Friday, March 16, 2018

Arasaleeswarar Temple, Thiru Arasili – The Temple

Arasaleeswarar Temple, Thiru Arasili – The Temple
This temple has a small main tower (Rajagopuram) and a single corridor. The Rajagopuram of the temple has a 3-tier structure. It is east facing and is believed to have been built by the kings of Chalukyas. Presiding Deity is called as Arasaleeswarar / Arasili Naathar / Ashwatheswarar and is facing east. Lord Shiva’s lingam in this temple is a Swayambumurthy (self-manifested) and is very small in size. Lord graces the devotees under a Rudraksha (108 beads) Pandal – tent.

The arrow scar on the Linga is still visible. Both as a mark of respect to the Lord and as if to cover the scar injury, a turban is tied on the Linga during the pujas. Dhakshinamoorthy, Mahavishnu, Brahma, Vishnu Durgai and Vaishnavi are the niche idols around the sanctum. Dwajasthambam and Nandhi are facing the sanctum through a window. The Vinayaka of this temple is known as Varasiddhi Vinayaka.

Lord Dakshinamurthy portrayal is somewhat different in this temple. The demon “Muyalagan” under Lord Dakshinamurthy feet is mostly depicted as facing the right side. However, in this temple he is facing left. Another unique feature of this shrine is that above Dakshinamurthy idol, there is a Natarajar sculpture in the “Ananda Thandavam” pose. It is said that Lord Dakshinamurthy symbolizes Peace and Lord Nataraja Bliss telling mankind that they have to practice Ananda-bliss through Silence-Peaceful state of mind.

It is a rare portrayal of Lord Shiva’s Upadesa as Dakshinamurthy combined with the bliss embodied in Lord Nataraja. Lord Mahavishnu graces on the ghoshta-wall around the sanctum sanctorum facing west. Mother is called as Periya Nayaki / Azhagiya Nayagi and is facing south. She is housed in separate shrine with Simha Vahana. Shrines for Lord Varasiddhi Vinayakar, Lord Murugan with his consorts Valli and Deivayanai, Lord Brahma, Sun God, Vishnu Durgai, Vaishnavi, Kala Bhairavar, Chandikeswarar, Nalvar and Navagraham can be seen in the corridor.

There are lot of stucco images and paintings around the entrance and prakaram walls. Theertham associated with this Temple are Arasili Theertham and Vamadeva Theertham. Sthala Vriksham is Peepal Tree (Arasa). There are many old Tamil inscriptions found around the sanctum walls. These Tamil inscriptions belongs to Imperial Cholas and majority of them belongs to Vikrama Chozha and Kulothunga Chozha. During their period this place was called as “Oimanattu Thiruarasili” and “Jayankonda Chozhamandalathu Oimanattu Vijaya Rajendra Chozhavalanattu Peruvembur Nattu Thiruarasili”.

It is said that Saint Thirugnanasambanthar stayed here for a few days and worshipped the lord. A mutt called the “Thirugnanasambanthar Mutt” can be seen on the southern side of the temple. This Tirugnanasambandar madam built by "Srimathi Jayalakshmi” on the left side of the temple and seventh day’s festival is sponsored through the interest from a deposit made by her.