Dakshinamurthy Temple (Guru Temple), Govindavadi – The Temple
Lord Dakshinamurthy generally has his place on the wall around the main Shiva shrine. But, this is the temple that has Lord Dakshinamurthy as presiding deity facing south. Behind is another sanctum separately for Lord Kailasanathar. Both sanctums are under a single vimana having Lord Shiva and Lord Dakshinamurthy. Lord Dakshinamurthy is the principal deity of the temple to whom Aipasi Annabishekam (abishek with rice) in October-November is performed as to Lord Shiva. The other difference is that Lord Dakshinamurthy graces with an eye on the forehead and crescent moon as Lord Shiva himself.
The main entrance leads to the guru Sannidhi which is a 5 foot statue of Dakshinamurthy actually situated in the outer wall of the Kailasnathar Sannidhi alongside. The `kalalam' (the tree canopy above the head of the deity) is not there and apanchasanam has been carved out below the Muyalagan (the monster on whom Dakshinamoorthy rests his right leg). The panchasanam - consisting eight Simhas' (lions), eight nagams (five-headed snakes), Ashta Dwarapalaka (eight armed guards), eight Gajas (elephants) and `Ashta dikhbalakas' (regents of eight cardinal points) - has the Koormam (tortoise) as its base. Though the Dakshinamoorthy idol has been installed south of the sanctum Santorum of Sri Kailasanathar (like in any other Siva temple), the construction has been done in such a way that the deity has a separate shrine.
As he granted darshan to Lord Vishnu privately, the banyan tree is not here but a structure (Mandapam) representing Mount Kailash. Muyalagan the symbol of ignorance usually under the feet of Lord facing right is facing left in this temple. Vibhuti Kavadi usually attributed to Lord Shiva worship, is carried for Lord Dakshinamurthy in this temple. The sacred ash is used for abishek and given as Prasad to devotees. Devotees dissolve it in water and consume as medicine.
The panchaloka idol of Dakshinamoorthy is also as exquisite as the granite one. The deity is seen seated on the Mount Kailash where the Sanakathi sages are performing penance. Kailasanathar Sannidhi has akhilandeshwari and in both the Sivan and Amman sannidhis we are allowed very close to the idols. Exquisite stone carvings - referred to as kumbachara, said to be a form of sculpting promoted by the Chola Kings.
The symbol in the forehead of Lord Vishnu is called Namam. This is done with sand called Thiruman. Here Kumkum and Sandal is used for this dressing-Alankara to show Vishnu was a Shiva devotee. Bhagwan Adhi Sankara has a shrine in the temple remembering his visit. Serpent deities, Rahu and Ketu – also serpent planets – are in a single shrine in the prakara. Those facing adverse serpent planet effects perform milk abishek here for relief. The Nagadevata appears with her two legs bent. Vinayaka is seen a special seat called Avudaiyar.
There are shrines for Lord Kailasanathar, Mother Akhilandeswari and Lord Chandana Kumkuma Govinda. Lord Perumal graces from a separate shrine facing west. Mothers Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Aanjaneyar, Garudazhwar are with Lord. As Lord Vishnu worshipped Lord Shiva here with his hymns, the place was originally called Govinda Padi and changed as Govinda Vadi later.
Another important aspect exclusive to this temple is that devotees, whose marriage proposals face hurdles because of the influence of Raghu, Kethu or Angaragan, are allowed to perform Abhishekam to the naga kanni idols installed at the north-west corner of the temple. After performing the anointment, they have to worship Dakshinamoorthy to get their marriage proposals through.