Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kottaiyur Kodeeswarar Temple, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Kottaiyur Kodeeswarar Temple, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur
Kottaiyur Kodeeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, located in Kottaiyur, a village in the outskirts of Kumbakonam, in Thanjavur district in TamilnaduIndia. Shiva is worshipped as Koteeswarar and his consort Parvathi as Pandhadu Nayaki. Koteeswarar 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, the 276 temples revered in the canon.

The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopuram, the entrance tower and all the shrines are enclosed in rectangular walls. The temple has four daily rituals at various times from 6:00 a.m. to 8 p.m., and three yearly festivals on its calendar, namely Margazhi Thiruvathirai during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December - January), Shivarathri in February - March, Panguni Uthiram during Panguni (March - April) and Arrow festival during Purattasi (September - October) being the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Kottaiyur is situated 3Km distance from Kumbakonam in the way to Thirupurampuyam. Kottaiyur is also known as Vilvaranyam and Herandapuram. The respectful name of Kottaiyur is Thirukottaiyur. The Shivalingam here is said to have merged from a castor seed, hence Kottaiyur, Herandapuram; also the Shivalingam is believed to be composed of several Shivalingam, hence Koteeswarar.

As per Hindu legend, Suruchi, the son of Sathyarthi, the ruler of Trihartha kingdom, took the form of a devil on account of a curse. On account of disfigure, people ran away on seeing him. He prayed to Shiva and was advised to take a holy dip in the spring in the temple. He got his original form and the belief is followed in modern times, where ladies take a holy dip to get a better appearance.

As per another legend, sage Herandar (Athreya) is believed to have worshipped Shiva at this place. Pandhadu Nayagi, meaning Goddess playing with a ball, got her name as she is believed to toss the curses of devotees off their suffering. Shiva is believed to have appeared in ten million (called kodi in Tamil) forms of Vinayaga, Parvathi and Muruga and hence got Koteeswarar as his name.

Athreya rishi performed penances here, hence Heranda Munivar. Heranda muni, who descended into the Kaveri at Tiruvalanchuzhi, emerged out here, hence the connection between the shrines. Good deeds committed here are said to multiply several fold in value.
Greatness of Temple
This is a sacred place offering good progress in education. Sage Markandeya worshipped the Lord here. The Shivalinga was found under castor nuts (nut in Tamil means Kottai), hence named Kottaiyur. Lord gave darshan to Sage Badri Yogi in 10 million Vinayaka form, 10 million Mother-Goddesses form, 10 Million Lord Muruga form – 10 million – one crore). Hence, the Lord is known as Koteeswarar. The nut symbols are visible on the Linga.

Mother Goddess Pandhadu Nayaki (Goddess playing with a ball) is so named as she is tossing a ball under her feet, indicating that she would toss the sufferings of her devotees as that of a ball. Sports men and women worship the Goddess to win games and medals. Spilling the water of the holy spring – Amudhakinaru – ensures not only external purity but purifies the mind too, the belief goes. The spring ensures good education and good traits to the devotee.

There was a proverb that those placing their feet in Kottaiyur will become Kattai (dead) meaning that sinners cannot enter this place. If they do so, their sins multiply to a crore. The benefits of good deeds also would multiply in crores. As many wicked people were afraid to come to the temple, it is said that Goddess Pandhadu Nayaki assured them protection by tossing their sins as a ball and reform them. Now, many people come here with the obvious aim of seeking the pardon of the Goddess for what they did in the past and lead a righteous life.
The place Kottaiyur derived the name as the Shiva Lingam materialized under the castor bushes. A great sage Eranda Munivar came out through a cave and showed the Cauvery River to the Chozha Kingdom and is believed that lord Shiva had given him and the Chozha king Darshan as millions of Shiva Lingams. Hence the place got the name of Koteeswarar. The main idol’s body covered with boil like eruptions is a specialty here. Also the Navagrahas here are depicted with their respective vehicles and Chakras which is a specialty too. Worshipping in this temple is considered equal to having the Darshan of a million Shiva Lingams.
The Temple
The temple is located 5 km (3.1 mi) north-west of Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam - Swamimalai road. Kodeeswarar temple has a rectangular plan with two prakarams (outer courtyard) covering an area of 1 acre (0.40 ha) and a five-tiered Rajagopuram (gateway tower) facing East. The central shrine faces east and houses the image of Kodeeswarar (Shiva) in the form of lingam made of granite.

There is a separate shrine for Vinayagar and Murugan on both sides of the entrance to the sanctum. The granite images of Nandi (the bull and vehicle of Shiva), a tall flag staff and a Balipeeta, the place of offering, axial to the sanctum. As in other Shiva temples of Tamil Nadu, the first precinct or the walls around the sanctum of Kodeeswarar has images of Dakshinamurthy (Shiva as the Teacher), Durga (warrior-goddess) and Chandikeswarar (a saint and devotee of Shiva). The temple precinct is surrounded by granite walls. The images of Navagraha, the planetary deities are unique that they are depicted with all their chariots. They are too enticing to look at. Only a few temples in Tamilnadu have such Navagraha (9 planets) shrines.

A 60 feet high five tiered gopuram adorns the entrance of this temple with 2 prakarams. An image of Manu Neethi Cholan’s episode is seen near the 2nd gopuram as in Tiruvarur. There is a separate vimanam for Somaskandar here.
Vinayakar here is Kotivinayakar. Kotivinayakar image is composed of several Vinayakars. The Utsava Vinayakar with his consorts resembles that at Tiruvalanchuzhi which is also located close by.
7th century inscriptions are found here in addition to inscriptions dating back to the 12th century that refer to the Eragaram Tevara Vaippustalam nearby. Tirunavukkarasar has sung the glory of this shrine along with that of Tiruvalanchuzhi.
Worship & Religious Practises
The temple priests perform the puja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. The temple rituals are performed four times a day; Kalasanthi at 7:30 a.m., Uchikalam at 11:30 a.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m and Arthajamam at 8:00 p.m.
Each ritual comprises four steps: Abhisheka (sacred bath), Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for Koteeswarar and Pandhadu Nayagi. There are weekly rituals like Somavaram (Monday) and sukravaram (Friday), fortnightly rituals like Pradosham, and monthly festivals like Amavasai (new moon day), Kiruthigai, Pournami (full moon day) and sathurthi.
Religious significance
The temple is praised in the Thevaram hymns of Tirunavukkarasar. In his hymn, Saint Tirunavukkarasar explains the pleasant handsome appearance of Lord Shiva with the sacred ash on his body, riding on his bull vehicle, giving light to all directions. That Lord is gracing from his high towered Koteeswaram temple in Kottaiyur. This is the 44th temple praised in Thevaram hymns on the northern bank of Cauvery River.
Tirunavukkarasar describes the feature of the deity of Kottaiyur and Tiruvalanchuzhi as:
“பொடியாடு மேனிப் புனிதன் கண்டாய் புட்பாகற் காழி கொடுத்தான் கண்டாய்
இடியார் கடுமுழக்கே றூர்ந்தான் கண்டாய் எண்டிசைக்கும் விக்காகி நின்றான் கண்டாய்
மடலார் திரைபுரளுங் காவிரி வாய் வலஞ்சுழியின் மேவிய மைந்தன் கண்டாய்
கொடியாடு நெடுமாடக் கொட்டை யூரிற் கோடீச் சரத்துறையுங் கோமான் தானே.”
The Mahasamprokshanam also known as Kumbabishegam (consecration) of the temple was held on 26th October 2015. 
Temple Opening Time
Temple timings: The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00a.m. and 3.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Margazhi Thiruvathirai during the Tamil of Margazhi (December - January), Shivarathri in February- March, Panguni Uthiram during Panguni (March - April) and Arrow festival during Purattasi (September - October) are the four festivals celebrated in the temple.
Devotees pray for relief from evil aspects and to have a loving appearance. People bathe in this place and spill the water on their heads to have a beautiful appearance.
Sri Koteeswarar, Kailasanathar Temple,
Kottaiyur, Thanjavur district – 612 002
Phone: +91-0435 - 2450 595, +91-94866 70043
The temple is 42 km from Thanjavur and 5 km from Kumbakonam on the Tiruvaiyaru route. Nearest railway Station is located at Kumbakonam & Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.

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