Monday, August 22, 2016

Aazhi Kandeeswarar Temple, Idaikattoor, Sivaganga

Aazhi Kandeeswarar Temple, Idaikattoor, Sivaganga
Aazhi Kandeeswarar Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva located at Idaikattoor in Sivaganga District of Tamilnadu. Presiding deity is called as Aazhi Kandeeswarar (Manikandeeswarar) and Mother is called as Soundarya Nayaki. Thala Vriksham is Vilwa Tree and Theertham is Vaigai River. Agamam of this Temple is Sivagama.

Idaikattur is a quiet village away from rushing highways, yet quickly reachable from Madurai (30 km). It is a holy land where famed Siddhar Idaikaadar lived and hosted Navagrahas during a famine. A small navagraha temple stands there as a testimony. Rajinikanth used to visit and worship this temple every year. 
Idaikadar was born to Nanda and Yasodha in this holy land. His was a life between (Idai in Tamil) married and asceticism. Hence, he came to known as Idaikadar. He installed a Shivalinga here & performed Shiva Puja rigorously. He became a Siddha and merged with the Lord by his grace. This temple is a monument telling Siddha’s life.
Once, the Navagrahas the nine planets took different positions causing a severe famine. Idaikadar, who foresaw this situation earlier, trained his sheep to eat a plant called Erukku which is prevented for consumption by cattle due to its poisonous content. They became immune to the content. He thus managed the drought situation. Knowing the plan of Idaikadar, the planets called on him. Idaikadar extended all hospitality to them. 
After the lunch, the planets relaxed for some time. Using this time, Idaikadar changed their positions.  It began to rain immediately. The famine came to an end giving way to prosperity. Planets were happy to accept their new positions as Idaikadar did it with noble intentions. Based on this event, mentioned in the biography of the Siddha, a new temple exclusively for the planets was built here. 
Idaikadar Siddha had authored a Venba, a Tamil poetic literary form telling the planetary effects for each of the sixty Tamil Years. He has foretold the effects of Vehudanya year in this book. Special pujas are performed to Idaikadar on Arudra – Tiruvadhirai star day. 
The Temple
The temple is on the northern bank of Vaigai River. Lord Shiva in the temple assesses the deep mind (Aazh Manam in Tamil) of the devotees and graces them, hence named Aazhi Kandeeswara.  He is also praised as Manikandeeswarar.  Mother Soundarya Nayaki graces from a separate shrine. 
Between the shrines of Lord and Mother is the shrine of Balasubramanya (Muruga) in the Somaskanda form. Though this is a Shiva temple, festivals are dedicated to Lord Muruga alone here. It is said that this is followed as the temple is in Somaskanda form.

Devotees of Lord Muruga carry Kavadis and walk on fire pit-Pookuzhi. Muruga comes in procession with Mothers Valli and Deivanai on Kruthika star days. Special pujas are performed to Lord Muruga on the first day of each Tamil month. While generally Moonjuru – belonging to rat family- is before Lord Vinayaka as his Vahana, Elephant occupies this pride in this temple.
As a tradition, the shrine for Navagraha-9 planets is on the northeastern side in Shiva temples. It is at the border of this place on the northeastern side as separate temple. Sage Idaikadar appears in a penance posture.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 8.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
10 day Panguni Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the temple in March – April. Maha Shivrathri in February – March and Panguni Uthiram in March – April are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Devotees facing wedding problems and concerned with the welfare of the children pray to Lord and Mother and Lord Balasubramania (Muruga) performing special pujas. Devotees perform abishek to Lord and Mother and offer vastras.
Sri Aazhi Kandeeswarar Temple,
Idaikattoor-630 602,
Sivaganga District
Mobile: +91- 94438 33300
Idaikattoor is on Madurai - Rameswaram road. People have to get down at Muthanendal stop (35 km from Madurai) and take the road on the left. The temple is 1 km from here. Auto facility is available at Muthanendal. Nearest Railway Station is located at Manamadurai and Nearest Airport is located at Madurai.