Friday, September 21, 2018

Agneeswarar Temple, Thirukattupalli – The Temple

Agneeswarar Temple, Thirukattupalli – The Temple
The main tower (Rajagopuram) is of a five-tier model. The flag post (Kodimaram or Dwajasthambam) is covered by copper. Lord Vinayaka graces from the right side. This temple with 3 prakarams (outer courtyard) occupies an area of about an acre. Presiding Deity is called as Agneeswarar / Theeyaadiyappar. Lord is a Swayambu Moorthy with five cobras offering hooded protection to him.
The Sanctum is 4 steps below the ground level and the entrance is too small. Sanctum looks like a Pathala Moolasthanam (underground shrine). This may be due to the fact that the works in different parts of this temple were carried out during different periods and proper levelling work was not undertaken. One has to step down four steps to have darshan and there is provision to go around the Lord. 

Mother is called as Vaarkonda Mulaiyammai / Soundara Nayaki / Azhagammai. Mother Shrine is situated on the right side of the sanctum and she is facing south. Goddess is seen in standing posture. Dwarabalakis can be found on either side of the entrance. There is also a Vinayaka within the shrine. Brahma is also having a separate shrine here.  As per temple legend, Brahma was upset with the curse that he would not be having separate temple. When he prayed in this temple, He was allowed to have a separate shrine. It is believed that this was the first temple where Brahma was installed in a separate shrine.

There are two Dhakshamurthys in the second corridor. Yoga Dakshina Murthy is located on the ghoshta wall of the inner prakaram.  He could also be viewed from a hole in the outer prakaram near the Guru Dakshina Murthy shrine.  Yoga Dakshinamurthy of this temple is very popular.  His sitting position looks like that of a monkey.  He wears Maharakanti Rudraksham on his neck and Sun and Moon adorn his braid (head). This is a very rare Murthy which we do not find in many temples. 

There are shrines of Valampuri Vinayagar, Unnamulai Amman, Srinivasa Perumal with his consorts Sridevi and Boodevi, Saraswathi, and Sattainathar in the outer prakaram. In the Navagraha shrine (9 Planets) against the general traditions, all the planets are facing Sun planet. Idols of Bhairavar and Nalvar can be found in the Mandapam in the inner precinct.

There is a shrine for Lingothbavar next to the Vinayakar Shrine in the inner prakaram. Usually he is seen as Koshta Moorthy but here it is unusual. Ardhanareeswarar is seen beside Lingothbavar. Next is the shrine of Lord Muruga with his consorts Valli and Deivanai. Then follows the shrines of Kasi Viswanatha with Mother Visalakshi, Gajalakshmi and Durga.  

Apart from the Kudamurutti river, Surya Theertham and Agni Theertham (in the form of a well) also serve as Temple Theerthams. Taking bath here on Karthigai Sunday, Masi Magam, Panguni Uthiram, Vaikasi Visakam days is considered very sacred. There are two Sthala Vrikshams in this Temple namely Vanni and Vilvam.  Inscriptions from the period of Raja Raja I & other Chola Emperors and the Pandya and Vijayanagar periods are found here. This temple was part of an old fort captured by the British in 1771; it was recaptured by Hyder Ali in 1781.

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