It was Pongal day - a day of festivities. We had a leisurely morning session & a late morning brunch at a friends house in Srirangam. After this we proceeded to the Tiruvanaikaval Temple, one of the significant Tevara Sthalams, for the special 12.00 noon Puja .Thiruvanaikoil is around 3 Kms away from the heart of Trichy city and adjacent to Srirangam, another small but historic town and one of the holy places in India. Thiruvanaikoil and Srirangam together form an island, surrounded by rivers Cauvery and Coleroon.Thiruvanaikoil temple is one of the panchabhoota sthalams (signifying the 5 natural elements). As this temple represents element water this is also called as 'Appu sthalam' and the Shivalingam is called as 'Appu Lingam'. Even today you can see water oozing out near the Shivalingam in the temple. The ambal of this temple is 'Akilandeswari' - meaning Akilam – Universe, Aanda – Ruler, Eswari – Goddess. The power of the goddess is extremely potent and Adi Shankara is attributed to establishing two Sri chakras in the form of earrings in order to reduce the “ugra” or fierce power of the Goddess.
Many saints have visited this temple and sung songs in praise of Lord Jambukeshwara and Akilandeswari - the four famous Nayannmars or Nalwars Appar, Sundarar, Thirugnansambandar and the Muruga devotee Arunagirinathar and the legendary Carnatic composer Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar.
The sacred tree is jambu. There are nine tirthams and all are considered sacred.
Ucha Puja : As Akilandeswari worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple, even today at noon the 'Archakar' dresses like a female and does Pooja to Lord Shiva and 'Ko Maatha' (Cow). This noon pooja is very famous and pilgrims throng the temple to witness this. For the purpose of this pooja the temple is maintaining a 'Karam Pasu' (completely black cow). Annabhishekam with cooked rice to Lingam is a daily ritual at Thiruvanaikoil.There are many legends associated with this temple like the origin of Appu Lingam, how the deity came to be known as jambukeswara, how the temple got the name Thiruanaikovil etc. For more details & pictures log onto :
Tit-Bits: Chola King “Ko Chengot Cholan” constructed this temple in 1st Century B.C. Thiruvanaikoil temple was built in an area around 18 acres and measures 2500 feet by 1500 feet. The temple has five “Praharams.The “Swami” is installed facing West and “Ambaal” facing East. There are many mandapams in this temple including 1000 pillar mandapam.
Vibhooti Praharam : When the king “Thirruneetru Sundara Pandiyan” was constructing the 5th Praharam wall on the East Side, he was running out of money to pay to the laborers.That night the Lord appeared in the Kings dream & asked him to continue the work. As per the Lords wish the King continued the construction and at the end of that day a Sanyasi (saint) came there and he gave the laborers pinches of sacred ash. That sacred ash turned into gold equivalent to the work done by them. Then only the King realised that the Sanyasi was none other than the Lord himself. Because of this instance the East Side praharam is known as “Vibhoothi” praharam.
Samayapuram : We then drove to Samayapuram, 15 kms from Trichy, for a darshan of the famous mariamman. Mariamman is a form of Shakti worshipped in Tamilnadu, and is associated with prosperity and health. One darshan of the deity & she leaves a strong, powerful & ever lasting impression in your mind. Local beliefs associate this deity with cures for diseases such as small pox and chicken pox. The main offering of the temple is the Mavilakku Mavu made of jaggery, rice flour, dhal and ghee.Thaipoosam is the major festival celebrated here amid much religious fervor. Every Sunday, Tuesday and Friday, hundreds of devotees throng the temple and perform Poojas. This temple has separate shrines for the processional image of Mariamman and the moolavar in the sanctum. There is also a shrine to Karuppannasaami a local deity. The moolavar is made of sand & clay hence there is no abhishekam. Abhishekam is done only on the Utsavar. In terms of income this is the second richest temple in Tamilnadu next to Palani.
Legend has it that Shiva created Kali, out of the poison that he had swallowed, and decreed that she kill Daarukaasuran. Having originated from the Kaalakoota poison, she assumed the name Kaali. Mariamman is believed to be a form of Kaali, and is also known as Mahamaayi or Seethala Gowri. For more legends about the Mariamman & photographs log onto :