Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Gangai Amman Temple, Chandavasal, Thiruvannamalai

Gangai Amman Temple, Chandavasal, Thiruvannamalai
Gangai Amman Temple is located at Chandavasal Village in Thiruvannamalai District of Tamilnadu. Theertham of this Temple is called as Perumal Theertham. Sthala Vriksham is Vilwa Tree.

Vishnu saving world from Shiva’s fury:
As per legend, Daksha arranged a Yagna. But he ignored to invite Lord Shiva, his son-in-law. However, Parvathi, the consort of the lord and the daughter of Daksha planned to visit her father and advise him not to insult her husband but to honor him, by sending specific invitation. But the Lord refused to give permission to Parvathi to call on her father, as he was afraid that Daksha would insult Parvathi also. Notwithstanding this injunction, Parvathi went to Yagna. Her action angered him. He also suffered from the feeling of separation. He wanted to teach Daksha a bitter lesson.
With this view, he climbed down to the earth. He put his left leg on the Rajakambira Mountain. The mountain was unable to bear the excessive heat coming from the Lord. It began to burn and also to submerge slowly into the earth. Therefore the Lord wanted to avoid this further and he put his right leg on the grounds of Adiannamalai, which is near Thiruvannamalai. His foot marks are imprinted on the tank of Adiannamalai. The mountain on which he put his left is called Mithi Malai. Even now his foot prints could be seen on this mountain.
The devotees going to Padavedu, via Santhavasal and Kalvasal, particularly seek the spot where the foot prints are stamped and pay their homage to it. The mountain which received his right leg, “Adiannamalai”, continues as a very famous place of worship. Actually his anger would have caused a great calamity to the earth, because of his anger and subsequent production of excessive heat generated.
Fortunately Gangadevi intervened in time. She prayed to her brother, “Lord Vishnu” to prevent the probable calamity by pouring immeasurable quantity of water on the burning mountain. Lord Vishnu accepted to her request and he arranged seven tanks around Raja Kambeera Mountain and doused the devastating fire, and saved the earth. Those seven tanks are still in use of the public in that area.
They are known as
1. Perumal Tank,
2. Utru Perumal Tank,
3. Kattu Perumal Tank,
4. Vanniya Perumal Tank,
5. Komutti Perumal Tank,
6. Kutta Karai Tank,
7. Verum Tank. 
Ganga Devi profusely thanked he brother and made arrangements to worship him. She chose a place for worshipping. Later she built a temple for her brother in the same place of worship. Subsequently a temple was built in her honor in the same area. Unfortunately both the templates are now in dilapidated condition. As mark of respect, the people celebrate karthigai festival here by lighting lamps on the Raja Kambeera Mountain, as done on Thiruvannamalai.
But the God on whom this event is celebrated is Lord Vishnu. This is quite different from the age old custom, under which Lord Shiva only was worshipped on that sacred day. In Raja Kambeera Mountain Lord Vishnu is honored on that day, perhaps as a token of their gratitude to Vishnu for saving from the wrath of Lord Shiva.
Senaikku Meendan Vasal:
When Muslims invaded the South, Kumarakambanan, a Vijayanagara King came here, fought with the Muslims and recovered the temples from their aggression. He stayed here on his way. A king Rajanarayana Samburvarayar mistook Kumarakambanan as an invader and fought him with but was defeated and hid himself in the Rajagambeera hills.  The queen of Kumarakambanan came to know the glory of this hill and built this temple for Mother Gangadevi. Kumarakambanan invited Samburvarayar and gave him back his land. The name came to the place as Senaikku Meendan Vasal – Gate of the king returned from war.
The Temple
Mother Gangadevi graces in a sitting form with her left leg bent and the right down. There is a five hooded serpent above her. Lion vehicle is below her. She is holding Danda, Udukkai and the nectar pot. There is also the Ambica idol in Sudhai form behind the principal Ambica. Special pujas are performed to Ambica on water-related important festivals as Deepavali, Masi Magam. The abisheka theertha is offered as Prasad considered very sacred as it is used for the Water-Goddess Gangadevi herself.  The faith is that keeping the water in the house would bring prosperity. There is a separate shrine for the procession deity who will grace from the entrance hall of the temple on Poornima-full moon days.

There is a Light Post (Deepasthamba) at the entrance of the temple with sculptures of discus, conch, Garuda and Sri Anjaneya indicating the presence of a Vishnu temple earlier. Mount Rajagambeera is behind the temple.  Lord Shiva placed his foot on this mount first and the next on Thiruvannamalai. The place where Lord Shiva is believed to have set his foot here is in the form of a pit. It has the Shivapada also. This is called Midhimalai meaning the mount where Lord pressed his leg. Lighting in the mount is done on Vishnu Karthika following Tirukarthika.

Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. On Fridays, the temple is open till 1.00 p.m. during morning hours.
Deepavali in October-November, Masi Magam in February-March. Aadi Pooram in July-August, Aadi Amavasya-new moon in July-August, Poornimas the Full Moon days, Panguni Uthiram in March-April are the festivals of the temple. Abishek to Mother is performed with milk from 108 pots on Chithra first day occurring almost on April 14 or a day before or after occasionally. Devotees are allowed to do the abishek themselves on this day. A Prasad packet containing 9 items considered auspicious is offered to women.  A sumangali Homa is also performed on this day. Wedding festival is celebrated on Panguni Uthiram in March-April.  
Thuni Mudithal prayer is for child boon. This is done in a yellow cloth seeking this boon and left in the temple after prayer pujas. After getting the child, they come back to the temple, get the pack back for uncovering. Women pray with Mangal Sutra for the longevity and welfare of husbands. Special Homas are conducted on Saturn, Jupiter, Rahu and Ketu transit days in the Navagraha shrine of the temple.
Arulmigu Gangai Amman Thirukkoil
Santhavasal, Polur Taluk,
Thiruvannamalai District – 606905
Phone: +91 4181 243207
Mobile: +91 9677 341227 / 9994 908747
Chandavasal is 32 km from Vellore on the Thiruvannamalai Road. From Thiruvannamalai the place is 50 km far. The temple is 1 km from Chandavasal bus stop on Padavedu road. Auto facility is available. Nearest Railway Station is located at Vellore and Thiruvannamalai. Nearest Airport is located at Chennai.

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