Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Samavedeeswarar Temple, Thirumangalam – The Temple

Samavedeeswarar Temple, Thirumangalam – The Temple
The temple is situated in sylvan surroundings with brooks and rivulets adjoining it. The temple faces east and there are three prakaras around the temple. The east facing temple has a three-tiered tower. The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi are found facing towards the sanctum in the courtyard. The courtyard is actually a long mandapa with so many pillars containing sculptures. The idol of Ganesha called as Kodimara Ganapati is installed near the flag staff.

The idols of Adhikara Nandi with his consort in one side and Agnaya Ganapati on the other side are found in the inner entrance. The east facing sanctum enshrines the big Shiva Linga named as Sama Vedeeswarar. Nandi is in Maha Mandapam faces the sanctum. In Ardha mandapam, the idols of Ganesha and Chandikeswara are found. It is believed that Chandikeswara got the blessing of Shiva in this place. It is unusual to find Chandikeswara in Ardha Mandapam.

The Koshta Murtis around the sanctum are very attractive and they appear to be of the Chola period. Dhakshinamoorthi, Bhikshatana, Shankara Narayana, Brahma and Durga are found as the Koshta deities. Dhakshinamoorthi’s right arm is in abhaya mudra, which is very rare. In front of Dhakshinamoorthi, a separate idol of a sage (Jaimini) is found seated. This is again unusual. Durga is found resting not on Mahishasura, but on a lion. 

Goddess Loka Nayaki is housed in a separate south facing shrine near the flag staff in the second prakaram and she is facing south. Goddess Loka Nayaki is found in the standing posture. She has four arms. The shrine of Nataraja is called as Aadal Vallan in this temple. It is located in the first prakara. It is a significant shrine.

Apart the big bronze idols of Nataraja and Sivakami, the bronze idol of Anaya Nayanar is also found in this shrine. Anaya Nayanar is found playing a flute with his crossed legs, similar to the posture of Venu Gopal. He is found under a tree and is surrounded by cattle. Another unusual idol found in this shrine is the bronze idol of Parasurama.

Near the Nataraja’s shrine, the sub-shrine of the village deity is located. It enshrines the Utsava idol of Kali with eight arms. The idols of Saneeswara, Vishnu Durga, Kala Bhairava, Swarna Bhairava and Navagraha are also located nearby. The specialty is to find Swarna Bhairava and Kala Bhairava together. Saneeswara vahana crow has its head towards the north direction, which is unusual. 

Kalyana Subramanya shrine needs special mention. Subramanya is in the Shanmukha form and has six heads. However, he has only four arms instead of 12 arms in this shrine. Another unique feature is that Valli, his consort is found seated on a peacock. Her right arm is in Varada mudra. Subramanya's another consort, Devasena is found holding flower in her right arm. She is in the standing posture. Even Subramanya is in the standing posture and not seated on peacock.

Shrines of Maha Ganapati, Shiva Linga that was worshiped by Parasurama, Gaja Lakshmi, Amman who granted Mukti to Anaya Nayanar, and Chandikeswara can be found in the prakaram. Idols of Anaya Nayanar, Shiva Linga who granted Mukti to Nayanar along with Nandi, Chandikeswara, Bana Linga, Appar and Sambandhar can be found in the prakaram. The Lingam that is supposed to have given Mukthi to Anaya Nayanar is said to be growing.

Theertham associated with this temple are Gaya Phalguni and Parasurama Theertham. Sthala Vriksham (Holy tree) is Jack Tree. The earliest inscription, of the fifth year Rajakesarivarma (Rajaraja I, A.D.990) registers a gift of gold by Karuvur kandali, apattakila (headsman) of Nagapattinam. An inscription dated to 15th year (A.D.1000) records a gift of land by Sembiyan Mahadevi. The temple was therefore built before A.D.990.