Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sugreeswarar Temple, Sarkar Periyapalayam, Tirupur

Sugreeswarar Temple, Sarkar Periyapalayam, Tirupur
Sugreeswarar Temple is a prominent Saivaite temple situated on Sarkar Periyapalayam on the North East of Tiruppur. In Kongu region there are four Sirpa Sthalangal and this temple is one among them. The Southern side gate of this temple is opened instead of Eastern side gate as see in many other temples.

Geographical Position
Sugreeswarar Temple in Tirupur is located at 11°08'01.9"N 77°23'56.1"E or 11.133866, 77.398918.

History
Pandya Kings had constructed this temple during tenth century AD though some inscriptions at this temple reveal that Tribals came to this place and worship the lingam even during fifth century.

The Temple
Sugreeswarar temple is a 10th century-built rich heritage temple situated at Sarkar Periyapalayam in the outskirts of Tirupur city is remaining unknown to many a pilgrim tourists. The premise of this elegantly constructed shrine, which was built by Pandya rulers, wears a deserted look on almost every day except during the occasional visits of a handful of people from the vicinity.

The temple area, located a bit off Tirupur – Erode Uthukuli road highway, it is already a protected monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. With ‘Kurakuthali Nayanar’ (Shiva) as the main deity, the shrine is an architectural delight made of neatly carved long stones reminiscing the epoch of Pandya period. 

The shrine is an architectural delight made of neatly carved long stones reminiscing the epoch of Pandya period. The temple Complex consists of two separate towers, (Vimanam) one for Lord Siva and another one for Amman. The Amman temple is placed on the right side of the Siva Temple is an example of Pandya dynasty. The Vimana on the Sanctum resembles the Chola dynasty style. There are two Nandi in front of the Shiva Temple. There are five Lingas, three being in the outside temple, one is Sanctum and another one is invisible.

There is no Deepasthala Pillar (Lamp Post) which one can see in all Shiva temples in Kongu region. The main Gate is opened in South direction instead of East. The Amman was placed on the right side of the Shiva temple. The temple Complex located on the bank of Nallar River Stream which tributary of Noyyal River.

It is said that temple was built by Pandyas, different inscriptions state that the place was used by tribals to offer poojas to ‘Shivalingam’ as early as 5th century. The temple area, located a bit off Tirupur – Erode highway, presently lacks hygienic sanitation and commuting facilities which is also a deterrent for tourists.

The temple has a lot of open space. The vimanas (sudhai) seems to be have been recently restored. The main entrance is facing south. The main deity is Siva called Sugreeswarar (Sugreeswarar). Ambal is called Avudainayaki (Avudainayaki). As per Thalapuranam, Sugriva worshipped Shiva here and hence the name Sugreeswarar.

The compound wall is tall and recently rebuilt. There is a big Arasamaram (fig tree) before the entrance providing a good ambiance. Vinayagr Sannidhi is the first one to visit. Next is Amman and Siva Sannadhi.

The main deity Sugreeswarar in the form of a linga is facing east. There are two entrances to this shrine facing south and east. Surprisingly only southern side has stone steps. The eastern side doesn’t have any original structure. It has only a recently built with iron grilled steps. Since the shrine is about 4 feet above ground we can conclude that eastern entrance was not used by devotees in earlier time.

The garbhagriha is wide and well-lit so that we can have nice darshan. On the beams we can see images of Sugriva and Airavatham doing pooja to the lord. The Lord has two Nandis in front of him. As per Thalapuranam Nandi used become a live bull in the night and graze crops near the temple.

An angry farmer cut off the ear during one night so that he can identify the bull later in the morning. None of the bulls in the village had cut off ears. But the villagers found the right ear of the nandi broken and blood oozing. The villager repented and removed the broken one and replaced with newer one. The older one was kept aside. However, to the surprise of the villagers, the next day original nandi was back in its position. The villagers decided to leave it in its place.

The Nandi nearer the lord is older and has damaged ear. Whatever may be Purana, to me it appears they tried to replace the damaged one, but for some reason they could not remove older one and left it as it is. On the outer walls of this shrine there a few beautifully carved images.. The designs on walls are simple and beautiful, especially the window with canopy. The interior of the canopy is carved like the interiors of a hut/tiled house.

There are several inscriptions especially on the northern side. Many inscriptions are in a damaged condition. The layers are getting peeled off from the slabs. The stones are not black but slightly bright. The Ambal – Avudainayaki is very beautiful. Surprisingly the Sannidhi is on the right side of the lord. Another surprise is Nandi in front of Amman also. This Sannidhi seems to be later addition.

There several old sculptures probably retrieved in and around the temple kept inside this Sannidhi most likely by ASI. Clearly they should be very old. Most of them are damaged. However even in such condition they are looking beautiful especially Vishnu Idol is of exceptional beauty.

There are several smaller shrines like Vayu Lingam, Kubera lingam, Durga, Surya, Kala Bairavar and Badrakali. The Thalavirutcham seems to be Vilva. The tree seems to be really very old.

Connectivity
Sugreeswarar Temple is a prominent Saivaite temple situated on Sarkar Periyapalayam on the North East of Tiruppur. This Temple is well connected to Tirupur by Road. Frequent Buses are available from Tirupur. Nearest Railway Station is located at Tirupur & Nearest Airport is located at Coimbatore.

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