Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sarangapani Temple, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Sarangapani Temple, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur
Sarangapani Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Kumbakonam Town in Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu. Presiding Deity is called as Sarangapani / Pallikondaar / Aravamudhan / Utthanasayi / Abayaryaapthamiruthan and Mother is called as Komalavalli Thayar / Padi Thanda Pathini. The temple is one of 5 Vaishnava Temples connected with the Mahamaham festival, which takes place in Kumbakonam every 12 years. The Temple is considered as one of the Pancharanga Kshetrams. The Temple is situated between two rivers, Cauvery and Arasalaru, in the heart of Kumbakonam.

The temple is revered in Divya Prabandham, the 7th – 9th century Vaishnava canon, by Andal in one, Periyalwar in three, Bhoothathalvar in two, Peyalvar in two, Thirumazhisai Alvar in seven,  Nammalvar in eleven and Thirumangai Alvar in 25 verses. The temple is classified as a Divyadesam, the 108 Vishnu temples that are revered in the Vaishnava canon, Nalayira Divya Prabandham. Also, after Srirangam (11) and Tirupathy (10), the Sarangapani temple has the maximum number of Azhvaars (7 of them) singing praise of the Lord. The Temple is considered as one of the nine Vaishnava Navagraha Temples of Tamil Nadu and is associated with the planet Sun (Suryan). 

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The Temple is believed to be around 2000 years old. Some portions of the temple is believed to have been built in the 7th Century AD by the famous Pallava King Mahendra Varma. Alwars Peyalvar, Nammalvar, Periyalwar, Andal, Thirumangai Alwar and Bhoothathalvar had sung about the Lord of this Temple. Thirumazhisai Alwar spent his last years and attained salvation here. It is at this temple that the Vaishnavite Saint Nada Muni, was inspired to compile the works of the Alwars, upon listening to the Tamil hymn Aaraavamudhe composed by Nammalvar.

Nathamuni spent his last years at the Chola capital of Gangaikonda Choleeswaram. Although the temple existed during the Pallava period, the current structure is attributable to the period of Vikrama Chola (1121 CE). Later Cholas built the superstructure of the 11-tiered gopuram, and the tower was actually completed by the Vijayanagar rulers. The temple had been extensively renovated by Medieval Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire and Madurai Nayaks. The Mahasamprokshanam of the temple was held on 13 July 2015.

The Temple
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Temple Opening Time
The temple remains open from 7.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and from 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and twelve yearly festivals on its calendar. Akshaya Tritiya - 12 Garuda Sevai Chaitra Brahma Utsavam celebrated during the Tamil month of Chithirai (Apr - May), Vasantotsavam during Vaikasi (May - Jun), Pavitrotsavam - Ekadasi Jyeshotsavam during Adi (Jul - Aug), Sri Jayanthi - Uriyadi Utsavam during Avani (Aug - Sep), Navaratri Utsavam - Saraswathi Puja – Vijayadashami during Purattasi (Sep - Oct), Deepavali - Shraddha of Sri Lakshmi Narayanswami during Aippasi(Oct - Nov), Deepa Utsavam - Oonjal Utsavam during Karthigai (Nov - Dec), Pakal Pattu - Ira Pattu Pongal Sankramana Utsavam during Margazhi (Dec - Jan), Kanu Utsavam – Amavasya - Rathasaptami during Thai (Jan - Feb), Masi Magham - Float Festival during Masi (Feb - Mar) and Brahmotsavam - Thiru Kalyanotsavam during Panguni (Mar - Apr) are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
The temple chariot festival is the most prominent festival of the temple, celebrated during the Tamil month of Chithirai (Mar – Apr). The grand float festival is conducted in Maasi Magam (Feb – Mar) on the Hema Pushkarini (temple tank) in front of the temple. The first day of Uttharayana, January 14th is celebrated with the silver chariot procession in the Sarangapani temple which attracts hundreds of devotees. The twin temple chariots are the third largest in Tamil Nadu, each weighing 300 t (660,000 lb).
Worship Practices & Rituals
The temple follows Pancharathra Agama & Vadakalai tradition. The temple priests perform the puja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. Like other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Brahmin Vaishnavite sect, which is dedicated to Vishnu. The temple rituals are performed six times a day; Thiruvanandhal at 8:00 a.m., Kala Santhi at 9:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:30 p.m., Ntiyanusandhanam at 6:00 p.m., Irandam Kalam at 7:30 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 9:00 p.m.
Each ritual comprises three steps: Alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Sarangapani and Thayar. The worship is held amidst music with Nadaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument), religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) read by priests and prostration by worshippers in front of the temple mast. The foods offering during the six times are curd rice, Ven Pongal, spiced rice, Dosa, Ven Pongal and sugar Pongal respectively. 
Religious Significance
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Literary Mention
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A visit to this temple, it is believed, will help get rid of one’s past sins, just as a trip to Kasi in the North, would. It is sacred to bathe in the lotus water bed in the temple tank. Devotees pray here to realize their wishes. It is the belief that the prayer will certainly bring them what they desire and expect. Devotees perform Thirumanjanam to Lord and offer vastras.
Sarangapani Temple,
Thanjavur District – 612 001
Phone: +91 435 243 0349 / 242 7218
Mobile: +91 94435 24529 / 94863 10896
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