Friday, March 11, 2016

Kaalahasthishwara Gnanambikai Temple, Dindigul

Kaalahasthishwara Gnanambikai Temple, Dindigul
Kaalahasthishwara Gnanambikai Temple is a several hundred year old Hindu Temple situated at Dindigul. Thala Virutcham (holy tree) of this temple is Gooseberry. Devotees believe that this lord will save them from the adverse effects of Navagrahas. They do Abhishekam and offer vastras (holy clothes) to the lord and goddess.

Unlike in other temples, there are two presiding deities in this temple. Car and wedding festivals are celebrated in this temple only in evenings against morning hours in other temples.

During the Fridays of Aadi and Thai months (July-August and January-February) respectively, Ambicas are dressed in sandal paste (Alankarams). Special pujas are performed on the Thai new moon day.

Lord Brahmma performed penance in this place on Lord Shiva for relief from an evil effect-dosha- he was suffering then. Lord gave him darshan from a Lotus – Padma – tank. Hence, Lord Shiva is praised as Padmagiriswarar. He marched on a demon Dindimasura. At the very sight of Lord, the demon became good and surrendered at his feet. As requested by him, Lord agreed to make the place known after his name as Dindeeswaram.

Later, the demon invaded Devas who fell at the feet of Lord of Padmagiri. As a token of their gratitude to Lord, the Devas installed a Shiva devotee Dharmabalan as the king of Dindeeswaram and left the place. He built a temple to Lord Padmagiriswarar on the hill top.

During the rule of the Tipu Sultan, people brought down Lord and Ambica to the ground temple as procession deities in the present Kaalahasthishwara temple. They showed equal respect and importance to both Shivas and Ambicas. Dindeeswaram later came to be known as Dindigul. This is a hill temple.

In early days, the temple of Lord Padmagiriswarar was on the hill top. Lord will come to the ground during festivals days. To receive the Lord, a mandapam was built then near Mother Abhirami Amman temple. King Achutha Devarayar ruling this place then was a staunch devotee of Lord Kalahasthiswarar of Thirukalathi now in Andhra Pradesh. To worship him daily and that too in his place, the king installed Kalahasthiswarar and Mother Gnamabikai in this Mandapam in the year 1578.

Later, when other kings came to power here, they brought down Lord Shiva and Mother to the foot hill place and facilitated worship easily in the same mandapam. The mandapam then was expanded as a fully fledged temple with both Lords and Mothers. Even now, there are two presiding Lords with two Mothers in the same temple in separate shrines.

In his foreword to the famous book Thendral Vidu Dhoodhu - sending a message to Lord Padmagirinathar through the wind from south - by Pala Pattadai Chockanatha Pulavar, great Researcher and Scholar of Tamil Renaissance – by gathering age old literatures from the palm leaves and publishing them in print, says that Dindeeswaram is but the name of Dindigul adding that the place is one mentioned in Thevaram hymns also.

The prominent Nayak king, Thirumalai Nayak, constructed a hall at this temple’s front portion. Tipu Sultan ruled this region made an order to bring Abirami Ambigai and Padmagirinathar statues from the hill temple to this temple.

Greatness of Temple
There was no shrine for Ambica in the beginning.  Mother Kali came here to destroy a demon named Analan and was very furious.  Lord Shiva softened her fury and married her.  She looked very alluring then and therefore, was named Abhirami Ambica.  A festival remembering the furious Kali destroying the demon and her wedding with Shiva is celebrated during Chithirai month – April-May.

Though a Shiva sthala-place, Ambicas occupy a prominent place.  The temple is popularly known as Abhirami temple.  The name Abhirami contains auspicious Mantra letters.  Worshipping Mother in the name of Abhirami, naturally the devotees chant this Mantra bring them manifold blessings.

Two Shiva devotees Bahu and Subahu used to worship the Lord during these days without fail.  While they were proceeding to temple, Lord Shiva intercepted them in the guise of a tiger as if to kill them. The two asked the tiger to wait and have them for its prey after they finished the Shiva worship.  The tiger yielded to their request.  They returned to the tiger as promised. 

Tiger Shiva granted darshan to them and blessed them with salvation.  This event is symbolically celebrated during Karthikai festival. Varuna the God of Rain lost his job due to a curse by Indira.  He prayed to Lord Shiva here and got back his job.  Those who had lost their jobs pray to Lord here on their birth star days or on Poornima-full moon days offering Rudrabishekam and Samba rice nivedhana to regain the job.  Those aspiring promotions also follow this worship.

Sage Vishwamitra offered a heavy wage to a Brahmin named Sumedhan for participating in his yajna. The Brahmin was still greedy and demanded more. To teach him a lesson, the sage cursed the Brahmin to become a deer.  He also told the animal that it would get back its original form by worshipping Lord Padmagiriswarar in this place.  This event is played during the Chithirai-April-May Brahmotsavam in the temple. 

Girivalam-circumambulating the hill is followed by devotees on Poornima-full moon days.  On the eighth day of new moon fortnight (Ashtami), in Margazhi-December-January, Lord Shiva gives alms to all (Padi Alathal in Tamil).  Pancha Moorthis come in procession that day. 

Sage Agasthya worshipped Lord Vinayaka here on his way to Pothigai hills.  The Vinayaka praised as Agasthya Vinayaka is on the Girivalam path.  During Skanda Sashti, Valli and Deivanai come to this place.  A drama is played then here as if Vinayaka threatening Valli and followed by Muruga-Valli wedding.  A nivedhana made of Thinai flour, a corn so dear to Lord Muruga is offered during this festival.

The Temple
This is a very ancient Shiva temple, built by Chera kings and renovated by Cholas, Pandyas, kings of Vijaya Nagar and Naickers of Madurai.  Lord Vinayaka of the temple is praised as Vanni Vinayaka.  Lord Shiva who came here as Bhairava, to destroy Thindimahasura is in the prakara. Mother Baladurga graces devotees from a pillar. Garuda Bhagwan graces from another pillar. Great Saivite Acharyas praised as Santhana Kuravas, Meikanda Thevar, Maraignana Sambandar, Arulnadhi Shivacharya and Umapathi Shivacharya grace the devotees from the front Mandapam.

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are worshipped as Kalahasthiswarar and Gnanambikai. Lord Shiva of this temple is also called as Padmagiriswarar. Goddess Parvati of this temple is also worshipped as Ambikai and Abhirami. Lord Vinayagar of this temple is worshipped as Vanni Vinayagar.

There is a shrine for Lord Varadaraja Perumal in the prakara facing north, a direction said to be very auspicious and prosperous. People pray here seeking prosperity.  Sri Anjaneya having his shrine separately in other temples or before the Lord; graces the devotees so close to Perumal himself in the shrine, a respect to His Bhakti.  On the Vaikunta Ekadasi day, Perumal passes through the entrance of Mother Abhirami as there is no special Sorga Vasal – entrance to Paradise for Perumal in the temple.  It is said that he uses this entrance with liberty as the Brother of Mother Abhirami.

Lord Dakshinamurthi in the Shiva shrine goshta graces with two disciples only, against four traditionally seen in other temples.  They are in standing posture learning from the Great Teacher paying their respects.  Behind the shrine of Lord Kalahasthiswarar, in the place of Lingodhbava, Lord Muruga occupies the place. 

Temple Opening Time
·        Morning: 6.00 A.M to 12.00 P.M
·        Evening: 4.00 P.M to 09.30 P.M
Pooja Name & Fees Structure
Pooja Name
Pooja Fees
Special Entry - Normal days
Special Entry - Function days
Special Alangaram
Gee Deepam
Milk, Curd, Illaneer
Panner, Malai Sadhupadi
Gold Kalasam Sadhupadi
For Marriages:
Pooja Name
Pooja Fees
Marriage kattnam
Marriage stage
Marriage Photo coverage
Marriage Video coverage
Chithirai Peruntiruvizha will be celebrated for 12days on this month. On the day of Chithirai Pournami Urchavam function will be celebrated.
Aani Thirumanjana Thiruvizha will be celebrated
Sandhana kappu Abishegam will be celebrated on mother Ambika and Abirami of all Fridays.
Vinayagar Chathurthi will be celebrated
Kandha Sasti Kavasam will be celebrated for 6 days of this month
Karthigai Thiruvizha will be celebrated in this month
Thiruvillakku Poojai will be celebrated in this month
Special valipadu for Arulmigu Nadarajar
Devotees pray to Lord Kalahasthiswarar for relief from the adverse aspects of the serpent planets, pardon for sins committed and to get back the job lost.  Those seeking child boon pray on Kruthika star days. Devotees perform abishek to Lord and Mother offering vastras.
A Tamil devotee scholar Pala Pattadai Chockanatha Pulavar had sung the glory of the Lords of this temple.
Executive officer,
Arulmigu Kalahasthiswarar Temple,
Phone: 0451 2433229, 2460 903 
Mobile: 94420 18345
Dindigul is 61 km from Madurai. The temple is one km far from Dindigul bus stand.
Nearest Railway Station: Dindigul, Madurai
Nearest Airport: Madurai

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