shri Chakra

Built in the 14th century by the Cholas, this temple is dedicated to Goddess Kamakshi - the presiding deity of Kanchi. Here, the goddess is worshipped in the form of a Shri Chakra placed in front of the idol. Shri Sankaracharya worshiped her and formed the Shri Chakra in front of the deity. It radiates and vibrates the power of the Godess to the visiting devotees.

Shankaracharya is said to have defeated Buddhist philosophers in debate here. He worshiped here at the end of his life and his life force merged with Kamatchi. It is one of the three holy places of Shakthi worship in India, the other two being Madurai and Varanasi. The temple has a golden "gopuram" in the centre. Kamatchi blesses the devotees with riches, knowledge, and vibrant energy to work and gives things required for a happy life to her visitors and devotees.

Kamatchi Aman Temple TowersKamatchi Aman Temple Towers

People consider a visit to her in full moon night bestows with all the riches they require.

Some interesting legends associated with the above two temples:

According to Devi Bhagavatam, the lord of the ganas, Chitrakarma creates the image of a man out of the burnt ashes of Love; the Love god Manmatha who tried to distract Shiva from meditation and got burnt by the power of agni (fire) from the third eye of Shiva. Shiva names the new image, Bhanda or Panda, teaches him a powerful mantra and gives him the boon of being one and a half times as strong as his enemy, and empowering him as ruler for sixty thousand years. By the power of this mantra, one could gain half the might of one's adversary.

Ekambareswarar Temple towerEkambareswarar Temple Tower

Unfortunately, because he was generated from the ashes of Shiva's wrath he is transformed into a fierce demon. Intoxicated with his new found power he proceeded to rampage the kingdom of the gods. Apprehending defeat and humiliation, there is nothing that any of the gods can do during the sixty thousand years when Siva is protecting Bhanda, but once this time has gone by, the gods try to find a way to destroy him and protect all the Celestials from the atrocities of a demon.

Devas in disguise of a parrot image together with the holy Trinity, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, summon the Divine Mother Adi Parashakti, Sri Lalita Ambika, in the form of Kamatchi. Legend has it that Kamatchi appeared in her ethereal form in a pit or cave (Bilakasa Swarupa) to save the Devas from Asuras agrees to stop Bhanda's efforts to overtake the city of the gods and destroy him.

Kanchipuraam Ekambareswarar Temple TowerKanchipuraam Ekambareswarar Temple Tower

The battle starts and gods rejoice in Kamatchi's growing success and worship her. Nonetheless, Bhanda is still alive and empowered. Sri Kamatchi Devi agrees to bless all of those worshiping her with progeny, fame, and virtue, among other things. As the city is being attacked by Bhanda, Kamatchi in the form of Parvati marries Lord Shiva, forming a strong allied army. At the same time, Kamatchi proclaims her independence while honoring her independence. Years go by and Kamatchi leaves her Consort to lead the army against Bhanda.

Bhanda does not regard an army of women as a serious threat, and laughs that Kamatchi is as soft and delicate as the flower. To Bhanda's dismay and the gods' delight, Kamatchi's army is very powerful. She is supported by strong women who work together to create unique weapons, particularly the noose and goad (which Lalita's icon often hold) in order to be successful. One after another, Bhanda's generals are defeated.

Kamatchi creates new gods to fight as the battle rages on, including Lord Ganesa, and he destroys many armies and Bhanda's brother. As a reward, Kamatchi grants him the right to be worshipped before all other gods. The battle rages on, all of Bhanda's family is killed, and finally he tries to save himself by creating powerful missiles to destroy Kamatchi. She is too powerful for him and sends Durga after him. Finally, it is a showdown between Bhanda and Kamatchi. She kills him using the kamesvara missile, which has an incredibly bright splendor. The deities praise Kamatchi for her courage and success. She agrees to bring back the god of Love, Manmatha and reunites him with his grateful wife Rathi Devi.

This myth shows how Kamatchi is the two forms of human nature simultaneously. She is able to be devoted to her Consort Siva, but to maintain the independence she needs to lead her army to war. She is fierce in her battles, but her most powerful weapons and warriors are created from her laugh and jubilance. Kamatchi shows people the way to deal with problems in their everyday lives. Her being is not an example for those who intend to lead an isolated life. Kamatchi shows how to live in balance, for people with numerous responsibilities. She demonstrates that it is possible to honor the family and other responsibilities, without disappointing anyone.

Another legend associated with this place:

Parvathi Meditating on SivaParvathi Meditating on Siva
While Lord Siva was meditating, Parvati playfully covered his eyes for a moment. This resulted in the earth being covered with darkness for years. This angered Siva who cursed Parvati to go to earth and do severe penance. She came to earth and created the earth linga and worshiped it under a single (eka) mango tree in Kanchipuram. Siva sent different obstacles to test Parvati’s sincerity. When he sent a flood, she clasped to the linga so tightly that imprints were made on it.

Here is an interesting story:
A beautiful maiden called Sati, who is also called Dakshayani; one of the daughters of Prasuti and Daksha, an ancient creator god, loved Shiva. But her father Daksha forbade her marriage to Shiva.
Daksha got revenge by performing Yajna without offering the first Prasada to Siva; he did not pay any attention to Sati, when she showed up for the Yajna. Sati declared to the assembled galaxy of gods, goddesses and Rsis that she was ashamed to own the body given to her by her father. She performed Tapas and the internal heat generated by the Tapas consumed her life. Having heard the death of Sati, Siva, in a fit of anger, pulled his matted lock and flung it on the ground and performed the dance of destruction (tandava nritya) with Sati’s dead body on his shoulder, in the form of Bhairava.
From the fulgurant lock emerged a being, scraping the skies and heavens with a thousand arms, with three eyes shining like the sun, dark complexion like a rain clouds, fierce teeth, a garland of skulls, matted locks resembling ropes of fire, and a host of weapons at the ready. That was Virabhadra, a part manifestation of Siva in his fierce form, together with 7 other beings called Muneeswaras. They immediately sought and received their mission which is to annihilate Daksha and his sacrifice. Daksha met his death at the hands of Virabhadra.
Siva picked up the body of Sati and wandered all over the universe. Vishnu seeing Siva in such condition sent his discus, which cut the dead body of Sati into several pieces, which fell all over Indian subcontinent. Wherever the body parts fell, that ground became sacred. The womb portion of Sati fell in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, which became the sacred site of temple (Sakti Peetha) for her in the form of Sr Kamatchi Amman.

Some more temples of interest in Kanchipuram:

Kailasa Nathar TempleKailasa Nathar Temple

Kailasanathar Temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. Iit is one of the earliest temples built by Rajasimha and his son Mahendra in the 8th century A.D. There are 58 small shrines situated round the main shrine. Fresco-style paintings adorn the inner walls of the shrines. Sandstone was used in the construction of this temple. It is the only temple at Kanchipuram which is not cluttered with the more recent additions of the Cholas and Vijayanagar rulers. Fragments of the eighth century murals which once graced the alcoves are a visible reminder of how magnificent the temple must have looked when it was first built.

Varatharaja Perumal TempleVaratharaja Perumal Temple

Varadarajar temple is a massive and impressive edifice. This is another Vishnu temple on Hastagiri rock at the end of the town. The Hundred-Pillar-hall erected during the Vijayanagar period in this temple is noted for its exquisite sculptures. The ornamental rings carved out of a single stone in a chain at the four corners are the special features of the hall. The riders on horseback, beautiful figures of Rathi and Manmatha, exquisite temple jewelery are other notable features. This temple provides a glimpse of a 16th century pillared pavilion with an exuberant workmanship.

Kumarasamy temple or Skantha Kottam in Kanchipuram is a temple for Lord Muruga. It is modern temple when compared to other old historical temples. Here the famous ‘Kanthasashti Kavasam’ adoring the Lord Muruga, son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi was written by an aminent saint called ‘Kumarkurupara Swamikal’.

The visit to the Kanchipuram is so memorable with some good Kanchipuram Sarees. Indians especially Tamilian ladies wear Kanchipuram Sarees on all important and auspicious functions. It is prestigious for them wear Kanchipuram Sarees. Even many foreign visitors to South India love to wear Kanchipuram Sarees.

Model in Kanchipuram SareesA Model in Kanchipuram Sarees

People of Kanchipuram hotels and the local people are very helpful in finding locating the temples and Kanchipuram Sarees shops.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tiruthani Murugan

Thiruthani Murugan Temple

Murugan worship is very popular with Tamil speaking people and especially in Nattukottai chettiyar and Thirunelvelli Pillaimar community. They commence anything with prayers to Lord Muruga. People in Nattukottai nagarathar community prefer to have Lord Muruga's and his consorts Valli and Theivanai's names as the names of their children. My life partners name is Valli.

Today we are visitingTiruthani Murugan temple, a famous Hindu temple, in South India on the way to Thirupathy from Chennai. It is one of the Arupadaiveedu, the six holy abodes of Lord Muruga.

The other five are;
Palani ,
Swamimalai ,
Tirupparangunram ,
Pazhamudircholai and
Thiruchendur .

Murugan with Consorts Valli and Theivanai

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Murugan married Valli, the daughter of a hunting tribe chieftain, here. The origins of this temple, like most Hindu temples, are buried in antiquity. This temple has been mentioned in the Sangam period work Tirumurugaatruppadai composed by Nakkeerar.

Murugan tricking Valli by posing as an old man, along with Ganesha posing as an elephant.
Image taken from the temple paintings drawn centuries ago.


Indra the king of the Gods gave his daughter Deivayanai in marriage to Lord Murugan, and along with her presented his elephant Airavatam as part of his dowry offering. Upon Airavatam's departure Indra found his wealth waning. Muruga is said to have offered to return the white elephant, however Indra bound by protocol refused to accept a gift that he had made, and insisted that the elephant face his direction, hence the image of the elephant in this temple also faces the east.

Peacocks mount of Muruga grassing with Cocks

Lord murugan fiercely fought with Surapadma at Tiruchendur and won the battle. He gave moksha to the Asuras Surapadma and Tharakasura. They were made as his mount peacock and as Cock picture in his flag.

He reached Tiruttani Hill to reduce his anger, that is why Tiruttani is called as Thanigai malai. Tiruttani is also known by many other names. That is Purnagiri, Kshanikachalam, Mooladri, Neelotpala.

As its very name indicates, when we propitiate our Lord in this holy shrine, He blesses us with mental peace and bodily happiness. His righteous indignation towards the asuras for their cruelty is said to have been quelled and cooled at this place which is, therefore, known as Shantipuri (Abode of Peace).

Another legend has it that Indra presented a sandal stone to Murugan as a part of his daughter Theivayani's dowry. The sandal paste made on this stone is applied to the image of Muruga and the applied paste is said to acquire medicinal value.

Legend also has it that Muruga bore the discus thrown by the demon Tarakasuran on his chest, and hence there is a hollow in the chest region of the image of Murugan in this temple. Legend also has it that Muruga gifted the discus to Vishnu. Murugan is also believed to have imparted knowledge of Tamil to the sage Agasthyar and he is regarded as Veeramurthy, Gnanamurthy and Acharyamurthy in this shrine.

Sage Agasthyar Muni (of Potikai Hill) worshiped Lord Muruga at Tanikai when he was blessed with the divine gift of the Tamil language.

In Dwapara Yuga, Arjuna got the blessings of Murugan here by offering prayers to Him on his way to the South for Teertha Yatra (pilgrimage to take sacred immersion). Lord Vishnu prayed to the Lord and got back His powerful Chakra (sacred wheel), Shanku (sacred conch), which were forcibly seized from Him by Tarakasura, brother of Soorapadma.

Lord Rama, after putting an end to Ravana, worshiped Lord Siva at Rameswaram and then came to Tiruttani to find perfect peace of mind by worshiping Lord Subrahmanya here.

Lord Brahma propitiated the Lord here at the holy spring known as Brahmasonai after his imprisonment by our Lord for his failure to explain the Pranava ('Om' mantra) and got back his creative function of which he was deprived by our Lord due to his egotistic impudence in neglecting to worship Lord Subrahmanya on his way to Mount Kailasa to worship Lord Siva.

On worshipping our Lord at Thanikai, the king of snakes Vasuki got his bodily wounds healed, which had been caused during the churning process in the Milky Ocean to secure the Amrita (nectar of immortality) by the devas and asuras when the Mantotra Mountain was used as the churning base and the snake king Vasuki as the rope.

Apart from its puranic greatness, Saint Arunagirinathar has praised this hill as the chosen place for worship by devas and the favorite abode of saints performing prolonged tapas. He also compared this hill to Sivaloka (Bhuloka) and as the very soul of the world. Sri Muttuswami Deekshitar, who lived 200 years ago (one of the trinity of Karnatic music) had his inspiration in Tiruttani when the Lord (in the guise of an old man) met him on the steps and sweetened his tongue with the prasadam of this temple, which impelled him to sing his first song on Lord Murugan of Tanikai.

Murugan In Thiruthani

When our Lord came to this hill after wedding Goddess Valli at Vallimalai, She implored Him to enlighten Her on the importance and greatness of this hill. In reply, our Lord said that if one worshipped Him with heart and soul for five consecutive days in this hill temple, that person would be blessed with all that is best in this life and hereafter.

Lord Indra planted and reared in the pool known as Indrasonai adjoining this hill temple the rare plant known as Karunkuvalai, which gave three flowers a day and worshiped our Lord thrice daily with these flowers and , thus, got back the precious wealth of Deva Loka such as Sanghaneeti, Padmaneeti, Chintamani, etc seized by the asura titan.

Nanda Devi worshiped our Lord here on the bank of the Nandi River and got His peerless initiation to realize the unique relationship between the soul (jeevatma) and God (Paramatma), which is the quintessence of Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, the choicest product of the Dravidian intellect according the pioneering dravidologist Dr. G.V. Pope.

Muruga taken in a specially made boat (Thepam) in the Sacred Tank

The sacred tanks of the shrines of Murugan are all known as Saravanapoikai ('sacred pond of the reedy marsh' where Lord Karttikeya was born). The tank at Tiruttani, which (unlike in other places) is at the very foot of the hill, is particularly renowned for its sacred water (teertham) having curative effect for ailments both bodily and mental, as it is rich in minerals such as sulfur, iron, etc. A bath in this holy tank refreshes the devotee and makes him hale and healthy to propitiate our Lord with faith and devotion.

We also got a dip in the Saravanpoikai with devotion. We got our wet cloths dried in near by Nattukottai Nagarathar Chattiram and climbed the hill to have darshan of Lord Muruga.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pooja In Sri Kalahasthi Temple

Sri Kalasthi town in dawnSri Kalasthi town in dawn

Pooja in Sri Kalahasthi Temple.

Pandit, who guided us to the Sri Kalahasthi temple told us that performing Dosha Pooja in the temple is very good for every one. So we reached the temple by 9 am and had darshan and did Pooja in time.

Sri Kalahasti temple, situated 36 km away from Tirupati is one of the Panchabootha temples representing “wind”. This is the only shrine for the God of Wind in India. Constructed in the 12th century by the Chola king, Rajendra Chola.

Temple Tower called GopuramTemple Tower

There is a lamp inside the inner sanctum that is constantly flickering despite the lack of air movement inside . The air-linga can be observed to move even when the priests close off the entrance to the main deity room, which does not have any windows. One can see the flames on several ghee lamps flicker as if blown by moving air.

The linga is white and is considered Swayambhu, or self-manifested. No one touches the linga including the priest. Abisheka (holy bathing) are made only to the 'Urchavar' and not to the main deity.

Sri Kalathiswarar
Sri Kalathiswarar

The temple site where Kannappa, one of the 63 Saivite Nayanars, was ready to offer both his eyes to cover blood flowing from the Siva linga. The Lord Siva stopped him and granted mukti.

Thinna (Later became Bhaktha Kannappa) plucked out one of his eyes and placed in the eye of Linga which was oozing with blood and tears. When the tears and the blood were still trickling from another eye, Kannappa decided to remove his second eye and placed one of his feet on the spot of the right eye of the Shiva Linga. Before he could pull out his second eye with the arrow, Lord Shiva appeared and restored his eye while granting him a boon to occupy a place close to him.

Kannapa being poor hunter he used to give meet of what ever animal he hunted that day to Lord Shiva as offering to the Lord in Pooja. Lord accepted it with love. But sages and learned scalars did not like it. They where complaining that Kannappa was polluting the holly place.

Lord Shiva tested the unshakable devotion of Kannappa before the sages gathered at SriKalahasti. Lord Shiva created a tremor and the roof tops of the temple began to fall. All the sages ran away from the scene except Kannappa who covered the linga with his body to prevent it from any damage. Then the sages recognized the devotion of Kannappa towards the Lord.

The temple is also associated with Rahu and Kethu (of the nine grahams or celestial bodies in the Indian astrological scheme). Prayers to Rahu and Kethu here helps one to get a good life partner. Everyday there is big crowd for this pooja. Even though I am married, myself and my wife too performed the pooja to get a loving bondage for ever between us.

Temple Tower In duskTemple Tower In dusk (6.15 pm)

Other Legends:

Sri Kalahasti is named after the staunch devotees of Lord Shiva. They were the Spider (Sri), the Serpent (Kala) and the Elephant (Hasti). Appeased with their unflinching devotion, Lord Shiva gave them a boon that their names be merged with the Vayulinga and called as Sri Kalahasteeswara.

One day, the spider had built a very big and thick web around the deity to protect it from dust and weather while the snake places its gem. The elephant not knowing this and assuming that this form of pooja by Sri and Kala is a desecration by the seeming miscreants, pours water on it and cleans it up. This causes a war between the three. The snake punishes the elephant by entering its trunk and in the process kills itself while the elephant runs amok and hits its trunk and head against the shiva linga. During this struggle, the spider is squashed against the linga by the elephant's trunk and the elephant dies due to the snake's poison. Lord Shiva then appeared and gave moksha to all three of them for their selfless devotion. The spider takes rebirth as a great king while the elephant and the snake reaches heaven for satisfying all its karma.

This king continues his good work from his previous birth and builds a variety of temples that seeks to protect the underlying deity with tons of stones. It is interesting to note that all his temples, keep the deity beyond the access of an elephant. In this temple, access to the deity is through a narrow passage in the side of the building that prevents an elephant from extending its trunk over the lord from any side.

Having got the blessings of Vayu (wind) God Sri Kalahasteeswara through the special Pooja we went to Thiruthani Murugan Temple. In the next post we will meat in Thiruthani, where Lord Shanmuga with his consorts Valli and Devayani blesses the devotees with all riches in life.

Sri Kalathiswarar with ConsortSri Kalathiswarar with Consort
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thirupathi Venkatesa Stotram

Thirupathy Venkatesa Original PhotoThis is a rare photograph of Thirupathi Venkatesa. Only twice the main deity has been captured in picture. This is one of it. You are lucky to have it. Share it with your friends.

Lord Venkatesa and Sri PadmawathyLord Venkatesa and Sri Padmawathy

Thirupathi Venkatesa Stotram:

In whatever form you praise the Thirupathy Lord the net result is prosperity to you. Here is another Song praising the Thirupathi Venkatachalapathy. Read it and get the blessings of Thirupathi Lord.

Thirupathi Venkatesa

Sri Venkatesa Stotram with English Translation:

vijayi bhava!venkata sailapate.

Lord of Venkatachala! One whose matchless blue body is ever rendered red by the saffron on the breasts of Kamala (called Sridevi); One whose eyes are broad like the petals of the lotus.

Thirupathi Venkatesa2
pramukhakhila-daivata-maulimane! sarangatavatsala!saranidhe! paripalaya mam vrsa-sailapate.

The crest-jewel of all Gods like Brahma, Kumarasvami and Maheshwara! The Compassionate One to those seeking protection! Protect me, O Lord of Vrsasaila!

Thirupathi Venkatesa3
ativelataya tava durvisahair-
anuvela-krtair aparadha-sataih,
bharitam tvaritam vrsa-sailapate! paraya krpaya paripahi hare.

Lord of Vrsasaila! May Thou (O Hari!) with Thy extreme mercy protect me who has always committed various unendurable sins.

Thirupathi Venkatesa4
satakoti-vrtat smarakoti-samat,
prati-vallavikabhimatat sukhadat
vasudeva-sutan na param kalaye.

I do not understand any one other than Krishna who is surrounded by innumerable cowherdesses (gopikas) who are enchanted by the sweet music of His flute; who equals the beauty of all the Cupids (Manmathas); who gives joy and is dear to each gopika.

Thirupathi Venkatesa
abhirama-gunakara!dasarathe! jagadeka-dhanurdhara! dhiramate! raghunayaka! rama! ramesa! vibho!
varado bhava! deva! daya-jaladhe!

Source of enchanting virtues ! Rama! The Matchless Archer of the Universe! The Steady-minded One! The Best of the race of Raghu! Ramesa! The All-pervading! The Ocean of Compassion! O Lord ! Grant us boons

Thirupathi Venkatesa6
mahaniyam aham raghuramam aye.

I seek refuge in Raghurama who does what Sita likes, who has a beautiful face like the Moon, who is like the Sun to put an end to darkness (Ravana the King of Demons), and who is exalted.

Thirupathi Venkatesa
sumukham suhrdam sulabham sukhadam svanujam cha sukayamamoghasaram,
apahaya raghudvaham anyam aham
na kathanchana kanachana jatu bhaje.

At no time and in no way, do I worship any one other than Rama,, who has elevated the Raghu race, who has a handsome face, a good heart, is easily attainable, has good brothers, has a beautiful body and whose arrows are unfailing.

Thirupathi Venkatesa8
vina venkatesam na nanatho na nathahsada venkatesam smarami smarami,
hare! venkatesa! prasida prasida
priyam venkatesa! prayaccha prayaccha.

There is no saviour other than Venkatesa. I will always pray to Venkatesa. O Hari Venkatesa! Be pleased and grant us favours.

Thirupathi Venkatesa
aham duratas te padambhoja-yugma-prana-mecchayagatya sevam karomi, sakrt sevaya nitya-sevaphalam tvamprayaccha prayaccha prabho venkatesa.

O Lord! Having come from afar, with a desire to salute Thy lotus-like feet, I serve Thee Venkatesa! Please give me the opportunity for this occasional worship.

Thirupathi Venkatesa10
ajnanina maya dosan
asesan vihitan hare!
ksamasva tvam ksmasva tvam sesasailasikhamane.

O Hari! The jewel-crest of Sesasaila! Pardon me for all the sins committed by me, an ignorant being.

The trip to Thirupathi was so memorable. With Thirupati Venkateswara in memories we are going to visit Sri Kalahasthi.

In the next post I will give you some interesting stories about Kalahasthi. Kalahasthi is a famous Shiva temple on the way to Thirupathy from Chennai. Meat you there in Thiru Kalahasthi.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Laksmi Sthuthi Sri Venkatesa Prapatti

LakshmiGoddess Lakshmiflower


Godess Lakshmi - Padmawathi Thayar

Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess consort of Lord Vishnu (Venkatesa). She Governs All form of Wealth and Success and the Paths, Means and Results of all forms of Prosperity.

She is the Goddess of Health , Beauty, Siddhi, Peace, Strength, Balance, Auspiciousness, Opulence and Wisdom.

She brings good luck, especially in business.

She in the form of Pthmavathy did thapas, sitting on a large and beautiful Lotus flower in Padmawathy Knuru. She got married to Lord Venkatesa (Vishnu).

Padmavathi Konaru - Lakshmi tankPadmavathi Konaru (Laksmi Tank)

She blesses the devotees with all prosperity.

Here is ‘Sri Venkatesa Prapatti’, a prayer song praising her and Sri Venkatesa Perumal. English translation is given for every verse.

Sri Laksmi Sthuthi Sri Venkatesa Prapatti

isanam jagato ‘sya venkatapater visnoh param preyasim tad-vaksassthala-nityavasa rasikam tatsantisamvardhinim, padmalankrta-panipallava-yugam padmasanastham sriyamvatsalyadi-gunojjyalam bhagavatim
vande jaganmataram.

I salute Goddess Lakshmi, who is the Queen of the Universe, who is the most beloved of Vishnu, the Lord of Venkatachala, who is fond of dwelling on His (Vishnu’s) chest, who is the promoter of His forgiving nature, who has hands decorated with lotuses, who is seated on a lotus in the posture of a lotus (called padmasana), who shines with virtues like mercy and who is the Mother of the Universe.


sriman!krpa-jalanidhe!krta-sarvaloka! sarvajna! sakta! nata-vatsala! sarvasesin, svamin!susila-sulabhasrita parijata!
sri-venkatesa! charanau saranam prapadye.

One who possesses Sri (wealth)! Ocean of Compassion! Creator of the whole Universe! The Omniscient! The Almighty! Affectionate to those that bow to Thee! The Principal of the animate and inanimate world! Easily attainable by persons of good conduct! the Divine tree (parijata) to those who seek refuge! Venkatesa! I stay at Thy feet.


saumyau sadanubhavane‘pi navanu-bhavyau
sri-venkatesa-charanau saranam prapadye.

I seek refuge at Venkatesa’s feet which add fragrance to the scent of the sweet-smelling flowers which decorate His feet up to His anklets, which are well-placed and handsome, which are always enjoyable even though they are ever seen.


sadyo-vikasi-samuditvara-sandraraga- saurabhya-nirbhara-saroruha-samya-vartam,
samyaksu sahasa-padesu vilekhayantau
sri-venkatesa-charanau saranam prapadye.

I seek refuge at Sri Venkatesa’s feet, and it induces us to compare His beautiful feet with lotuses that have just blossomed and emanate fragrance and red color. This comparison is hasty and not right as the feet of the Lord are several times superior to lotuses.


rekhamaya-dhvaja sudha-kalasatapatra- vajrankusamburuha-kalpaka-sankha-chakraih,
bhavyair alankrta-talau paratattva-chihnaih
sri-venkatesa charanau saranam prapadye.

I seek refuge at Venkatesa’s feet whose soles bear marks of the Supreme Spirit like the Banner, Pot of Ambrosia, Umbrella, Thunderbolt, Lotus, Divine Tree (Kalpa vrksa), Conch and the Disc which can be seen in the form of auspicious lines.


bahyair mahobhir abhibhuta-mahendra-nilau, udyan-nakhamsubhir-udasta-sasanka-bhasau
sri-venkatesa-charanau saranam prapadye.

I seek refuge at Venkatesa’s feet whose reddish soles surpass the luster of rubies (called Padmaraga) or red lotuses; whose appearance excels the brilliance of sapphires (called Indranila) and whose toe-nails outshine moonlight.


suprema-bhiti kamala-karapallavabhyam samvahane’pi sapadi klamam adadhanau, kantay avan-manasa-gochara-saukumaryau
sri venkatesa-charanau saranam prapadye.

I seek refuge at Venkatesa’s feet which, though massaged with love and apprehension by the hands of Lakshmi, are experiencing fatigue, and are yet very charming, the tenderness of which is not within the scope of speech or mind.


arunya-sankramanatah kila sandraragau
sri venkatesa charanau saranam prapadye.

I seek refuge at Venkatesa’s feet which have become extremely red on account of the union with the redness of the hands of the Divine queens like Sridevi, Bhudevi and Niladevi.


pratyupta-dipta-navaratna-mahah-prarohaih, nirajanavidhim udaramupadadhanau
sri-venkatesa-charanau saranam prapadye.

I seek refuge at Venkatesa’s feet which receives as it were, the grand nirajana (harati), through the luster of the nine gems studded on the crowns of Brahma, Siva and others who bow their heads every day before Him.


visnoh pade parama ity udita-prasamsau yau madhva utsa iti bhogyatayapy upattau, bhuyas tatheti tava panitala-pradistau
sri venkatesa! charanau sarnam prapadye.

Venkatesa! I seek refuge at Thy feet which are extolled (in the Rig Veda I.154.5) as 'Vishnu parame pade' (meaning 'in the most exalted abode of Vishnu); as 'madhava utsah' (meaning ‘the fountain of honey’); as extremely enjoyable; and which are indicated as such by the direction in which Thy palm points.


parthaya tatsadrsa-sarathina tvayaiva
yau darsitau svacharanau sarnam vrajeti, bhuyo’pi mahyam iha tau karadarsitau te
sri-venkatesa! charanau sarnam prapadye.

Venkatesa! I seek refuge at Thy feet which were shown (in your incarnation as Krishna) to the worthy charioteer, Arjuna, for him to seek refuge, and which, now on Venkatadri, are again pointed out by Thy hand for me to seek refuge.


manmurdhni kaliyaphane vikatatavisu
sri-venkatadri-sikhare sirasi srutinam,
chittepy ananya-manasam samam ahitau te
sri-venkatesa! charanau saranam prapadye

Venkatesa! I seek refuge at Thy feet which are placed in the same way: on my sinner's head, on the hood of the serpent Kaliya, in the thick forests, on the peak of Venkatachala, in the Upanishads and in the hearts of the sages who meditate on God. (It means Venkatesa is omnipresent).


sri-venkatesa! charanau saranam prapadye.

Venkatesa! I seek refuge at Thy feet around which the scattered flowers remain fresh. Thy feet which are an ornament of Venkatachala, delight the hearts and eyes of all.


matuh stanaviva sisor mrtayamanau, praptau paraspara-tulam atulantarau te sri-venkatesa! charanau saranam prapadye.

Venkatesa! I seek refuge at Thy feet which are to be seen at first by people who pay obeisance to them often; which are nectar like mother's milk to her child; which can be compared with each other, but incomparable with anything else.


saumyopayantr-munina mama darsitau te
sri-venkatesa! charanau saranam prapadye

Venkatesa! I seek refuge at Thy feet which are shown to me by the sage Manavala, the sage whose feet are always worshiped by Sattvic people (men of sattva guna) and whose mind and merciful glances enable mankind to cross the ocean of transmigration (samsara).


srisa! sriya ghatikaya tvadupayabhave
prapye tvayi svayam upeyatavasphurantya,
nityasritaya niravadya-gunaya tubhyam
syam kinakaro vrsagirisa! na jatu mahyam.

Srinivasa! When Thou art a means i.e., upaya (to the devotees for attainment of the Supreme Abode, i.e. Liberation), Lakshmi brings about this. When Thou become the object of attainment (prapya), Lakshmi appears to be so resorting to Thee always. Thou art of pure faultless qualities. I become servant to Thee and not to myself at any time.

Venkatesa Perumal with LakshmiThirupathi Venkatesa Perumal With Padmavathi (Lakshmi)
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