Friday, October 20, 2017

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram, Kanyakumari

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram, Kanyakumari
Thanumalayan Temple, also called as Sthanumalayan Temple is an Hindu Temple dedicated to Hindu Trinity located in Suchindram in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. Thanumalayan Temple is of importance to both Shaivite and Vaishnavite sects of Hinduism, as the name Sthanumalayan denotes Trimurtis; "Sthanu" means Siva; "Mal" means Vishnu; and the "Ayan" means Brahma. This temple is unique in the whole of India in that it is dedicated to three different deities represented by one image in the sanctum. This Kshetram is also called Gnanaranya.







One of the unique aspects of Thanumalayan Temple is the presence of many gods from the Hindu pantheon and the different sects like Vaishnavism including Rama and Krishna to more localized Tamil traditional worship of Amman/Devi and Kandan or Muruga. The temple is rich in sculpture and architecture and a visitor to this temple is amply rewarded with the sight of such exquisite art of hundreds of years old. The town along with Kanyakumari was part of Travancore. It became part of Tamil Nadu in 1956. Non-Hindus are permitted inside the temple but photography is prohibited. 







Legends
For brief details, please refer below link;
History
For brief details, please refer below link;
The Temple
For brief details, please refer below link;
Temple Opening Time
·        Morning 4.30 am to 11.30 am.
·        Evening 5.00 pm to 8.30 pm.
Pooja Timings
·        Abisheka Pooja for Moola lingam – 04.15 AM
·        Abisheka Pooja for Thanumalayan deity – 04.45 AM
·        Daily festival Pooja – 05.30 AM
·        Tharai Abisheka Pooja – 06.30 AM
·        Mistanga Pooja – 07.00 AM
·        Uchikala Pooja, Deepa Aradhanai – 11.00 AM
·        Deepa Aradhanai, Ahala Pooja & Arthajama Pooja – 06.30 PM
Festivals
There are two important festivals, one in Margazhi (December/January) and the other in Chittirai (April/May). During the Margazhi festival, on the 9th day the deities are taken out in procession around the streets on three festival cars. The 10-day Car Festival celebrated in this temple during between December and January every year attracts crowds of thousands of people. Another festival known as Theppam is celebrated during between April and May every year.
Prayers
Prathana Sthalam for marriage, children, longevity and prosperity needs.
Worship of Lord Anjaneya of this temple for physical and mental health.
Contact
Thanumalayan Temple
Suchindram – 629 704,
Kanyakumari District
Phone: +91 4652 241270
Connectivity
For brief details, please refer below link;

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – Connectivity

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – Connectivity
Thanumalayan Temple is located at about 8 Kms from Nagercoil, 14 Kms from Kanyakumari, 9 Kms from Kottaram, 16 Kms from Boothapandi, 21 Kms from Thuckalay, 19 Kms from Eraniel, 29 Kms from Colachel, 18 Kms from Aralvaimozhi, 14 Kms from Thovalai, 87 Kms from Tirunelveli and 80 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram.
By Road:
The Temple is located at about 300 meters from Suchindram Bus Stop. Suchindram is well connected to Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, Thirunelveli, Thiruvananthapuram and other nearby places by Bus.
By Train:
Nagercoil Railway Station is the nearest Railway Station, located at about 4 Kms from the Temple.
By Air:
Nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, located at about 80 Kms from Thanumalayan Temple.

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – The Temple

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – The Temple
The seven-storey entrance tower to this temple is visible from a distance as it rises majestically for 134 feet. The face of the tower is covered with sculptures and statues from Hindu mythology. One of the unique aspects of the temple is the presence of the gods across the length and breadth of the Hindu pantheon, from Rama and Krishna to Amman and Kandan. The temple is an architectural marvel, as it is well known for exquisite workmanship in stone.


There is a covered area in front of the main entrance and the entrance itself is about 24 feet high with a beautifully carved door. At the entrance of the main temple there are two large door keepers (Dwarapalaka) & the two pillars with huge Yalis (lion with an elephant trunk). There is only one corridor running along the outer wall of the temple with many shrines and mandapams scattered in the inner area. This temple attracts both Vaishnavites and Saivites in large numbers.


About 30 shrines to various deities within the temple complex, the large Lingam in the sanctum, the idol of Vishnu in the adjacent shrine and a large idol of Hanuman at the Eastern end of the Northern corridor represent almost all the deities of the Hindu pantheon. The temple complex is encircled by a single corridor, making a very nice parikrama route. There are many mandapams at Suchindram, which house a great many deities and divine personalities.


The main shrines and places of worship in the temple complex include the sanctum sanctorum in which Sthanu Mal Ayan, the presiding deities reside. There are some 30 additional shrines, including those for Lord Vishnu, Sita-Rama, Kailasanathar, Pancha Pandava, Natakasala, Kontai Adi, Subramanya Swamy, and Garuda, along with Unjal, Dwaja, Chenbagaraman, Vasantha, and Alankara Mandapam. There is also a Gopura Vasal, Nandeeswarar shrine, Chitra Sabai, and the great Hanuman Murti, all encircled by a temple corridor.


The Theertham here is the Prapancha tank. Alangara Mandapa is situated in the right of the entrance. In the 'Alankara mandapam' adjacent to the Northern corridor there are four large pillars stand at 18 feet (5.5 m) in height, each formed by a group of smaller pillars all carved from a single stone. Two of these large pillars have 33 smaller pillars and the other two 25 each. These are the famous musical pillars. Each of these smaller pillars produce a different musical note when tapped. Unfortunately, these pillars are surrounded by iron grills to prevent vandalism. These are an architectural and design highlight of the temple.


There are an additional 1035 pillars with carvings in the area known as the dancing hall. There is an Anjaneya, (or Hanuman), statue which stands at 22 feet (6.7 m) and is carved of a single granite block located near Alankara Mandapam. It is one of the tallest statues of its type in India. Hanuman's pose in this Murti, with folded hands, is likely him standing before Mother Sita in Ashoka Vanam. It is also of historical interest that this statue was buried in the temple in 1740, fearing an attack by Tippu Sultan and was subsequently forgotten.


It was rediscovered in 1930, and subsequently restored by the then Devaswom Board Commissioner Rajya Seva Praveena Sri M.K. Neelakanta Iyer of Kottarathu Mathom, Moncompu. There are about 30 shrines in this temple. On each pillar around the corridor there is Deepa Lakshmi (female lamp bearers). During Tip Sultan's invasion, these sculptures were mutilated.


Chenbagaraman Mandapam is filled with beautiful sculptures and 32 intricately sculpted pillars, carved more than 525 years ago. There is a Vigneswari Murti here, images of Siva's 64 sacred adventures (Tiruvilayadal), and images depicting Sri Ramayana pastimes. The interior of the temple complex is heavily carved and ornamented throughout, with many scenes from the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata, including Bhagavad-Gita scenes and a Vishwaroopam Murti. There is a rare image of Sri Krishna Parthasarathy in the form of the Trinity, in a Geethopathesa scene.


The Nandi image in the temple, which is 13 feet high, 21 feet long and 10 feet wide, is one of the biggest of its kind in the country. It is not a granite idol but made of lime and mortar and is hailed as "Maakkaalai". The temple's Prakaram is also very long like those at Rameswaram and Madurai. The religious significance of the temple stems from the fact that the main statue of Linga represent Siva (Sthanu), Vishnu (Maal) and Brahma (Ayan), (as well as giving the temple its name). The representation of the three central gods of Hinduism in one Linga makes it unique in India.

The Sanctum Sanctorum is illuminated by many oil lamps. The Trimurti Linga is two and a half feet in height, usually dressed in either a silver or golden mask. The golden Kavacham has 27 stars, 14 lunar phases and naga adorning the crown. The main sanctum stands on the western side of the compound. The presiding deities are offered water, oil, flowers, milk, etc. at regular times, and the priests are said to carry the Bhoga and paraphernalia through an underground passage.

Beside the sanctum sanctorum of Trimurti is the main Vishnu shrine, where the Perumal deity is made of eight metals. To the right of it are the Sita-Rama deities, and across from them is the very tall Hanuman Murti. To the left is Ganesh's shrine, in front of which is the Navagraha mandapa, carved into the ceiling. A Natakasala to the east has a big pavilion, now mostly used for preaching. The Kailasattu Mahadeva shrine in the southwest houses an ancient deity is Mahadeva from southern Kailasa.

Next are the Vadakkedam and Tekkedam, shrines of Shiva and Vishnu respectively. They were in existence before the 10th Century A.D. Under the canopy of Naga, there are 16 moons (Chandrakala) of the idols, overlapping each other. There is a separate Brahmadeva shrine also in the prakaram. There rare female form of Vinayaka (Ganesha) here is known as Vigneswari, or Vallabha Ganeshaani, as described in the Mantra Shastras.

This Ganeshaani Murti in sukhasana pose at Suchindram is one of only a few, the others being at a 10th century temple dedicated to 64 yoginis in Bheraghat, near Jabalpur, and one at the Tanumalaya Swami Temple in Suchindrum. In Tibet, this female form of Ganesh is worshiped as Gajanani. Sthala Vriksham is Kondrai Maram. It is approximately 2,500 years old.

Outside, there is an excellent collection of paintings found on the walls of the temple gopuram, which are now the aim of restoration and protection from local vandals. The approximately 115 paintings on the seven tiers of the tower are 120 years old, drawn onto the limestone walls using herbal extracts. Sometime after 1888, two kumbabhishekams (baths for the building) were performed, but no attempt was made to restore the paintings, but it is hoped will now become the focus of serious preservation.

Temple Statistics:
·        Total area - 4 Acres.
·        Rajagopuram - 134 Feet.
·        Height of Giant Nandhi - 12 Feet.
·        Width of Southern area - 301 Feet.
·        Width of Northern area - 281 Feet.
·        Width of Western area - 244 Feet.
·        Width of Eastern area - 183 Feet.
Temple Ratha Chariots:
The chariots of Sthanu-Mal-Ayan temple are very beautiful, and the center of attractive at the annual Car Festival here. The chariots come out at the end of a 10-day festival, which begins on the day of Sathayam, in the month of Margazhi (December/January). Lakhs of devotees come to enjoy the festival. Another processional festival is held in Chithirai (April/May), when the deities are taken out on the cars to give darshan to the devotees. The original temple chariot was destroyed during the invasion of Khan Chanda Saheb, many devotees sacrificed their lives in protecting the remaining chariots, thus forcing the invaders to retreat.


Afterwards, the Devi (Amman) car was made the major chariot. Each year it is accompanied by the chariots of Ganesa and Swamy, and each of the chariots bears one member of the Trimurti. The chariot is made of wood and is carved with beautifully detailed sculptures, many of which feature the pastimes of Krishna and Rama Lila. Each year, the upper portion of the car is remade with fresh poles and fabrics, and taken out on procession.

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – History

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – History
Suchindram Temple is approximately 1,300 years old. The temple construction took place over an extended period of at least six hundred years, so parts of the temple date back to the late 8th century, while others are 15th century. The earliest lithic records of Suchindram belong to the 9th Century A.D. The current temple was built in the 17th century and is famous for its sculptures. It was previously controlled by the Nambudiris, one of the main Nambudiri families called the Thekkumon Madam. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma in a single form called Sthanumalayan. Thirumalai Nayak and the Travancore Maharajas had made many endowments for its upkeep.
It is interesting to note that during the reign of Aayilyam Thirunaal Maharajah of Travancore, a lottery scheme was introduced in 1875 A.D., to raise funds for rebuilding a portion of the temple and a sum of over Rs. 40,000 was realized. Up until the time Kanyakumari became part of Tamil Nadu, the Suchindram Temple was under the administration of the Travancore Kings. Travancore at that time had its main temple at Padmanabhapuram, which was Vaishnavite. The Nanjil Pillais and other community members in Nagercoil were primarily Shaivites, probably due to influences from the Chola, Chera and Pandya kingdoms before the advent of Travancore kingdom. One of the unique aspects of Suchindram Temple is the presence of deities from all the religious sects: Vaishnava, Shaivite, and local Tamil cults like Amman and Kandan. 

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – Legends

Thanumalayan Temple, Suchindram – Legends
Suchindram:
As per legend, Indra got relieved of a curse here. The term "Suchi" in Suchindrum is believed to have derived from the Sanskrit meaning that stands for "purify". The place purified Indra from his curse. Hence it got the name Suchindrum. Accordingly, Lord Indra is supposed to visit the temple for performing "Ardhajama Pooja", or worship, at midnight every day.
Story of Anusuya, wife of Sage Athri:
Anusuya, the wife of Athri Maharishi was famous for her chastity and her devotion to her husband - an embodiment of a Hindu wife. She could perform miracles by sprinkling the 'Paatha Theertham' (water with which she washed her husband's feet) to bring rain to a parched earth or to transform objects to her desire. When the three Devis, - Goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswathy and Parvathy (Adishakti) heard through Sage Naradha the powers of this earthly woman they wanted to test her chastity. They approached their husbands, Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to test Anusuya's devotion to her husband. The three Moorthys transformed into three old mendicants and went to the hermitage where Anusuya was living and sought alms from her. When Anusuya was about to serve them food they told her that they had taken a vow whereby they could not accept alms from a person wearing clothes. As it was a sin to refuse alms to mendicants she prayed to her Lord and sprinkled a little 'Paatha Theertham' on the three old beggars. They were all immediately transformed into babies and throwing off her clothes she offered them food.
The Goddesses learning what had happened pleaded with Anusuya to grant them 'Mangalya Bhiksha' (gift of married life) and to give them back their husbands. Anusuya showed them the three babies. The Devis ran to the cradle and picked one baby each. Anusuya then prayed to her Lord to restore them back to their original form. Lord Sri Vishnu was in Lakshmi's embrace, Siva in Parvathy's lap and Saraswathy with Brahma. They accepted that Anusuya’s fame as the chaste woman on earth was justified. Thus, the Trimurthy came to be represented by the Lingam at Suchindram; the bottom represents Brahma, the middle represents Vishnu and the top Shiva.
Indra got relieved of his curse here:
There is another lore associated with this temple. Once Indra was infatuated with Ahalya, the wife of Rishi Gautama. One night he came to the hermitage where Gautama was living and made a sound like a cock indicating the approach of dawn. Rishi Gautama thinking that dawn was imminent awoke from his sleep and went to the river for his ablutions prior to commencing his prayers. Realizing that it was too dark for dawn and too early for morning to break he returned to his hut. In the meantime, Lord Indra took the physical appearance of Rishi Gautama, approached Ahalya and satisfied his desire.
Rishi Gautama returning from the river was enraged when he saw his wife in another man´s embrace and cursed the man's entire body be covered with 'yoni' (the female organ) and his wife Ahalya to become a statue of stone. Lord Indra to get rid of this curse went to Gnanaranya and prayed to the three Moorthys to rid him of this curse. When he was rid of his curse and transformed into his original form he built a temple and installed the Lingam to represent the three Moorthy – Thanu – Maal – Ayan, and the name of the place came to be known as Suchi-Indran (the place where Indran was purified).
Narada foiled Lord Shiva plan to marry Devi Kanyakumari:
Narada Lord Siva started from this place to wed Kanyakumari Amman, but returned when he heard the cockcrow made by sage Narada. Thus, successfully foiling the plan, the Goddess Kumari resides here as a virgin, unable to marry Lord Shiva.
Agnipariksha:
Another story of note about Suchindram Temple is the age-old practice of Agnipariksha that was practiced here up until the 1860's, when it was forbidden by the government. This ritual could only be engaged if the king gave his consent, and then it was done on a designated date. The ritual involves Kaimukkal, or 'dipping of the hand', in which any Namboothiri, or a high caste Brahmin who was under threat of excommunication due to immoral behavior, had to prove his innocence. A small silver ox statue was placed in a copper vessel of boiling ghee. The accused Brahmin had to reach in and pull the figure out of the ghee. A complex ritual followed in which the hand was bandaged, and the Brahmin taken to the home of a senior man, who watched over him. On the third day his hand was unwrapped. If the fingers were black and burned, the Brahmin was excommunicated, and pushed to the fringe of society. If his honor was vindicated, and the hand was normal, he was returned to his post, given gifts from the king, and all due respects were given to him by the temple community. One can only imagine the level of integrity required of Brahmins who faced such a method of oversight.

Nagaraja Temple, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari

Nagaraja Temple, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari
Nagaraja Temple is a Hindu Temple worshipping Nagaraja (King of Serpents- Vasuki) situated at the heart of Nagercoil Town in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu. The name for the town Nagercoil originated from this temple. The temple has innumerable statues of serpents. Snakes are an important part of the Hindu system of worship. It decorates the neck of Lord Shiva and acts as a bed for Lord Vishnu. Snake worship is prevalent all through India. The temple is a symbol of four religions - Jainism, Buddhism, Saivism and Vaishnavism.










Legends
For brief details, please refer below link;
History
It is difficult to ascertain the exact age of the temple. There is no authentic epigraph to aid the historian with its chronology. The mountain Mahendragiri in the Kanyakumari district is referred to as the abode of Nagas in the Ramayana of Valmiki. From this, it can be presumed that the origin of Naga influence in the area goes back to legendary times. From the five headed-serpent deity of the temple, the name of this town Nagercoil is derived; gradually its old name, Kottar, has mostly faded. There is a part of town called Kottar, so the old name remains.






The Temple
For brief details, please refer below link;
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 4.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Pooja Timings
Pooja Name
Timings
Opening Time
 5.00 am
Uchikala Abhishekam
 10.00 am
Uchikala Pooja
 11.00 am
Sayaratchai Pooja
 6.30 pm
Arthajama Pooja
 7.45 pm
Festivals
Thai Brahmmotsavam & Thai Poosam in January-February; Avani Sundays, Aavani Aslesha (Aayilyam) Star day & Krishna Jayanthi in August-September; Navarathri in September-October, Skandha Sashti, All Sundays and Tirukarthikai in November-December are the festivals celebrated in the temple. During Aavani Sundays, Lord Krishna is kept in a Adhishesha Temple car. Lord Krishna along with Sridevi and Boodevi will come around four Ratha street on the day of Thaipoosam.
Prayers
Devotees pray in the temple for relief from the adverse aspects of serpent planets. Devotes perform abishek to Nagaraja with milk and offer milk porridge – Paal Payasam – Nivedhana. They also install Naga idols in the temple campus. The Prasadam here is the sand from the ground in the sanctum of Nagaraja. The red color of the soil is said to be due to the blood shed from the idol when it got struck by the sickle. The soil that is given as   'Prasadam' has medicinal properties capable of curing skin ailments of the devotees.
Nagercoil Nagaraja is believed to bless the childless couples. If the couple come to this temple and pray with sincere faith and devotion, soon their request for a kid will be answered. Several childless couples are reported to have admitted that they were blessed with children after their visit to this temple. To get rid of 'Sarpa Dosham', besides worshiping the snake stone images in the temple, devotees offer stone images of 5 headed snakes in silver to the temple and participate in a puja ritual called   'Noorum Palum'. This will relieve them of the bad effects of Ragu and Ketu.
Contact
Nagaraja Temple,
Nagercoil – 629 001,
Kanyakumari District
Phone: +91 4652 232 420 / 241 270
Mobile: +91 94439 92216
Connectivity
Nagaraja Temple is situated at the heart of Nagercoil Town in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu. The Temple is located at about 1 Km from Nagercoil Bus Stand and Nagercoil Railway Station. Nagercoil is located at about 20 Kms from Kanyakumari, 9 Kms from Suchindram, 14 Kms from Boothapandi, 12 Kms from Villukuri, 13 Kms from Eraniel, 24 Kms from Colachel, 15 Kms from Thuckalay, 14 Kms from Padmanabhapuram, 83 Kms from Tirunelveli, and 74 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Nagercoil (1 Km) and Nearest Airport is located at Thiruvananthapuram.