Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thalapureeswarar Temple, Thiruppanangadu – The Temple

Thalapureeswarar Temple, Thiruppanangadu – The Temple
This is an east facing temple and it has an arch type entrance with two corridors. There is an entrance arch and there is no Rajagopuram. But there is a 2nd level 3 tier Rajagopuram after Nandhi Mandapam. There is no sannidhi in the outer prakaram. There are two presiding deities, Thalapureeswarar (Panangattu Easwarar) and Krubapureeswarar in the temple. The Dwarapalakas (securities) in Krubapureeswarar shrine are standing on a lotus shaped peetam. A Nandi on Sun God, a crescent moon on Moon himself, Aiyappan on elephant appear different from traditional forms. There are two sacred palm trees, one male and the other female.  

While Sage Agasthya installed Thalapureeswarar, his disciple Pulasthya installed another one nearby named Krubapureeswarar on a square peetam.  Both are revered as the presiding deities as one Shiva. Thalapureeswarar, worshipped by sage Agasthya is worshipped as the first and prominent deity. The main entrance is opposite Krubapureeswarar shrine. Both are under Gajabrushta vimana – roof above the sanctum sanctorum. On the wall of Thalapureeswarar sanctum are Lingodhbava, Mother Durga.  Lord Vishnu is behind the sanctum of Lord Krubapureeswarar with Chandikeswara on the left.  

There is only one Palli room.  Mother-Goddesses for the Lords are in separate shrines facing south. Mother Amirthavalli is slightly taller than Mother Krubapuri Ambal. Lord Dakshinamurthy appears differently with his left leg folded with Nandhi below him.  In the Vinayaka shrine, there is a serpent deity left of Lord Vinayaka shrine while another Vinayaka on the right has Mother on his lap. Planet Saturn – Sani Bhagwan is under the Vanni tree outside the temple. People use to do archanas to him with Vanni leaves for relief from the planet’s adverse effects.  

The two sanctums are with separate palipeedam, Dwajasthambam and Nandhi (in an elevated position). The Nandhi’s horn in front of Kirubanatheeswarar sannidhi is very small. Nearby is Saint Yogananda Muneeswarar in a separate shrine under the neem tree.  Before worshipping Lord Shiva, devotees worship Muneeswarar. Sri Vinayaka of the temple is praised as Big Vinayaka-Peria Vinayakar. Dwarapalakas are located at the entrance of Sri Thalapureeswarar sannidhi and Dwarabalakis are painted in front of both Ambal sannidhis.

Ganapathy, Dhakshinamoorthi (like a separate sannidhi), Lingodhbava, Brahma and Durga are located in the koshtam of Thalapureeswarar sannidhi. Ganapathy, Dhakshinamoorthi, Vishnu and Brahma are located in the koshtam of Kirubanatheeswarar Sannidhi. Durga is not present in the Kirubanatheeswarar Sannidhi. Dhakshinamoorthy in the Kirubanatheeswarar shrine is a unique one. Right hand hanging down and the right hand kept on the folded right leg showing the Abayahastham with the sinmuthirai.

Sannidhi for Ambal Amirthavalli, Ambal Kiruba Nayaki, Palliayarai in between, Devakottai Periya Ekappachettiyar’s moortham ( who had done a lot of thirupani to this temple ), 63 Nayanmars, Naalvar, Vinayagar, Meenakshi samedha Chokkalingar, Sthala Viruksham stone sculpture, Mahalingam, Gajalakshmi, Valli Devasena samedha Subramaniyar on peacock vahanam (face of the peacock is on the right instead of left), Navagrahas with their vahanams, Sandikeswarar by the side of Sri Kirubanatheeswarar, Natarajar Saba, Bairavar, Chandran and Suryan are located in the inner prakaram.

Theertham is Jada Gangai and Sundarar Theertham. Sundara Theertham is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva. It is well maintained and has fencing around it. There is a small shrine nearby where Sundarar is believed to have had the food that Lord Shiva gave him. This Theertham and the shrine are at a distance of about one kilometer from the temple. On the main road itself you can see a sign board pointing to this well. People say that the water level at Sundarar Theertham is just 3 feet whereas the nearby well’s water level is around 30 feet.

Another interesting aspect of this place is that there is a stone inscription in this temple stating that cutting down a palm tree is a sin. The pillars of the main hall have intricate reliefs and sculptures. One such sculpture depicts Vali and Sugreeva fighting with each other and another pillar depicts Lord Ram watching this fight. An interesting point to note about these pillars is that you can see Vali and Sugreev from Lord Ram’s relief whereas you cannot see Lord Ram from the pillar in which Vali and Sugreeva reliefs are chiseled.

Similar reliefs of Nagalingam, Egapathamoorthy, Garudazhvar, Mahavishnu, Anjaneya, Agasthiyar, Pulasthiyar, Yoga Dhakshinamoorthy and Sthala Viruksham (at the entrance of Kirubanatheeswarar sannidhi) can also be seen in other pillars. This is one of the five temples where a palm tree is the Sthala Viruksham – the other four places are – Thirupananthal, Thirupanaiyur, Thiruvothur and Puravar Panangkattur. 

The last consecration ceremony (Mahakumbabishekam) was conducted in the year 1995. Though there are two Lord Shiva’s shrines in this temple, Saint Sundarar mentioned about Lord Thalapureeswarar (also known as Sri Panangkatteswarar) only.

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