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Monday, September 19, 2011

Madurai - Thirupuvanam & Thiruvedagam

2 Sep'2011: After Lunch we took some rest and then left for Thiruppuvanam around 5.00 pm. We first crossed the Theppakulam at Madurai before moving on towards Thiruppuvanam - a thevara sthalam as as one of the Pandi Pathinaalu.The four Saivite saints have sung the glory of Poovana Nathar, deity of Tiruppuvanam temple, located 20 km east of Madurai on the road to Manamadurai, on the southern bank of the Vaigai.The place is connected with an legend narrated in the ``Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam." Ponnanaiyall, an ardent devotee of Lord Siva used to take bath in the river early in the morning, offer garlands and dance before the Lord daily. She spent all her earnings and wealth in feeding the devotees of the Lord. To test her, the Lord created in her mind the desire to carve out His idol in gold. Appearing before her as an ascetic (Siddhar) he claimed that He could turn any metal given to Him into gold. Promptly the girl handed over all the vessels in the house. The siddhar smeared holy ash on them and went away telling her that she would find them golden the next morning. So it happened and the girl turned over the collection to a goldsmith to make an idol. And what she saw was so enchanting that she pinched the deity's cheek leaving a permanent mark there. Her statue is found at the entrance of the temple along with those of the Siddhar, Chokkappa Nayak, the king who built many portions of the temple, his queen and his minister. The idol of Somaskandar, which bears the pinch mark on His cheek even now, is known as Ponnanaiyan and Azhagiyapiran. When Gnanasambandar visited this place he was held up on the northern bank of the river. The Lord asked Nandi to stand a little aside to give him darshan. One therefore finds Nandi seated a little aside and not right in front of the sanctum sanctorum. On our return we stopped at a nice roadside Bakery that was selling oven fresh biscuits, cakes and other niceties. We picked up a whole lot of goodies before proceeding further.
1.Theppakulam - dry but green.Presently serves as a playground.
2.The entrance gopuram
3.Lord appearing as Siddar
4.The Naayak King paying obeisance to the Lord
5.Ponnanaiyall the ardent devotee
6 & 7: Pics of & in the bakery.
Our next destination was Thiruvedagam Temple located on the Madurai - Sholavanadam bus route on the banks of the river Vaigai. This is another thevara sthalam as as one more of the Pandi Pathinaalu. Presiding deity is Edaganatheswarar & his consort is Elavaarkuzhali Maadeviyambikai. This is a famous historical place where the palm-leaf manuscript of Saivite Saint Thirunavakkarasar is believed to have washed ashore floating against the currents of vaigai river (upstream). In the Sekkilar's Periyapuranam, this event is described in detail.

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