6 Mar'2008: Tirumazhapadi: After Tirupazanam & Tirukandiyur we headed back to Thanjavur for lunch at Gnanam. After an enjoyable South Indian Thali meal in cool airconditioned comfort we headed back to the IB to take some much needed rest. Late afternoon we headed towards Tirumazhapadi via Kandiyur. After crossing the bridge across the magnificent Cauvery we travelled along the banks of the same river & reached Mazapadi. While on the bridge I stopped over to take some splendid photographs of the revered Cauvery. While doing so some young school girls on cycles passed by and on request posed delightedly for photographs.
Mazhapadi is situated right on the Banks of the Cauvery. Some huge banyan trees greeted us at the entrance. The tall multi tiered Gopuram at the entrance is majestic. The Temple chariot is parked outside to be used only during festivals. As you enter you see a tall dwaja sthambam and a big nandi in front. Then you eneter through the inner gopuram and to your left there are sub shrines for suryan, chandran, aghora veera bhadrar,vinayakar & subramaniar. Then you enter a portico where you see two nandis one behind the other. This is a very rare feature. Around the garbha griha are sculptures of sapta matas & sapta kanyas. In the outer prakaram there is a long pillared pavilion containing statues of 63 nayanmars. There is colorful plaster cast of the nandikeswara wedding next to the dwarpal. There are also delectable sculpted figures of agastyar, mazhvadeswarar, nalwars outside the sanctum. On the West side gostham is Annamalaiyar and a small pillared portico has been constructed there. A very unique feature is four splendid nandis on a raised platform outside the brahma goshtam on the Northern side. The Vimanam is colorful & majestic. The ambal sannithi is an independent shrine located on the Northern side East facing. It seems to be a later addition. The entrance is through a colorfully painted pillared mandapam. It is surrounded by a coconut grove and the lakshmi tirtham lies on the East side. Tirumazhapadi is considered to be the 54th in the series of Thevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located north of the river Kaveri. Tirumazhapadi is closely linked to Tiruvaiyaru through one of the annual festivals. Moolavar is Mazhuvaadeesar or Vajrastampeswarar. Ambal is Azhagammai.Theertham: Kollidam. Patikam :Sambandar, Appar,Sundarar. Legends: Several colorful legends abound in this shrine, known primarily for Shiva's Taandavam with the Mazhu vayudam (hence Mazhapadi) for Markandeyar. (Parasu Nartanapuram in Sanskrit). Purushamriga Munivar is said to have established a shrine for Shiva, and Bhrama in his inability to remove it referred to it as Vajrastamba Moorthy. Somaskandar is in the form of a monolithic stone image here & there are 2 shrines to Dakshinamurthy. Sundarar is said to have been reminded of this shrine in a dream. King Sibi is said to have been rid of his afflictions here, there are no Navagrahams, only 3 pits in front of the sanctum. The temple is a vast one with a seven tiered Raja gopuram. There are two shrines to Ambal here. The 100 pillared hall, the Somaskanda mandapam and the murals in the Natarajar shrine are of interest. The Cholas have contributed immensely to this shrine, as testified in the many inscriptions seen here. There are inscriptions from the time of the Pandyas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagar emperors. Festivals: Bhramotsavam in the month of Masi. Nandi's marriage with Suyahambikai is celebrated in the month of Pankuni when Aiyarappar of Tiruvaiyaru crosses the Kollidam and arrives at Tirumazhapadi and conducts the wedding, in a grand ceremony. For photo album log onto:http://picasaweb.google.com/ramakrishnan49/Tirumazhapadi
Thanjai Mamani Koils: On our return from Mazhapadi darkness had fallen, however we decided to visit the Thanjai Mamani Temples which were enroute. These are a group of three temples considered to be one Divya Desam. The three deities are Veera Narasimhar, Manikundra Perumal & Neelamegha Perumal In all the three temple, Uthsavar is Sriman Narayanan. Lord Narasimha in sitting posture facing East with Thayar Thanjai Nayagi. Both were prathyaksham to Markandeyar. Manikundra Perumal in sitting posture facing east. Ambujavalli Thayar, prathyaksham to Markandeyar. Neelamegap PerumaL sitting posture facing east. Sengamalavalli Thayar both prathyaksham to Parasaramuni.
These temples are seperated by 200 meters from each other. The Lord presented Himself in the form of Narasimha to Dhatchagan (Thanjagan in Tamizh). Hence the name Thanjai. The Lord in Thanjai Mamani Kovil faces Thanjavur and called Thanjai Kaththalum Deivam (God who protects Thanjavur). At this place, Sri Nayinachariar (Son of Swami Desikan) established that Desika Prabandham is to be recited in all Divvyadesams during Anathanyana period (Periods when Divya Prabandham is not recited).
This place is situated in green and fertile landscape in the banks of Vennar River about 4 Kilometers from heart of Thanjavur in Thanjavur-Kumbakonam highway. Garuda Mahotsavam is held annually wherein Perumals of 22 Vaishnavite Tempels including the three Thanjai Mamani Temples give darshan on Garuda Vahanas to devotees in the four Raja Veedhis of Thanjavur. The 22 Garuda Vahanas go in a procession headed by Thiru Mangai Azhwar in Anna Vahanam.