Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Vedal Shiva Temple, Cheyyur, Kanchipuram

Vedal Shiva Temple, Cheyyur, Kanchipuram
Vedal Shiva Temple is situated near the Vedal Lake, one of the biggest lakes of Kanchipuram district, this temple was built during the Raja Raja Chola period. The historical name of the village being “Chola Kerala Chaturvedhi mangalam”, a village donated to the Brahmins for Vedic chanting. The temple is more ancient than 994 A.D per archaeological findings and is a treasure trove for the history lovers. It has many unique forms of different deities. The temple is a Thoonganai Maada temple with Gajaprashta vimanam. Though in a dilapidated condition, daily poojas are taking place.

It is located in a place that was called Jayamkonda Chola Mandalathu Eendhur Kottathu Vedaal Naatu Vedaal and Chola Kerala Chaturvedi Mangalam, this temple dates back before the time of Raja Raja Chola and there are inscriptions from both his and Rajendra I’s time in the temple. The Vedal Shivan Koil is believed to have been built during the era of Raja Raja Chola I, the emperor who built the famous Tanjore Brihadeeswarar Temple.

Little care is being taken by the villagers or the Government to preserve this architecturally excellent temple. A huge crack is running through the middle of the vimana & the backside wall of the temple. The Cholas reconstructed a lot of brick temples into granite temples. Only few brick temples are found today in Tamilnadu state of South India. Especially, there is hardly any brick temple that exists near Chennai city today. Hence Vadavamuga Agneeswarar temple located in Vedal is a rare one.

The Temple
The temple now has only two shrines, one that belongs to the magnificent Vadavamukhagneeswara and the other small separate shrine, for his consort, Vasantha Nayaki. The main deity is Sri Vadavaamughaneeswarar, a 6 feel high lingam facing east on padma peedam. The Lord is in Agni swaroopam and so Sandal abhishegam and curd rice Prasadam is special for him. 

The shrine of Vadavamukhagneeswara, also called Vadavayil Nayagar, which means the guardian of the northern entrance, is simple and still bears the resemblance to its once glorious past. The pillars in the mandapam ahead of the sanctum sanctorum also contain inscriptions. The main shrine is flanked by Ganesha and Shanmuga on either side.

It is extremely interesting to note that the trunk of this Ganesha does not rest on any of his arms as it is usually depicted, but is found curled up on his tummy. Instead of the Mooshikha, he has an elephant Vahana here. Murugar is seen with Rudraksha and Pasa Ayudham without His usual Vajrayutham and Sakthi Ayudham. He is special to worship for education related boons.

The Ambal is Sri Vasantha Nayagi facing South in a separate shrine. There are two ambals in the shrine. There is legend behind the presence of two Ambals in the Temple. During the times of Raja Raja I, the Goddess Vasantanayaki's statue had got damaged. Cracks developed on the nose and fingers of the Goddess and scholars recommended that the damaged idol be immediately removed and replaced with a new idol.

Arrangements were made to make an identical new idol. Just before the day the new idol was to be placed in the sanctum sanctorum in place of the old one, the King had a dream. The Goddess came to him in the form of a middle aged woman, and asked him “Will you send your mother away if she became disabled?". The startled king woke up, and at dawn, ordered that the new idol must be placed without removing the old idol. So till date, we have two Vasanta Nayaki in the same sanctum sanctorum.

The Nandhi is beautiful on a 4 feet tall pedestal. This Dakshinamoorthy, said to date back to the 9th Century, is seen with his right leg placed on his left leg. To the left of the temple, one can see a huge Jyesta Devi, half buried in the sand. The presence of Jyesta Devi again shows the ancient nature of this temple. Jeshta Devi is the wife of Saneeswarar and was the prime deity worshipped during the Chola period. Worshipping her for Sani related Dhoshams is said to give good results.

One can also see a cracked up stone panel depicting the Saptha Kannis again lying in the sand in front of the temple, covered in dust. The stones used in tank bund also seem to have been removed from the temple and contain remains of inscriptions. The goshta images Ganesha, Dakshinamurthy, Vishnu, Brahma, Durga and Chandikeshwarar are found on the wall surrounding the main shrine. The vimana along with the images of the Gods is still impressive, though in ruins.

Temple Opening Time
The temple is opened in the morning for a single Kala pooja. The priest, Manikanda Gurukkal is happy to be contacted over phone prior to visit, so that he is available to open the temple for anyone who wishes to visit this must-see temple.
Vedal Shiva Temple,
Vedal, Cheyyur,
Kanchipuram District
Mobile: 94430 74074 / 99443 26789 / 96269 26789 / 99439 11541
Vedal, pronounced as Vaedaal (also known as Neelasathurvedimangalam or Veera Chozha Sathurvedimangalam) is a village in the Cheyyur taluk, Kanchipuram district of TamilnaduIndia. It is located 105 kilometres (65 mi) away from Chennai and 45 kilometres (28 mi) away from Pondicherry on the Tamilnadu East Coast Road ECR. Vedal is situated about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) far from the Bay of Bengal coast and is well known for the temple of Shiva Vadavayil Andavar (means - Chola's Northern gateway God) located here; once upon a time it was the northern entrance for the great Chola Dynasty. It was the last among the temples built by the king Raja Raja Chola I.

There are two routes to reach this temple. For those proceeding through Madurantakam, the temple is about 37 kms from Madurantakam and about 10 kms from Choonambedu. For those proceeding through the ECR route, the temple is about 5 kms from Kadappakkam and about 45 kms from Puducherry.