Friday, February 23, 2018

Suddha Rathneswarar Temple, Ootathur – The Temple

Suddha Rathneswarar Temple, Ootathur – The Temple
This is an early Chola temple of 7th century rebuilt by Rajaraja Chola and occupies an area of 5 acres. The gopuram and a few mandapams had been constructed by Nayaks. The temple has a large five-tiered gopuram. The Temple is considered to be one of the Thevara Vaippu Sthalams. The temple is filled with vintage pillars with beautiful sculptures. Few pillars even have carvings which are suggestive. The Brahma Theertham well lies in between the main deity and Nandhi Devar, which is very sacred. The wooden temple car has exquisite sculptures.

On the ceiling, near the Dwajasthambam, can be seen the 27 stars along with the 12 sun signs facing the ground below and in a separate panel nearby are the 9 planets. Any yaagas or homams performed beneath these panels is said to yield complete results immediately. People born under any star can perform homams here. Because of this, the Ootathur Suddha Rathneswarar Temple is popularly sought after for conducting marriages.
Mother Akilandeswari Shrine:
Mother is called as Akilandeswari Ambal. The Goddess Akilandeswari idol is big and found in the standing posture. The idol is located in a separate big shrine in the outer praharam of the temple. This shrine has its own Nandi mandapa and bali peetha. There is a small praharam around the shrine. Iccha Sakthi, Gnana Sakthi, Kriya Sakthi, Chamundi, Brahmi and Varahi sculptures are sculpted in the wall surrounding the shrine. Ganesha and Subramanya idols are found at the entrance of the shrine. The shrine appears like a separate small temple; it is also facing the east direction like the garbhagraham.
Presiding Deity is called as Sundravaneyswarar / Suddha Rathneswarar. Lord is a Swayambu Moorthy. Suddha Rathneswarar as the name depicts - the purest of gems, the real ruby, stands magnificently in the Sanctum Sanctorum. It is indeed a scintillating experience, to watch the light of the Harathi reflect on and within the Bana of the Lingam. The sanctum sanctorum has a big Shiva Linga with a small Nandi in the front in the maha mandapa. There is one another Nandi idol in the corner of the same mandapa facing the opposite direction.
There is a strong belief that the river Nandi started to flow from the mouth of this idol. There is another Nandi idol, a beautiful sculpture situated near the Brahma Theertham. It is unusual to find a well in front of the main shrine. The outer praharam also has a huge Nandi idol near the long dhwajastambha and bali peeta. Sun' s rays fall on the idol of Suddha Rathneswarar for three days in the Tamil month of Maasi (12, 13, 14) and for three minutes on Vaikasi Visakam day.
Panchanadhana Nataraja:
To the left of the Sanctum Santorum, is a separate shrine for Nataraja and his consort Sivakama Sundari. There are five types of stones which are used to make icons of Gods and Goddesses, namely, Aalinga Nadhanam, Panchanadhanam, Singanadhanam, Yaanainadhanam and Yaazhinadhanam. Out of these, Panchanadhanam stones have the ability to absorb sun rays. The root of a plant called Andhaka Narimanam will pierce through and break one in a million stones. Such stones are called Panchanadhana Stones.
When struck with a coin, they emit a sound equivalent to "Aum". The Natarajar at Oothathur is made out of Panchanadhana Stone and he is believed to cure all kidney related problems. People garland this Natarajar with a garland made of 45 small bundles of Vettiver and perform Abhishekam with the water of Brahma Theertham.
On consuming this water for 45 days after dipping the Vetti Ver one on each day, people are relieved completely of their ailments. If you stand in front of Nataraja Consort Sivakami Ambal, she looks right at you. If you look at her from any other angle, you can see that she has her head titled to one side, admiring her Lord as he dances merrily.
Goshta Idols:
The temple also houses big and beautiful sculptures of the deities Ganesha, Dhakshinamoorthi, Vishnu, Brahma. Durga and Chandikeswara are found as Goshtamurtham surrounding the garba Graha wall. The Dakshinamurthy here is a delight to watch. With the Kallala tree behind him, designed to look like a fan, a small straw bag and a piece of cloth hanging from it, reminding one of the Dakshinamurthy mural in the Big temple of Thanjavur, his unique hair style, in short everything about him, is simply superb. Worshipping him for eleven weeks in Guru Horai between 4.30 and 7.00 am by adorning him with garlands of chick peas (kotthu kondalai) is said to grant sincere prayers. The Goddess Durga at the temple can be seen with fangs on either side of her mouth. Worshipping her with lemon garlands for 11 weeks grants the boon of marriage for those girls who seek good alliances.
Kala Bhairava:
The uniqueness of this temple is that Lord Bhairava is seen facing Gajalakshmi. Performing Sahasranama Archana for 11 weeks here, is said to cure children of irrational fears. This Bhairava is also worshipped to ensure livestock are not affected by the outbreak of an epidemic. Those suffering from chronic ailments, worship this Bhairava on Ashtami day and recite the Kalashta Mantram. This rids them of the fear of death and helps to improve their health condition.
The Veerabhadra Swamy seen in this temple is very unique. He carries a Shiva Lingam over his forehead.
Other Shrines:
The inner prakara is decked with the idols of 63 Nayanmars, Kailasanathar, Brahma, Samba Parameswara in Linga form, Saraswathi, Katyayani, Vishwanathar-Vishalakshi, Gaja Lakshmi, Adhikara Nandi and Surya. The sub shrines such as Somaskandar, Chandrasekhar, Murugan (Utsava), Subramanya with his consorts and Veerabhadra are found in the same prakara. Two small shrines for Vinayaka and Bala Murugan are found at the entrance of the maha mandapa. The Dwarapalakas statues are big and beautiful like in any other Chola temples. A small four pillared mandapa and the adjoining Navagraha shrine are also located in this temple.
There are more than sixty inscriptions in this Temple which refer to the Temple being patronized by Rajaraja Chozha, his son Rajendra and Rajadhiraja Chozha (Rajendra Chozha's son).

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