Visit to temples around Kangeyam – Part 2
Our 2nd day started after the breakfast at Kangeyam SriDivya hotel, in the Thiruppur (Coimbatore) route. There are 3 pure veg hotels and out of them, this looked better off than others. Strangely the hotels here don’t serve coffee and the Bakery shops serve as coffee bars.
Places visited during the trip:
In Kongu region there are plenty of highly popular Amman temples which are ‘family deity’ temples for different sects of Kongu people. Our first temple was one such:
1) Sri Bangajakshi Amman sametha Sri Kaadai Easwaran and Sri Vellaiammal Temple
A highly popular temple located at about 6 km from Kangeyam. The temple is connected with a divinely woman Vellaiammal who lived many centuries ago. This is the kuladeiva temple for her descendants.
The Legend of Kaadaiyur Vellaiammal Koil
(Compiled by P.R.Ramachander)
The temple is situated in a vast area with a very big open space in front. There are two entries to the temple with separate dwajasthambams, main one opposite Shiva shrine and a smaller one opposite Perumal shrine.
The temple inside is also big with plenty of shrines.
When we went, the preparation for the morning Pooja was taking place and we had to wait for some time. There are shrines for Sri Subramanyar, Sri Valli&Deivanai, Sri Anjaneyar, Sri Somaskandar, Sri Natarajar, Sri Karunakara Perumal, Sri Vellaiammal, Sri Dhandapani, Sri Mahalakshmi and Sri Kala Bairavar.
2) Azhagumalai / Alagumalai / Arulmalai Sri Muthukumara Bala Dhandayudhapani Swamy temple at Vanvanchery
Our next temple was another Arunagirinathar sung Thiruppugazh Murugan temple at Azhagumalai en-route Thiruppur. It is another popular and ancient Murugan temple of the Kongu region.
The region of Alagumalai is called as Vanavanchery, meaning the place of Devas. The temple is located on a small beautiful hill with plenty of trees. There are about 300 steps to climb and there is also a road for vehicles. The road for vehicles ends at 2 places. From the 1st place, you have to walk about 150 steps and the 2nd place is still closer and you have to walk about 40 steps.
At the 1st vehicle endpoint there is a separate shrine of Sri Anjaneya worshipping Lord Shiva which is one of the 700 Anjaneya moorthies installed by Sri Vyasaraja all over the country. Sri Anjaneyar has a bell tied to his tail end which is placed over his head. This is the typical style in all the Anjaneya moorthies installed by Sri Vyasaraja. Lord Shiva is facing West and Sri Anjaneyar is facing South. Sri Anjaneyar is holding lotus in His hand which is very rare and is considered a Varaprasadhi.
There are also 6 separate shrines for 6 Arupadai veedu Murugars, built in 1984, along with Vinayagar and Navagrahas.
While climbing steps through the greenery listening to the chirps of birds, we can see the shrine of Idumban and another one of Kuzhanthai Kumaran. Childless couples pray to this Kuzhanthai Kumaran to get child boon.
On top of the hill, around 1000 years old, later Chola period ‘Alagumalai Muthukumara Bala Dhandayuthapani’ temple is located. Here we see Murugar in Dhandayuthapani posture facing East in about 4.5 feet height, Valli and Deivanai together in a separate shrine facing South, Veerabaghu and Valampuri Anandha Vinayagar. There is a British period survey stage which is used to survey the surrounding areas. Like ‘Kutrala Kuravanchi’, there is also ‘Alagumalai Kuravanchi’ pathigams.
Contact: Sri Ramachandra (Raghu) Gurukkal @ 9842783759.
I heard from Sri Ramachandra Gurukkal that there are whopping 383 exclusive Murugan temples (Muruga bakthas take note) in Kovai, Thiruppur, Salem, Erode, Pazhani region! He can be of great help for you if you wish to make a visit.
1) There is a big Aadhi Vinayagar temple and a 400 years old neem tree at the hill base
2) There is also a 1,300 year old Sri Periyanayagi Amman sametha Sri Kailasanathar temple with rich heritage and marvelous stone architecture, a little away from the Murugar temple (I forgot to take note of it and so missed it). Sri Kailasanathar is a Swayambu lingam. The stone carvings, on the pillars and walls, indicate the temple’s construction during the period of Pandya King Koon Pandiyan. Both Shiva as Sri Kailasanathar and Vishnu as Sri Lakshminarayana Perumal are present in the same premises. It is said that the moorthy of Sri Lakshminarayana Perumal was recovered from below the ground some years back.
3) There is also Sri Valuppooramman Temple around 2 kms from here. People affected by fits (Valippu) worship Her to get cured.
3) Sri Thirumurughanadhar Temple at Thirumuruganpoondy
Our next temple in the list was the Shiva temple at Thirumuruganpoondy, one of the 275 Thevara Padal petra sthalams and an ASI maintained temple. It is located 5 kms after Thiruppur. It was only about 30 kms from Azhagumalai but it took us close to 2 hours to reach. I understand Thiruppur is one of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the world from the recent survey and I could literally see it. Unfortunately there is no bypass and you have to pass through the city traffic for too long. Further we made a mistake in google map that instead of asking direction specifically for the temple, we simply sought for Thirumuruganpoondy. So, after taking us through non-existing roads for nearly half an hour, it took us exactly to a dead-end! We realized the mistake only then and sought route for the temple exactly and it took us there perfectly!
Main deity: Swayambu linga known as Thiru murugha nadhar / Skanda Natheswarar & Muyangu Poonmulai Amman / Aalinga Bhooshana Sthananbika.
Lord Murugan got Brahamahathi Dosham after killing the demon King Soorapadman in His heroic Soorasamharam. To get rid of this dosham, Lord Murugan erected a Shivalingam at this place and worshipped Lord Shiva. Subramanyar is seen as Arumugar with Valli Daivanai.
Cheraman Peruman nayanar gave away lot of wealth to Sundarar but it got stolen by the boodha ganas of Lord Shiva in the form of hunters, who then disappeared into the temple. Notwithstanding, Sundarar composed and sung pathigams expressing his sorrow and anguish and went on to say that it was a mockery that Lord Shiva’s presence was in a notorious place.
But then it was ‘Lord Shiva’ Himself who disguised as a hunter and He did so to hear the melodies and compositions of the saint. Pleased with the poignancy of the compositions, the Lord returned all his belongings. On understanding the divine purpose of the Lord, Sundarar composed and sung 10 songs. This incident was marked as a festival called ‘Vedupari’.
We see two Sundarar idols one sad and one with glowing face depicting his state of mind prior to and after the incident.
Agasthyar, Markendeya worshipped the Lord enshrined here.
Arunagirinadhar sang Thirupugazh on Lord Subramanaya of this place.
This ancient temple was built in the 9th Century.
This is a Kethu Parihara Sthalam and it is believed that worshipping the deity at this kshetram relieves those with mental ailments and evil effects.
Natarajar’s thandavam here is attributed as Brahma Thandavam.
The specialty of the Murugan sculpture is that it has six faces carved in a single stone and is so beautifully done.
A large Nandi of sudai sculpture facing the temple is located on top of the front mandapam which is unseen in any other temple.
The temple is now maintained by the Archaeological Society of India (ASI) and is declared as a National Heritage Monument.
The Vedupari Urchavam in the Tamil month of Thai is very special.
Theertham: Shanmuga, Brahama and Gyana teertham.
Sthala vruksham: Gurukkathi / Mullai; Durvasar is said to have brought this Mullai tree from Karpaka Lokam.
Temple Timings: 6 AM to 1 PM and 3:30 to 7:30 PM
1) There is a pit on a rock opposite the Vinayagar temple outside the Shiva temple. Once in 12 years, water gushes out from the pit.
2) Sri Madheswaran – Sri Mangalambika just outside this Shiva temple is considered to be the original Tirumuruganpoondy temple.
It was a Theipirai Ashtami day (Asthami after full moon) when we went which is special for Biravar. So the temple and especially the Bairavar shrine were too crowded. Annadhanam was taking place outside the temple and they were very keen in serving Annadhanam to everyone without leaving even a single person, so also we.
4) Sri Avinasi Appar temple at Avinasi
Our plan was to visit Avinasi Shiva temple next but since we had wasted too much time in reaching the Thirumuruganpoondy temple itself, we were doubting whether we could reach it on time. Luckily we had a little chance since it was a special day, the Theipirai Ashtami, and we already saw the Thirumuruganpoondy was too crowded. So, with some hope, we proceeded to Avinasi and as expected it was also too crowded and the temple was kept open.
Significances: One of the 275 Thevara Padal petra sthalams, considered as the Kasi of Kongu region.
Main deity: Swayambu linga known as Avinasi Appar / Kediliyappar and Perum nayaki amman / Karunambika.
Vinasi means huge destruction. Avinasi means one that is protected from huge destruction. Avinashi is referred to as Dakshina Varanasi, Tiruppukkozhiyur etc.
This temple is also known as Karunaiyaathaal temple.
Parvathi Devi did Her penance, worshipped the linga here and got Her a place on the right side of Shiva (Ardha nareeswarar). So the Goddess sanctum is to the right side of Shiva sanctum.
Brahma worshipped and got rid of His sin, hence the name Brahmapureeswarar.
Sri Ramar, Iravatham (Indran’s white elephant), Thadagai and Naga kannagai worshipped Lord Shiva here.
Sthala purana says root of Kasi kshetra Linga is upto this place and the Linga here is formed on it.
There is a very interesting and significant legend associated with this temple as follows:
On his way to meet ‘Cheramaan Peruman’ at Thiruvanchikulam, Sundaramoorthy Nayanar happened to pass by Avinashi and heard conflicting voices from two houses. One blooming with happiness and joy and the other with a gloomy and melancholic voices. He came to know that when two boys of the same age took bath in the nearby tank 3 years ago, one of them was swallowed by a crocodile in the tank. The surviving boy had his Upanayanam (thread ceremony) that day and so was joy in one house and gloomy in the other house. Moved by this, Sundaramoorthy Nayanar composed Nayanmars Pathigam and sang on Lord Shiva to resurrect the dead child. His prayers were answered and water started flowing into the dry tank, crocodile emerged from it and spit a full grown boy of 8 years. This sacred Thamaraikkulam is close by with a shrine to Sundarar on the shore. The event is commemorated during the ‘Mudalai Vaai Pillai’ Utsavam during Panguni Uththiram.
Sundarar and Navakku arasar sang hymns on Shiva.
Arunagiri nadhar sang Thirupugazh on subramanya of this place.
Thirumular’s Thirumantiram also signifies this place.
The temple belongs to the 10th century.
The Rajagoupram is 7 tier 100 feet high.
There is a 70 feet high single stone deepa sthamba with sculptures of Vinayaka and Sundarar.
There is a shrine for Kalabhairavar which is being worshipped with the offerings of Vada Maalai.
The temple has two prakarams and the Navaranga Mandapam in the inner prakaram has intricate sculptural work.
The large Nandhi and the carved image of a scorpion in the Ambal sanctum are of significance.
The temple is a protected monument under ASI, the Archeological Survey of India.
The car festival is the most exciting of the festivals in this temple. This temple’s car is one of the biggest in South India and is noted for its fine wooden carvings.
Theertham: Naga Kanni theertham, Iravata theertham, Kasi Gangai Theertham in the form of a well inside the temple is considered as the Ganges of Kasi itself
Sthala vruksham: Paadhri tree.
There were free toilets just outside the Rajagopuram and inside the temple premises. At sharp 1 PM, they closed it with still huge crowd coming in and going out of the temple. They said, there is one more at just outside the premises and we found it was a ‘pay and use’. Just to give them some business, they close these free temple toilets very promptly. While Modiji is building toilets everywhere, these guys close even the existing ones! These people don’t know about the Karma and what if the temple authorities responsible for this take rebirth as the toilet cleaners for the same toilets. I called the temple authorities and informed them about this as well!
Shopping at Avinasilingam palayam
After Avinasi temple, we had some 2-3 hours in 1-4 PM gap for our next temple. So we were moving slowly thinking on what to do in between. Saw some road side shops but were not satisfied to buy anything and we saw one outlet called “Fashion Factory”.
We just wanted to check whether there was anything for our granddaughter and doubtfully entered but finally ended picking up 51 items for everyone and everything! – all City Shopping Mall quality at a great bargain price. We spent more than 3 hours there and all through we were the only ones! Such was a peaceful, lovely shopping experience. Since Thiruppur has become too crowded, people don’t like to shop in the city and so plenty of outlets like this have come up on the highways. It looks like, even when we come here exclusively for Deepavali shopping, it can still be cheaper.
The location of the Fashion Factory outlet is here at around 100 meters from the Sundaramoorthy Vinayagar Temple:
Contact: Sri S.Nataraj @ 99655 83707
It was already around 5:30 PM and when we started for our next temple, a Shiva temple at Keeranur close to Kangeyam itself, again had some route problems with google map. One person, saying he belongs to that region, very confidently directed us to a wrong route. After passing through the Thiruppur city it was not at all possible to visit Keeranur temple. So, we returned to the Lodge and called it a day.