Friday, September 9, 2016

Achala Deepeshwarar Temple, Mohanur, Namakkal

Achala Deepeshwarar Temple, Mohanur, Namakkal
Achala Deepeshwarar Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva located at Mohanur in Namakkal District of Tamilnadu. Presiding Deity is called as Achala Deepeshwarar and Kumareeswarar. Mother is called as Madhukara Veni and Kumarayee. The temple is linked with other Shiva temples praised in Thevaram hymns – Vaiputhalam.   

Legends
Etymology:
Ambica called her son (Mahan) here. Hence the place was named Mahanur but changed as Mohanur later. Lord Muruga temple, where he stopped to the call of Ambica is on a hill just a little away.

Bharani Deepam:
Bharani deepam lit in this temple in Karthikai month (November-December) is considered as significant as those lit in Thiruvannamalai the next day on Kruthika star day. Special pujas and abisheks are performed to Lord this day. A holy man respected as Beejavaba Maharshi was a staunch devotee of the Lord who used to light the Bharani deepa on the Deepasthambam in the temple and the practice is being continued with all festivity now. His sculpture is on a pillar in the temple.

The Name Achala Deepeswarar: 
As the temple is closely related to Deepa worship, a lamp is ever burning in Lord’s shrine. Hence, Lord is praised as Achala Deepeswarar. Achalam means that not wavering and firm as a hill. As the Lord is in his meditation posture, the deepa too is motionless.
Story behind Ambica Shrine:
In days of yore, there was only the Shiva shrine in the temple. One Kumarayee, a staunch Lord Shiva devotee was selling curd for her livelihood. After sales, she used to offer the remaining curd to Lord Shiva as nivedhana and consumed it then. She became pregnant and delivered a handsome male child. People in the village suspected her chastity and spoke ill of her. 

Kumarayee simply told them Lord Shiva knew her purity. While bathing in Cauvery, she merged in the river. Mother Ambica came from the river and granted darshan to all and made it known to all that she was curd seller woman. The shrine for Ambica was built then. As Ambica lived here as Kumarayee, she also bears that name and so Lord Shiva came to be called as Kumareeswarar.
Lord Muruga respecting Mother’s Call:
Lord Muruga left his parents in Mount Kailash showing his protest against the Mango event is popular among devotees. He did not listen to the explanations of the parents. Ambica chased the son to take him back home. Shiva too followed Ambica. When Ambica asked Muruga to stop, He stood in this place respecting Mother’s call. Lord Shiva appeared as Swayambulinga as Achala Deepeswarar.
History
This temple was built during 1449 – 54 during the reign of Anganna Nayakkar by Sendhamangalam Palayakkarargal. Hymns were sung on this temple by one of the 4 Saivaite saints, Appar.
The Temple
Lord Shiva appears facing west and the Goddess facing east. The shrines are designed as such that the Lord and Goddess appear right to each. Mother Madhukara Veni is facing east gracing the devotees. The idol is made of a single stone including the frame called Tiruvatchi. She was chasing Lord Muruga to take him back to Mount Kailash. Madhu means Milk. As a mother, milk flowed from her breasts when she called Muruga. Special pujas are performed in the shrine on all full moon days. People pray these days seeking child boon.

Lord Shiva is facing west and Ambica east. The shrines are so structured that both are right to each other, a rare design in this temple. There is a small Banalinga near the presiding Lord said to have been worshipped by the curd woman.  Pujas are performed simultaneously to both. River Cauvery flows here from north to south as in Kasi-Varanasi. Lord is facing the river. Special pujas are performed to Ambica on the Aadi 18th day falling in July-August.  In between the shrines of Lord and Mother is the shrine for Lord Muruga with his consorts Valli and Deivanai.

Lord Vinayaka blesses the devotees from a shrine in Prakara sitting with a serpent. Those afflicted by adverse effects of serpent planets pray here for relief with milk abishek. There is another Vinayaka outside the temple under a neem tree where women seek wedding boon offering Mangalsutra. Mother Varahi, Chamundi and Vaishnavi are in wall sculptures on the prakara wall. Pujas are performed on the 8thday of new moon fortnight for the three Devis and Lord Bhairava. Lord Sarabeswara shrine is outside the temple.

Mother Shiva Durga is on the wall in the front mandapam. As a tradition, Mother Durga is on the ghoshta wall of Shiva shrine with Mahishasura under her feet. Here, Durga is with eight hands on the rear wall on a lamb vahanam. This is also a rare feature found in this temple. The other shrines here are of Chandran, Sooriyan, Dakshinamurthy, Kannimoola Ganapathy, Raghu (with his wife), Kedhu, Kaala Bhairavar, Chandikeswara, Navagraha, Ayyanar, Sarabeswarar and 63 Saivaite Saints.

The Sthala Vriksham (Holy Tree) is Vilvam and the Theertham (Holy Water) is Cauvery River. On the western side of the temple, just opposite to the temple, but before the Cauvery river is a huge Peepal tree. Below this Peepal tree are several sculptures of Naagar (snake). These are kept by devotees as a dosha parihara for Raaghu Dosham. This temple is also special for weddings.

Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.30 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Festivals
Deepa – Light festival on Bharani star day in Karthikai (November-December), Shivarathri in Vaikasi (May-June), Arudra Darshan in Margazhi (December-January) are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Prayers
The belief is that devotees worshipping the Lord after a dip in the Cauvery would relieve him/her from the evil effects of previous births and would ensure longevity.   Ayush Homas (for longevity) are often conducted in the temple. Those aged 60 and 80 celebrate their birth days in the temple. Devotees perform special abishek to Lord Mother offering vastras.
Contact
Sri Achala Deepeswarar Temple,
Mohanur, Namakkal District
Phone: +91- 4286 - 257 018
Mobile: +91 - 94433 57139.
Connectivity
Mohanur is 18 km from Namakkal. The temple is 1 km from the bus stop. Auto facilities are available. Nearest Railway Station is located at Salem and Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.

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