Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jakath Rakshaka Perumal Temple, Thirukkoodaloor, Thanjavur

Jakath Rakshaka Perumal Temple, Thirukkoodaloor, Thanjavur
Jakath Rakshaka Perumal Temple (locally called Aduthurai Perumal Temple) in Vadakurangaduthurai, a village in the outskirts of Kumbakonam in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Jakath Rakshaka and his consort Lakshmi as Padmasanavalli.

The temple is believed to have been built by the Medieval Cholas of the late 8th century AD, with later contributions from Vijayanagar kings and Madurai Nayaks. A brick wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines and bodies of water.

Jakath Rakshaka is believed to have appeared to sage Nandaka and King Ambarisha. Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Brahmotsavam, celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May–June), is the most prominent.

A natural conch symbol is found on the Jack tree – the sacred tree of the temple. The temple is also called by the names Jakath Rakshaka Perumal Temple, Thirukkoodaloor Temple, Vayyam Kaatha Perumal Temple, and Sangama Kshetram. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Thirukkoodaloor Divyadesam is referred in both Brahmanda Puranam and Padma Puranam. The presiding deity here in Thirukkoodaloor is Vaiyam Kaththa Perumal – Perumal Who preserves the whole Universe and also worshipped as Uyyandavar and Jagath Rakshagan. This is one of the Purana Sthalam and also Prarthana Sthalam. The temple is the Sangama Kshetram.

Etymology
As per Hindu mythology, demon Hiranyaksha fought with mother earth and went underground, called Patala. Vishnu was born as Varaha, an avatar in the form of a boar to pierce underground. He split the earth into two parts and brought the two back at SrimushnamThirumangai Azhwar quotes the incident and calls the village as Pugunthaan Oor, meaning the place where Vishnu went inside the earth. Since Vishnu protected the world here, he is called Jagath Rakshaka Perumal (in Tamil as Vaiyam Katha Perumal). The gap seen in the sanctum close to the image of Jagath Rakshaka is believed to be the centre point of earth and all Devas came together to worship him. Since it brought all of them together, an act referred in Tamil as Koodal, the village is called Thirukkoodaloor.

Legends
Story behind the Deity Name:
As per Hindu legend, King Ambarisha who immersed himself in the worship of Vishnu, failed to strengthen his army and lost his kingdom. While doing worship, he also did not observe the sage Durvasa who went along his way. The sage got irritated and cursed the king. The king surrendered to Vishnu for rescue who sent his discus to chase the sage. The sage surrendered to Vishnu and begged pardon. The king Ambarisha is believed to have built the temple and hence the presiding deity is also called Ambarisha Varadhar at this place.
River Cauvery cleansing:
All the holy rivers joined in Cauvery to cleanse themselves of the sins left on them by people.  Thus Cauvery had to bear the total sins of all.  She approached Lord Brahmma for solution who suggested that she pray to Perumal in this place for relief.  Thus Cauvery purified herself by the grace of Perumal in this place. 
Rescuing of Parrot by Lord Vishnu:
A parrot living in this temple complex used to pick a blackberry (Naval fruit) from a tree and place it at the feet of the Lord chanting Hari Hari.  One day, when it was bringing the fruit, a hunter shot it down, the bird fell chanting Hari Hari.  Hearing the parrot chanting the name of Lord, the hunter was scared and ran away from the place.  Lord Vishnu gave darshan to the parrot and reminded of its past birth as a scholar but a pedant and that it was cursed to be born a bird and that it remembered his name chanting it forever.  Lord relieved the parrot of its curse.  The message of the story is that salvation is open to those placing themselves at the feet of Lord chanting his glorious name. 
Gathering of Sages:
Vishnu is also believed to have appeared for sage Nandaka. Since all sages came here and prayed to Vishnu, the place is called Koodalur (Koodal means group).
Story behind the Vaiyam Kaatha Perumal:
Demon Hiranyaksha fought with Mother Earth and hid her under the world below-Padala Loka.  Lord rescued her back to her place with His Varaha Avatara. He split the earth for the purpose and brought back her at Sri Mushnam.  Remembering this event, Saint Thirumangai Azhwar praises this place as Pugunthaan Oor (Lord entered into earth).  As Lord protected the world (Vaiyam) from the demon, He is praised as Vaiyam Katha Perumal.
Greatness of Temple
Perumal in the temple appears as if always ready to come to the rescue of his devotees with his Chakra-discus. It is noteworthy that the sacred jack tree behind the sanctum sanctorum has a conch symbol as if naturally gown.  When the discus chased Sage Durvasa, the conch had all the prominence here and this symbol is related to the story. 

Worshipping this natural conch and the discus together ensures immense benefit to the devotee, it is strongly believed. Of the Navagrahas-9 planets, this place is linked with Ketu importance.  Sri Sheektha (Sri Sukta) Homa is conducted in the temple with 108 lotus leaves on full moon days.

During his Varaha Avatar, Perumal went deep into earth.  The gap between the two feet of Perumal in the sanctum sanctorum is considered the centre point of the world. 

The Temple
The temple is believed to have been built by the Medieval Cholas of the late 8th century AD, with later contributions from Vijayanagar kings and Madurai Nayaks. A brick wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines and bodies of water. The central shrine has the image of Jakath Rakshaka Perumal in standing posture. The shrine of the Padmasinivalli faces south.

The temple has a 3-tiered Rajagopuram (gateway tower). There are separate shrines for RamanujaAzhwarsAndal and Garuda. The vimana, the tower above the sanctum, is called Suddha Satwa Vimana. A chariot called Ambarisha Ratha, renovated by Rani Mangammal, was in use till the 1940s, after which it was not used. There is a statue of the queen in the temple.

Lord Perumal graces the devotees in a standing form. The temple is one among the Divya Desas of Lord Perumal. It is noteworthy that a conch symbol is on the Jack tree naturally left of the Lord’s shrine.

Actually this Divya Desam is completely washed out by flood and the Lord Came in the dream of Rani Mangammal, who was the Queen of Madurai and told her that the temple was disappeared inside the earth. On hearing this, Rani Mangammal ordered to take out the temple out of the earth and on her command only this temple was rebuild and taken care.

Sri Vayyam Kaatha Perumal is the presiding deity of this temple, stands facing the east direction, and also called by the names of Jeghathratshakan, Uyyavanthaar and Ambarisha Varadhar.

The temple is respected and glorified in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, and one hymn is sung by Thirumazhisai Alwar.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 7.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to7.30 p.m.
Pooja Timings
·        Ushathkalam Pooja – 7 a.m.,
·        Kalasanthi Pooja – 8:00 a.m.
·        Uchikala Pooja – 12:00 p.m.
·        Sayarakshai Pooja – 5:00 p.m.
·        Irandamkalam Pooja – 6:00 p.m.
·        Ardha Jama Pooja – 7:30 p.m.
Religious Significance
Jagath Rakshaka is considered the savior deity and he is believed to descend for all forms of life in the planet. The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by Tirumazhisai Alwar in one hymn. The temple is classified as a Divyadesam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the book.
The temple is associated with Ketu, one of the Navagrahas, the nine planet deities of Hinduism. While Vishnu sent his discus to chase the sage Durvasa, the other symbol of him, the conch, got prominence. The conch is believed to have appeared in the jack fruit tree behind the sanctum. Devotees worship the conch in the tree in the temple and during festive occasions, perform special rituals.
Festival & Religious Practises
The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. As at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavaite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day: Ushathkalam at 7 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:00 p.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 6:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 7:30 p.m.
Each ritual has three steps: Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Jakath Rakshaka and Padmasavalli. During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple.
The Brahmotsavam festival celebrated in the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May–June) and Vaikunta Ekadasi celebrated during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) are the major festivals celebrated in the temple. Srisukta Homam, a religious practice, is performed in the temple with 108 lotus leaves on full moon days. 10 day Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the temple in Vaikasi Visakam in May-June.
Singers
The Lord of the temple is praised by Saint Thirumangai Azhwar in his Mangalasasanam hymns.
Prayers
The devotees strongly believe that the very discus of Perumal would be a security to them if they surrender at his Lotus feet. Devotees offer sugar candy and butter to Perumal as nivedhana for prosperity and marital harmony.
Contact
Sri Vaiyam Katha Perumal Koil,
Tirukudalur,-614 202,
Thanjavur district
Phone: +91- 93443 - 03803, 93452 - 67501.
Connectivity
Tirukudalur is 22 km from Kumbakonam on the Tiruvaiyaru road. The temple is near the Aduthurai Perumal Koil bus stop. From Swamimalai, the temple is at a distance of 18 km.
By Air:
The nearest international airport is at Tiruchirapalli, which is 91 km (57 mi) from Kumbakonam.
By Train:
Kumbakonam is connected by rail with most important towns and cities in South India. The Mysore - Mayiladuthurai Express connects Kumbakonam with Mysore and Bangalore. There are regular express trains that connect Kumbakonam with all major cities.
By Bus:
There are regular government and private bus services to Chennai, Thanjavur, Mannargudi, Tiruchirapalli, Chidambaram, Nagapattinam, Coimbatore, Madurai, Pondicherry, and Tirunelveli. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates daily services from Bangalore and Mysore to Kumbakonam and other major places.

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