Monday, December 21, 2015

Kripapureeswarar Temple, Thiruvennainallur, Villupuram

Kripapureeswarar Temple, Thiruvennainallur, Villupuram
Kripapureeswarar Temple (also called Arut – konda – Nathar or Thiruvennainallur temple) in Thiruvennainallur, a panchayat town in Villupuram district in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the present structure of the temple is believed to have been built during the Cholas period in the 10th century. The temple has received gracious endowments from the Chola queen Sembiyan Mahadevi. Shiva is worshipped as Kripapureeswarar and his consort Parvathi as Mangalambikai.

The presiding deity is revered in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Thevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopuram, the gateway tower. The temple is closely associated with Sundarar, the Saivite saint of the 8th century, who started singing his Thirumurai starting with "Pitha Piraisudi" verse in this temple.

The temple is open from 6 am - 11 am and 4 - 8:00 pm on all days except during festival days when it is open the full day. Four daily rituals and many yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Aadi star day celebrated during the Tamil month of Aaadi (June - July) for Sundarar and Panguni Uthiram festival during Panguni (March - April) with a float festival being the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

As per Hindu legend, the sages in Tharukavanam were very proud of their achievements and started doing a penance to destroy Shiva. Shiva absorbed all the evils from the penance and realizing their mistake, the sages started their worship to Shiva. Shiva blessed them with their wishes and came to be known as Kripapureeswarar, the "God who would bestow wishes of the devotees".

As per another legend, Sundarar, the famous Saivite saint and Nayanmar, was stopped by an old man from marrying at Tirunavalur. He showed a document indicating Sundarar was indebted to the old man for serving him for a lifetime. Sundarar called him Pitha, a lunatic. The village elders after analyzing the document, asked Sundarar to follow the old man. Sundarar followed the old man and served him in his household.

It was later revealed to him that Shiva appeared as the old man to test his servitude. Sundarar felt guilty of accusing Shiva, but Shiva revealed to him in a divine voice that he enjoyed the verse and requested him to sing verses starting with "Pitha". Sundarar started singing his Thirumurai with "Pitha Piraisudi" verse in this temple and later would go on to become one of the four most venerated saints of Saiva literature.
General Information
The temple is called Tiru Arul Thurai – Home of Divine Blessings.  Mother Mangalambikai graces from the sanctum sanctorum with her four hands in a standing form.  The mandapam where the panchayat took place between old man Shiva and Sundarar still exists in the temple.  Lord Vinayaka of the temple is praised as Polla Pillayar.

Greatness of Temple
The celebrated Saivite Epic Periyapuranam by Sekkizhar begins with the story of Alala Sundarar in Mount Kailash who came to earth at the direction of Lord Shiva assuming the name Sundarar.  The epic also ends at Mount Kailash with the return of Sundarar after his earthly life.

Sundarar was in his wedding attire ready for the related rituals at Tirunavalur. Suddenly, an old man, no less a person than Lord himself intervened and claimed that Sundarar had been assigned to him as his attendant by his forefathers and proved his case.  After verification of the signature in the document produced by the old man, the panchayat men asked Sundarar to go along with the old man as his servant.  

Sundarar in his fury, called the old man a lunatic.  The old man took Sundarar to Thiruvennainallur and disappeared at the sanctum sanctorum. Sundarar was shocked and came to realize that the old man who demanded his service was Lord Shiva.  He cried apologetically.  Lord asked him to sing his praise.  When Sundarar said how he could without any knowledge, Lord asked him to use Pitha (lunatic) as the first word and start singing.

The first song of Sundarar – Pitha Pirai Soodi – thus came into being and was followed by hundreds later in various Shiva temples he visited then.  He was one responsible for the resurgence of Saivism in south challenged by rival faiths then.
The Panchayat Mandapam where the case was argued by Lord Shiva and Sundarar is on the north of the right side of the entrance.  The pillar on which the old man was leaning during the panchayat proceedings is still warm. People use to collect the sand in the mandapam and keep it in their puja rooms.  There are three Lingas in the temple, the Vijaya Linga worshipped by Arjuna seeking child boon, Sundaralingam worshipped by Devendra and Sundaralingam worshipped by Lord Vishnu.

Lord Muruga granted darshan to saint Arunagiriar in a dancing form with his peacock vahanam in this temple.  It is here Mother bathed in the river to cool herself from the fury of destroying demon Mahishasura.  Mother graces with all features of Mother Mahalakshmi with Sanga Nidhi, Padma Nidhi and also with Sri Chakra.  It is here Arjuna cleansed himself from the guilt of interfering in the privacy of his brother Dharma with Panchali and sought child boon.   A Brahmin got relief in this temple from the sin of using a pregnant cow for sacrifice in a yajna, by bathing in the Arul Thurai sacred spring.

All description of the reputation of Tiruvennai Nallur would be incomplete if we fail to recollect the life of and contribution of great philanthropist Sadayappan Vallal who was instrumental for the writing of Ramayana in Tamil by Kavi Chakravarthy Kambar. Kamba Ramayanam came into being with the support of Sadayappa Vallal whom Kambar has used in select episodes for some examples.
The exact year of building could not be ascertained from the inscriptions, but the inscriptions found in the Visalur temple indicate benevolent gifts to the temple from Raja Raja Chola I (984-1015 CE) and his successors. Based on the inscriptions, researchers point out that the temple had gardens, which were supposed to have both floral plants and fruit bearing trees. The temple has received gracious endowments from the Chola queen Sembiyan Mahadevi and is believed to have established various sculptures.

Kripapureeswarar temple is located in Thiruvennainallur, a village located 19 km (12 mi) from Villupuram on the Panruti - Thirukkoilur road. The temple has a seven-tiered Rajagopuram, the gateway tower that pierces the rectangular wall that houses all the shrines. The sanctum houses the image of Kripapureeswarar in the form of Lingam, an iconic form of Shiva. There is an Ardha Mandapam and a Mukha mandapam, pillared halls leading to the sanctum. The first precinct has the images of VinayakarMuruganDurga, Dakshinamurthy and Chandikeswara. The hall where the case was fought between the old man and Sundarar is believed to be the Panchayat Mandapam located on the right side of the entrance.
The temple follows Saivite tradition. The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: Kalasanthi at 6:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 11:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m, and Sayarakshai between 7:45 - 8:00 p.m.
Each ritual has three steps: Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Kripapureeswarar and Mangalambikai. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. The temple is open from 6am - 12 pm and 4 - 8:30 pm.
Aadi star day celebrated during the Tamil month of Aaadi (June - July) as Sundarar's birthday and Panguni Uthiram festival during Panguni (March - April) with a float festival being the most prominent festivals. There are other common festivals like Shivarathri, Vinayaga Chathurthi, Vijayadasami and Karthigai Deepam celebrated in the temple.
Sundarar, an 8th-century Tamil Saivite poet, venerated Kripapureeswarar in ten verses in Thevaram, compiled as the Seventh Thirumurai. As the temple is revered in Thevaram, it is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam, one of the 276 temples that find mention in the Saiva canon. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
The villages nearby Thiruvennainallur have got importance for its Tradition and tourist resource. Thiruedayaru (T.Edayaru) is a small village is at a distance of 6 km from Thiruvennainallur. This village is being respected for having its monumental evidence of chola kingdom's Lord Shiva temple. The temple here was built for Lord Marutheeswarar (other name of Lord Shiva), is a 1,000-year-old build and having wonderful sculptors and monuments. The Temple is another sign of Chola rulers and equally respected with Tanjore Lord Bragadeeswarar Temple. T. Edayaru is also well known for banking Pennar River and beautiful landscapes nearby.
T. Edayaru is considered a good example of Tamil culture and History. One of the famous Tamil poets, Vennaivelan belongs to Thiruvennainallur. Well-known Sivagnanabotham writer maikandar (earlier name: suvethana perumal) born in Pennadam, but stayed here in Thiruvennainallur from the age of three. While he was playing on the street of Thiruvennainallur he got blessings (sivagnanam) from sage Paranjothi; from that he came to know well about "mai" (soul, life, and god). Later he was called Maikandar. Then he wrote the poem Sivagnanabotham. Now his book became one of the important poems among Saiva sithaantham. Well-known writer Kamban (writer of Ramayanam) was helped by sadaiyappa Vallal, whose birthplace is this same Thiruvennainallur.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Lord Shiva blesses the devotees with total mental peace, oratory skill and excellence in education, above all his full blessings.  Polla Pillayar in the temple is not a man-made idol but a swayambu.  He taught the great Saivite Acharya Meykanda Thevar when he was 5.  Those dumb pray to him to gain speech skill.  People also light lamps with a mixture of four oils – ghee, iluppu, coconut and gingelly oil – for wedding boon, child, job and professional success boons.
It is the staunch belief of the devotees that their wedding plans would be successful if they worship Nandhi the bull vehicle of Lord Shiva with a garland & also wearing one themselves. Nandhi is revered as the deity of Darmas-righteous law. People from other countries like Japan come here and perform yajnas for good health.
People also conduct yajnas for relief from sins of past birth. The Jyoti Linga worshipped by the Navagrahas the nine planets is in this temple. If a devotee worships the sacred tree of the temple and light 5 lamps, he/she would not be affected by the adverse aspects of any of the nine planets either during their main or sub periods during their zodiac transits.
Devotees perform abishekam to Lord with gingelly oil, turmeric, flour powders, milk, curd, fruit juices, sugar cane juice, honey, green coconut, panchamirtham a mixture of five items, sandal, rose water, sacred ash etc. They also offer vastras. Light ghee lamps. They perform abishekam to mother with turmeric powder and offer saris and undertake feeding of visitors.
Aadi Swathi star day in July-August with a two day festival for Sundarar is celebrated grandly. 10 day Panguni Uthiram with flag hoisting and float festival in March-April; Arudra darshan-Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January; Aavani Puttu-pudding festival in August-September; Skanda Sashti in October-November are other festivals devotionally celebrated in the temple.
This is the temple where Saint Sundarar uttered the first song on Lord addressing him with the first word granted by Lord Himself - Pitha-Mad Man, promising that he would be for Him alone in the world.   This is the 14th Shiva temple in Nadunaadu region praised in Thevaram hymns.
Sri Kripapureeswarar Temple,
Tiruvennainallur-607 203,
Thirukkoilur taluk, Villupuram district
Mobile: +91-93456 60711
Thiruvennainallur is 7 km far from the branch road on Cuddalore -Thirukkoilur road. Bus facilities are available to Thiruvennainallur from Thirukkoilur. Nearest Railway Station is Villupuram & Nearest Airport is located in Chennai.