Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Tamilnadu State
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram (Chidambaram Thillai Natarajar-Koothan Kovil or Chidambaram temple) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. The temple is known as the foremost of all temples (Kovil) to Saivites and has influenced worship, architecture, sculpture and performance art for over two millennium. The temple is referred to in all devotional literature as Bhooloka kailasam, or kailasam, the Lord Shiva's abode that manifests on earth. The Sangam classics list chief architect Viduvelvidugu Perumtaccan as directing an early renovation of the shrine.
A major shrine of Shiva worship since the classical period, there have been several renovations and offerings to Chidambaram by the Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Vijayanagara and Chera royals in the ancient and pre-medieval periods. The temple as it stands now is mainly of the 12th and 13th centuries, with later additions in similar style. Its bronze statues and stone sculptures depicting various deities and the famous Thillai trees (Excoecaria agallocha) of the surrounding forest reflect the highpoints of early Chola and Pallava art while its famed gold plated gopuram towers are medieval structural additions by the royals Aditya I, Parantaka Chola I, Kopperunchinga I, Krishnadevaraya and Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan. King Kocengannan Chola was born following prayers his parents offered at the temple and later in his life he refined its structure. The shrine gave the town its name.
The deity that presides here is கூத்தன் - Thillai Koothan (Thillai Nataraja - Shiva, Lord of Dance). Chidambaram is the birthplace of the sculpture and bronze image representation of Shiva as the cosmic dancer, a Tamilian concept and motif in Chola art that has since become notable as a symbol of Hinduism. The shrine is the only Shiva temple to have its main deity represented in this anthropomorphic form, as the supreme being who performs all cosmic activities. The consort deity here is Sivakami Amman (form of Amman - mother goddess and female energy). Two other forms of Shiva are represented close to this in the vimana (inner sanctum) of the temple - as a crystallised lingam - the most common representation of Shiva in temples, and as the aether space classical element, represented with empty space and a garland of fifty one hanging golden vilvam leaves (Aegle marmelos). Shiva is captured in pose as Nataraja performing the Ananda Tandava ("Dance of Delight") in the golden hall of the shrine Pon Ambalam (பொன் அம்பலம்). The sculptures of Chidambaram inspired the postures of Bharatha Natyam. The Chidambaram complex is admired for its five famous halls (ambalam or sabhai), several grand smaller shrines to the Hindu deities Ganesh, Murugan, Vishnu and Sivakami Amman which contain Pandyan and Nayak architectural styles, and for its endowment from many water tanks, one of which links it to the Thillai Kali temple.
Chidambaram is one of the five Pancha Bootha Sthalams, the holiest Shiva temples each representing one of the five classical elements; Chidambaram represents akasha (aether). Chidambaram is glorified in Tirumular's Tirumandhiram and was visited by Patañjali and Pulikaal Munivar. It is the primary shrine of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams - Shiva Sthalams glorified in the early medieval Tevaram poems by Tamil Saivite Nayanar saints Tirunavukkarasar, Thirugnana Sambandar and Sundarar. Hailed in the Tiruvacakam series by Manikkavacakar, these very volumes of the Tirumurai literature canon were themselves found in secret chambers of the temple. The Periya Puranam, a biography of these Nayanar saints by Sekkizhar commissioned by emperor Kulothunga Chola II, was written in the shrine's Thousand Pillared Hall. In Kanda Puranam, the epic authored by Kachiyappa Sivachariar of Kanchipuram, the Chidambaram shrine is venerated as one of the three foremost Shiva abodes in the world, alongside Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee and Mount Kailash.
The traditional name of the temple complex, Chidambaram Tillai Nataraja-koothan Kovil, alludes to the environment of its location and its origins and significance in Saivite worship. The mangrove of ancient Tillai (தில்லை) trees (Exocoeria agallocha) of the forest surrounding the shrine when it was first built inspired the shrine's name and early artistic inspiration; the Tillai trees of the nearby Pichavaram wetlands, the second largest mangrove in the world, extends to the temple area. The shrine is venerated as Tillai ambalam (தில்லை அம்பலம் ), literally meaning Tillai Open Stage, the open space surrounded by Tillai Vanam (தில்லை வனம்) (the Tillai forest) - the original name of this area. The name of the town of this shrine, Chidambaram comes from the Tamil word Chitrambalam (சிற்றம்பலம்) - "small hall/stage"; also spelled Chithambalam (சிட்டம்பலம்), from citt/chitthu and ambalam - meaning "wisdom of this open stage/atmosphere". The shrine is where some devotees believe they will attain liberation, or chitaakasam - "wisdom/consciousness of the sky". "Nataraja" or "Koothan" mean "Lord of Dance".
LegendThe story of Chidambaram begins with Shiva strolling into the Thillai Vanam (vanam meaning forest and thillai trees - botanical name Exocoeria agallocha, a species of mangrove trees - which currently grows in the Pichavaram wetlands near Chidambaram). In the Thillai forests resided a group of sages or 'rishis' who believed in the supremacy of magic and that God can be controlled by rituals and mantras or magical words. Shiva strolled in the forest with resplendent beauty and brilliance, assuming the form of Bhikshatana, a simple mendicant seeking alms. He was followed by his consort, Vishnu as Mohini. The sages and their wives were enchanted by the brilliance and the beauty of the handsome mendicant and his consort. On seeing their womenfolk enchanted, the rishis got enraged and invoked scores of serpents (nāgas) by performing magical rituals. Shiva lifted the serpents and donned them as ornaments on his matted locks, neck and waist. Further enraged, the sages invoked a fierce tiger, whose skins and dons were used by Shiva as a shawl around his waist and then followed by a fierce elephant, which was devoured and ripped to death by Shiva (Gajasamharamurthy).
The rishis gathered all their spiritual strength and invoked a powerful demon Muyalakan - a symbol of complete arrogance and ignorance. Shiva wore a gentle smile, stepped on the demon's back, immobilized him and performed the Ánanda Tandava (the dance of eternal bliss) and disclosed his true form. The sages surrender, realizing that Shiva is the truth and he is beyond magic and rituals.
PatronageTo Saivites, the very word koil refers primarily to Chidambaram Tillai Natarajar, popularly known as bhooloka kailasam or kailasam that stands on earth. In the same way, followers of Vaishnavism use the word koil to refer to Srirangam or Thiruvarangam - the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, in Tiruchirappalli.
Chidambaram is a temple complex spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city. The main complex to Shiva Nataraja also contains shrines to deities such as Shivakami Amman, Ganesh, Murugan and Vishnu in the form Govindaraja Perumal. Chidambaram's earliest structures were designed and erected by ancient craftsmen called Perumtaccan. The golden tiled roof for the Chit Ambalam (the vimanam) was laid by the Chola King Parantaka I(907-950 CE) following which he was given the title - Thillaiyambalathhukku pon koorai veiyntha the van (Tamil:தில்லையாம்பலதுக்கு பொன் கூரை வேய்ந்த தேவன், meaning the one who constructed the golden roof). In its floruit, kings Rajaraja Chola I(reign 985-1014 A.D.) and Kulothunga Chola I (1070-1120 A.D.) made significant donations to the temple. Gold and riches to the temple were donated by Rajaraja Chola's daughter Kundavai II while Chola king Vikrama Chola (1118-1135 A.D.) made donations for the conduct of the daily rituals.
Donations of gold and jewels have been made by various kings, rulers and patrons to the temple from 9th to 16th century - including the Maharaja of Pudukottai, Sethupathy (the emerald jewel still adorns the deity) and the British.
Naralokaviran, the general of king Kulothunga Chola I was responsible for building a shrine for child saint Thirugnana Sambanthar and installed a metal image inside it. He constructed a hall for recitation of Tevaram hymns and engraved the hymns in copper plates.
Temple structureThe temple is the only great temple complex to date mainly from the later Chola period, and contains the earliest examples of a number of features that are found in many later temples, including "the earliest known Devī or Amman shrine, vŗtta (dance) maṇḍapa, Sūrya shrine with chariot wheels, hundred-and-thousand pillared maṇḍapas, even the first giant Śiva Gangā tank".
A classical Shiva temple as per Agama rules will have five prakarams (closed precincts of a temple) or circuits each separated by walls one within the other. The outer prakaram will be open to the sky except the innermost one. The innermost one will house the main deity as well as other deities. There will be a massive wooden or stone flag post exactly in line with the main deity. The innermost prakaram houses the sanctum sanctorum (karuvarai in Tamil).
Chidambaram is also referred to in various works such as Thillai (after the Thillai forest of yore in which the temple is now located), Perumpatrapuliyur or Vyagrapuram (in honour of Saint Vyagrapathar, Sanskrit: Vyaghrapada - "Tiger-Footed").
The temple is supposed to be located at the lotus heart of the Universe: Virat hridaya padma sthalam.
This gold-roofed stage is the sanctum sanctorum of the Chidambaram temple and houses the Lord in three forms:
- the "form" - the anthropomorphic form as an appearance of Nataraja, called the Sakala-thirumeni.
- the "semi-form" – the semi-anthropomorphic form as the Crystal linga of Chandramaulishvara, the Sakala-nishkala-thirumeni.
- the "formless" – as the space in Chidambara-rahasyam, an empty space within the sanctum sanctorum, the Nishkala-thirumeni.
Mayiladuthurai,Mayiladuthurai is a town in the Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Mayiladuthurai taluk of Nagapattinam district and is the second-largest town in the district. Mayiladuthurai is situated at distance of 281 kilometres south-west of Chennai, 70 kilometres north-east of Thanjavur and 40 kilometres north-west of Karaikal.
Mayiladuthurai gets its name from the peahen form in which the Hindu goddess Parvathi worshipped the god Shiva at this place. It was formerly known by its Sanskrit names Māyavaram and Mayūram (English translation: Peacock town). The town is one of the 274 Saiva holy places in the world.
Mayiladuthurai is of considerable antiquity and cultural and religious significance. The town must have originated in the Medieval Chola period though there are suburbs which predate the town itself. Mayiladuthurai was ruled by the Early Cholas, Medieval Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire, Thanjavur Nayaks and the Thanjavur Marathas before it was annexed by the British East India Company along with the rest of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom in 1799. It rose to be an important town during British rule when it formed a part of Tanjore district. The town was constituted as a grade III municipality in the year 1866. Currently, Mayiladuthurai forms a grade I municipality.
The town is situated on a flat plain on the banks of the Kaveri River and is surrounded by paddy fields. The town is situated on the northern border of the Chola Nadu region of Tamil Nadu.
ayiladuthurai gets its name from the Mayura or Mayil (peacock) form in which the Hindu goddess Parvathi worshipped the Hindu god Shiva at this place. While previously known by its Sanskrit name Mayuram meaning "peacock town", the town has been recently de-Sanskritized to its Tamil translation Mayiladuthurai as a result of a petition by the Mayuram municipality to the Government of Tamil Nadu in the wake of the Dravidian Movement. The Mayuranathaswami Temple dedicated to the goddess Parvathi is one of the most important Hindu temples in the town. There is a statue depicting goddess Parvathi in a peahen form worshipping a linga, the symbol of the god Shiva to the west of the eastern wall of the temple.
Mayiladuthurai is one of the 274 holy places mentioned by the Saivite saints called Nayanmars in their songs.
HistoryMayiladuthurai is of great antiquity, its oldest extant temples dating to the time of the Medieval Cholas. The region, itself, however, is known to have been inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. Sherds of megalithic black and red ware have been found at Akkur, 14 kilometres to the east of Mayiladuthurai. In 2006, artifacts with Indus Valley signs dated between 2000 and 1500 BC were found at the nearby village of Sembiyankandiyur
There have been references to Mayiladuthurai in the works of the 7th century Saivite saint Campantar. The Thanjavur Nayak king Raghunatha Nayak constructed mandapams in Mayiladuthurai. During the 17th and 18th centuries AD, Mayiladuthurai was ruled by the Thanjavur Marathas who invited Brahmins from the Telugu, Kannada and Maratha countries to settle in the region and gave large amounts of land to them. In 1799, Mayiladuthurai, was ceded to the British East India Company, along with the rest of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, by the Thanjavur Maratha ruler Serfoji II.
According to local folklore, Mayiladuthurai was associated with Hindu holy men called "Sithars To this day, a neighbourhood of Mayiladuthurai is called Sitharkadu.
The Mayuranathaswami and Dakshinamoorthi temples are built in the Dravidian style of architecture. The Mayuranathaswami Temple was built during the time of the Medieval Cholas and is 719 feet long and 52 feet wide The gopuram at the eastern entrance is 164 feet high ] The idol of the Hindu goddess Durga in the temple is considered to be one of the best. Within the Mayuranathaswami temple, there is a carving of a devotee of Shiva trying to cut off his own head as an offering to the God. The oldest inscriptions in the shrine date to the reign of Kulothunga Chola I The temple is maintained by the Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam. The Dakshinamoorthi shrine houses an idol of the God Dakshinamoorthi mounted on a Nandhi. There is another idol of Nandhi at the bathing ghat on the Cauvery River. The Punukeeswarar Temple at Kornad and Sri Kasi Viswanathaswami Temple are the other important Hindu temples in Mayiladuthurai. There is a Vishnu temple at Thiruvilandur on the northern banks of the Cauvery.
An yearly dance festival called the Mayura Natyanjali is conducted within the precints of the Mayuranathaswami Temple by the Saptasvarangal Trust during Maha Shivaratri on the pattern of the Chidambaram Natyanjali festival
Transport and communication
Thirumanancheri (Thiru Manam Cheri) is a village located near Cauvery River in Nagapattinam district as per HolyIndia.Org/Temple/Thirumanancheri. The village name comes from the god Shiva. Thiru Manam mean marriage; cheri denote the village or hamlet. Almighty married Parvathi at this place so the village is called marriage village(ThiruMamamCheri). The above writings comes from the Holy Website HOLYINDIA ORG.
Thirumanancheri.info website provides lot of information about the temple, pooja timings, temple office contact details and a brief video about the temple and the speciality of the pooja.
Sri Kalyanasundareswarar swamy Temple
Thirumanancheri is one among the popular temples of Lord Shiva, which resides in Nagai District, Mayiladuthurai Taluk, Near Kuttalam. The Nearest Railway station is Kuttalam. It is very near to Kumbakonam and Mayiladuthurai. Nearest Railway Junction is Mayiladuthurai.
As per the legend. This famous temple helps to overcome the obstacles of Marriage . So many people are visiting to the temple and benefited. In the Temple, there is a special pooja for the person who seek for a nice partner. After the Marriage the Couple have to visit the temple to return or dispose the Prasatham in the Temple pond.
Temple Time : 6.00am - 12.00 noon & 3.00pm - 8.00pm
Railway Route : Mayiladuthurai Junction, or Kumbakonam Junction is near by.
Bus Route : From Chennai, Pondhicherry - Cuddalore - Chidambaram- Mayiladuthurai - Kuttalam- Thirumanancheri. (Buses to Thirumanancheri are available from Kuttalam and Mayiladuthurai, Mini Buses are available from Kuttalam.)
Prananadeswarar Temple, Thirumangalakudi
Prananadeswarar Temple is located in the village of Thirumangalakudi, 2 kilometres from the Aduthurai is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is glorified by the hymns of Appar.
The TemplePrananadeswarar temple, a very ancient one is situated in the village Thirumangalakudi near Kumbakonam.
The presiding deity is Prananadeswarar (Shiva) and the Goddess, Mangalambigai (Parvathi). The main deity is believed to be Swayambu Lingam(self formed).
Sooriyanar Temple, dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun god is near by. It is believed to worship the deity here before visiting the Sooriyanar Temple as it provides prosperity, curing the effects of Navagrahas.
Around 6 inscriptions are found in the temple from the Cholas, Pallavas and Vijayanagara kings.
UniquenessThe unique feature of this temple is that all the presiding deities are named Mangalam, indicating prosperity.
Theertham (Temple Tank)
LegendThe temple is glorified by Tevaram hymns The temple is believed to have been built by a minister of Kulothunga chola1 with the tax money amassed. This invited the wrath of the king and he ordered punishment to the minister. The minister's wife worshipped Mangalambigai (Parvathi) of this temple to save her Mangalyam (holy tie worn by married woman). The minister was punished and his corpse was brought to Tirumangalakudi. The moment it reached the place, he got his life back due to the effect of the presiding deity. From then on, the place is believed to provide aegis to Mangalyam. Also when Navagrahas were cursed to have leprosy by Brahma for relieving a saint from leprosy as they do not have authority to change destiny, Brahma asked them to go to thirumangalakkudi and pray Kol Vinai Theertha Vinayagar (Ganesh who absolved sins of planets)to be absolved from their sins.
LocationThe temple is located in the village of Thirumangalakudi, 2 kilometres from the Aduthurai and 16 km from Kumbakonam. There are lot of other famous temples located nearby.
The sun temple " sooriyanarkovil" is around 0.5 km from this temple, Sukran temple "kanjanoor" around 2 km, Viswanathapuram vishalakshi amman temple around 3 km from thirumanagalakudi, Thiruppanadal kasi mutt and sivan temple around 6 km, Aduthurai sivan temples around 2 km, and Thirumanancheri - holy place around 10 km to resolve the obstruction or delay in wedding.
Thenkurangaduthurai Temple, AdhuthuraiTen Kurangaadutrai Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the village of Aduthurai, Tamilnadu, India. The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Tirugnana Sambandar and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.
The TempleThe temple is located 12 km away from Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam- Mayiladuthurai road. The village has thralling streets. The best mode is taking town buses from Kumbakonam. The Aduthurai railway station is also close by to the temple. The temple is surrounded by vast streets on all the four sides.
Thirunageswaram Temple (near Kumbakonam)
Temples at ThirunageswaramThere are two major temples at Thirunageswaram. One of them is the famous Vaishnavite temple of Oppliyappan (Oppliyappan Sannadhi), the other the Thiru Nageswarar or Naganatha Swami temple for Shaivites.
Naganatha Swami temple
Om Tat Sat
(My humble salutations to the great devotees , wikisources and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )