Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Thiruchendur Murugan Temple – Temple Architecture

Thiruchendur Murugan Temple – Temple Architecture
The ancient temple of Subrahmanya Swami is situated about a mile from the railway station, half of which distance is covered by the Panchayat Board Road, and three more furlongs by a temporarily covered highway paved long ago with granite blocks by a sannyasin. This portion of the road is much rickety owing to subsidence of the stones, and, the pedestrian has to pick his way carefully with a humble heart and bowed head not to hurt himself.

The road is decidedly tabooed for wheeled traffic, and consequently the left marginal portion of which is used. Both the sides of the highway are lined with shops, coffee-houses, and chatrams owned by the several communities. Two covered stone mandapas, one of 48 pillars of the Mudaliars and of sixteen of the Reddiars, afford a covering on the way till the Agasthyar Temple, and next the Thundukai-Vinayakar shrine is reached.

The worshipper now pays obeisance to the Thundukai Vinayaka and offers his vow of a number of cocoanuts breaking them in the frontal enclosure intended for it. The road from here is sandy to the main temple environs. The mandapas to the right and left of the Vinayakar shrine are those of Pillaiyans and Karkattars and of the Tiruvavaduthurai Mutt. The historical associations of the Vadamalaiappa Pillayyan’s Mantapa are interesting.

The sandy path from now is covered overhead by a permanent covered way, standing on cement-concrete pillars. This is a benefaction of the sannyasin Vallinayaka Swami. It extends to the Shanmukha Vilasam to the east, and branches off near the Devasthanam office towards the Giri-prakara to the North and the East coming around the main temple, the Mela gopuram and along the sea-border, a distance of about two furlongs and, terminating but by a short distance to the Shanmukha Vilasa. It is on this route lie the Vasanta Mantapa, and the approach to the Mela-gopuram entrance and the Kalyana Mantapa.

The Vasanta Mantapa is a recent noble edifice standing on 120 columns and with a central porch. It is here the deities are brought in Masi and Avani festivities, and, where they receive their Arathanas before they are taken out in procession. The occasional religious discourses and musical performances are also held here. During the Vasanta festival of ten days the stone trough around the central porch is filled with cool waters and the mantapa gaily decorated with evergreens and plantain trees.

On the Giri-Prakara removed at a distance from the Vasanta Mantapa stands the Skanda Vilas Mantapam on a raised sandy promontory majestically over-looking the Gulf of Mannar. It is a mantapa of sixteen pillars and worked in black granite, 28¾ feet long, 24½ feet broad.

Shanmukha is taken here in all majestic pomp on the eighth day of the Masi and the Avani festivals, and the enthusiasm of the crowds of worshippers on those occasions knows no bounds. The deity is here given an ablution in drums of rosewater, and soon after the procession starts again. The Lord halts at the Shanmukha Vilasa on the path as he returns to his sanctum within the temple.

On the eastern Giri-prakara, another small stone mantapa 9-1/2 feet square and standing on four pillars on a spot overlooking the Vathanarambha Tirtha on the eastern sea border has to be mentioned. Here the communities who till recently could not enter into the portals of the temple gave their offerings of fruits and coconuts and had a darshan of the Lord through an aperture 9" by 4-1/2" in the temple compound wall of 4' 9" thickness.

The sacred precincts of the temple have since been thrown open to the Hindu Harijans and all the other Hindu communities on the 14th of November of the year of grace 1946, for entry and worship therein like all others of the Hindu fold.

Shanmuga Vilasa
For brief details, please refer below link;
First Prakaram 
When we enter the first prakaram, we can see the shrine of Kumara Vidanga Peruman in the left. He is the processional festival deity of Lord Arumuga Nainar. Proceeding further, we can see the 63 Nayanmars and Thogai Adiyars in the left and Dakshina Moorthy on the right. The next three pillars are embellished with the figures of Kasi Swami, Mauna Swami and Desika Moorthy Swami, the people who brought about the temple Thiruppanis. Next to them is the grand Valliamman shrine, beautiful with marble slabs.

Behind this shrine are the shrines of Sankara Narayanar Swami, Visalakshi Amman, Vedapuriswarar Swami, Vathapuriswarar Swami & Yegambaranathar Swami decorated with marble slabs stands near Valliamman Shrine and in between them is the Yagasalai. We can worship Lord Chandeeswara at the northern side of the prakaram and the shrines of Natarajar, Saneeswarar and Bairavar are on the opposite side.

We can also see Goddess Sivagami by the side of Natarajar and Karaikal Ammaiyar musing at "Ananda Thandavam" of Lord Natarajar. We can also see the golden flag mast encased in gold if we turn southwards. Here, the flag is not hoisted. 

Second Prakaram 
In this prakaram, a small Dakshinamoorthy image is at the southern side. At the western end of the prakaram is Noottretu Lingas, or the 108 Lingas. The shrine for Soora Samhara Moorthy is situated next to the 108 Lingas and also the shrine of Arunagirinathar, author of Thirupugazh, is situated in this prakaram. Next to it is the flight of steps leading to Mela Gopuram. Mela Vasal Vinayagar is seated opposite to these steps and he was said to have guarded the scaffolding during the construction of Mela Gopuram.

At the northern side of the prakaram, the shrine for Perumal is situated. Here Perumal is in a standing position. Next to this shrine, in the Santhanasala rock, we can worship Lord Ranganathar in a lying posture and Goddess Gajalakshmi by his side. Also we can see Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Neeladevi and the images of 12 Alwars. 

Surasamhara Stucco
For brief details, please refer below link;
Venkatesa Perumal Shrine
For brief details, please refer below link;
Mela Gopuram
For brief details, please refer below link;
Maha Mandapam 
By moving through the Maha Mandapam in two ways, we can worship both the Moolavar (Lord Balasubramanian) and Lord Arumuga. From a spot called Maniyadi, we can worship Lord Balasubramanian. Opposite to Maniyadi, Parvathi Amman and Kariyamanicka Vinayagar can be seen. Veerabagu Devar is at the left and Veera Mahendra Devar is at the right side of the Moolavar. 

Shubramanya Sanctum
For brief details, please refer below link;
Pancha Lingam
By going round the sanctum sanctorum, we can see 5 Lingams. There is a hole next to the Pancha Lingam at the northern side. It is believed that the Devas come through this hole and perform pooja to the Lord. 

Arumugar, known as Shanmugha Peruman, poses beautifully with 6 faces and 12 arms. Deivayanai is on the left and Valli is on the right side of Arumugar. Aathmalingam is in the small niche on the left. A monolithic image of Lord Arumuga is carved beautifully on a stone pillar outside the prakaram. 

Jayanthi Nathar 
If you come out of Maniyadi outer gate you can see Jayanthi Nathar made of Pancha Loka. He is the processional deity for Moolavar. On both sides, the statues of Nachiyars can be seen. Chandralingam is on the left side in the shrine. 
Valli’s Cave (Dattatreya’s Cave)
For brief details, please refer below link;
Moovar Samadhi
There are three Samadhis near Nazhikinaru for the three Saints - Mouna Swamy, Kasinatha Swamy and Arumugha Swamy, who dedicated their lives for the Thiruppanis of this temple.  The images of these three saints have been carved on the stone pillars in the Second Prakaram.

Copper-Plated Flagstaff 
A copper-plated flagstaff is erected in the middle of the eastern side of the first prakaram. A flag is hoisted during the Avani and Masi festivals. Opposite to this flagstaff, there is a hole in the wall on the eastern side. When we peep through this hole, we can see the sea with its foamy waves. If we place our ear on it, we can hear the Pranava Mantra, “Om”. 
Roofed path way (Nataipathai Kottagai)
A continuous Roof is erected on huge cement pillars for about 1 km length along the pathway from Thiruchendur town to Temple. This is very helpful to devotees who come to worship Senthilandavar by protecting them from scorching sun and pouring rain.

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