Friday, September 23, 2016

Kandhaswamy Temple, Cheyyur – The Temple

Kandhaswamy Temple, Cheyyur – The Temple

This Temple is facing towards east with a flat Rajagopuram on the southern side. The temple has two prakarams and is enclosed within granite compound walls. There is another entrance on the eastern side. Balipeedam, Peacock vehicle and Dhwaja Sthambam can be found in the outer prakaram, facing the sanctum. A tall stone Deepa Sthamba can be seen behind the Dhwaja Sthamba. Bharani Deepam is lit on this Deepa Sthamba for three days during Karthigai Deepam festival.

The Sanctum Sanctorum consists of Sanctum, Ardha Mandapam, Maha Mandapam and frontal porch. There is an idol of peacock, the vehicle of Muruga and Surya in the Maha Mandapam facing the sanctum. The Sanctum is guarded by two Dwarapalakas namely Suveeran and Sujanan. There is a 5 ft (1.5 m) granite Vel in front of Kandhaswamy. Presiding Deity is called as Kandhaswamy and is facing east. He is housed in the sanctum along with his consorts Valli and Devasena on either of his sides.

He is four armed holding Vajra & Vajra and showing Abhaya Hastha. They are found in the standing posture with a peacock at the backside. Idols of Vinayagar and Gajalakshmi can be seen at the entrance of the sanctum on either side. Nritya Skanda, Brahma Sastha, Shiva Gurunathar, Bala Skanda and Pulindar are the koshta idols located around the sanctum walls. Chandikeswarar shrine can be seen in his usual location.

There is a separate shrine for Pradhana Ganapathy immediately after the entrance on the left side. He is depicted holding Japa Mala in his upper left hand instead of holding Pasam or Ankusa. There is a small room in his shrine. It is said that once, a Siddhar installed a Maragatha Linga in this room and worshipped it. A perpetual lamp is lit on the place where Linga was present. Devotees can see this lamp via small hole from outside.

Shrines of Naga Kannigais, Utsava Idols and Palliayarai can be seen near this shrine. There is a shrine for Muthu Kumaraswamy near Utsava Shrine. He is four armed and rests his right leg on peacock as if he is ready to go to war with Asuras. Hence, he is famously called as Samhara Moorthy. Shrine of Somanathar and Meenakshi can be seen next to Muthu Kumaraswamy Shrine. This Shrine is facing towards east while Meenakshi is facing towards south in the shrine.

It is said that the idol of Meenakshi was installed in 1934 CE in this shrine. This shrine is guarded by Brahma and Vishnu instead of Dvarapalakas. It is an unusual feature nowhere to be seen. Balipeedam and Nandi can be found facing this shrine. Idols of Guha Suryan and Bhairavar can be found opposite to Somanathar shrine facing the sanctum. Idol of Guha Suryan is about 5 feet tall. Idol of Gajalakshmi can be seen opposite to Bhairavar.

Mayil Mandapam can be found to the northern side of Dhwaja Sthambam. This Mandapam houses separate south facing shrines of Valli and Devasena. Both of them are found in standing postures in their respective shrines. Vadya Mandapam can be found in front of the Mayil Mandapam. This Mandapam is used during festivals for performing ablutions to Utsava idols and for music performances. Sculptures of Yoga Narasimha, Mariyamman, Lakshmi Narasimha and Ayyapan can be seen in the pillars of this Mandapam.

There is a separate Shrine for Navagrahas behind the Dhwaja Sthambam. Ayyappan Shrine can be seen at the entrance of the temple. There are about 27 idols of Vedalams (Bhootaganas / Ghosts) in niches on the inner compound wall of the temple. All the idols are about 2 feet tall. These 27 Vedalams represent 27 Nakshatras (Birth Stars). As these Vedalams are controlled by Bhairava, an idol of Bhairava can be seen alongside the Vedalams. It is said that these Vedalams are installed during 1950’s.

Shrines of Vinayagar, Kailasanathar, Sivanandha Valli, Arunagirinathar, Brahma, Vishnu, Veerabahu, Bala Nayagar, Astradevar, Arumugam, Dhandapani and Chandra Devar can be seen in the temple premises. Sculptures of Ayyanar with his consorts Poorna & Pushkala, Idumban and Arunagirinathar can be seen on the eastern side of the southern entrance.  Sculptures of Vallabha Ganapathy, Veerabhadra and Nava Veeras can be seen on the western side of the southern entrance.

There are several pillars outside the main entrance of the temple indicates the presence of a massive mandapa once in front of the temple. These pillars also have few intricate sculptures. There are several beautiful sculpture panels can be seen at the outer wall of the temple. Theertham associated with this temple is Chettikulam. It is situated to the western side of the temple. The water drawn from this tank is used for abhishekam of the deities.

Sthala Vrikshams are Vanni and Karungali tree. Nandavanam can be found in the outer prakaram to the north of the sanctum. There are nine Vinayagar shrines situated around the temple on the four Mada Veethis (Streets). These Vinayagar shrines were said to have been worshipped Navagrahas and represents each planet.

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