Friday, October 7, 2016

Agnipureeswarar Temple, Thirupugalur, Nagapattinam

Agnipureeswarar Temple, Thirupugalur, Nagapattinam
Agnipureeswarar Temple (also called Thirupugalur temple) in Thirupugalur, a village in Nagapattinam district in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is believed to have been built during the Cholas period in the 10th century. Shiva is worshipped in the form of Lingam as Konapiran or Agnipureeswarar and his consort Parvathi as Karundar Kuzhali.

The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. This is the 75th Lord Shiva temple on the southern bank of Cauvery praised in Thevaram hymns. The exact history of the temple could not be determined based on the inscriptional evidence, but the temple is believed to have been built during the Chola period during the 10th - 11th centuries. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopurams, the gateway tower.

The temple is open from 6 am - 12 pm and 4 - 8:30 pm on all days except during new moon days when it is open the full day. Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the ten-day Vaikasi Pournami Brahmotsavam festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May - June) and float festival for Agnipureeswarar during the Tamil month of Vaikasi being the most prominent festivals. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamilnadu.

Legends
For brief details, please refer below link;
Architecture
The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopuram, the gateway tower facing east and an inner three tier gopuram. The temple is surrounded by a moat like tank and the major portion of the tank is called Agni theertham located in front of the gateway tower. The sanctum is approached through the gateway tower, flag post, a Maha Mandapam and an Ardha Mandapam. The Mahamandapam houses the images of Agni, Brahma and saint Appar. This is also the place where Agni Bhagwan worshipped Lord Shiva and got relieved from a curse.  Though he has no form as such, he appears here with two faces, 7 hands, 7 Jwala sparks, four horns and 3 feet.  This is a rare Agni Bhagwan idol. This bronze idol of Agni is one of its kinds, not present anywhere in the state.

The sanctum houses the image of Agnipureeswarar in the form of Lingam, a phallic symbol of Shiva. The Linga is tilted indicating a legend that Shiva offered to bend for his devotees. There is another shrine of Shiva called Vardhamaneeswarar with Mother Manonmani located adjacent to the sanctum and the image of Muruga Nayanar is located opposite to the sanctum. Muruga Nayanar served Lord Vardhamaneeswarar by preparing garlands for him. It is counted as another Paadal Petra Stalam as it is also glorified in the verses of Tevaram. There is a separate shrine of Karundarkuzhali, the consort of Shiva, sported in standing posture in a South facing shrine.

The inner precinct of the temple houses the image of the sixty three Nayanmar, Agni, Panchalinga, Appar, Vatapi Ganapathy, Subramanya, Sanisvara, Annapurani, Mahalakshmi and Kalasamhara, while the outer precinct has the images of Chintamanisvara, Vinayaga and the Linga worshipped by sage Bharadwaja. There are two shrines in the same temple for Saint Appar Adigal and Saint Sundarar. Lord Agnipureeswarar (Swayambumurthy), also praised as Sharanya Pureeswarar, Pratyaksha Varadar and Konapiran is gracing devotees from a shrine. Mother Karundhar Kuzhali, also praised as Sulikambal blesses devotees from other shrine. 

Lord changed the bricks into gold bars for Saint Sundarar in this holy place. Those building new houses bring bricks to the temples for Vasthu and Bhoomi puja to make the new building all prosperous. Also, Mother Karundhar Kuzhali was gifted with a piece of land for her services to a woman in labour pain and is praised as Sulikambal. There is no and will not be any infant or maternal mortality in this place, a belief people strongly hold.

The temple has a single shrine for Emperor Nala and Sani Bhagwan in the temple. After Nala came out of a bath from the Bana Theertha, a voice from Sani Bhagwan said that he would leave the king from his adverse aspects at Thirunallar 7 km far from this place. Saturn-Sani Bhagwan is this temple is praised as Anugraha Sani – merciful Sani. Three Murthis in the temple, Bhoodeshwarar, Vardhamaneeswarar and Bhavishyeswarar are the symbols of past, present and future. 

This is the birth place of Muruga Nayanar who worshipped Vardhamaneeswarar offering garlands made by him.  He has three faces – human, bird and a swine. As devas sought asylum here for protection from the threats of demons, the place is also praised as Pugazhoor. The Agazhi (a deep and broad water body letting crocodiles inside specially constructed around castles and palaces to prevent easy access to enemies) dug by Banasura still exists here. Vinayaka of the temple is praised as Lord Gnana Vinayaka.

Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Religious Importance & Festivals
For brief details, please refer below link;
Singers
The temple is praised in the hymns of Saivite Saint Tirugnanasambandar. Those used to hear the praise of Lord gracing in Thirupugalur would not listen to words that are not worthy of hearing. They will listen only words of his praise. It is their conclusion that anytime they fail to listen to his glory, they feel they are insane, says the Saint in his hymn. This is the 75th temple on the southern banks of Cauvery sung in Thevaram hymns.
Prayers
For brief details, please refer below link;
Contact
Sri Agnipureeswarar Temple,
Tirupugalur-609 704, Via Thirukannapuram,
Nagapattinam District, Tamilnadu
Phone: +91 4366-237 198, 237 176,
Mobile: +91 94431 13025, 94435 88339
Connectivity
Thirupugalur is 10 km far from Nannilam on the Nagapattinam bus route. Bus facilities are available from Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai also. The place is 20 km from Tiruvarur, 10 from Nannilam, 33 from Mayiladuthurai and 25 from Nagapattinam. Nearest Railway Station is located at Nannilam and Thanjavur. Nearest Airport is located at Trichy. 

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