Friday, May 20, 2016

Ashtabhuja Venugopalaswamy, Belur, Salem

Ashtabhuja Venugopalaswamy, Belur, Salem
Ashtabhuja Venugopalaswamy Temple is located in Belur in Salem District. It is located 5kms North of Vazhapadi off the Salem – Attur highway. This century old Ashtabhuja Venugopalaswami Temple is located in Belur on the Northern banks of the Vellai River. The temple’s legend is believed to date back to Arjuna and the Mahabaratham. This temple is believed to help devotees to liberate from Kama.

Legends
Arjuna Penance:
The story goes that Arjuna who was to perform a pooja invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva to repent for his killings came to this place. Looking for sacred water, he was directed by Lord Krishna to strike an arrow towards the North. Upon his strike, flowed clean water from the Aran Ootru Malai that was said to be as white as milk. He performed an Abhisheka for Lord Shiva at the temple opposite the Ashtabhuja Venugopalan temple.
Sage Vashista performing Yagna:
Another story goes that Sage Vashista performed a yagna at this place, which then became a mount. The mount where the yagna took place is now referred to as Kottai Medu. Vellai Aaru has also come to be known as Vashista River after the Sage's Yagna here.
Parasakthi appearing as age old woman:
Universal Mother Parasakthi appeared on Earth in many incarnations as Kamakshi, Visalakshi, Ulagammai, Parvathi, and Dhakshayani having many names. She stayed in the city of Madurai in the name of Meenakshi. A woman devotee considered Meenakshi as per own child and played the role of an affectionate mother, feeding her, bathing her and singing softly and melodiously to put her to sleep as we could see Periazhwar imagining himself as mother to Lord Krishna.
Mother Meenakshi pleased with the Bhakti of the woman made her born as Kanchanamala and became her child later. It is on this story that Meenakshi’s temple came into being later. Lord Perumal as her Brother gave her hands to Lord Sundareswara in marriage then. Meenakshi was ever a Mother to all beings on Earth. This is the place where she appeared as Mother to all. She graces in the name of Maragathavalli Meenakshi from a separate shrine as an old women in this temple.
The Temple
The presiding deity Lord Ashtapuja Balamadana Venugopalan has eight hands of which two belong to Lord Vishnu and the two below relates to Krishnavatara while the remaining four belongs to Balarama. The left cheek has the feminine softness. The right cheek is masculine rough. Seven headed Adisesha is above the Lord’s head. The left leg is feminine dressed in Indian Panchakatcha tradition with a sari. The right leg is masculine. There is a cow and calf on the right and a cow and bull on the left.

Abishek is performed to Mother Maragathavalli Meenakshi on Ashtami, Navami and Ekadasi days (the 8th, 9th and 11th day from the full moon days respectively). It is said that Sage Vasishta installed this idol. Garuda, the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu is seen without wings and is regarded as Jatayu the eagle who lost his wings while preventing Ravana from abducting Sita.
Generally Lord Vishnu appears with four hands only. Here, Lord Vishnu has eight hands (Ashta puja). Garuda the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu in this temple has no wings and is regarded as Jatayu in Ramayana who fought with Ravana to protect Sita from his abduction when he lost the wings in the fight. Moolavar is Ashtabhuja Venugopalaswami is East Facing Standing Posture and Thaayar is Maragathavalli Thaayar.

An interesting feature at this temple is that Lord Venugopalan is seen holding a sugarcane in his left hand said to be a symbol of Manmada’s arrow. Belief is that those who visit this temple and offer sincere prayers will be liberated from Kama. A lot of the ancient idols at this temple including that of Lord Vinayaka are believed to date back to the period of the successful Karnataka rulers.
Garuda is seen standing away and not directly in line with the Moolavar deity. The idol of Anjaneya who is seen in an Abhaya Hastha Posture is said to date back to the Vijayanagara Period.
Sambamoortheeswarar temple, Laxmi Gopalar temple, Veerabhadrar swamy temple, Kayanirmaleswarar temple, Veera Anjanayar temple, All those Famous temple are placed near to this temple. When here, also visit Lakshmi Gopalan temple at Ethapur just under 10kms east.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Festivals
·        Vaikunda Ekadasi falling in December – January
·        Margazhi 30days Thirumanjanam
·        Satyanarayana Pooja every Full Moon Day
·        Thirumanjanam every Rohini
·        Puratasi Saturdays attract big devotee crowd
Prayers
Those facing problems in marriage alliance affairs, debt burden, family disputes pray to the Lord on Makam, Visakam, Sadayam, Thiruvonam and Rohini star days seeking relief from such worries.
Devotees offer Thirumanjanam (abishek in Vaishnava temples) to Perumal and Mother with new Clothes (vastras) as token of their gratitude on realizing their prayers to the Lord.
Contact
Sri Ashtapuja Balamadana Venugopala Temple,
Belur, Salem district
Phone: 98946 89629/ 96775 54839
Connectivity
Belur is located at a distance of 18 kms from Salem on the Vazhapadi road. Share Autos are available every 5 minutes from Vazhapadi railway station. All Karumandurai bound buses stop in front of the Belur temple. Auto from Vazhapadi will cost Rs. 70.
Nearest Railway Station is located at Vazhapadi. Nearest Airport is located at Coimbatore & Trichy.

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