20 May 2013

Temple tour in North Madras

North Madras – The mere thought of this area conjures up the dusty and oldest part of “chennai” along with the flash of movies which makes gangsters and dadas in to heros;  the slums and fishing hamlets along the coast, the busy harbor, bad roads, rowdies from vannarapettai, kasimode kuppam, korukkupettai, royapuram “Arival” culture amongst many others!


Got to know that there are some amazing temples one should visit; The best way to travel in North Madras is take an auto or call taxi – Forget the bus or electric train or car if you’re visiting these temples – I took an auto, and the shortest route was taking a left at Ritherdon road, cruising through  the nerve centre of old madras – Vepery, Doveton, Basin bridge, Elephant gate, Choolai, Mint, Washermenpet, Kasimode, and finally Tiruvotriyur! And please go when the traffic is thin (Sunday 3.30 pm was fine). The 3 temples I visited today are Vadivudai Amman and Thyagaraja Swamy Temple, Medha
Dhakshinamoorthy temple and Pattinathar temple..

The Tiruvotriyur Shivan temple is a huge temple and will take about 45 minutes to one hour to cover; It dates back to 1300 years and construction for thiruppani is going on currently. Tiruvotriyur, interestlingly is trio completing the shiva sthalams of Tiruvanmiyur and Tirumayilai!

Facts : (l really like to note down these small facts /history for my own remembrance :))
  1. This Paadal petra Shiva stalam was the first temple ever on the face of the earth and was called ‘Adipuri’ (‘the primordial town’). In the same vein, the moolavar here is called Adipureeswarar.
  2. As you know, Shiva is worshipped as the embodiment of primary elements in Panchabhootha sthalams – as wind in Kalahasti, water in Jambukeswaram, fire in Thiruvannamalai, as earth in Kanchipuram and as space in Chidambaram – Here, He is present in 3 forms – As a swayambu lingam of earth, in the form of a snake pit facing east – (with form), as Agni (without form) and as a being with and without form (as Padampakka Nathar) – who was ordained as not to be touched by any hand, mortal or immortal.
  3. The moolavar structure is almost like a square box and not like a lingam – its open only for 3 days in a year – during Karthigai pournami when they offer “Pungu” and “Sambrani Thailam” and its closed rest of the year – Shiva also takes the form of a snake called Padampaka nathar as a backdrop to this structure. It is said that Vasuki worshipped Shiva here.
  4. The consort deity is the powerful “Vadivudai Amman” who attracts a large gathering of devotees on Fridays and full moon days. The Vadivudai Amman takes the form of Gnaana Sakthi amongst the trio of devis safeguarding chennai patnam – ( People have morning darshan of the Ichha Sakthi (Tiruvudai Amman at Melur), Gnana Sakthi at Tiruvotriyur and Kriya Sakthi in the evening at Tirumullaivoil, to complete the Shakthi Darshan.
  5. Ramalinga Swamigal, Pattinathar and Kambar are associated with this famous temple, apart from Appar, Sundarar and Thyagarajar. Vallalar has sung 101 verses in praise of the Devi in Vadiyudai Manikka Malai..
கடல் அமுதே செங்கரும்பே அருட் கற்பகக் கனியே
உடல் உயிரே உயிர்க்குள் உணர்வே உணர்வுள் ஒளியே
அடல் விடையார் ஒற்றியார் இடங் கொண்ட அருமருந்தே
மடல் அவிழ் ஞான மலரே வடிவுடை மாணிக்கமே – இராமலிங்க சுவாமிகள்

வாவியெல்லாம் தீர்த்தம்
மணல் எல்லாம் வெண்ணிறு
காவணங்கள் எல்லாம் கண நாதர்
பூவுலகில் இது சிவலோகம் – பட்டினத்தார்

Other facts :

  • In the side of Moolavar's shrine, is the Devi Vatta Parai amman. There is a circular stone alter before the Devi where Adi Sankarachariyar, worshiped and installed a Sri Chakram to pacify the once aggressive Kali Devi here (Just like the Sri chakram at Kanchi Kamakshi temple and Maha Meru at Mangadu temple)

  • Buy a special ticket for Rs.25/ - to have an amazing darshan near “Vadivudai Amman” – you can feel the power radiate! Kumkuma archanai is supposed to special and Kerala namboodris are the ones who do the actual pooja here. (Due to Adi Shankaracharya’s pooja vidhi)
  • Bhairavar has a separate shrine and the unique thing is the dog, (vahanam of Bhairava) is missing!

Before you enter this Shivan temple, you cannot miss this the Dakshina Murthy temple on the left – The unique thing about this temple is the Lord faces north (and called Vada Gurusthalam) - in meditating form under the banyan tree (the tree is almost like a snake with a padam in the backdrop). Its said that the Vadivudai amman takes the knowledge from this Dakshina murthy!

The greatest of the saints, Pattinathar who said that காதற்ற ஊசியும் வாராது காண் கடைவழிக்கே – meaning “Not even an eyeless needle will accompany you in the final journey of life” has a Jeeva Samadhi here facing the beach – From the temple, its just 5 minutes by auto, on the other side of the road.

A very simple structure, with people silently meditating provides a powerful ambience – It is here where he attained Mukthi ( The place where he found the wild sugar cane – Pey Karambu to be sweet and chose his place of samadhi); Pattinathar took the form of a shiva lingam after his salvation and the lingam is currently kept closed in a huge box, due to construction activities (The nagarathar community is undertaking the construction thiruppani)..
And to close this blog, citing Pattinathar's songs and seeking his blessings... And make a visit to these temples!

 "பிறந்தன இறக்கும், இறந்தன பிறக்கும்;
தோன்றின மறையும், மறைந்தன தோன்றும்;
பெருத்தன சிறுக்கும், சிறுத்தன பெருக்கும்;
உணர்ந்தன மறக்கும், மறந்தன உணரும்;
புணர்ந்தன பிரியும், பிரிந்தன புணரும்;
நினைமின் மனனே ! நினைமின் மனனே
சிவபெரு மானைச் செம்பொனம் பலவனை
நினைமின் மனனே ! நினைமின் மனனே !
அலகைத் தேரின் அலமரு காலின்
உலகப்பொய் வாழ்க்கையை உடலை ஓம்பற்க !"

 "கையொன்று செய்ய விழியொன்று நாட
கருத்தொன்று எண்ண பொய்யொன்று வஞ்சக
நாவோன்று பேச புலால கமழும் மெய்யொன்று
சார செவியொன்று கேட்க விரும்பியான் செய்கின்ற
பூசை எவ்வாறு கொள்வாய் வினை தீர்த்தவனே " .....பட்டினத்தார்