Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Prathyangira Devi Temple, Ayyavadi, Thanjavur

Prathyangira Devi Temple, Ayyavadi, Thanjavur
Prathyangira Devi Temple is a Hindu temple located at Ayyavadi in the Thanjavur district of Tamil NaduIndia. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Prathyangira, the incarnation of Kali. The sacred banyan tree in the temple has also leaves of other trees as Bodhi, Mango, Ichi and Purasu. Despite bags of chillies used in the Nikumbala yagna fire, the spicy smoke does not harm the attendees. 

This temple for Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi is situated in a small village called Ayyavadi around 6 kms from Kumbakonam. Located just 500 mts from Uppiliappan temple, this village was once called as Aivar Padi. According to legends, the 5 Pandavas visited this place, kept their weapons under a tree, worshipped Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi and went around in the forests. As the five Pandavas worshipped here, it is believed that the place was called as Aivar Padi which later changed as Ayyavadi.
Legends
Pratyangaradevi blessing Lord Rama:
The Ramayana story is popular among almost everybody not only the Hindus of India but among all people of the world.  Ravana lost his sons in the war against Lord Sri Rama barring only Indrajit known for his reputation in war craft even against Indira. Indrajit began performing the Nikumbala Yajna to defeat Rama and win the unjust war for his wicked father Ravana.
Kings, to win difficult wars in those days, used to create cremation grounds on eight directions and conduct the Nikumbala yajna invoking Pratyangaradevi known as Atharvana Kali. Indrajit began this yajna.  If he completed the yajna successfully, he would become unconquerable. Knowing his plans, Lord Sri Rama too performed special pujas to Devi.
Mother Pratyangaradevi knew the purpose of both sides. She did not want to help Indrajit as his purpose was unjust. She blessed Lord Rama with success in the war and in rescuing Mother Sita from the captivity of Ravana.  However, as Indrajit was also her devotee, she gave him space in the Ramayana story.
Pratyangaradevi accompanying Shiva to subsidize Narasimha:
Lord Vishnu took the Narasimha Avatar to kill the demon king Hiranyakasipu who is the father of Prahalada. After being so furiously fought with so much of power to kill the king, the anger and the fierce of Narasimha didn’t come down. With so much of hyper Narasimha couldn’t make out between good and bad people and started disturbing everyone and no one could control him. People prayed Lord Shiva to save them.
Lord Shiva took a new and more powerful form or Avatar as Sarabeswarar, with lion’s face and eagle’s wings. Shakthi accompanied Lord Shiva in the form of Sri Mahaprathyangira Devi seated on one of the wings of Sri Sarabeswarar. Sarabeswarar went and subsidized Narasimha’s anger to bring back peace. Hence both Sri Mahaprathyangira Devi and Sri Sarabeswarar are believed to be more powerful than any other powers.
Panchpandavas conducting Nikumbala Yagam:
During Mahabharata period, the Pandavas conducted the Nikumbala Yagam in this place to redeem their kingdom. As Panchpandavas performed the pooja together this place is named as “Aivar Paadi” (“Aivar” in Tamil means “five” and “Paadi” in Tamil means “praised”)and later came to be known as Ayyavadi. Pandavas planted a banyan tree which is even now worshipped as the Temple's "Sthala Viruksham". Even now one can observe the banyan tree having unique five different leaves which is seen only in this temple.
Significance
The temple is more than 1000 years old and is associated with legends of the Mahabharata. The idol of Prathyangira Devi is flanked by those of Lakshmi and Saraswati. Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi’s worship will take away all evil forces and unsolvable problems from one’s life. In this temple Homams are conducted every Full moon day and No moon day, after which huge volumes of Red Chillies are offered to the Goddess. Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi is an important Goddess in Shakthi worship. There is a Gayathri Mantra too for worshipping Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi.
Prathyankira and her moola manthram were discovered by 2 rishis in ancient times – they were Angiras and Prathyankiras, in whose honour the Goddess assumed the name of Prathyankira. She is also known as Aparajita. To lead a wealthy life without any fear of failure in business, delay in marriage, debts, fear of enemies, disease, accidents, graha dosha, witchcraft, etc and to lead a happy and fulfilling life one need to pray to Maha Prathyangira at Ayyavadi. 
The Goddess is fully described in the Holy Atharvana vedha, as the supreme goddess in the universe. The rituals (poojas) are performed by the Rishimunis of Prathyankiras and Angiras and hence the name "Prathyangira". This is the only temple described in the Vedhas and the Agamas. The Devi is usually seen as Simhavahini (seated on a lion), but in this temple Devi is seated in a Ratha which is pulled by four Simhas with Lakshmi and Saraswathi on both sides. Devi - Simha Mughi (Face of lion) having 18 hands armored with weapons to kill the evils and wearing mundamaalai (the garland of human skulls) is a sight to see.
This Temple was praised by Thirugnana Sambandhar Nayanmar in his "Thiru Kovai". The Devi fought with Narasimha (the Avatharam of maha Vishnu) and destroyed. At that time she was named as "Ugra Prathyangira". Subsequently, the Devas and rishis prayed & performed rituals for calming her down. Then she got the name of "Shri Maha Prathyangira".
The Yaga Gunda (a form specially arranged for the purpose) will have Vinayaka, Muruga, Sastha, Bhairava, Saraba, Soolini, Varahi, Sudharsanam the discus of Lord Vishnu and Mahalakshmi are installed around the Yaga platform in such places meant for them according to the Vedic rules. Centrally, Prathyangira Devi is installed. The puja is performed on the flames of fire called Homa and Nivedhana (offering) is offered. 96 varieties of things, fruits, and nine varieties of cereals, silk sari, and ghee are offered in the flames. Finally, large quantities of red chillies are poured on the flames. This is a very powerful puja-prayer.
Greatness of Temple
This is one of the Shiva temples praised in Thevaram hymns.  Saint Gnana Sambandar had praised Lord of this temple in his hymns. The presiding Lord of the temple Lord Agastheeshwarar is facing east.  Mother Dharma Samvardhini is facing south. Banyan is the sacred tree of the temple.
Pratyangaradevi with her Lion face and 18 hands and smiling face appeared from the forehead eye of Lord Sarabeswarar. She is dark in complexion wearing crescent moon on the head and holding trident, Pasam, Damarugam a leather musical instrument accompanied by Mothers Lakshmi and Saraswathy on both sides. 
The place itself is considered holy and called 'yagna Bhoomi'. (Place where yagna / homam is performed). During full moon day and new moon day a yagna called Nikumbala homam (yagna) is performed. Whoever performs or participates in yagna here are truly blessed and their genuine desires come true. Ill effects because of black magic and all other evil effects are removed if you participate here in the Yagna.
The temple conducts Nikumbala Yajna on all new moon days from 8.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.  Though bags of chillies are used in the yagna, the spicy smoke emanating from the Yajna fire does not create any inconvenience as coughing etc. to the attendees. This is indeed a wonder. 108 varieties of ingredients are used in the yajna as fruits, silk saris etc.  At the end of the yajna, abishekam is performed to Mother Pratyangaradevi and Lord Sarabeswarar with holy Kalasa (pots) water.  The devotee crowd on the yajna day is estimated to be around 40,000.
The Temple
The temple is not a big one, has one main praharam. The entrance is regulated through a metal shed with railings to control the crowds during festival days. As you pass through the shed like structure you enter into the praharam.

Prathyangira Devi is primarily conceived of as a fierce goddess capable of extreme rage and destruction incarnated to defeat the evil forces. She is considered to be a powerful force against the effects of black magic, voodoo and also a bestower of many boons to those who worship her with devotion.
The Vimana of the temple is of the North Indian temple design.  Mother Pratyangaradevi is facing north from her shrine.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 AM to 11.00 AM and in the evening from 4.00 to 8.00.
Festivals
Every New Moon day, “Nikumbala Yagam” is conducted from 8 am to 2 pm. During the yagna, about 30 Kgs of red chili is put into the sacred fire. But there will not be any smell, which is a specialty of this deity. Deities like Vinayaka, Subramanya, and Thriyambaga Rudra, Narasimha, Lakshmi, Navagrahas, Varahi, Bairavar, Sarabar, Choolini Durga and Maha Prathyangira are offered with 108 varieties of herbals, varieties of fruits and silk Sarees. More than 15 Sivachariyar are performing the yagna and pooja. After the yagna, Anna dhanam is offered to all the devotees. Performing this puja is the main prayer commitment in this temple. To the best of their ability, devotees offer items needed for the Nikumbala Yagam, attend it with deep devotion and pray to the Goddess.
Prayers
Devotees participate in the Nikumbala Yajna to regain the position they had lost, for removal of enemy threats, relief from debt burdens, promotion in jobs, employment opportunities, wedding boon and progress in business. Those afflicted with adverse aspects of Saturn-Sani Bhagwan also take part in the Yajna. Those affluent can offer donations for temple maintenance.
Contact
Sri Pratyangaradevi Temple,
Ayyavadi, Thanjavur district
Phone: +91 - 435- 246 3414, 94431 24347.
Connectivity
The place can be reached from Thanjavur via Kumbakonam Uppiliappan temple. Ayyavadi Prathyangira Devi temple is 3 km from Uppiliappan koil.
Nearest Railway Station is located at Kumbakonam & Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.

No comments: