Monday, April 6, 2009
KUMARAR KOIL - TiruMalai
Description: Sri Kumarar Koyil is located in Ilanji near Tenkasi. Nearby, in the village of Panpoli is the hill temple of Tirumalai Kumarar. Ilanji is located at a distance of 5 km from Tenkasi and 3 km from Kutralam.
The name ilanji stems from the stala vriksham magizha maram and also from the richness of the land abounding in water resources. Arunagirinathar has revered this shrine in his tiruppugazh hymns. Ilanjimurugan Ulaa, and the Kutralanathar Puranam speak of the glory of this temple. Several other literary works also speak of the glory of this shrine.
Legends: This temple is closely linked to Kutralam, in terms of the legends associated. Both these temples are associated with the legend of Agastya muni, proceding to the southern lands from the Himalayas, following Shiva's command - to balance the tilt of the earth with his weight; the earth had tilted dangerously following the assembly of all living beings at the Himalayas to witness the divine marriage between Shiva and Parvati.
Following Shiva's bid, Agastyar is believed to have reached Kutralam, the site of the present day temple to Kutralanathar, which then was a Vaishnava temple, into which he was refused entry.
Agastyar is then believed to have worshipped Murugan at Ilanji, and then proceded to Kutralam in the guise of a Vaishnava devotee and by a miracle converted the image of Vishnu to that of a Shivalingam. The name Kutralam comes from the legend that the image was shrunk (kurukkudal) into that of a Shivalingam.
The Temple: This east facing temple has 2 entrances, 2 prakarams, an ardhamandapam, mani mandapam and mahamandapam. Also here are shrines to Surya, Dakshinamurthy, Saptamatas, Jwarahareswarar, 63var, Venugopalar, Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakashi, Kutrala Nathar, Shanmukhar.
Iruvaalukanathar's shrine is to the left of Skanda's shrine. This temple was renewed in early 15th century.
The presiding deity here is Kumaran, enshrined in the central sanctum, flanked by his consorts Valli and Deivayanai. There are also major shrines to Iruvaluga eesar (believed to have been worshipped by Agasthyar) and Iruvaluga Eesarkiniyaal. There are also shrines to Kanni Vinayakar, Shenbaga Vinayakar, Kuzhal Vaimozhiamman, Chandikeswarar, Bhairavar, Venugopalar, Suryan, Saneeswaran, Agasthyar, the Saptamatas, the 63 Nayanmars and Ayyanar.
This temple with 2 prakarams has two entrances. The sanctum faces the east; there are the Ardha mandapam, the mani mandapam and the maha mandapam in front of the sanctum. A three tiered gopuram covers the entrance to the innerprakaram. Shiva's shrine faces east while Ambal's shrine faces south. Much of the current structure of the temple dates back to the 15th century.
The name Iru valuga Eesar arises from the fact that Agasthyar made a two Shivalingams out of the white sands (valugam) of the Chitra nadi flowing nearby and then combined the two into one Shivalingam, which now adorns the sanctum. Since the Shivalingam is fashioned out of white sand, no abhishekam is performed. Offerings of Shenbaga flowers to Shiva are considered to be very special here.
Stala Theertham : Idumban Sunai and Kuvalai Poonchunai are the theerthams here. The Kuvalai Poonchunai consists of the Soma, Surya and the Agni theerthams.
No of Steps : 540
Festivals: Six worship services are offered each day here.The procession bearing Skanda stops at the Kutralanathar shrine to receive offerings during the annual Bhramotsavams.
Skanda Sashti is celebrated in great splendour here. During this festival, Subramanyar is portrayed as Bhrama, Vishnu, Shiva, Maheshwara, Sadasiva and finally again on Shiva on the 6 days of this festival. The final day of this festival involves the enactment of Surasamharam.
This portrayal is tied to the legend that Subramanya here manifested himself as the trinity Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva - when asked by the sages Kapila, Kashyapa and Durvasa the question as to who was the greatest among the trinity. Chittirai Vishu (Tamil new years day) and Kartikai asterism in the month of Aadi are also celebrated here.