Kalangi Siddhar Temple, Kanjamalai, Salem
Kalangi Siddhar Temple is one of the 18 Tamil Siddha temples and is situated at the foot of Kanja Malai. Several perennial wells, small reservoirs and waterfalls are present around this temple; and it is said that the water of these wells have curative powers. On new moon and full moon days, special pujas are also held at this temple. Kanjamalai Hills in Salem Tamil Nadu is long associated with famous Siddhar Saints.
Siddhar Saint who is related to Kanjamalai is known by the name of Kalangi Nathar. He was among 18 Siddhars well known across South India. Kanjamalai Hills was the place of worship and for this purpose a temple of Lord Shiva is situated at the top of the hills. A temple in the memory of Kalangi Nathar is located at the foothills. Locals call him Lord Siddheswara or Sidddar Koil and hence the name Siddheswarar Temple.
Kanjamalai Hills is located 14 km away in the western region of Salem. The place is also known for various herbs with potential of miraculous cures. Pilgrims regularly visit this place and take dips in the holy streams traversing these hills.
Kanjamalai Siddhar presenting Amirtham:
A number of legends are associated with Sidddar Koil and they add to the name and fame of this beautiful temple. According to one story, Kanjamalai Siddhar Saint presented Amritam or Manna to Adikaimaan, one of the Tamil rulers of that time here. He in turn gave it to Avvaiyar, the famous Saint Poetess of the time.
Devotee of Shiva attaining the Status of Siddha:
According to another story, a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva in the course of visiting various shrines of his Lord finally reached Kanjamalai. Through worship, he attained the status of Siddhar Saint. Finally, in Kaliyugam he attained a formless form within the precincts of the area where now his temple stands. He is the Lord Siddheswara whom the devotees worship until today.
Miracle of ageing disciple turning into Young Man:
Another interesting legend has to do with a Sadhu and his aging disciple who came to this part of Tamil Nadu for finding the secret to eternal youth. While the guru went to visit the nearby jungles, the disciple started cooking rice on the fire using the stick from the nearby ground to stir the pot. After some time the rice started to blacken and fearing the wrath of his Guru, the disciple consumed it himself.
Miraculously, the ageing disciple turned into a young man after consuming the blackened rice. When the Sadhu returned and found this changed disciple, he also consumed the rice become young again. The Sadhu and his disciple were Tirumoolar with Kanjamalai Siddhar.
Kalangi Nathar was the guru of Bhogar (or Bhoganathar). Kalangi Nathar was from Benares. Kalangi Nathar and Bogar were considered to possess an ideal master and student relationship. It is said that they had a mutual care among both of them in their own spiritual progresses. Kalangi Nathar especially took more care and strain towards the spiritual advancement of his disciple bogar. Kalangi Nathar was behind Bhogar’s every development and his innovations for the world.
He is often referred to us Kanjamalai Siddhar. The word "Kanjam" stands for the following meaning — gold, copper and Iron and malai means hill. It is said that Paranthaka Chozha who built Sri Nataraja temple with golden roof, took the gold from this hill. Also the water falls seen in this hill is called "Ponni Nadhi". He is the disciple to the great siddha Tirumoolar. He is one among the seven disciples whom Tirumoolar transcended his knowledge, the other six being Indiran, Soman, Rudhran, Kanduru, Brahman, and Kanjamalaiyan.
The shrine of Kalangi Nathar is found in a small village in Salem, Tamilnadu. This village is 12 km away from Salem City. This place is in via route to Ilampillai. He is supposed to have attained Samadhi in this place several hundred years ago. Kalanginathar is Boghar's father according to Boghar's poem. Boghar glorifies Kalanginathar in many of his verses.
Kalanginathar is said to be the primary disciple of Tirumoolar Sithar, He went on to China by the use of a tablet, and attained Mukthi (immortal status) in Kanchipuram. His Jeeva Samadhi is found in Kanchipuram district of Tamilnadu. He has a very special temple in Sivadhapauram to Ellampillai, which is called as Sithar Koil in the same area. It is situated at the grounds of Kanjamalai. This temple is associated with a Kali temple in the left and Murugan in the upstairs respectively.
The following information is available about Sri Kamalamuni in the book Bogar 7000 written by Siddhar Bogar. Song 5729: Kamalamuni was born on the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May — June), his birth star being 2nd part of Poosam. Song 5725: The Siddhar named Kamalamuni belongs to Kuravar caste. He lived for six-eight generations. Song 5841: Kamalamuni is 4000 years and some 300 odd (days) old. He lived in China for a long time.
However, Siddhar Karuvoorar in his book Vadha Kaviyam (Song 584) says that "Maamuni" belongs to "Kannar" caste. He does not explicitly say "Kamalamuni", but mentions "Maamuni". It is not known whether Karuvoorar refers to Kamalamuni or not.
Sri Kalangi Nadhar belongs to Kannar caste. Many people believe that Sri Kalangi Nathar is Siddhar Kamalamuni. In the 63rd song of Kamalamuni Suthiram 76, a line says that 'Kamalamuni alias Kalangi". Hence it may be true that Sri Kalangi Nathar is Siddhar Kamalamuni himself.
In Bogar Janana Sasthra, it is mentioned that Kamalamuni attained Samadhi at Madurai. It is believed that Siddhar Kamalamuni attained Samadhi at Thiruvarur.
Kalangi Nathar was an Indian ascetic who had gone to China. Kalangi Nathar belongs to both Nath tradition of Northern India and also the Siddha tradition of Southern India. Kalangi Nathar is associated with Kanja Malai in South India and later migrated and lived in China and spread the knowledge of yoga and Varma-Kalai (acupuncture) to the Chinese people. In China he is called Confucius. Kalangi Nathar decided to go into Samadhi for a very long time (for about 5000-years), and called Bogar to come to China to continue his mission.
According to Chinese tradition, Laozi lived in the 6th century BC, however many historians contend that Laozi actually lived in the 4th century BC, which was the period of Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Period, whereas Confucius was born in 551 BCE in Lu, a small state in China and died in 479 BCE (as per Chinese sources). This shows that Confucius was elder to Laozi. Bhoganathar, who is called Laozi/Lao Tzu in China, was the successor of Kalangi Nathar (Confucius).
The simple yet majestic Siddheswarar Temple is a prominent temple in the foothills of Kanjamalai. It is famous because of its association with pious and wise Siddhar Saint, Kalangi Nathar. Devotees come to this place around the year and do not forget to take a bath in the holy streams before offering their ‘Pujas’. Daily Pujas begin with Suprabhata Sevai, which occurs in the morning. Locals believe that this temple dedicated to Siddhar Koil is approximately 1000 to 2000 years old.
Salem district in Tamil Nadu is known for its places of religious interest. A number of temples are in this area and the majestic Siddheswarar Temple is surely one of the famous temples, a must visit for devotees, who come to this place. The main deity in the temple faces eastwards with 'Chin Mudra'. There is a large idol of, 'Nandi' facing Lord Siddheswara. It is believed that Siddhar Saints still live in this part of Tamil Nadu.
The temple also has small Rajagopuram having an expansive Maha Mandapam. Most of the devotees come here during the full moon or during no moon (Amavasya). Special Pujas take place during this period and the place takes on a festive air. Because of the religious connotations associated with Amavasya, local people call Siddheswarar Temple, the Amavasyai Koil or the Temple of No Moon.
Numerous medicated ponds are located around the temple, which locals believe can cure skin diseases because of the presence of minerals and herbs. This Temple is located 14 kms West of Salem near Salem Steel Plant at the base of the Kanjamalai hill.
It is said that Kanjamalai Siddhar, in the clan of Tirumoolar lived here and he only became the Siddeswar here. Worshipping here on the New Moon days is considered highly powerful. It is believed that there are plenty of rare medicinal plants in the hill.
Gantha theertham is located at the back of the temple. Near the temple, there is another temple for Lord Muruga in the name of Sri Gnana Sarguru Balamurugan on a small hill with 100 steps. There are many ancient scriptures about this Lord Muruga.
This Temple is located 14 kms West of Salem near Salem Steel Plant at the base of the Kanjamalai hill. It is well connected to Salem City. Nearest Railway Station is located at Salem & Nearest Airport is located at Coimbatore & Trichy.