1. Siruvarpuri (also called Chinnampedu):
Main Deity: Balasubramania Swamy
Patikam: Arunagirinathar’s Thiruppugazh.
Other deities: Suryanar, Vinayagar, Annamalayar, Unnamulayar, Navagrahas, Arunagirinadhar and more.
Travel Base: Chennai
Location: Around 37km from Chennai on the Chennai-Kokatta highway.
Started by about 8AM from Chennai (Adayar) and reached Siruvarpuri by 9:30AM. The temple is a small one but very popular with the belief that one who symbolically build a structure behind the Adhimoolavar sannidhi will be blessed with a new house or related wishes by the Lord Balasubramaniar. Since it was a Sunday there was a significant crowd and as we entered, we were crowded by the village boys trying to sell a handful of small brick stones.
There is a Mayil (Peacock) sculpture made out of green granite stone outside the sanctum sanctorum in front of the flag mast. I have seen a few temples with green granite deities before, but I could not feel the significance since I could see them only from a distance but here you can see it very closely (and touch it even). It was shining in green and was a real beauty. Also the suryanar, Ganapathy and annamalayar lingams are all made out of green granite. Possibly there is no other temple where there are so many green granite deities.
- Lava-kucha, twin sons of Rama, while living at Valmiki’s Ashram here, tied the Ashwametha horse sent by Rama. Lakshman came to release it but failed. Then Rama himself came, won and took back the horse. The name of the place Siruvarpuri came from the phrase ‘Siruvar-Por-Puri’. The other names Siruvarampedu came from ‘Siruvar-Ambu-Edu’ and Chinnampedu came from ‘Chinna-Ambu-Edu’. Siruvapuri is believed to be the Kusalapuri of Ramayana.
- The other legend is that a devotee named Murugammai lived in this place chanting ‘Muruga’ always. On getting irritated, her husband cut her hand but she continued with the Muruga chanting. Then Lord Muruga appeared before her and set right her hand.
- According to estimates, Arunagirinathar (14th Century) has composed over 16,000 Thiruppugazhs but only 1365 have been traced, glorifying 224 places. Of these 215 places are known and the remaining 9 places are unknown. Of these 215 places,
35 places have been glorified specially
8 places have been glorified by 4 Thiruppugazhs each
6 places have been glorified by Archanai Thiruppugazhs
Siruvapuri has been glorified by 4 Thiruppugazhs as well as Archanai Thiruppugazh.
The Murugar is believed to give 5 benefits 1) House related wishes (Marriage for the girls), 2) Good Profession 3) Good Family 4) Wealth and 5) Moksha by singing a specific Thiruppugazh of this temple with concentration and understanding the meaning.
Outside the temple there were plenty of shops selling fresh green vegetables and the freshness of the vegetables was really tempting. It is highly satisfying to buy field fresh vegetables directly from the farmers without the intermediaries. For sure, this temple is a big boost for the villagers’ economy. Be ready for a big shopping when you go with family.
There seem to be many more temples in this village – Agatheeswarar temple, Perumal temple, Vishnu-Durgai temple, Ramar temple, Vinayagar temple and Jain’s 22nd Teerthangara.
Message from Sri Padma Prasad:
On every Second Sunday of English Month, ‘Adiyars’ from ‘Siruvapuri Abishega Kuzhu’ come here with necessary things to perform the ‘Abishegam’. If people can come on these days they will doubly benifitted. So every second sunday is festival day at Siruvapuri.
- Main worship benefit being the blessing with a new house.
- The place is connected with Ramayana and Ramar’s sons Lava-Kucha.
- Glorified by Arunagirinathar’s (14th Century) Thiruppugazh
- Mayil vahanam, Suryanar, Vinayagar and Annamalaiar lingam are all made out of green granite stones
- Fresh vegetables straight from the fields for shopping
Weavers place at Arani:
We heard that there is a weavers’ place making good Silk cotton and Poly cotton sarees on the way to our next stop, Periyapalayam, . The road to Periyapalayam from Siruvarpuri is fantastic greenery on both sides. It is marvelous to see such a greenery so near (around 35 kms) Chennai. It goes through Arani and after about 1km, a place called Kosampedu comes in. In the bazaar, we turned right for the houses of Mr.Nithyanandhan and Mr.Vivekanandan, who own saree weaving looms for their shops at Chennai. We have gone around the looms and it was quite heartening to realize the hard efforts of the weavers to make a saree thread by thread. We were told that with all the big companies coming over, they are preferring factory/company jobs at Sriperumpudhur over their family craft of weaving. Already more than 50% have changed over, it seems. Our ladies were delighted to carry back a bunch of silk cotton sarees. Thanks to the seller for accepting the cheque (I always carry a blank cheque in my wallet to encounter this kind of emergency!!).
The Bhavani amman temple is possibly the most popular one in this region and a section of the people come here every year during the Adi/Avani Tamil month. They offer prayers in different forms like head shaving, going with just neem leaves around, lifting the pot with fire, Angapradhakshana, coconut rolling etc.,. People come in tractors, vans and carts with full equipments including gas cylinders for cooking, stay here and do their rituals. It was an Avani Sunday, an auspicious day like Adi Friday and so there was a huge crowd. It took us about 2 hours for the dharshan in the 25 Rs special entrance itself but the dharshan of the beautiful Bhavani amman made us forget all that. The festive atmosphere could be seen for 1-2 km around the temple. The authorities could have done a lot more to make the environment better for the devotees for the huge fund they might be receiving. Not even a good car parking was available.
More information is available here
- A very popular temple
- Powerful Bhavani amman
- Expect a big crowd on the festival days and during Adi/ Avani
3. Thirukkallil (also called Thirukkandalam):
Deity: Shiva – Thirukalleeswarar, Sivanandeswarar
Other deities: Sundara Vinayagar, Kaalatheeswarar, Bala subramaniar, Sakthi Dhakshinamoorthy and more.
Sthala Vriksham: Kalli
Theertham: Nandhi Theertham created by Nandiswara
Patikam: Thirugnanasambandar, 18th of the 32 Tevara Stalams in the Tondai region
Period: Worshipped by Bruhu rishi, Agasthiar, Lava-Kucha, and Thirugnanasambandar. 12th to 15th Century inscriptions from the Chola, Pandya and Vijayanagar Emperors
Festivals: Vinayaka Chathurthi, Navarathri, Skanda Sashti, Karthigai Deepam and Full moon day in the month of Ayppasi (Annabhishegam).
Travel Base: Chennai
Location: About 40 km from Chennai and 10 km from Periyapalayam
- In the beginning, the Shiva was in the midst of Kalli trees and so the name of the place is called Thirukallil and the Shiva is called Thirukalleeswarar.
- Rishi Bhrigu said to have worshipped Shiva here with 1000 Kalli flowers and Shiva appeared to him in the form of Sakthi Dhakshinamurthy, i.e., Dhakshinamurthy with Goddess Sakthi which is unique to this place.
- In another legend, when many Devars and rishis assembled at Kailasam for Shiva-Parvathi’s marriage, North was going down and South was going up. So Shiva asked Agasthiar to go to south to balance out. During that trip, Agasthiar was camping at Pancheshti near here doing five yahams (pancha means five and Ishti means yaham). Shiva appeared to him in the form of Somaskandar and asked him to come to Thirukkallil. When Agasthiar visited this place, he was surprised to find the temple itself in the form of Somaskandar, i.e., Subramanya’s shrine is situated in between the Shiva and Parvati shrines (So-Uma-Skanda: So is Shiva, Uma is Parvathi and Skanda is Murugan). He camped here for one mandalam (41 days) and worshipped Shiva. Shiva gave Shiv-anandha dharshan to Agasthiar with Ambal here to compensate his not being able to be there at Shiva’s marriage (at the behest of Shiva himself) and so Shiva is called Siv-anand-iswara and Ambal as Anandhavalli.
- Rama’s sons Kucha-Lava fought with Lakshman and Ramar at Siruvarpuri near here. They came here, took a dip at a river and worshipped Shiva. The river is called Kuchasthalai since Kucha took a dip.
- Thirugnanasambhandar, after visiting Thiruvenpakkam came here en route to Kalahasthi. When he was taking a dip at Kuchasthalai river, his belongings of Pooja box and Vibhoothi (holy ash) bag were found missing. He came here and found Shiva lingam in the midst of Kalli trees with his missing items near it. So he praised Sivanandiswara as a thief (kalvan) in his patikam.
- Per Bruhi rishi those who worship Sakthi Dhakshinamoorthy here on Thursdays with Kalli flowers, after taking holy dip at the Nandhi Theertham, will get their hunger and poverty erased out, acquire great knowledge and wealth and get their wishes fulfilled.
- Thirugnanasambhandar in his patikam says that those who worship here will acquire fame and happiness
A calm village unpolluted from the mad crowd of the city. Literally, not a single shop around the temple and so come prepared with all your pooja and food requirements. The temple is a very small one, clean and very well maintained. It was a pradhosham day and a family from Chennai was doing the pradhosha abisheham themselves. One of them was singing songs (thiruppugazh?) and was totally immersed in Shiva Bakthi. I learnt that they are doing this for quite a long time. It was nice for us to be present there on a Pradhosham at such an important temple without any crowd at all.
The temple tank in front of the temple, Nandhi Thirtha created by Nandiswara, is amazingly clean and very familiar for holy dip. Big empty space in front with many big trees and a clean temple tank in the backdrop of the temple – all constitute a picture perfect environment. I would love to come to this place again just to take a holy dip in the tank (preferably in the hot summer, if there is water).
- An unpolluted village, not a single shop around the temple.
- Small and well maintained temple
- Dhakshinamoorthy with Goddess Shakthi; Shiva, Balamurugan and Ambal in the same line and direction in Somaskanda form.
- Come prepared to take a holy dip at the clean temple tank in the midst of a scenic environment.
On our return trip, the road that connects Periyapalayam with the Kolkatta highway was a scenic green all through. For about 10 kms, the Periyapalayam devotees were cooking, eating and relaxing on the roadside all the way.
Message from Sri Padma Prasad:
In Thirukkallil, ‘Thai Pusam’ is a festival day and ‘Theppotsavam’ will be there.
Thirukallil, Periyapalayam and Siruvarpuri are all in a circular route to the left of the Kolkatta highway when you go from Chennai. So you can take the clockwise route Thirukallil, Periyapalayam and Siruvarpuri in that order, or the reverse. We took the reverse route.
Immediately after the toll gate near the Karanodai bridge, the road to Periyapalayam branches off to the left. Proceed further for another 5-6 kms and look for the ‘Way to Siruvarpuri temple’ board which is on the 33rd km on the highway. The temple is about 4-5 kms from there on the left side. From Siruvarpuri, on the same road if you proceed further for about 6 kms, you will reach Arani and then Periyapalayam is another 6 kms. On the Periyapalayam-Chennai route, at about 10 kms from Periyapalayam, at a place called Kannigaiper (also called Kanniputhur) you have to take a right turn in the bazaar area for Thirukallil. The temple is around 4 kms from there but after 2-3 kms, better to check with the villagers on every road branch since there is no board to guide you and it is very easy to slip out the left diversion to the temple. If you see a village called Neyveli, it is an indication that you have missed the left side road already (which we did exactly!!).
Around this area, there are more places of significance:
Vengal, Vada Madhurai, Pancheshti, Gnayiru, Alamathi, Ariyathurai, Andarkuppam