Thursday, September 12, 2019

Vilvavana Nathar Temple, Thiruvaikavur – The Temple

Vilvavana Nathar Temple, Thiruvaikavur – The Temple
This is an east facing temple without a Rajagopuram. Instead of Rajagopuram, there is an entrance arch with stucco images of Rishabaroodar, Parvathi, Vinayakar, Murugan, Brahma and Mahavishnu. The Temple has three corridors. The temple is surrounded by vast streets on all the four sides and the Yama Theertham right in front of the temple. It is believed that Shivaratri festival is originated in this Temple and then followed then in all Shiva Temples.

This was a unique temple with four Nandhis (the sacred Bulls), all facing the entrance Gopuram, with the backs facing the deities. There is no flag post (Dwajastambam) here. Nandhi faces the opposite direction here i.e. facing the entrance. Balipeedam can also be found near Nandi. Presiding Deity is called as Vilvavaneswarar / Vilvavana Nathar and is facing east. He is housed in the sanctum in the form of Lingam. Lord Shiva in this temple is a Swayambumurthi (self-manifested).

Narthana Vinayakar, Agasthiyar, Dakshinamurthy, Bikshadana, Brahma, Arthanareeswarar, Lingothbhavar, Kala Bairavar and Durga are the Koshta Idols located around the sanctum walls. There are two idols of Chandikeswarar in front of Goddess Durga. Lord Vishnu and Brahma stand as security guards at the entrance of the Ardha Mandapam on  both the sides of the door step. A feature that could not be seen anywhere.

Lord Dakshinamurthy is seen in a standing posture with a stick in his hand in the Artha Mandapam. This is quite unique and such an idol cannot be seen anywhere else. Idols of Lords Vinayakar, Mahavishnu and Brahma can be seen next to him. Saptha lingams, Brahma, Vishnu, Vinayakar and the procession idol of Sri Baktha Anjaneyar can be seen in the Artha Mandapam.

Mother is called as Sarvajana Rakshaki / Valaikkai Valliammai. She is housed in a separate west facing shrine. Instead of Dwarapalakis in Mother Shrine, Vinayakar idols are placed on both sides. There is an inner three-tiered Gopuram at the entrance of the inner prakaram. At the second entrance, on the left side, beautiful sculptures depicting the legend of the hunter worshiping the lord and obtaining salvation can be seen. There is a separate shrine for Lord Siddhi Vinayakar at the entrance of this temple

Idols of Vishnu, Narayani, Bairavar, Suryan, Chandran and Saneeswarar are placed in a row. There are shrines and idols of Vallabha Vinayakar, Kasi Vishwanathar and Saraswathi can be seen in the hall and corridors. Shrines of Sapta Kannikas and Sundaramurthy Vinayagar can be found in the outer prakaram. There is no Navagraha sanctum in this temple. There are two Durgas in the Temple premises.

There is a shrine for Lord Murugan in the outer prakaram of the Temple. The idol of Lord Murugan is very beautiful. This idol has been carved out of a single stone. It depicts him with six faces, seated on his peacock mount with the sacred arc (Thiruvatchi) behind him. The hand lines (rekhas) nails are very clear in the idol. Another significant aspect is that the peacock is facing the left direction. 

Theerthams associated with this Temple are Yama Theertham and Agni Theertham. The Yama Theertha (Temple tank named after Lord Yama) is situated right in front of the temple. The Yama Theertham is similar to the one present in Tiruneelivaneswarar Temple in Trichy. Sthala Vriksham is Vilvam Tree.

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