Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tiruneelakkudi Neelakandeswarar Temple, Thanjavur

Tiruneelakkudi Neelakandeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
Tiruneelakkudi Neelakandeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple located at Thanjavur district of TamilnaduIndia. The historical name of Tiruneelakkudi is Thennalakudi. The presiding deity is Shiva. He is called as Neelakandeswarar. His consort is Oppilamulaiyal. It is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams - Shiva Sthalams glorified in the early medieval Tevaram poems by Tamil Saivite Nayanar Tirunavukkarasar.

Legends
Tiruneelakudi is the place to begin with as Mooladhara sthala for those following the Yoga Marga.  There are six Aadharas known as Mooladhara, Swadishtana, Manipooraka, Anagatha, Vishuddi and Aagna in the human body.  The efforts to raise the Kundalini Shakti begin from the Mooladhara.
When Sage Markandeya determined to escape death, Sage Naradha advised him to surrender to Lord of Tiruneelakudi to win the wish.  Markandeya scrupulously followed Narada’s advice and was deeply merged in penance. Lord appeared before him and asked what he wished.  As begged by the sage, Lord granted him Immortality – Chiranjeevi – boon to Markandeya.

As a token of his gratitude to his Lord granting him an endless lease of life, Sage Markandeya took Lord in a palanquin to Ilandulai, Enadhimangalam, Tirunageswarm, Tirupuvanam, Tiruvidaimarudur and Maruthuvakudi and other places.
Temple Speciality
Lord Shiva in the temple is a swayambumurthy. The first thought that strikes a devotee on hearing the name of Tiruneelakudi is the oil abishekam to Lord.  Pots and bowls of oil poured on the Shivalinga dries off then and there and it appears as if no such abishekam was done even for a year. There is no clue till now where the oil disappears.  The Shivalinga is ever rough on the surface despite such continuous oil abishek.  It is said that such large quantity of oil is used to bring down the poisonous effect on his neck (Neelakanda) when he devoured the Halakala poison that emerged when the milk ocean was churned to protect the world.

With the Vilwa tree –Pancha Vilwa tree - with its five petals, the jack tree in the temple has also its own sacredness.  The fruit should be cut and offered to Lord as nivedhana and then only taken to homes by the devotees.  Taking them direct without offering to Lord will end in some punishment.  It is proved by experience to those who wanted to test this condition.
This is the sacred place where Sage Markandeya was blessed with immortality.  Mother Dhakshayani attending the Yajna of Daksha against the wishes of Lord, performed penance here and joined Lord again in this sacred Tiruneelakudi. Lord Brahmma, Sages Vasishta, Devakanda, Surapadma and Kamadenu the divine cow worshipped Lord Neelakandeswarar and got relieved of their curses.  

Saint Appar sung his soul touching Thevaram hymns.  It is mentioned in the Sthalapuranam – local history – that while Appar sung the ‘Kallinodu Avan Kayyar’ hymn meaning ‘when tied with the stone’ he mentioned only Lord Neelakandeswarar of the temple.  The story of Appar thrown into the sea by the Jain backed king into the sea tied with a stone and the very stone becoming a floating cork taking Appar to the shore unharmed is an outstanding experience of a devotee saved by Lord Shiva.  It is an epic by itself.
The Temple
The temple has two Ambica’s – Oppilamulaiyal (Anupamasthini) and Bhaktabeeshta Pradayini in penance posture.  Lord Vinayaka in the temple is praised as Nardana Ganapathi.

Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. and 8.00 p.m.
Festivals
18 day Chithirai Brahmotsavam in April – May established by Sage Markandeya with procession of Lord not only around Tiruneelakudi but also around the surrounding 18 villages each day and considered very important among the devotees ending at Elandurai (Pavundarikapuram) village; Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January; Aadipooram in July-August; Karthikai in November-December are the main festivals of the temple. Also other days of importance as monthly Pradosha days, Deepavali, Pongal, Tamil and English New Year days are celebrated in the temple with special Pujas and Aaradhanas, Abishek etc.
Prayers
Couple separated due to various reasons prays to Lord Neelakandeswarar for their re-union and a renewed family life.  The also pray for longevity and perform remedial pujas to Lord for relief from the adverse aspects planet Rahu.  Many pray for wedding, child, mental peace, job opportunities and success in trade efforts.
Oil abishek is the most important commitment in this temple along with milk, curd, green coconut, sandal, sacred ash, flour, turmeric powder. Devotees also offer vastras to Lord and Mother. Some undertake feeding-Annadhanam.
Singers
Saint Tirunavukkarasar – also Appar – had sung the glory of Lord of the temple in his Thevaram hymns.  This is the 32nd Shiva temple on the southern banks of Cauvery praised in Thevaram hymns.
Contact
Sri Neelakandeswarar Temple,
Tiruneelakudi-612 108, Tiruvidaimarudur Taluk,
Thanjavur district
Phone: +91 435 246 0660, 94428 61634
Connectivity
Tiruneelakudi is 15 km from Kumbakonam on the Karaikal road. Bus facility is available from Kumbakonam. The temple is located on the road side at Tiruneelakudi on the Kumbakonam - Karaikkal road. From Mayiladuthurai, travel upto Aduthurai on the way to Kumbakonam, and then take a branch road from there to reach Tiruneelakkudi (3 Kms. from Aduthurai). Thenkurangaduthurai, another Paadal Petra Shivasthalam is located at Aduthurai. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kumbakonam & Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.

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