Monday, March 30, 2009
Name : Tirupathy Venkatachalapathy, Srinivasa, Balaji
Location : Tirupati is a town in the Chittoor district of the Southern portion of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Seventh Peak of Venkata Hill in The Eastern Ghats.
Main Deity : The deity worshipped at Tirupati is Venkatachalapati. The image is that of a 10 ft high Sthanaka or standing figure of Vishnu on a lotus pedestal. The image is said to be a personification of perfection itself. Lakshmi forms an integral part of this image, which is decorated with flowers and ornamented with several precious jewels.
Included in the jewelry are a Lakshmi-garland, a necklace with 108 images of Lakshmi, a Salagrama garland, with salagrams encased in gold, an exquisitely carved Dasavatara belt around the waist, the Suryakatari, a golden sword that hangs from this belt, two gold sculptured plaques of Lakshmi and Padmavathi on the chest.
Venkatachalapati is the only moolavar in the sanctum and this is said to be the only Eka Murthy Temple for Vishnu in India. There are other processional deities in the temple. Bhoga Srinivasa, a silver replica of the mula vigraham is said to have been made and consecrated in the year 966 AD. The donor is said to have been a Pallava Queen and inscriptions related to this endowment are found in the temple.
Stala Purana :http://balaji.sudarshana.org/tirupati-history.htm
Legends : The Venkatam hill is said to be the sporting hill of Vishnu, brought to earth from Vaikuntam by Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu, according to the Puranas. The Venkatam hills are also known as Seshachalam, a manifestation of Adi Sesha, the cosmic serpent. The seven hills of Tirupati are said to represent the seven hoods of Sesha.
The Varaha Purana mentions that Vishnu in the boar form and in the form of Srinivasa manifested himself on the banks of the holy Pushkarini in Tirumalai. It is believed that the celestial entities such as Bhramma and others worship Venkatachalapati and to facilitate their worship, all articles of worship are left open in the sanctum at when the temple is closed at night.
Significance of the temple :
Said to be the Richest temple in India, this temple is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand history spanning several centuries. It attracts pilgrims from all over the country and it is not unusual for pilgrims to stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds.
Stala Theertham : Pushkarini
Website : http://www.tirumala.org
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Name : Maruthamalai, Maruthachala Moorthy, Maruthamalai Mamani
Location : 14Kms from Coimbatore
Main Deity : Murugan in Somaaskantha Posture ( ie., Murugan in between Sivan and Ambaal)
To Right of Muruga is Sivan(pateeswarar) & Left is Maragathambigai
No of Steps to Temple : 837
Stala Puranam :
Paambatti Sithar, used to search poisonous snakes for extracting preparing antivenom. Once when he was in Maruthamalai for search of a NagaRathina snake, Sattai Munivar gave darshan to him and preached that “Search the Snake within your Body (KUNDALINI sakthi). That is the purpose of your birth. Searching snakes in the bush is useless. “ This enlightened Pambatti Sithar. He started meditation and Lord Muruga showered his darshan with Valli & Deivanai. This temple is one of AruPadai Veedu of Lord Murugan.
Stala Theertham :
The "Marudha Thirtam" and the"Pambatti Sunai" are springs on the hills with holy waters and a dip in them cures a number of diseases for they contain Medicinal Properties.
Panja Virutcha Vinayagar :
Usually Vinayaga would be below Arasa maram.
In this place Five trees namely Arasa, Atthi,vanni, Korakattai & Vembu are joined together and below this Vinayagar seen as PanjaVirutchaVinayagar.
Other Attractions :
Suyambu Thaanthondri Vinayagar, Idumban sannathi, Pambatti Sithar Sannathi, Saptha Kaniyar sannathi.
Important festives :
Tamil New Year
Vaikasi Car Festival
Thai Poosam - Thirukalyanam
Timings : 5.30AM to 1.00PM & 2.00PM to 8.30PM
Name : Parvathamalai
Location : Near to Thenmathimangalam village, which is 20 kms from Polur in Thiruvannamalai District, Tamilnadu. Polur is 35kms(approx)from Thiruvannamalai(Arunachala).
Altitude : The hill(Parvatamalai) is 3500 feet(Approx) high from the sea level.
Diety : On the top of the hill, Lord Mallikarjunaswamy(Sivan) temple is located, which is believed to be 2000 years old. It is believed that devas and siddhas are worshipping Lord Mallikarjunaswamy every night here. This place is very auspicious and has powerfull vibrations from the religious point of view.This hill is full of herbal(mooligai) plants.
| Annadhanam will be provided in this ashram for devotees.During the Pournami full moon day, this hill attracts a lot of devotees and believed that many strange things use to occur, which cannot be defined by the language of Science. |
Reaching the hill is the most difficult. Going alone or without knowing the route is very dangerous as you might loose your track. So it is always advisable to go in a group on which one should know the route.
Trekking attraction : The "Kadapaarai padhai". Considered to be the toughest part of the trek, the climb was very steep and this stretch is bit difficult it is punctuated by iron rods drilled into the rocks and chains to assist at a sharp ascent of about 3500 feet and it is an one way traffic, one person can only climb at a time, you have to be sure on the other side no one comes, you have to raise your voice from the bottom and once acknowledgment comes from the other end then only you can climb or you will be get caught in the middle. It is safe to remove all the shoes and climb in bare foot.
No of Hills : Seven
Stala Puranam : http://parvathamalai.com/Stalapurana.html
Website : http://parvathamalai.com/
Pictures : http://picasaweb.google.com/syaarumugam/Parvathamalai#
Friday, March 20, 2009
Name : SathuraGiri, Chathurachalam, Siddhar Bhoomi, Mooligai Malai (Vanam), Mahalinga Malai
It is situated approximately 5 Kms from "Watrap" (otherwise called as "Vathirairuppu") near Srivilliputhur. It is approximately 100 Kms from Tirunelveli and 70 Kms from Madurai.
Footmark (hoof-marks) of the divine/celestial/Indira Loga cow "Kamadhenu".
Once upon a time, a devotee was on his way to Sathuragiri. In those days only a few people used to go to the hills, as it was thick forest with lots of wild animals. Since being new to the hills he soon got lost in the thickly populated mountains. Seeing this the Lord asks Kamadhenu, the divine cow to help his devotee and bring him back to the correct path. Kamadhenu immediately appeared before the devotee and lead him to the correct path. After bringing the devotee to the correct path, Kamadhenu, being a divine cow, had to travel back to its heavenly abode. In the process, of starting to fly, Kamadhenu gave pressure to her legs and the pressure was so immense that her hoofs left an indelible mark, that can be seen even today.
Gorakunda (Goraknathar Cave)
Goraknathar is one of the foremost important Indian Siddha. He is part of the 18 siddha tradition of South India. He is also one amongst the Nava Nath Siddha tradition of North India. He is also closely associated with Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism. He attained Siddha by mastering sound. The main siddha of Sathuragiri is Goraknathar. Goraknathar created thousands of new siddha medicines like Kayakalpa etc to attain immortality. Every 10th in the Tamil Calendar he appears in light form to his devotees at this place. On every no moon day Sri Kalimuthu Ashram offers a lingam made of Thinai Maavu and the same is worshipped.
As the name speaks, the mountain is mentioned as "South Kailash" (Thenkailayam), Bhoologa Kailayam as Lord Shiva and Parvathy have promised the Siddhars that they will stay here permanently and visit other places only from here. It is also said that it is the meeting place and head quarters of all the Siddhars, who still stay there in various places/caves in the mountain to worship Lord Siva and Parvathi.
It is also said in Siva Puranam that the four Vedas joined together and formed this mountain and that is why it is called Chathur(ved)agiri.
There are three main temples in the hill
Sri Sundara Mahalinga Swamy Temple and
Sri Santhana Mahalinga Swamy Temple
Anandavalli Amma temple Temple
One more sanctum of Lord Siva is also there in the top of the hill which is called as "Periya Mahalingam" Big Mahalingam). This is worshipped by Siddhars and only those who are destained to see it will be able to go there. It can be reached with help of the local people called "Palingargal" (Hill tribe people)
Sacred waters or Theertham :
The Akasha Ganga (river) which flows from above the Santhana Mahalingam temple.
Atthiootru, Maangani Ootru (Maavuthu), Arjunaa river and Naval OOtru which are on the way when hiking up.
Naaval Ootru is just below a jambu tree water in it has the taste of Jaman tree and it is said that it is good for Diabetic patients.
The Holy Trek Starts :
The trek to Sadhuragiri starts from Dhaanipaarai, and in about 30 minutes we reach a place called Kudhirai Ootru (a place where yesteryear Rajahs used to tie their horses at this area before proceeding on with their treks)
Then one has to pass the Vazhukkupaarai. As name says it is very slippery to pass this. Then comes Atthiootru, Koonathalaivaasal, so named due to its winding uphill trek, Kaaram pasu thadam, a landmark during the trek, apparently a hoof mark of a cow from which Lord Shiva drank milk from.
Path after Sangali paarai leads to Korakkar cave (Goraknath cave). After crossing Gorakunda – you can go through the river to visit a small cave here, you will com across Irattai Lingam.
Irattai Lingam :
Legend says that a Shivite husband and a Vaishanite wife had an argument on who is the greater god – Shiva or Vishnu, and went into deep meditation in Sadhuragiri to find the answer. God then appeared before them in his Shiva form and Vishnu form to make the couple understand that both are one and the same (Hari-yum Haran-num Onnu). To mark this, both Shiva and Vishnu forms rest here as 2 Lingas, thus Irattai Lingam.
A short trek after Irattai Lingam led us to Periya Pasukkidai, Naaval ootru and to Pacharisi Medu. Pacharisi Medu named because of the small white pebbles found on the path. Then we reached Kuliraati, Chinna Pasukkidai and Vanadurgai, a kaaval deivam (protecting deity) of the forests. Then you reach Pilaavadi Karuppar Sannidhi who is known to be the security guard of Shivamalai.
Pilaavadi Karuppar :
As the name says this shrine of karuppa samy is below a Jackfruit tree (Pala maram) and hence the name came pilavadi karuppa samy.
The legend says that a Siddhar called Kaalanganaadhar has the rare ability to turn normal metal pieces to gold, using mooligai from Sadhuragiri and the right Mantras. After making a whole bag of gold to a guy from a nearby village to assist him in building a temple in his hometown, Kaalanganaadhar still had some left over gold-making essence, gold pieces and herbs. He decided to dig a deep well called Thailakkinaru and hid the precious material in hit. To secure the well further, he created Pilaavadi Karuppar as a guard to protect the treasures not only in Thailakinnaru but the whole of Sadhuragiri itself.
Sundara Moorthy Swami Lingam (Anidai Lingam - A Lingam worshipped by Siddhas) :
15 minutes of trek after Pilaavadi Karuppar shrine will bring u to Sundara Moorthy Swami Temple. Sundara Moorthy Swami is a disciple of Sundara Mahalingam. The legend goes that once upon a time, Lord Siva was looking for a priest to perform regular puja (ceremony) at his temple. Siva found a child 3year old nearby village and he took the name of Sundara Moorthy Swamy and grows up to be an ardent devotee of Lord Siva. It is said Sundara Moorthy Swamy is much more powerful than Sundara Mahalingam. Devotees normally pray to Sundara Moorthy & would request him to let Sundara Mahalingam know about their prayers. Lord Sundara Mahalingam would also doubly ensure that prayers routed through Sundara Moorthy Swamigal gets immediately answered. Since this lingam was worshipped by various Siddhas including Agathiyar & Sundaranandar, it belongs to Anidai type.
Sundhara Mahalingam Temple :
The Sundhara Mahalingam temple, and infront of the temple, flows a stream. It is inevitable that your feet touches the cold flowing stream water before u enter temple premises, so a definite feet wash is done. It is notable that a stream or river runs in front of the 3 major temples in Sadhuragiri. There is a row of shops on either side of the steps that lead to the Sundhara Mahalingam sannidhaanam, selling Pooja products, posters, pictures and what really interested me was these natural incense resins (Saambiraani)
Sandhana Mahalingam Temple :
Santhana Mahalingam temple is just 15minutes upward trek from Sundara mahalingam temple. It is only Shiva temple where instead of vibhudhi, santhanam is given as prasadham. Also in this campus are present sanctums for 18 Siddhars, Lord Ganesha, Lord Muruga, Navagrahas, Santhana Mahadevi (Sakthi). The Aagaaya Ganga as it is called, which flows down right behind Goddess Shakthi’s shrine. Inside the Siddhar peedam we can see the cave of Sattamuni, where he meditated and lived.
Periya Mahalingam :
Periya mahalingam is a huge spellbounding swayambu lingam. You can see rocks looking like Balipeetam and Thiruvodu nearby. Also the trunks/roots formation of the tree on top lingam looks like the Jadamudi (hair) of Lord Shiva.
Temples Timings and Festivals :
At Santhana MahalingamTemple the daily pooja starts by 3 'O' clock in the morning. The two jama poojas are performed before sunrise. At Sundara Mahalingam temple the daily pooja starts by 6 'O' clock in the morning. At both the temples Ardha Jama Poojas are finished before 18.00 hrs and closed. On full moon and new moon days, the time schedule changes according to the visit of pilgrims.
During full moon and new moon devotees visit the temples and pay their penance and have darshan. Pilgrims will climb the mountain only in groups and not in solo, since the forest is full of animals. Those who have strong heart and health are advised to climb up. The new moon during the month of July-August (Aadi Amavasai) attracts about 10 to 15 lacs devotees who come there to have the darshan of the Lord Mahalingam.
Anandavalli Amma temple:
Anandavalli Amma's temple mandapam can be found behind Sundara Mahalingam temple. Anandavalli Amma is formless. Only during Navarathiri she takes a form. There are two festivals in honour of Amma. The first one falls in the Tamil month of Purattasi and the second one during Navarathiri.
Other deities above Sundara Mahalingam inside forest :
1. Vana Durga
2. Oonjal Karuppan Swamy
3. Korakkar Scripture Rock
4. Vellai Ganapathi (White colored Lord Ganesha)
5. Nadu Kattu Ganapathi
6. Naga Kanni Kavu
7. Lord Ganesa at Thavasi Cave
8. Periya Mahalingam
Trekking Adventures :
There is Thavasi Cave above the temple. This cave is formed in between Rocks and one has to crawl to go inside the cave. After crawling there is a huge space inside for 12 people to gather and do meditation. This place is illuminated inside by small oil lamps. There is a belief that Siddhars do Tapas here every day and that’s why the name Thavasi Kugai.You cannot enter inside the cave without their permission.
Name : Velliangiri, Rajathagiri, Velliangiri, Dakshin Kailash or Bhoolok Kailash
Location : 40 kms from Coimbatore, in the western ghats.
Altitude: 6000 ft.
Stala Puranam : According to legend, is where Siva performed his cosmic dance on the request of Umadevi. The five faces of Lord Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Maheshwara and Sadasiva, are seen as Panchagiri and as Panchalingas pertaining to the panchabhutas, in Velliangiri. The hill ranges have abundant natural resources, which include rare herbs.
Dieties : Lord Panchalingesa and his Consort Manonmani Amman alias Parvathi, bestow their grace on the devotees who throng here annually between February and May.
No of Hills : 7
Trekking Adventure :
The Thiruneer (sacred powder) Malai which is the sixth Hill is slippery and adventurous. This hill is descending when we climb and ascending when we return.
Also there are attractions like Seethai vanam, Beeman Urundai,
Stala Theertham : Kaithatti Sunai, Paampatti sunai, Aandi Sunai
Tips : Before climbing you have to get the bamboo sticks. This is not much needed when we climb. It is very necessary when we ascend down the hill. The stick gets the vibration and power so that pilgrims bring it to home and keep in Pujai room.