Visit to the Periyanayaki Amman Temple at Devikapuram
Devikapuram is to the West of Vandavasi; to the East of Polur; to the South of Arani and to the North-East of Thiruvannamalai. While going from Vandavasi, after Nedungunam (covered in my just previous post), you will reach Chetput and go beyond in the same road towards Polur to reach Devikapuram. The temple is located by the right side of the main road.
Chennai (Adayar) to Vandavasi (via Uthiramerur/Thennangur) – 108 km
Vandavasi to Chetput – 27 km
Chetput to Devikapuram – 13 km
Arani to Chetput – 24 km
Chetput to Devikapuram – 13 km
Polur to Devikapuram – 15 km
Amman: Periyanayahi amman, also called Periya Nachiyar and Brahathambal (associated with Kanagagreeswarar in the nearby hilltop temple)
Theertham: Sivaganga Theertham
Once Parvathi devi came to Devikapuram during the pralaya period. She saw a small hill was coming down with a golden shine floating in the pralaya floods which stayed here as Golden hill. Parvathi devi then stayed here and worshipped Lord Shiva at the hill with the Kasi Viswanathar lingam on a Shivarathri day and Shiva appeared to Her as a Swayambu lingam. Devi stayed at the Periyanayahi amman temple exclusively.
- The 2nd biggest temple of Thiruvannamalai district, next only to Thiruvannamalai temple
- One of the few exclusive (big) temples of Amman like Kanchi Kamakshi and Madurai Meenakshi
- An exquisite sculptural marvel
The temple had its Kumbabhisheham in 2003 after the one in 1889. It measures 475 feet east-west and 450 feet north-south with 30 feet temple walls and 150 feet 7 tier Rajagopuram. There is a big open space in front where there is a 4 pillar high-ceiling Urchav mandapam and another one in the form of a chariot by the side of which the temple car is standing by. Both the mandapams house many sculptures. The big temple with the vast empty space, the mandapams in front and the village streets present a picturesque atmosphere. I visited the temple in the afternoon and saw plenty of cows were being brought to this open space for milking. The other 3 sides of the temple are heavily encroached upon with shops. Once these 4 streets must have been used very freely for running the temple car and the huge and beautiful temple walls should have been visible. Now we can only be consoled that at least the front empty space is spared.
We are welcomed by the big Dwarabalahas on either side of the Rajagopuram entrance and as you enter there are beautiful sculptures on either side of the inner walls of the Rajagopuram.
There are sculptures of Lingothbavar, Narasimhar, Kaala Bairavar, Dancing girls etc., and the most beautiful one of them is the huge and stunningly beautiful Adhikara Nandhi. What a great sculptural work it is!
Ironically, some of the sculptures have been vandalized also. It is said that this vandalisation was by the foreign invasions but I strongly doubt it since they would not have left this beautiful temple untouched except for this front portion. These should have been the handiwork of our own people especially due to the fact that these have happened only outside the main entrance door.
There were plenty of honeycombs (about 20) in the ceiling. It is said that sages live as birds, bees and snakes in the temple to protect the temple treasures and worship.
There are three praharams inside the temple. As you enter the 3rd praharam, on the left side there is a temple tank and a 4 pillared mandapam and on the right side there is an Open air Auditorium called Variyar Mandapam and a Kalyana mandapam in the form of a Chariot being pulled by the horses. In the Kalyana mandapam there are sculptures explaining the story of Manuneethi Chola who killed his son under the wheels of his chariot just to keep up the justice as a King. Dwajasthambam, Balipeetam and Nandhi Devars are present here. One Nandhi is present at an elevated height and just below another one is sitting on the ground. Maybe, the abhishehams are taking place to the Nandhi at the ground?
As we go further, we enter the 36 pillared Maha mandapam with a 5 tier, 2nd stage Rajagopuram. The fact that each pillar houses sculptures on all the four sides and also there are exquisite carving works on the ceiling and the pillar tops indicates the magnanimity of the sculptural works of the temple. After crossing the Maha mandapam we enter the 2nd praharam which houses Navarathri kolu Mandapam and Artha Mandapam which again houses plenty of sculptures. There are about 55 inscriptions, most of which belong to the Vijayanagara Empire and are in the 2nd praharam. As we go further the Dwarabalahis are present on either side of the entrance and you will enter the 1st praharam and the sanctum sanctorum. Periyanayahi Amman is present majestically in standing posture with Pasa Angusam in her upper hands and Abhaya and Varatha mudhras in the lower hands.
Maha Mandapa Sculptures
Kanagagreeswarar hilltop temple
The temple is associated with the nearby Kanagagreeswarar temple at the hillock top. The Gurukkal was not all that helpful to show me this temple and so I could not visit it. Maybe the Lord wants me to keep coming over there. At 8AM everyday, there is an abhisheham for Kanagagreeswarar with ghee and hot water and so it is better to go in the morning so that you can visit both the temples. There is a Murugan shrine in this temple on whom Arunagirinadhar has sung Thiruppugazh. The sanctum sanctorum houses 3 lingams – one Kasi Viswanathar installed and worshipped by Parvathi Devi, another Swayambu lingam and the third one made of Rudhrakshas (since two lingams should not be there).