8 Feb'07 :
Visited the Patteswarar Temple in Perur, Coimbatore located around 8 Kms away on the Siruvani Rd. Perur is a small crowded town and the entrance to the Temple is shabby & crowded with beggars. Once you step inside you are in a different world altogether.You are into a long passage with sculpted stone pillars on either side leading to the temple entrance. You reach the dwajasthambam & on your left to pay obeisance to Vinayakar. Then you enter through the inner prakaram & into the sanctum sanctorum where the idol of Patteswarar is installed. It is a Sivalingam with the hood of a cobra protecting it with water dripping on the lingam through a metallic pot hung above. Behind the lingam on the wall in silver is Kamadhenu the divine cow. As the legend goes it was Kamadhenu who discovered the spot where the lingam was buried below a snake mound ("puthu") & released all her milk from her udder. Kamadhenus calf was named Patti & her foot got entangled in the puthu. Kamadhenu used her horns to release the calf and as she did so blood started gushing out of the puthu. The lingam is a swayambhu or self formed and not sculpted. The lingam came to be known as Patteswarar & carries the hoof mark of the calf. The temple was reportedly consecrated around 1800 years ago.
After offerring prayers at the sanctum sanctorum you emerge into the inner prakaram towards left and as you go around you reach Dakshinamurthy facing South. Idols of 63 nayanmars(devotees of Siva who have composed & sung songs in praise of the Lord) can be found installed in a separate enclosure on the Southern side. Behind the sanctum(West Wall) is installed Lingodbhavar. Besides this is the Sthala Vriksham (panneer tree). In another enclosure are installed different lingams (Astha lingams). As you move to the Northern side you come across Durga on the sanctum wall & Chandikeswarar ( Siva's accountant) to whom all devotees must report. Also on the Northern side is shrine of Subramanya facing East (Muruga) with his consorts Valli & Devayani. As you keep walking you reach Gnana Bhairavar facing South. Then you turn to East side to find Chandra & Surya.
Next you exit to the outer prakaram and go around clockwise. The walls are tall with statues of Nandi mounted prominently round the temple -Nandi is a feature of all Siva Temples even as Garuda is of Vishnu Temples. You pray at the Vinayakar shrine & turn right and reach the shrines of Visalakshi, Baladandayuthapani(Subramanya) & Viswanatha(Siva) - a unique arrangement known as the Somaskandar (swamy+Uma+skandar) formation. Next you go past Chandikeswari & Anjaneya (carved from a single piece of brown polished wood) and reach the Ambal Sannithi - The ambal Pachainayaki or Maragathavalli ( Maragatham means green !) is flanked on either side outside the sanctum by Parasakti & Varadaraja Perumal. Paintings of Dashavataram hang on the wall outside the Perumal shrine & of Asthalakshmi near Parasakti. You complete the pradakshanam of the prakaram when you reach Murugan Shrine & the Navagrahas. Then you enter the Kanaka Sabhai which has the sanctum of Natarajar (in Ananda Thandavam pose) & his consort Sivakami Sundari. The Kanaka Sabhai is a large mandapam containing exquisitely sculpted statues and frescoed ceiling. Some of the awe inspiring statues are those of Narthana Ganapathy, Arumugan on a peacock, Oorthva Thandavar & Alangatu Kali, Agni Veera Bhadrar, Agora Veera Bhadrar, Bhikshadhanar& Gaja Samharamurthy. As the legend goes there is a dance competition between Siva & Kali and when Siva lifts his feet to his ears to put on his ear rings (This is the Oorthva Thanadavar pose) Kali accepts defeat as it is inappropriate for a lady to lift her legs so. If you look at Kali from a distance you will see her eyes are down cast in defeat. As you draw close however you see her eyes looking up seething in anger.
Usually you can see the temple elephant Kalyani both mornings & evening. This elephant is maintained by the owners of Lakshmi Mills. Devotees normally place coins in the trunk & in turn get blessed. There is also go-shala where find about a dozen Jersey cows tethered along with some calves - you normally carry bananas to feed them.
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