Friday, July 14, 2017

Uthamar Temple, Manachanallur – The Temple

Uthamar Temple, Manachanallur – The Temple
The temple is believed to have been built by the Medieval Cholas of the late 8th century AD, with later contributions from Vijayanagar kings and Madurai Nayaks. During the war between British and French in 1751, the temple acted as an infantry Camp for both the troops. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temples have images and separate shrines for Purushottamar, Bikshadanar, Brahma and their consorts Poornavalli, Soundarya Parvathi / Vadivudaiya Nayagi and Saraswathi.

This is one of the few historical Hindu temples in the world, where the Hindu Trimurti are worshipped with their consorts in six separate shrines within the same temple complex. The image of Vishnu in the form of Purushottamar is in reclining posture with discus in one hand, in the central shrine facing the east. The roof or vimana of the central shrine is called Udhyoga Vimana. There are two shrines located to the south east, each housing the image of Poornavalli and Mahalakshmi. Mother Poornavalli promising food in plenty graces from a shrine near Mother Mahalakshmi.  A rare darshan of two mothers awaits the devotee here.

The shrine of Shiva in the form of Bhishadanar is located in the sanctum exactly behind the one of Purushottamar. The image of Bhishadanar in the form of lingam (an iconic form of Shiva) is housed in the shrine. He also graces as Bhikshatana in the ghoshta – wall around the sanctum and also as procession deity.  Lord Shiva as Bhikshandar is facing west and Goddess Soundarya Parvathi / Vadivudaiya Nayaki facing south. 

The granite images of the deities Ganesha (son of Shiva and god of wisdom), Murugan (son of Shiva and god of war), Nandi (the bull and vehicle of Shiva) and Navagraha (nine planetary deities) are located in the hall leading to the sanctum. As in other Shiva temples of Tamilnadu, the first precinct or the walls around the sanctum of Bikshadanar has images of Dakshinamurthy (Shiva as the Teacher), Durga (warrior-goddess) and Chandikeswarar (a saint and devotee of Shiva).

The shrines of Brahma and his consort Saraswati are located in the south west corner of the temple complex. Lord Brahma and Goddess Saraswathi are facing south. Mother Gnana Saraswathi, without Veena but with palm leaves and Japa Mala in her hands graces from a shrine left of Lord Brahmma. Devotees worship Lord Brahmma with curd rice and Aathi leaves and Mother Saraswathi with white clothes for longevity and achievement in education. Special pujas are performed to Lord Brahmma on Jupiter transition day – Guru Peyarchi.

In the northeast, Vishnu Guru Varadharaja Perumal, Brahma Guru Lord Brahma and Knowledge Lord Goddess Saraswathi are present in separate shrines facing south. Apart from this, Natarajar, Subramaniyar, Saneeswarar, Andal, Lakshmi Narayanar, Ramar, and Bhama Rukmini samedha Venugopala are present in separate shrines. There is a separate Hanuman in front of the Vishnu sannidhi who is very powerful in granting wishes. He is called as Jayaveera Anjaneyar with his left leg in front. Theertham of this Temple are Kadamba Theertham, Ayyan Theertham, Prahaladha Theertham and Brahma Theertham. Sthala Vriksham is Kadambam Tree.

It is also a Guru Parihara Sthalam. There are seven different Gurus are appearing at this temple. The Sapthaguru or seven forms of Guru at this temple are identified with the other images. The seven forms are Sadasiva Guru representing Bhikshatana, Brahma representing Brahma Guru, Soundarya Parvathy representing Sakthi Guru, Brihaspathi representing Deva Guru, Varadaraja Perumal representing Vishnu Guru, Subramanyar representing Gnana Guru and Sukracharya representing Asura Guru. As per the Tamil literature, Sri Purushothaman Perumal Temple is said to be glorified in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham.

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