Monday, March 27, 2017

Narumboonatha Swamy Temple, Thiruppudaimarudhur – The Temple

Narumboonatha Swamy Temple, Thiruppudaimarudhur – The Temple
Tirupudaimarudur Narumboonatha Swamy Temple is one of the biggest temples in Southern Tamilnadu. This massive temple with excellent stone sculptures is located on the bank of Thamirabarani River in a beautiful location. The temple has all the four styles of temple architectures namely Pandiya, Chera, Chola and Vijayanagara which add beauty for this glorious Temple. The temple has 5 praharams and 6 times worship services take place daily. It is considered best to worship this Shiva on the day of Pushya star.

The Temple covers an area of about 6 acres of land. Thiruppudaimarudhur Temple’s compound walls measure 575 feet in length. From outside, the temple tower can be seen to go up in five layers like a step pyramid. It is heavily embellished with figures from Hindu mythology. The 1200 years old temple has a stunning and magnificent east facing five tier tower (Raja Gopuram). A temple wall without tower (mottai gopuram) is standing in front of the tower. It appears that the tower was originally planned but not constructed.

Otherwise, this large temple might have another stunning tower. There is a huge open space between the two towers. A small beautiful pillared mandapa is located in front of the mottai gopuram. Presiding Deity is called as Narmboonathar / Pudargeneswarar and Mother is called as Gomathi Ambal. 

Both Ambal and Swami are Swayambu. Sthala Vriksham is Marudha Tree and Theertham is Thamirabarani River. Lord Shiva, a Swayambumurthy graces leaning on a side slightly. There are scars of a sickle cut on the head and a hit of deer on the chest. Urchavar is called as Bhoonathar.

The Marudham tree where the Lord graced the king with his darshan is still behind the Tambiraparani River left to the Vinayaka temple. Lord Vinayaka graces in the name of Anukkai Vinayaka. Pure rice is offered as Nivedhana to the Lord. 

A long and broad hall covered with a ceiling on top and supported by a lot of pillars found with carvings is located once you enter into the temple. In this mandapa (hall), the flag staff (dhwajastambha) and Bali peetha are located facing the sanctum sanctorum. Two small idols Dwaja Ganapathi and Dwaja Subramanya are found near the flag staff.

The temple as such, the bathing Ghat and the surrounding locations are beautiful and popular film shooting spots. The temple Nandavanam adjacent to the temple itself is a declared bird sanctuary, though tiny. The paintings on the gopuram are so detailed that it attracts the attention. 

The scenes depicted are from the epics and literature in many colors. Paintings on wood include Lord Shiva and Vishnu, and Goddess Meenakshi's marriage ceremony in vegetable paints is exquisite. Tombs (Samadhis) of Siddhars are also located inside the temple.

Main Shrine:
The main shrine is very long and divided into Moolasthanam (sanctum sanctorum), Ardha Mandapa and Maha Mandapa. The Moolasthanam has big Shiva Linga named as Pudaar Jeeneshwararaka Narumbunathar. He is found slightly leaned towards his left side. The marks of deer hit and sickle cut are found on his body. The reasons for his leaning posture and the marks are given in the legends section. At the entrance of Ardha Mandapa, a pair of Dwarapalas are located. Also, the idols of Anugnai Vinayakar and Bala Subramanya are found here.
The entrance of Maha Mandapa has another pair of Dwarapalas sculptures. The mandapa has a big sub-shrine with a lot of Utsava (metal) idols such as Nataraja-Sivakami, Shiva Linga, Bhikshatana, Ganesha, Chandrasekhar, 63 Nayanmars, etc. Nandi is found in the mandapa facing towards the main deity. The hall has so many beautiful pillars having lion faces on their upper sides. There is another Nandi facing towards the main Shiva Linga.
The Brahmadanda, which is associated with the origin of the temple, as per the legend, is found more like a thin long Shiva Linga in the inner prakara. Along with Brahmadanda, the idols of Surya, Shiva Linga and Nandi are also found.
Gomati Amman Shrine:
The Goddess of the temple is Gomati. She is very tall and beautiful; her idols is made up of Rudraksha. She is holding parrot in her right arm. Her shrine is equally big similar to that of Narumbunathar and three sections - moolasthanam, Ardha Mandapa and Maha Mandapa. At the entrance of Maha Mandapa, the idols of Ganesha and Subramanya are located. Nandi is found in the maha mandapa facing towards the Goddess. There is an exterior mandapa with a lot of pillars with carvings.
Normally the Goddess shrine is located to the left side of the main shrine. In this temple, the Goddess' shrine is located to the right side of the main shrine, which is very rare. At the main entrance of the Goddess temple, the sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya-Valli-Devasena and Bhoodathar (in the form a tomb like structure) are all located.
Inner Prakara:
Some of the idols found in the inner prakara around the main shrine:
·        Ganesha
·        63 Nayanmars
·        Karuvur Siddhar
·        Kasi Lingam with his consort
·        Rameswarar Lingam with his consort
·        Tritiya Lingams - three Shiva Lingas
·        Chadur Lingams - four Shiva Lingas
·        Ganesha
·        Maha Vishnu with folded hands
·        Subramanya with folded hands
·        Big Jwara Deva
·        Big Sapta Matas
·        Krishna
·        Yoga Dhakshinamoorthi
·        Saneeswara
·        Saraswathi
·        Sahashra Linga
The prakara is full of pillars and half of the region has a kind of raised platform called 'thinnai'.
Some of the sub-shrines found in the inner prakara:
·        Ganesha - very beautiful idol
·        Subramanya on top of peacock with his consorts Valli and Devasena
·        Utsava idols of Uma and Maheshwara - sitting posture
·        Chandikeswara
The niche sculptures found on the main shrine walls:
·        Shiva Linga
·        Dhakshinamoorthi
·        Vishnu and Mahalakshmi in the sitting posture
·        Brahma with folded hands
·        Durga
Punugu Sabhapati:
A big sub-shrine is located in the inner prakara, which is dedicated to Nataraja and Sivakami. Both the deities along with the other usual saints are all made up of Punugu, a kind of perfume. 
Other Idols:
Near the flag staff, there are five small Shiva Lingas; two of them are found along with Ambal. Apart from that there is a small Shiva Linga in a small shrine and another big one - Ishana Linga along with Ambal in a separate shrine. All the Shiva Lingas have their corresponding Nandi facing them. Navagraha, the nine planets, are also located adjacent to these sub-shrines. Outside the Raja Gopuram, there is a shrine dedicated to Shasta with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala. Sapta Matas and some village deities are also found near this shrine.
Tamirabarani River:
Tamirabarani River is flowing on the backside of the temple. On its banks, there are two separate shrines - one is dedicated to Ganesha and in another shrine has part of the holy tree Marudha where the deity was discovered originally. Currently, a four-armed Shiva idol is installed here. The roof of this shrine is slope, somewhat similar to that of Kerala type architecture.
Outer Prakara:
The outer prakara is more like a garden with so many trees and plants. Under a particular holy tree, the idols of Shiva Linga, Ambal, Ganesha and Nandi are found.
Stone Nataraja:
In Thiruppudaimarudhur Temple you can find a stone figure of Lord Nataraja, the dancing form of Shiva, which is very unusual. Usually it is a bronze image in most temples. The south facing figure of Lord Nataraja is in a spacious and open sanctum in the northeast corner of the prakaram or compound along with his consort, Shivakamasundari. The saint Patanjali, the codifier of Yoga, and Vyakrapada are placed next to the stone deity. Vyakrapada was blessed by Lord Nataraja with tiger feet to prevent his feet from getting injured by thorns when he was picking fresh flowers untouched even by honeybees.
Placed on a rectangular pedestal, the rare stone figure of Nataraja is over 2 meters in height. The Nataraja proper is probably at least 1.60 high. The pedestal is buildup of traditional mouldings such as an upana, the lowest visible part of the pedestal; upapitha, additional moulded platform; the padmabandha—the top of the shaft of a pillar with decorative bands between rows of lotus petals, separating the shaft from the capital; and kapota—overhanging cornice.
The prabha (circle of flames) is round and heavy with several layers of rims. Two makaras (crocodiles) with large mouths and tails are clear elements that are visible above a kind of base. Two makaras also occupy the top of the prabha, with a medallion placed in between. This is topped with a huge flame or shikhara. The Apasmara (dwarf trampled underfoot) lies with his head towards the right and wears a kind of diadem and flame or fan-shaped crown. He holds a large naga (cobra) in the hand that raises its head up to Shiva's left foot.
The jata, or locks of hair, ripples around the head and ears and on the shoulders. Shiva wears a kind of diadem and crown. From the head two struts connect it to what seem to be streamers from the mouth of the makaras which form some kind of decoration under the prabha. The body is sculpted beautifully and free from the stone background. Around the legs the background stone has been removed to leave open space. The sculptor has even carved away the stone between the earrings and the shoulders. A strut seems to have been left in place to support the lower hands. The upper right hand holds the damaru (drum) and the upper left hand holds a small vessel from which the flame blazes forth.
Bird Sanctuary:
The area outside the Raja Gopuram and around the temple complex is a declared bird sanctuary. This area has abundant natural beauty which attracts so many varieties of birds.

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