One of the 108 Divya Desams located in Chozhanadu,27 kms from Trichy. Tirumangaiazhwar & Periazhwar have sung here. As this sthalam is situated 100 feet high in the top of the small white mountain it is called "Thiru Vellarai" - also known as ‘Swetha Giri', 'Uthama Kshetra' and 'Hitha Kshetra'. It is believed that Tiruvellarai predates Srirangam and hence it is also called 'Aadhi Vellarai'. The presiding deity is Pundarikakshan, in standing posture, and his consort Shenbagavalli Thayar (Utsavar -Pankajavalli) . The main shrine has two entrances, referred to as the Uttarayana Vasal and the Dakshinayana Vasal. Images of Sree Devi, Bhu Devi, Surya, Chandra and Aadiseshan (in human form) are seen in the east facing sanctum. There are also shrines to Krishna, Nammalwar, Nadamuni, Kulasekharalwar, Tondaradippodiyalwar, Aandaal, Manavaala maamunigal and Ramanuja. There is a separate shrine for thayar. The teertham is Divya Pushkarni. There are as many as 7 theerthams within the temple complex. An interesting feature is the Swastik Kulam which is designed in such a way that people bathing at one place in the bathing ghat cannot view the opposite side.
The Dhakshinayana Vaasal leads us to abode of Lord Yama.The Uthirayana Vaasal through which Jeevathmas enter into world is the place of "Lord Guberan" or the God of wealth.
According to puranas, the Goddess did penance in a well filled with flowers. She propitiated the Lord who appeared as Senthamarai Kannan.
There being no crowd when we visited we had a wonderful peaceful darshan of the lord from close quarters. We received thair satham as prasadam which sufficed for lunch.
For details of sthala puranam log on to : http://www.srivaishnava.org/ddesam/vellarai/sthala.htm
Uyyakondan Malai :
We reached here late evening - a tevara sthalam sung by sambandar, appar & sundarar. The temple is on top of a hill surrounded by a fortress. After climbing around 64 steps you get darsan of Lord Ujjeevaneswarar or Ucchinathar & Ambal Anjanakshi. There are some unique features - the outer prakaram is in shape of 'om'. The deity is West facing & on the East side goshtam is ardhanari. The north side goshtam bears Durgai & Brahma while the southern goshtam has Dakshinamurthy & bhikshandavar. There are two Ambal sannithis - Anjanambal is west facing & Balambigai East facing. As you circumambulate the inner prakaram - on the west wall you see Subramaniar, Gajalakshmi, Jyestha & Vinayakar on South West corner. On east side wall in the north east corner you see Bhairavar, Chandran & Sani. You find idols of Nalwars on south wall. On the North side you have shrine for Sandikeswarar & Navagrahas.
There was an old archakar who took time to explain the features of the temple & associated sthala puranam. The ambience in the temple was very peaceful & you feel positive vibrations- an ideal spot for meditation.
Log on to http://www.shivatemples.com/sofc/sc004.html & http://indiantemples.com/Tamilnadu/s083.html for sthala puranam & other details.
Kumara vayaloor :
Lord Muruga blessed Saint Arunagirinathar at Vayalur & initiated him to write Tiruppukazh. Vayalur is 9 Kms west of Trichy. The temple is surrounded by lush green fields or vayal - hence the name vayalur. Right in front of the temple is the Sakti Teertam - a big pond. It is also called Agni teertham or Kumara teertham. As you enter the outer prakaram you can see the sthala vriksham - the vanni tree to your left.
then you enter the inner prakaram through another gopuram - Lord Siva enshrined in this temple is Agneeswarar or Adinathar & it is an east facing swayambu Lingam. His consort Adhinayaki has a separate shrine. Lord Nataraja is in the Chatura Thandava pose here. Shrine to Muruga is located exactly behind Siva, along with his consorts Valli & Devayani. The utsava murthi is "Mutthukumaraswamy" seated on a peacock.
As you go around the prakaram you can see shrines of Ayyanar, Nalwars, Arunagiri,Poyya Ganapathy,Muthukumaran,
Uraiyur was the ancient capital of the early Cholas and is believed to have been destroyed by a sand storm. Pugazh Chola Nayanar and Go Chenkan Cholan were born here, as was Tiruppaanaazhwar. Also known as Mookkeeswaram this shrine is considered to be the 5th in the series of Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri. Sambandar has sung praises of Lord Panchavarneswara here.The sthala vriksham is vilvam & Tirtham is panchavarna tirtham. The Ambal is Kantimathi. There is a separate shrine to Utanga Muni.
Legends: Garuda, Kasyapa Muni and Karkotakan are said to have worshipped here. Shiva is said to have manifested himself in five different shades of color to Utanga Munivar (Ratna Lingam in the morning, Spatika Lingam at noon, Gold Lingam in the afternoon, Diamond lingam at night and Chitra lingam at midnight).
Uraiyur is also known as Kozhimanagaram as legend holds that a fowl blessed with divine powers defeated an elephant in an duel. Go Chenkan Cholan the builder of 78 Maadakkovils is said to have born here.
For more details & photos log on to : http://www.shivatemples.com/sofc/sc005.html