Friday, November 10, 2017

Panangaateeswarar Temple, Panaiyapuram – The Temple

Panangaateeswarar Temple, Panaiyapuram – The Temple
This temple has two corridors and its main tower (Rajagopuram) has 4-tiers. The gate in front of the Dwajasthambam leads to a hall which in turn leads to the main praharam. Presiding Deity is called as Panangatteswarar / Nethrotharaneswarar / Kannamarntha Nayanar. Lord Shiva in this temple is a Swayambumurthy (self-manifested). The koshta vigrahas are Bhikshandar, Dakshinamurthy, Lingodhbava, Brahma, Durga and Chandikeswarar as in all Siva temples. Mother is called as Sathyambikai / Meyyambikai / Puravambikai.

Mother Shrine is located on the right of the Sanctum. Mother is in standing posture and the idol is about 5 feet tall. The Goddess looks benevolent ready to grant the wishes of those who seek her. Outside the shrine, we can see a beautiful Vallabha Ganapathi on one side and Bala Dhandayuthapani on the other- the two sons standing guard outside their mother's shrine. There is also a separate Nandi outside the Goddess shrine as she is seen here as Parasakthi.

An interesting point about this Temple is that on the first day of the Tamil month of Chithirai every year, the sun rays fall on the Shivalinga enshrined in the sanctum and the idol of Sathyambikai. The temple's orientation is so perfect that this happens and special pujas are offered. All the shrines in the temple are facing East. There are also separate shrines for Lords Natarajar and Somaskandar. There are four sacred palm trees in the outer corridor. There is a rare idol of Thiruneelakandar (one of the 63 Nayanmars) and his wife where both of them are holding a staff and standing in praying posture.

There is also a rare rock relief depicting Lord Vinayakar (Polla Pillaiyar) at the entrance. This relief has been made using stone tools. The shrine of Lord Netra Utharaneshwara, also called Kannamarndha Nayanar, in the middle, is unique in its construction. There is a stucco image of Vallabha samedha Ganapathy in the gopuram of the Murugan Shrine with 8 arms.

Shrines and Idols of Ganesha, Subramanya, Nandikeswara, Surya, Brahma, Thiru Neelakanda Nayanar with his consort, Navagraha, Saptha Matha, Rishabaroodar, Vishnu, Gajalakshmi, Nalvar, Bikshadana, Somaskanda, Dakshinamurthy, Nataraja, Lingodhbava, Durga, Chandikeswara, Saneeswara, 63 Nayanmars can be seen in the inner prakaram of the Temple. Theertham associated with this temple is Padma Theertham. Sthala Vriksham is Palm tree.

Sthalavruksham is located between the Shiva and Mother Shrines in the inner prakaram. Three huge palm trees with a large Shivalingam with Nandhis on all four sides, and a small statue of Kanva Maharishi stands out in the open. The shrine has a beautiful courtyard in front of it where maybe cultural performances had been held during the times of Rajendra Chola I who is said to have constructed the temple and his son Rajendra Chola II who further developed it. This place is also known as Paravaipuram in memory of Rajendra Chola I's beloved, Paravai Nachiyar.

There are inscriptions in the temple which speak about idols of Rajendra Chola I and Paravai Nachiyar that existed in the temple and about the school, community canteen etc. that had been run by the temple in his times. The last Consecration ceremony (Maha Kumbabishekam) took place on 02.06.2004 and prior to that in the year 1971.