Friday, July 15, 2016

Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka Temple, Arumugamangalam, Thoothukudi

Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka Temple, Arumugamangalam, Thoothukudi
Sri Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka Temple is located at Arumugamangalam of Thoothukudi District, Tamilnadu. This is one of the famous temples dedicated exclusively for Lord Vinayaka with a Rath (car), flag post and celebrating festivals. Acharya Sri Adi Sankara sang His Ganesha Pancharatna hymn in this temple before proceeding to Thiruchendur to worship Lord Muruga with his Subramania Bhujangam for remedy from a physical problem.

Legends
According to history, Vadhabi Ganapathy (Vinayaka) brought from North was the first to be installed in Tiruchengattankudi in Thanjavur in Tamilnadu in 7thcentury.  Against this fact, the claim that Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka was installed here 2300 years ago appears to be strange.  However, since the Vedic period, as Vinayaka worship occupies a priority place in pujas to any Hindu God, this may be acceptable also to a spiritual mind.  We make Vinayaka even with turmeric powder or even with sand when we need to have one.  Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka is one who came to us this way of His own to bless us.
During the fourth century, a king Somara Vallaban brought 1008 Brahmins from the Narmada River region to conduct a Yajna.  Yet their number was short by one. Lord Vinayaka appeared there in the guise of a Brahmin and helped completing the Yajna in order.  Hence, the Vinayaka is named Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka – 1008thVinayaka.  It is said that Vinayaka stayed in the Arumugamangalam village itself offered to him as Dakshina.
The Temple
The main temple devoted to Lord Vinayaga is probably the oldest Ganapathy temple in Tamilnadu as Ganapathi worship in other places has commenced only after the Pallava periods, much later. The installation of Ganapathi Idol was in open probably under the shades of Arasa maram & Vembu was the general practice in early days. None of the idols had any roof to cover them in those days. The practice is continued even today with respect to many village deities such as Madan, Chattan, Munisamy and various female deities.
In later development the temple was constructed with only Ganapathi in Sanctum & Ardhamandapa in the beginning. Ukrama Pandian has constructed the present form of other Sannadhis for Kalateeswarar, Kalyani Amman etc. later, as the pattern of constructions reveal. A deity in the form of Vishnu was also worshipped by the Brahmins within the precincts and later removed to a separate temple. Majority of Brahmins brought in from Narmada were Vaishnavites (People worshipping Vishnu) indicated by the Vishnu temples all along Thamiraparani river banks installed by them. The sandyavandanam prayer is also directed to Vishnu and probably reveals that all Brahmins were vaishnavites in the beginning.
The present days Mahamandapam along with the Sivan & Ambal Sannadhis are one time extensions. The so called Rayar Mandapam (West of Kodimaram & Balipeedam) looks to be a separate extension probably during the period of Krishnadevarayar. A statue of Anjaneya is carved in one of the pillars and is found nowhere else. Subsequent mandapam extensions enclosing Dwajasthambam, Bali Peetam etc. are built by Naicker dynasty and installation of Bali Peetam Dwajasthambam etc. have been done by Ponnambala Thambiran of  Tiruvavaduthurai Adheenam, who have played  a major role in renovating Saiva  temples in this part of the country.
The Adheenam had a mutt in the village called the Esaana madam. Three descendants of the mutt namely, Muthiah Thambiran, Veliah Thambiran & Ponnambala Thambiran have lived in the village. They have also regulated and organized the festivals in the temple. The second day festival of the Chitrai festival and the first day of Navarathri were conducted from the contributions from the mutt. The statues of these Tambirans are available in the temple precincts. They have also contributed in decorating the deities. The   Court Poet of Veerapandiya Kattabomman has sung a song on the contribution of the Ratham by Thandavaraya Mudaliar. Vahana mandapam was another subsequent addition. In recent times (1983) renovations have been done, open spaces were roofed around prakaram but no new constructions were added.
Available records show Kumbhabhishekams have been performed in 1913, 1924, 1945 & 1983. The temple is under the control of Hindu Religious Endowment department and administered by an Executive officer functioning from Authoor. During the Kumbabishekam in 1945, Uthsavamoorthy of Panchaloka Pancha mukha Vinayaga was installed. The piece is a very rare art piece only one of its kind, with five faces on the same plane. Ten arms carry different mudras and ayudams. The deity is in standing / dancing form. The dhyana Sloka of the deity resembles that of Heramba Vinayaga. The Panchaloha Idol of Lord Nataraja of this temple is a unique one having Makutam (Kreedom) on his head as different from Jadamudi or virichadai in other idols. Moreover the Tiruvachi of this idol is separate and detachable. Probably this indicates the olden days of this idol when the complicated casting technology for the combination was not available.
The Chapparam for Lord Natarajar is probably the biggest in the district measuring about 9 ft. square with a height of 9 ft. This is clad on outside with brass plates. Lots of bells are hung within. This is contributed by Vadamalaiappa Pillai. The thandayudham for this was specially brought from Ceylon, donated by Swaminatha Pillai. A palanquin was donated by the King of Travancore. Sri Sundaramurthi Pillai also contributed for the construction of the Ratham.
The Vinayagar temple is   situated on the (bindusthanam) centre of the triangle formed by the three kaval Deivam, namely Ilayanainar, Thoppachi Amman & Sudalai Madan on west, North & South. This is a rare phenomenon as the Mulasthanam for Vinayaga is on the centre of basic triangle. A separate Murugan Sannadhi with panchaloka statue of Lord Subramania, Valli & Deivayanai was also there, now the statues are shifted to temple premises.
Vinayaga is the Adhishtana Devathai for Kethu graha and in combination with Kalahastheeswara this place has become a parihara sthala for Kethu graha dosha/ Kalasarpa dosha, next to Kaalahasthi in Andhra Pradesh. The pariharams include performing Ganapathi homam & Navagraha homam in the morning followed by Abhisheka & aradhana and offering of 108 / 1008 coconuts. Lighting of Deepams in the evening is also part of this.
Annadhanam was conducted in large scale 40 years ago. A separate kitchen was still available for this purpose on the North West corner of the temple. Chathurkala puja as per the Agama shastras is being performed with hereditary Shivachariyars. Donations from public play a major role in financing the activities. The annual festival in the month of Chitrai is being organized by the locals from funds collected from   philanthropic individuals, organizations and institutions.
The erstwhile custom of distributing food pockets to the Paradesis from the temple and funded by the village administration was also discontinued in the recent past. The temple records indicate donations from various people. Offering of One hundred and eight or one thousand and eight coconuts is a special feature in this temple wherein the Vinayaga is known to be varaprasathi. Such offerings frequent almost every day. Lighting of 1008 Deepams or part of it has become a new form of worship that has come to stay in recent days. This is done on all Amavasyas and specific days as part of Prarthanas. 
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Festivals
Annual festival is being celebrated in the month of Chitrai. Lord Vinayaga in different vahanams blesses the devotees on first four days. On the fifth day Lord Shiva and Ambal in Rishabha vahanam and Vinayaga on Mushika vahanam decorate the streets. On the seventh day as is practiced elsewhere, Lord Nataraja steels the show in Trikala puja. The Speciality of this temple is that Lord Panchamuga Vinayaga joins Lord Nataraja on these occasions. The festival closes on the tenth day with car festival.
Singers
The legendary Adi Sankara is learnt to have sung the Ganesa Pancharathna on the presiding deity of this village, prior to his song Subramania Bhujangam on Lord Subramania of Thiruchendur. It may be noted that Pancharathna is being recited every day in Thiruchendur prior to Bhujangam recital. Andan Kavirayan is known to have cursed the village and deities in his songs and that is said to be the reason for the degradation of the village. All these songs are given separately.
Prayers
As a rule, all begin their routines, domestic or otherwise offering the first prayer to Lord Vinayaka.  People pray for removal of obstacles in wedding efforts, progress in education, for early settlements in litigations pending in courts, frequent repairs in vehicles leading to accidents.  People pray to Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka before starting any enterprise for auspicious results. Realizing their wishes, devotees break 108 or 1008 coconuts in the temple lighting 108 deeps (lamps) in the temple.
Contact
Sri Aayirathu Enn Vinayaka Temple,
Arumugamangalam – 628 802, Tuticorin district.
Phone: +91- 461 232 1486
Other Temples
Pundarikakshaperumal with Sridevi & Boo Devi in stone decorate the Garbagraham with Ananda Vimanam of Vaishnava style. Other Parivara Devathas include, Garuda Bhagavan, Vishvaksena, Navaneetha Krishnan and Peria Thiruvadi. They are located in Ardhamandapam. There are no Uthsavamoorthis. The temple is erected before the commencement of Vaishnavism. The deity adores Gopi Chandanam in U shape without the central line. This temple is maintained by a private committee.
Thoppachi Amman koil on the north boundary of the village, and till recently was in dilapidated condition. Thanks to the efforts put forth by the locals, weekly pujas have been restored now. Chudalaimada Sami koil more popularly known as Sami Kovil or High Court Maharaja Kovil on the South boundary, this temple attracts heavy crowds every Tuesday and on special festival days. The pujas in this temple are performed by the members of a single family. Special buses are being run for the benefit of devotees visiting this temple.
Ilayanainar koil is located on the west side of Eral. This is situated on the banks of feed channel that leads water to the tank. Residents of an erstwhile settlement by name Yagnammal Puram had to move away due to the interruption by the canal when it was dug in 1927. Thus the temple aged about 1400 years is located on the northern bank of canal while Arumugamangalam - Eral tank bund road in on the south side. Local people have taken interest to clean the area around and the temple and are organizing weekly pujas. A foot bridge is constructed by Irai Pani Mandram across the canal to facilitate public visiting the temple. The presiding deity is Lord Muruga on Peacock with his consorts in standing posture. The statues in stone are carved in high artistic form.
The Kulathankarai Amman koil as it is known to be is on the tank bund on North West corner of agraharam. Has no deity. A Peetam erected serves as the sanctum Sanctorium wherein the deity is invoked and prayed for. This temple and a Bajanai madam near the Vishnu temple are under the control of the Brahmana Samajam functioning from the village. Other temples include the Vinayaga temple on the Ratha Veedhi and a temple devoted to Mayilvahanamurthy in Arumugamangalam. 
Nearby Kottarakurichi village contains three more small temples Veera Swamy koil, Uchimakaliammam koil, & Badrakaliamman Koil. Regular pujas are not performed, but festive occasions are celebrated by the local devotees.
Connectivity
Eral is 50 km Tirunelveli new bus stand. The devotee has to catch another bus from Eral to Arumugamangalam. Auto and mini bus facilities are available. Nearest Railway Station is located at Thoothukudi. Nearest Airport is located at Thoothukudi and Madurai.

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