Friday, October 27, 2017

Thirukkadigai, Sholinghur – Town Temple

Thirukkadigai, Sholinghur – Town Temple
Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple is located at downhills in the Sholinghur Town is also part of Thirukkadigai Dhivya Desam. Since it is located at town, the temple is also called Town Temple. The Temple is located near the Bus Stand. The Temple is believed to be built by Chola Kings. The festival image of Bhaktavatsala Perumal in Thirukkadigai Dhivya Desam is enshrined in this Temple. Adhikesava Perumal is housed in a separate sanctum behind the Utsavar facing east. In this shrine, people pray for rain by performing a 1008 pot abishekam (ablution). It is a known fact that even today it is observed that such abishekam bring rain to this place.

There is no outlet for the water to flow away and yet it is absorbed by the feet of the deity and is a wonderful sight to behold. The Utsavar, called Bhaktavatsala along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi, is standing with four hands holding a Discus, Conch, the inviting gesture and the Abhaya Mudra (savior’s hand gesture). The other special features of this shrine are the Sesha Vahanam (five-headed snake vehicle), Hemakodi Vimanam and the Srinivasa Pushkarani (tank). There are separate sannidhis for Andal, Alwars, Garuda Vahana Varadharaja Perumal, Erumbiyappa and Thottachariyar. There is a four-pillared hall midway to the top of the hill housing the images of Doddacharya and Sudarshana.

The Lord showers his blessings on true devotees and has gained the name of Bhaktochitha Swami in Sanskrit and ``Thakkan'' in Tamil. Amruthavalli Thaayar from uphill visits this temple in Puratasi and stays here with Bhaktavatsala Perumal for two months (Purattasi and Aippasi). On the first day of karthigai, Thaayar returns uphill. This temple is a link between Kanchipuram Varadaraja and a Swamy known as Doddacharya. Swamy Doddacharya had done essential service to the Lord at the Sholinghur hills. Doddacharya Swami used to visit Kanchipuram Varadaraja Swamy every year. He was unable to do so once because of ill health.

He felt very sad and recited five shlokas composed on Lord Varadaraja. At that point of time, the Brahmotsavam festival was going on at Kanchipuram. Lord Varadaraja was seated on Garuda Vahana. While Swamy Doddacharya chanted the shlokas, Lord Varadaraja disappeared from the Garuda Vahana at Kanchipuram even as the Pujaris stood stumped. Lord Varadaraja appeared on the banks of Thakkan Kulam (temple tank) in front of Doddacharya Swami. Hence, a temple was built here. This event dates to nearly 400 years.

After giving darshan to Doddacharya Swami, Lord Varadaraja re-appeared at Kanchipuram and the Pujaris were overjoyed. It shows the benevolence of the Lord towards his devotees. Those who are not able to visit Big and Small Hills offer prayers do this Lord. This Utsava deity is brought to the hilltop only a few days in a year - during Narasimha Jayanthi, the birth star of the Lord Narasimha; when hoisting the flag or the Dwajaarohana (Chittirai Utsavam) during Brahmotsavam (performed for ten days) every year; and during the Kalyana (Vivaha Mahotsavam) in March known as Panguni Uthiram.

The divine marriage of Goddess Sudhavalli Thayar with Bhaktavatsala Perumal is performed in the hilltop. The Lord is also brought back during the Dwajaarohana or while bringing the flag down on the ninth day, a day before the finish of the Brahmotsavam festival. Utsava deity Bhaktavatsala comes in a Girivalam once every year at Sholinghur. This takes place on the third day after Pongal in the month of Thai (January). Many devotees - young and old - go in Girivalam at this time.

It is indeed an exhilarating experience as it continues into night and ends the next morning. The Lord visits each and every small hamlet located around the hills. The devotees welcome the Lord with fruits, flowers, coconuts and garlands during the occasion. All along, one could see a festive atmosphere. While Lord Bhaktavatsala travels these places, devotees follow him during the Girivalam overnight and reach the temple at Sholinghur town the next morning. It is a memorable experience and stays in the mind for several days.