Sanjeevi Raya Hanuman Temple, Ayyangarkulam, Kanchipuram
Sanjeevi Raya Hanuman Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman located at Ayyangarkulam Village in Kanchipuram District. It is situated on the Kanchipuram - Vandavasi route, on the banks of Palar, this temple has been built by Sri Koti Kannikadhanam Lakshmi Kumara Thathachariar in the 16th Century. Geographical Position of this temple is 12.78'E, 79.67'N.
In the past, the sacred sanctum was also known as Thiruvadi Raya Puram and as Thiruvadi Puram as Anjaneya is also known as Siriya Thiruvadi. Thus from the historical background of the temple it is known that Sri Sanjeevi Rayar temple is an ancient one and of enough chronological importance.
This is also one of the oldest temples and maintained by the private trust. Only the main shrine is in good condition. The wall and the front gopuram are in damaged condition. The inner shrine outer walls have huge Grantha inscriptions. There is a small mandapam with old marks of Gajalakshmi sudhai Sirpams are found below the roof.
It is quite common to find Hanuman in Vishnu/Ramar temples facing the Sanctum Sanctorum or in a separate shrine. There are even Shiva temples where we can see separate shrines for Hanuman. But here is a temple where the Siriya Thiruvadi is in the Sanctum Sanctorum and the Periya Thiruvadi (Garudalwar) is found outside. For a medium sized temple, there is no other shrine.
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As per available historical evidence, it is known that this temple was constructed by a great scholar and administrator named Kotikanyadanam Lakshmikumara Tatacharya. This administrator was popularly known as Ettur Lakshmikumara Tatacharya and was highly venerated. He was the royal preceptor (raja-guru) of the Vijayanagar emperor Venkata Raya II (1586-1614 A.D.) who had his capital at Chandragiri in the region of Andhra Pradesh. He performed the coronation of this king. The newly coroneted king entrusted much of the administration of his realm to his guru, Tatacharya.
Tatacharya was then the manager (Sri-karya-durandara) of many temples in Kanchipuram like the Sri Varadarajaswamy temple and other important shrines elsewhere. He contributed immensely to the growth and expansion of the Sri Varadarajaswamy temple through several donations. He presented many Vahanas to this shrine and covered the vimana above the sanctum of Goddess Perundevi Thayar. This vimana was popularly called Kalyanakoti vimana; with gold in 1614 A.D. Tatacharya constructed the stupendously large tank called Tatasamudram in front of the temple, which also follows the name of Tatacharya.
The architecture of the temple of Sri Sanjeevi Temple depicts the Vijayanagara style as the essential feature. The structural design of the shrine is the striking feature of the architecture. A big temple complex houses only one sanctum enshrining the image of hanuman is a unique architectural feature of the temple. The main entrance to the temple is probably opened only on festival days. Entry is usually from the pond side. There is a 24 pillared mandapam on the banks of the pond that lead to the temple. This mandapam has about 85 different types of hanumans of various forms on the pillars.
On entering the temple, we found the "Hanumad Vimsathi" written in Grantha script clear and bold, on an entire wall. It was indeed sad to say, that the wall had been painted in stripes of saffron, oblivious to the inscriptions on it. Despite this, the letters are so bold and clear that it was a delight to watch. There is a huge Mutram in the temple, which has a strikingly handsome Garudalwar with outspread wings. This remarkable Garudalwar, over six feet tall, stands in open air, with hands folded in prayer.
Sanjeevi Raya Hanuman stands alone in the Sanctum Sanctorum. He stands with Anjali Hastha and without a crown, slightly bowing forward. It is believed that in Ayyangarkulam, people bit by insects do not have any discomfort or physical problems, due to the presence and grace of Sanjeevirayar Hanuman. Praying at this temple is also powerful for yielding child birth, especially male progeny. The idols of Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana piled up in an alcove. These were probably made later, but never installed.
There is a huge kitchen (Madapalli) with blackened walls and an awesome "Kal Uruli" and a huge stone bench that is used for making Puliyodharai during festivals. The gopurams with typical Vijayanagar architecture have vegetation grown on them. There are two mandapams where the uthsavars would be brought during festivals. The walls have "Dasavathara panels" in a poor state of maintenance.
Nata Bhavi is an architectural wonder and has an arch, quite similar to the one at Hampi Thulabharam, but of smaller size, with a Gajalakshmi on top. It contains a well like structure, with a 16 pillared underground hall, with cloistered verandahs. This structure is usually full of water. There is a mechanism (Yetram) to take out the water when required.
On Chitra Pournami Day every year, Lord Varadaraja Perumal of Kanchipuram comes here, to this Nata Bhavi goes down the steps and into the hall, and then is taken around it, as part of the Vasanthosavam. Thirumanjanam is performed here for the Lord.
An interesting thing observed in this Nata Bhavi that if you drop a stone in the well on the opposite side of the Nata Bhavi you will be able to see ripples in the water collected inside the Bhavi. A fence has been created around the Nata Bhavi after it was featured in the Tamil film "Naan Kadavul" where the villain keeps all the children and beggars hidden.
Hanuman Jayanthi is the most celebrated festival in this temple. The festivals observed in the temple reveals the cultural significance of the traditional temple. The temple is considered as the sanctified Prarthana Sthala. The festivals also testify the religious significance of the temple. The temple follows the rules of the Vaikhanasa Agama in its way of offering worship to God.
Sanjeevirayar Hanuman Temple,
No.35, Ayyangarkulam Village,
Kanchipuram Taluk – 631502
This temple is located on the Kanchipuram - Vandavasi route, after 2 Kms turn at the Vembakkam Koot Road. After you cross the Palar Bridge, continue on SH116 for 3 Kms you will reach the temple. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kanchipuram and nearest Airport is located at Chennai.