Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tirukkaanoor Semmeninathar Temple, Thanjavur

Tirukkaanoor Semmeninathar Temple, Thanjavur
Tirukkaanoor Semmeninathar Temple is a Hindu temple located at Thirukanur in Thanjavur district of Tamil NaduIndia. The historical name of the place is Tirukanurpatti. The place is also called as Manalmedu. The presiding deity is Shiva. He is called as Semmeninathar. His consort is known as Sivayoganayaki.

This is the 110th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 56th Sthalam on the south side of river Cauvery in Chozha nadu. Moovar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this temple.

Iraivan: Sri Karumbeswarar, Sri Semmeninathar
Iraivi: Sri Sivaloka Nayagi
Legends
Kshatriya dosha Relief by Parasurama:
Sage Parasurama is the son of Sage Jamadagni and Renukadevi.  During his absence, a king Kartha Veeryarjunan entered the ashram and took away the divine cow Kamadenu by force.  Coming to know of the incident, Parasurama set out in fury, killed the king along with 21 Kshatriyas and rescued the cow.  Thus, he incurred the Kshatriya dosha.  Parasurama worshipped Lord Shiva in this place bathing in the sacred spring and got relieved of the dosha.

Manalmedu:
This place was once ruled by the Pandyas. The Pandyas ruled though local Chieftains who ruled on behalf of the Pandyas. The local Chieftain here was very just and had taken good care of his subjects. The Cholas waged a war on the Pandyas and reclaimed some of the lost kingdom. During this time, the local Chieftain here was captured, while his wife was let off because she was pregnant. However, the Chola rulers also said that those who helped the woman would be banished from the Kingdom.
The lady who was in the advanced stage of pregnancy was not helped by anyone at Thirukkanur due to the fear of being thrown out of the kingdom. She was heartbroken and angered by the conduct of the very same people for whom they had done a lot. She cursed that the whole village be submerged by sand, and so it did happen. The villagers then moved a little further away to Vishnampettai and settled there. An ancient name for Thirukkanur is Manalmedu (mound of sand).
Penance of Parvathi:
Parvathi was once separated from Shiva and had come to the earth to perform her penance to unite with Him. She found this village at Thirukkanur suitable for the same. Pleased with her devotion, the Lord appeared before her as a column of fire. Due to the heat he was red in colour and hence he came to be known as Semmeninathar; sem meaning red and meni meaning body in Tamil. There is a belief that visiting this temple as a couple will clear all misunderstandings and result in a happy marital life. Reuniting with estranged spouse is also one of the benefits of praying at this temple.
Greatness of Temple
Mother of Karikala Cholan was hiding in this place to protect her son from the threats of enemies.  As there was no king for the kingdom, as followed in those days to choose a king, a royal elephant was sent with a garland to pick up person to head the kingdom.  The elephant came to Thirukkanur and chose the little boy Karikalan playing there, garlanded him, took him on its back in procession.  Thus Karikalan became the king of the Chola kingdom from this place. 

Significance
It is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams - Shiva Sthalams glorified in the early medieval Tevaram poems by Tamil Saivite Nayanars Tirugnanasambandar and Tirunavukkarasar. Lord Shiva is a Swayambumurthy. The rays of Sun fall on the Lord in Panguni-April 2, 3 and 4. The idol of Ambica is made of Salagrama stone.

The Temple
Three tier Rajagopuram is facing east.  There are shrines for Lords Vinayaka, Muruga with consorts Valli and Deivanai, Arthanareeswarar, Brahmma, Chandikeswara, Mahavishnu, Mother Durga, Nagar, Aiyanar, Sun, Moon and Naalvar the Thevaram-Tiruvasagam saints.

The Gurukkal is maintaining the temple in a very good condition. Moolavar is Suyambu. Moorthis of Naagar, Vishnu, Dharmashastha, Naalvar, Chandran and Suryan are in the Artha mandapam. Ambal Sannadhi is in a separate Temple. Pitchadanar, Kaalabairavar, Dhakshinamoorthy, Brahma, Durgai are the koshtamoorthangal.

Separate Sannadhis for Sri Valli Deivayanai Sametha Subramaniyar, Vinayagar and Sandikeswarar. Artha mandapam and the Ambal temples are added latter. Tamil inscriptions are found (completely painted not visible much) back side wall of Moolavar Sannadhi. Three tier Rajagopuram. There is an embedded sculpture of hare Moon and snake to represent the lunar eclipse, it is worth to note. There is no Dhwajasthambham.

The Shiva lingam here is one of the 64 Suyambu lingams. The Lord’s concert at this temple is Soundarya Nayaki and she is also known as Sivayoganayaki. The Ambal here has not got a crown but is seen to be having Jadamudi (long braided hair). The theertham here is Veda theertham. This temple is believed to be over 2000 years old. This temple was actually submerged in the sands on the banks of Kollidam. It was accidentally discovered by a shepherd. There was a single sugarcane tree at the spot where the temple was unearthed. Hence he is also known as Karumbeswarar; Karumbu meaning sugarcane in Tamil. This temple was originally built by the Pandyas and was later renovated several times by the Cholas.

The Great Chola King Karikala Cholan was hiding in exile here. Karikala Cholan’s father died when Karikala was very young. His mother raised him in this village to protect him from enemies. When political normalcy returned, the Chola courtiers sent the royal elephant in search of the young Prince. The elephant found him here. Karikala Cholan went on to become one of the most renowned of the Chola rulers.

The nandi at this temple is seen in a very unique posture. It can be seen with its front left leg planted on the ground and ready to get into a standing position. It is in a posture ready to execute instructions from Lord Shiva. Praying at this temple is said to improve career prospects and result in job for the unemployed.

This temple faces east and the sun rays fall on the lingam on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th of April. These days are special days at this temple when Lord Surya is believed to come here and worship the Lord. The sanctum sanctorum has the main deity in the form of Shiva Linga named as Karumbeswarar. There is a separate shrine facing the south direction dedicated to the Mother Goddess Soundara Nayaki. The sub-shrines of Ganesha and Skanda-Valli-Devasena, Chandikeshwarar, Nagas, Ayyanar, Surya, Chandra and Nalvar are found in the prakara.

Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 10.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 3.30 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. Devotees may contact the priest in Tirukattupalli on phone before visiting the temple.
Festivals
Surya Puja is very devotionally performed on April 2, 3 and 4 as a festive event in the temple. Special abisheks are also performed on Aavani Moola star day in August-September and on Thai Poornima day in January-February.
Prayers
Those facing delays in marriage, health problems, seeking child boon and for marital unity pray to Lord and Mother in the temple. Those ill perform archana to Lord Semmeni Nathar with Vilwa leaves.
Those facing delay in marriage worship the Salagrama made Mother with red flower garlands and light ghee lamps for early results. Those seeking child boon, perform abishek to Lord and Mother with Erukku flower garlands (this is a wild bush flower mostly grown on road sides). They also offer nivedhana of sweet items.
Literary Mention
The temple is praised by Saints Thirugnana Sambandar and Tirunavukkarasar in their Thevaram hymns.  This is the 56th Lord Shiva Temple on the northern bank of Cauvery praised in hymns.
Tirugnanasambandar describes the feature of the deity as:
விண்ணார்திங்கட் கண்ணிவெள்ளை மர்லை யதுசூடித்
தண்ணாரக்கோ டாமைபூண்டு தழைபுன் சடைதாழ
எண்ணாவந்தெ னில்புகுந்தங் கெவ்வ நோய்செய்தான்
கண்ணார்சோலைக் கானூர்மேய விண்ணோர் பெருமானே.
Tirunavukkarasar describes the feature of the deity as:
நீரும் பாரும் நெருப்பும் அருக்கனும்
காரும் மாருதங் கானூர் முளைத்தவன்
சேர்வு மொன்றறி யாது திசைதிசை
ஓர்வு மென்றில ரோடித் திரிவரே.
Contact
Sri Semmeninathar, Karumbeswarar Temple – Thirukkanur,
Tirukanurpatti, Vishnampettai, Thanjavur
Before going to this temple it is necessary to go along with Gurukkal, who has the key. Tirukkaattuppalli (Market area) Murugan Temple Gurukkal temple is looking after this Tirukkaanoor Shiva Temple also (Residence is very near Murugan temple). Phone number: 04362 320067 & Mobile: 9345009344.
Connectivity
Tirukattupalli is 25 km from Tiruvaiyaru. The temple in Vishnampettai is 5 km north of Tirukattupalli. Auto facility is available. Nearest Railway Station is located at Budhalur. Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.
This temple is located 6 Kms from Tirukkaattuppalli (Tirukkaattuppalli - Tirukkandiyur route) on the banks of river Kollidam beyond Vishnampettai Agraharam. It is advised to engage an auto at Tirukkaattuppalli to visit Thirukkanur.
There is no proper transport available to reach this temple.  Nearest village is Vishnampettai. From Tirukkaattuppalli one can reach the temple through rented cycle. From Tirukkaattuppalli, hire an auto to go to the temple.

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