Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Ariyalur

Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Ariyalur
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – General Information
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Greatness of the Temple
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – History
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – City & Fortifications
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Gangaikondacholan Lake
Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Architecture
Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Sculptures
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Chalukya & Kalinga Sculptures
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Maalikai Medu (Ruins of Rajendra Chola Palace)
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Minor Shrines
Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Bronzes
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Epigraphs
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – In Literatures
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Rajendra Cholan Site Museum
Gangaikonda Cholapuram – Daily Pooja Timings
Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Pictures
Gangaikonda Cholapuram - Connectivity

Waterfalls in Tamilnadu

Krishnarayapuram Tirukkanmalleswarar Temple, Karur

Krishnarayapuram Tirukkanmalleswarar Temple, Karur 
Tirukkanmalleswarar Temple is located in Krishnarayapuram village in Karur is a famous temple. This place is also called Sithalavai. The presiding deity is Lord Shiva. The temple has a beautiful small sanctum sanctorum. The distance between Krishnarayapuram to Karur District is 24.3 km.
By Road: Buses are available from all places in Karur to reach this temple which is 24km away.
By Train: After reaching railway station is Karur Railway Station which is 29km away to reach Tirukkanmalleswarar temple. From here Buses and Taxis are available.
By Flight: The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport which is located at a distance of 77 km from the town. After reaching Madukkarai, Buses and Taxis are available to visit this temple.

Vasantha perumal Temple, Kadavur, Karur

Vasantha perumal Temple, Kadavur, Karur
Vasantha perumal Temple is located in Kadavur village in Karur is a famous temple. The presiding deity is Lord Vishnu. The temple has a beautiful small sanctum sanctorum. The distance between Kadavur to Karur District is 57.1 km.
By Road: Buses are available from all places in Karur to reach this temple.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Kadavur is Valyampatti which is located in and around 14.8 kilometer distance. After reaching railway station in Valyampatti travel up to Kadavur. Buses and Taxis are available to visit this temple.
By Flight: The nearest airport is Tiruchirapalli International Airport which is located at a distance of 77 km from the town. After reaching Kadavur village, Buses and Taxis are available to visit this temple.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pazhuvur Shiva Temples, Ariyalur

Pazhuvur Shiva Temples, Ariyalur 
Pazhuvur region has four Shiva Temple Complexes from the times of the Pazhuvettarayars and the Chola kings. This clan was ruling the area under the bigger umbrella of the Chola Empire. Pazhuvur is situated on the Tiruchi – Ariyalur highway, the Pazhuvur Temples can be found in three sectors called Keezha Pazhuvur (lower area on the east), Mela Pazhuvur (upper area on the west) and Keezhayur.

All the three temples are said to have been worshipped by Sage Jamadagni and his illustrious son, Parasurama, the wielder of the axe and sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Pazhuvettarayar (Paluvettaraiyar) became famous in the modern world through the famous Tamil author and editor Kalki’s Tamil classic called ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ This serialized novel is full of royal intrigue and vengeance and the Pazhuvettaraiyar brothers were behind all the treachery.

Paluvettaraiyar were petty chiefs who ruled the present Kila-Paluvur and Mela-Paluvur, in the Udaiyarpalaiyam taluk of the Tiruchirapalli district, during Chola kingdom with the title Paluvettaraiyar. They were responsible for a number of benefactions to the temples at this place and were known to have been related to the Cholas by marriage. About a dozen records pertaining to this dynasty have been found.

When Uraiyur was the capital of the Chola kingdom, many local kings became their supporters and vassals. One of them called Pazhuvettarayar was the king of Pazhuvoor. The name of Periya Pazhuvettarayar was Ambalavaanan and is mentioned in the ASI board displayed outside the Keezha Pazhuvur Temple. Another famous general, Paluvettaraiyar Maravan Kandanar served Uttama Chola. A battle-hardened old warrior and a powerful nobleman, he was Sundara Chozhan's treasurer as well.  His son, Kumaran Maravan also served Uttama Chola.

Ambalavan Pazhuvurnakkan (also known as Vikramachola - Maharajan of Kuvalalam) features during Uttama Chola's rule and continues into Rajaraja I's reign. The Pazhuvettaraiyars, related to the Cholas by marriage, were responsible for a number of donations to the Pazhuvur Temples. Inscriptions say that in the 12th year of Parantaka Chozhan, Paluvettaraiyar Kandan Amudanar fought a victorious battle at Vellore against the forces of the Pandya king and his Ceylonese ally, in which the Pandya lost his life.

Keezha Pazhuvur’s Alanduraiyappar Temple finds mention in the hymns of Thevaram sung by Thirugnana Sambandar, the poet-saint of Tamil literature. The hymn says that the temple rituals were conducted by priests from Kerala who settled down in this area. Legend says that Parasurama, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and creator of the land of Kerala, brought them to conduct the Poojas and rituals of Alanduraiyappar Temple. Some scholars say that the Pazhuvettarayars, who belonged to the land of Parasurama, may have encouraged their migration.

This shrine was rebuilt in granite during the reign of Paranthaka Chola I. It contains inscriptions of the Emperor describing his victory at Vellore over the Pandyas. Another inscription of Parakesarivarman says that the temple was reconstructed by Pazhuvettarayar Maravan Kandan. A third important inscription says that the temple originally built with bricks had to be rebuilt as it was facing ruin. It was rebuilt by Ilangesan during the period of Kulothunga Chola and renamed as Kulothunga Choleeswaram.

Ambalavan Pazhuvur Nakkan figures very often in the records of the kings Parakesari and Rajakesari. His Chola overlords were Uttama Chola and Rajaraja I. Vikrama Chola was the title of Uttama Chola and his subordinate Ambalavan Paluvur Nakkan also bore the same title. Similarly, when he figures in the records of Rajaraja-I, he is known as Ambalavam Puluvur Nakkan alias Pazhuvarayan and he figures as one of the noble men of the king's council. He was a devotee of Shiva. Both Melapazhuvur and Keezhayur were collectively known as Perum Pazhuvur during the Chola reign.
Paluvettaraiyar, a Chera Mutharayar figures largely in the inscriptions copied at Kila-Paaluvur and Mela-Paluvur in the Tiruchchirappalli District. A.R. No. 231 of 1926 dated in the 12th year of Parantaka, that Paluvettaraiyar Kandan Amudanar fought, on behalf of his Chola overlord, a victorious battle at Vellur against the forces of the Pandya king and his Ceylonese ally, in which the Pandya lost his life. To commemorate this success the Commander Nakkan Sattan of Paradur made a gift of a perpetual lamp to the temple of Tiruvalandurai-Mahadeva at Siru-Paluvur. It is perhaps this Amudanar who is referred to in the Anbil Plates of Sundara Chola as a Kerala prince whose daughter was married to Parantaka I and bore him prince Arinjaya By ‘Kerala prince’ should be meant a relation of the Chera king.

Kandan Maravan figures in two inscriptions, dated in the 4th and 7th years of Rajakesarivarmna identified with Rajaraja I, and is also mentioned in two epigraphs of the 15th and 16th year of Parakesarivarman Uttama-Chola, similarly records are found of Maravan Kandan covering about the same period in the 10th and 12th years of Rajakesarivarman Sundara-chola and between the 9th and 15th years of Parakesari Uttama-Chola.

It appears as though these two chiefs were brothers who are stated in a record of the 12th year of Parakesari (Uttama-chola) from Udaiyargudi to have made a gift of land to the temple on behalf of his own younger brother Kandan Satrubhayankaran. It is also likely that he was known by the name Vikramaditya, whose wife Raman Koviyar is recorded to have made a gift of sheep for a lamp to the temple at Kila-Paluvur in the 8th year Uttama-Chola Parakesari.

Shiva temples from the times of the Pazhuvettarayars and the Chola kings can be found in the Pazhuvur region and listed as below;
Alanduraiyar Temple, Keezha Pazhuvur:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Keezha Pazhuvur:
For brief details, please refer below link;

Ganga Jadeswarar Temple, Govindaputtur:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Keezhayur Twin Temples:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Sundareswarar Temple, Mela Pazhuvur:
For brief details, please refer below link;
This place is located at a distance of 15 Kms from Ariyalur, 35 Kms from Thanjavur & 53 Kms from Trichy.
By Road: This place is well connected to Ariyalur which is in turn connected to major cities in Tamilnadu
By Train: Ariyalur is the nearest Railway Station
By Air: Trichy is the nearest domestic & International Airport. 

Vajrathampanatha Temple, Thirumazhaipadi, Ariyalur

Vajrathampanatha Temple, Thirumazhaipadi, Ariyalur
Sri Vajrathampanatha Temple at Thirumazhaipadi, on the banks of the river Coleroon in Ariyalur district, 45 km from Tiruchi, has a rich and hoary past. The temple has been praised by the Nayanmars in their devotional hymns, and patronized by the Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Vijayanagara, Hoysala, Maratha kings, besides the local chieftains like the Mazhavarayars of Ariyalur.

This temple is known for Shiva`s Taandavam with the Mazhuvaayudam for Markandeyar. Purushamriga Munivar established a shrine for Shiva here and Brahma unable to remove it called it Vajrastamba Moorthy.
Thirumazhaipadi is situated on the bank of Kollidam River which is a branch of Cauvery River. Entire surroundings are filled with paddy and sugar cane fields. The famous Siva Temple is located in Thirumazhaipadi. This Temple is also called Sri Vaithiyanatha Samy Koil. It is one of the tourist places in Ariyalur. This temple is famous for its "Nandikesvarar Thirukkalyanam” (March/April) which is conducted yearly. The people of thirumalapadi celebrate the festival grandly. It also has a statue of Thiruvalluvar, which was made with 750 kg of Bronze. It is a biggest metallic statue of Thiruvalluvar in Tamil Nadu.

This is the 54th temple of Lord Shiva that features in the songs of the Shaiva poet-saints. It is closely associated with Panchanadeeswara Temple at Thiruvayaru on the opposite bank of the River Coleroon. Lord Ganapathi graces the devotees as Lord Sundara Vinayaka.  The place is also known as Tirumazhuvadi.
It is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams -Shiva Sthalams glorified in the early medieval Thevaram poems by Tamil Saivite Nayanars Thiruganasambhandar, Thirunavukarasar and Sundarar. This is the 108th Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 54th Sthalam on the north side of River Cauvery in Chozha Naadu.
Temple's Speciality
Lord Shiva in the temple is a swayambumurthy. The wedding of Nandhi, the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva took place here
Greatness of Temple
There are two Ambica shrines – Balambika and Sundarambika.  The wedding of Nandhi is celebrated on the Panguni Punarvasu star day in March-April.  It is believed that those who attend this festival will get married soon; hence there will be more youths of both sex of marriageable age attending the festival. 
Lord Somaskanda made of a single stone graces from a separate shrine.  In the shrine of Lord Brahmma in the temple, there are four Nandis representing the four Vedas.    There are two Lord Dakshinamurthi shrines and a shrine for Mother Katyayini.

The temple is praised in the hymns of Saints Thirunavukarasar and Sundarar.  There are three pits between Lord Shiva and Nandhi which devotees consider as Navagrahas, light Deepas and pray.  Sage Markandeya grants darshan in the temple on Vaikasi Visakam Star day holding a Mazhu-a battle axe-like weapon. Hence, the place is named Mazhuvadi.
Sage Siladha, a resident of Thiruvayaru performed penance on Lord Shiva seeking child boon.  A voice spoke to the sage telling him that his wish could be realized if he conducts the Puthrakameshti Yajna and he would get box with a child while tilling the land for the yagna.  He was advised to bring up the child having longevity of just 16 years only.  Siladha found the box and on opening it, found a child with 3 eyes, 4 shoulders and crescent moon adoring the head.  Struck by a shock, he closed the box and opened again and found a child in normal human form.  He named the child Japesar.

Japesar reached the age of 14 leaving just two years to complete the destined term of life.  The sage was very sad.  Knowing his father’s agony, Japesar started penance by standing on one leg on the Ayana Theertha tank in Thiruvayaru.  The creatures of the tank slowly began to consume him.  Japesar was not deterred by the danger. 
Lord Shiva, moved by his penance, cured him completely and granted a long life.  Later, Japesar was married to Suyasambikai in Thirumazhaipadi.  Japesar continued his penance even after the marriage and was rewarded with a position as the chief of Shiva Ganas and further elevated as the first security chief at the first gate of Kailash and was named as Nandhi Deva. 
The Shaiva poet, Saint Sundarar praises the Lord of the Vajrathampanatha Temple in his Thevaram hymn saying that he cannot think of anybody else after seeing his gold-skinned King, the Lord clad in tiger skin, with the yellow kondrai flowers spreading fragrance from his head, the crescent moon and a precious gem adorning his lightning bright hair and blessing the world from Mazhapadi.
The Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple has been praised by the Shaiva saints, the Nayanmars, in their devotional hymns. There are records to show that this temple was patronized by the Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Vijayanagara, Hoysala and Maratha kings and other local chieftains like the Mazhavarayars of Ariyalur.
Thirumazhaipadi Temple is known for the cosmic dance Taandavam that was performed for Sage Markandeya by Lord Shiva holding the Mazhuvaayudam, the battle-axe. So the place gets its name Thirumazhaipadi.

A sage called Purushamriga Munivar established a shrine for Shiva here and Lord Brahma was unable to remove it and so the deity is called Vajrastamba Moorthy (grounded like iron image).
The Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department officials say that the temple was renovated by the Chola king, Rajaraja the Great (Raja Raja I) who copied the inscriptions available at the time of renovation - around the 10th century. There are 140 inscriptions in the temple from the reigns of the Cholas down to the Maratha and Vijayanagara kings. These give details about the offerings made by devotees for the maintenance of the temple.
An inscription of Rajaraja III mentions the construction of a well at the entrance of the temple, and the appointment of a person to draw water regularly from it and to store it in a tub so that devotees could enter the temple after washing their feet. There is a rare depiction of a linear measurement used by the stapathis (master sculptors) and builders during the reconstruction of the temple by Rajaraja, which was called `Idumadialavathi Muzham' that was roughly 60cms in length.

Thirumazhaipadi was an important place for the kings of Thanjavur. Chembian Mahadevi, grandmother of Rajaraja the Great, hailed from Chembiakudi, 4 kms from Thirumazhaipadi. Other historical places like Pazhuvur, Alambakkam, Kandaradithyam (birthplace of Kandraditha Chola) are all situated within a radius of 15 kms. There are quite a few references to the Thirumazhaipadi Temple in the famous Tamil litterateur Kalki’s work, ‘Ponniyin Selvan’.
The antiquity of this place goes back to the Sangam Period. It was an army camp of the valiant Malavar Clan of the Sangam Age and hence called Malavar-padi and later as Thirumalapadi. The Siva temple of this place called Vaidyanatha Swami was worshipped and sung by the Devaram Nayanmars viz., Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar. It was also visited by Ayyadigal Kadavarkon who praised it in his hymns of Shetravenba. This saint has been identified with the Pallava king Simhavarman (540-558), the grandfather of Mahendra Varman Pallava (598-630).
It is believed that the Deity of this place appeared in the dream of Saint Sundarar and asked him to visit this place and praise him and hence the saint came to this temple and sung peons in his famous Devaram hymns ‘Ponnar meniyane’.
The Siva temple was built of stone during the period of Aditya–I (871-907). Rajaraja–I ordered for its rebuilding and was completed by his son Rajendra–I. Again it was repaired by the Hoysala king Viranarasimha in A.D. 1235-36. The Queens of Aditya–I, Rajaraja–I, and Rajendra–I made gifts to the temple in the form of lands and ornaments. The first and second gopurams of this temple were built during the periods of the Pandyas and Cholas respectively.
The famous festival celebrated in this Temple is the marriage for Nandi (Nandi Kalyanam). It is a popular belief in this area that impediments in getting married will be overcome if they see the marriage festival of Nandi Devar.
The Vaidyanathaswami Temple at Thirumazhaipadi and the temple of Sundarambika lie within a sprawling 10-hectare campus full of coconut and palm trees. They are superb examples of the meticulous care taken by the Pallavas who built it in the 7th century CE. The 108-ft tall, seven-tiered Rajagopuram of Thirumazhaipadi Temple faces east and towers over the landscape of the banks of the Coleroon (North Cauvery). It looks magnificent when viewed from the river bed. The second gopuram with five tiers is about 80 ft. tall. Both the towers are decorated with a rich array of sculptures that tell the many stories from the Thiruvilayadal, the history of Lord Shiva.
The presiding deity of the Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple is Sri Vaidyanathaswami - Lord Shiva as the doctor - and is also known as Mazhuvadeeswarar, the lord of the battle-axe. A granite statue of Mazhuvadeeswarar holding an axe in his right hand, a spear and also a rope to control Yamadharma, the Lord of Death, who wanted to take away the life of Sage Markandeya, is seen in the Ardha Mandapam (entrance hall).
In the Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple, there are two shrines of Balambika and Sundarambika dedicated to Lord Shiva’s consort Ambika or Parvathi.  The wedding of Nandikesvarar is celebrated on the day of the star Punarvasu in Panguni (March-April). It is believed that those who attend this festival will get married soon.
Every Shiva temple will have a figure of Lord Somaskanda, with Parvathi and Shanmugha. In Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple, this figure is made from a single stone and is installed in a separate shrine.  In the shrine of Lord Brahma in the temple complex, there are four Nandis representing the four Vedas.    There are two Lord Dakshinamurthi shrines and a shrine for Goddess Katyayini as well.
The temple is praised in the hymns of the saints Thirunavukarasar and Sundarar, two of the four great saint-poets of Shaivism.  Another feature is that, unlike other Shiva temples, the Navagraha (nine planets) are not installed on a dais in this temple. They are all buried in a small square between Lord Shiva’s lingam and the image of Nandi just outside the sanctum. Devotees light lamps and pray at this spot.  Sage Markandeya grants darshan in the temple on the day of the star Visakam in Vaikasi (May-June) holding a Mazhu or battle axe.
An unusual feature of the Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple is the five Nandis placed in front of the sanctum. The sthala vriksha (temple tree) is the palmyrah and the entire temple complex was once called Thala Vanam (forest of palmyrah trees). The palmyrah generally does not flourish on river banks. It is believed that around the 7th century, the entire area was dry and the River Coleroon changed its course and came to this spot much later.
Somaskanda here is a monolithic stone image. There are two shrines dedicated to Dakshinamurthy. It has a 100-pillared hall, Somaskanda mandapam and murals in the Natarajar shrine. The inscriptions give testimony to the contribution made by the Cholas.
The Lord of the temple is praised in the Thevaram hymns of Saint Sundarar. He addresses the Lord saying that whom he would think of after seeing his gold skinned Lord, clad in tiger skin, kondrai flowers spreading fragrance from his head, with lightning bright hair, the crescent moon, his King, and a precious gem blessing the world from Mazhapadi. This is the 54th Lord Shiva temple on the northern bank of Cauvery praised in Thevaram hymns.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Those suffering from severe diseases bathe in the sacred spring and pray to Lord Vaidyanathaswami.
Thanks giving
Those suffering from high temperature offer boiled rice with rasam as nivedhana to Lord Jura Haraharar in the temple.
Car Festival:
The Ther or car festival is celebrated in Masi (February-March). The temple car has over 300 exquisitely carved wooden panels, with more than 100 figures depicting stories from the Hindu mythology.
Maha Shivrathri:
Maha Shivrathri in Masi (February-March); Aipasi Annabishekam (free food distribution) in October-November; and Thirukartikai in November-December are the other festivals celebrated in the temple.
Nandeeswara’s wedding:
The Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple of Lord Vaidyanatha is closely connected with the Panchanadeeswara Temple at Thiruvayaru on the opposite bank of the River Coleroon and about 15 kms from Thirumazhaipadi.
The most important festival in Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple is the Nandi Kalyanam in Panguni (March-April). Every year Lord Nandeeswara, the bridegroom from Thiruvayaru, marries Goddess Swayambikai Devi (Suyasambika) of Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple and the entire village celebrates the wedding with great fervor.
Usthava idols of Lord Panchanatheeswara and Dharmasamvardhani are decorated and taken to Thirumazhaipadi in a glass palanquin. The palanquin bearers cross the river by foot as the level of water in the river at this time of the year is pretty low.
Lord Vaidyanatha and Goddess Sundarambika are also taken in a palanquin to receive Panchanadheeswara on the sands of the River Coleroon along with Adhikara Nandhikeswara who is dressed with a Maratha cap. The whole village takes on a festive look with plantain trees tied at the entrances of houses as a good omen to greet the newly wedded couple and the divine deities.
The marriage celebrations begin in the evening on a dais near the Rajagopuram of the Thirumazhaipadi Vajrathampanatha Temple. The processional images of Lord Vaidyanatha and Goddess Sundarambika are brought in their palanquins close to the dais to witness the marriage. Adhikaranandhikeswara and the bride, Swayambika are beautifully decorated and the marriage is performed. Then the deities are taken in a procession and brought to the sands of the river.
Crackers are burst to give a happy and festive send off to the newly wedded couple. Finally the palanquin of Panchanadheeswara departs for Thiruvayaru along with Adhikara Nandikeswara and Suyasambika. Lord Vaidyanatha's palanquin returns to Thirumazhaipadi temple to mark the end of the event.
People throng to see the wedding in large numbers from surrounding villages. There is a popular saying in Tamil, "Nandi Kalyanam kandaal pindhi Kalyanam illai" meaning that if you witness Nandikeswara's wedding at Thirumazhaipadi, and you will not have a next birth to perform your wedding.
The marriage ceremony is conducted by the priests of the temple, and the celestial couple is taken out in a procession through the main streets.
Sri Vaidyanathaswami Temple,
Ariyalur District,
Phone: +91 98433 60716
By Bus: Bus services are available to Sri Vaidyanatha Swamy Temple in Ariyalur city from all places in Tamil Nadu.
By Rail: Nearest Railway Station is Ariyalur. From there one can take an auto-rickshaw or private cabs to reach the temple.
By Flight: Nearest Airport is Trichy Airport.