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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Avudayar Koil - Part 2

This is a continuation of the previous post. I present below some more of the exquisite stone sculptures and bas reliefs on the ceilings.
A Pandya warrior  with thick mustache, a sword, heavy ornamentation & intricate head gear
Closeup view of the warrior
The Pandya King -Conducting court of enquiry
Amazing Roof Architecture - See 3 types of cylindrical rods
Design on ceiling
Intricate Ceiling Design
Hindu Deities sculpted on ceiling
More Ceiling Designs
                                                      Stone Chains hanging from Ceiling
Warrior on Horse - See the ornate  embellishments on Horse
Yali or Dragon swallowing Man
Ornamented Stone Pillars
Lord Muruga on Peacock
Lord Siva appearing as "Kudurai Samiyar"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Avudayar Koil - Poetry in Stone

Tirupperunturai  known as Avudayar Koil, is a Siva  temple situated near Aranthangi in Pudukottai district of Tamilnadu. This is one of 275 revered Thevara Sthalams and is more than 1000 years old. The Tamil saint Manikkavacakar, who was Prime Minister during the rule of the Pandya Kings, is said to have converted the king to the cult of Siva and built the temple with money that had been intended for war-horses.The presiding deity is formless (Atmanatar); there is no Siva Lingam but only a pedestal {Avudayar} located in the sanctum, hence the name Avudayar Koil. His consort is worshipped as Siva Yoga Nayaki in iconless form. This temple also does not have a Nandi, Chandikeswarar, Dakshinamurhty or Dwaja Sthambam. The Temple is unique in that it is South facing instead of the traditional East facing.
There is a separate sanctum for Saint Manickavacakar with daily Pujas and he gets importance during festival time.
Legend: The temple is administered by Nambiar Brahmins. As per legend there were originally 300 Brahmin families plus Siva himself who lived amongst them incognito, teaching their children Vedas and he was in turn being fed by the Brahmins. One day the Siva disappeared and then the Lord appeared in the children's dreams asking them to offer food to temple deity every day without fail. And till today the tradition of offering food in the form of steaming hot rice to the Siva continues. We were lucky to witness hot cooked rice being poured on a square stone platform in front of the Avudayar. No sooner the rice is poured there is a hissing sound and a cloud of steam rises and engulfs the sanctum..
This temple has some of the most amazing, intricate & exquisite sculptures some of which are presented here. What you see below is virtually "Poetry in Stone"
Manickavacagar as a Saint
Manickavacagar as Minister of the Pandya King - see how the folds of his top garment have been sculpted. You can also see the ornate design of the head gear.
Lady bedecked with jewelery
Another view of the lady with an array of splendid & ornate jewels
See the Lady's beautifully plaited hair - all in stone
The magnificent jewelery from another angle
Lady mounted on swan ( only her lower torso visible)-look at the detailed ornamentation
 Frontal view of Lady on Swan

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thirupunavasal Temple

 Thirupunavasal Siva Temple is located around 25 Kms from Thiruvadanai. The main presiding deity is Vruddhapureeswarar or Pazhampathinathar and the Ambal is Perianayaki. The Lingam in Tirupunavasal is 9 feet tall (the third tallest lingam in Tamilnadu).The Avudayar is 82.5 feet round. Compare this with  the Lingam in Thanjavur Big Temple which is 12.5 feet tall & the one in Gangaikondacholapuram which is 13.5 feet tall. This temple is one of 275 Thevara sthalams and is also one of the Pandi Padinalu ( 14 Thevara sthalams in Pandinadu)
To perform the Abishekam to Lord Shiva, ladders are formed around the Avudayar to reach the height. The priests stand on the ladder and perform the Abishekam
Legend: Lord Brahma had to lose his position as Creator as he was not able to explain the meaning of the Pranava Mantra. As advised by Mother Parvathi, He came to earth, installed a Shivalingam and worshiped to get back his position. Brahma also created a tank to draw water for the Abishekam of Lord Shiva - it is called Brahma Theertham. Also, as Brahma has four faces, he made four faces in the Lingam too, hence the Lingam came to be known as Chaturmukha Lingam. Chaturmukha means four faces.The age of the temple is estimated to be around 1000-2000 years old.
The Temple Vimanam (Trapezoidal Roof  above main sanctum)
The holy Tree
Another view of the Vimanam
Series of Ganesha idols in stone
Closeup view of Ganesha Idols
Idol of Dakshinamurthy -The Guru or Teacher
Idol of Brahma - The Creator
A Siva Lingam mounted on its Avudayar
The Navagrahas (Nine Planets) which are worshiped

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thiruvadanai Temple

The massive stone pillared corridor around the sanctum
Legend: Vaaruni is the son of Varuna the God of rain.  One day he stayed in the Ashram of Sage Durvasa who was in deep meditation.  Vaaruni’s friends playing in the ashram  disturbed his penance.  The angry sage cursed Vaaruni  to become a strange creature with the head of a goat and body of an elephant. In Tamil the name will be Aadu (goat) and Aanai (elephant), hence the name of the place Thiru Aadu Aanai – Thiruvadanai.  Vaaruni realized his folly.  Sages nearby suggested that he should go to this temple in the Pandya kingdom, pray to Lord Shiva for relief from the curse. Vaaruni followed the advice.  Lord appeared before him and  Vaaruni in his Aadu-Yanai form begged the Lord that his life should be a lesson to those behaving badly towards respectful elders and that this place should be known as Thiruvadanai till the end of Kaliyuga (This is the present age or Yuga we all presently live in ! .
This is one of the 275 revered Thevara Sthalams,located 24 Kms south of Devakottai. This is also one of the Pandi Pathinalu.
The presiding deity here is Lord Siva in known as Aadhi Ratneswarar (Swayambhu Lingam) and his consort is Snehavalli Amman. The temple is estimated to about 1000-2000 yrs old. The temple has amazing number of Bas Reliefs on stone pillars and I could snap up quite a few of these beauties. I am unable to identify most of these sculptures on stone and require help from fellow bloggers.Please help in identification.
Magnificent Rajagopuram (Entrance Tower)
The sparkling,fresh & cool temple pond for a refreshing dip
The magnificent pillar mandapam 
Can you identify this creature ?
Identify this face?
Identify this Hindu God ?
Lion
A deer
Apsara or Gandharva ?
Shiva Lingam
Identify this character ?
A peacock ?
Nice Carvings
Identify this animal ?
Identify this Hindu God?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thirumayam Rock Cut Temples

There are two rock cut temples at the base of the Thitumayam Fort - a Siva Temple and a Vishnu Temple which is one of the 108 revered Divya Desams. These temples were built by the Pallavas around 1300 years ago.  The Vishnu temple is it is much a much-venerated temple and is considered second in importance only to the temple at Srirangam.It contains one of the largest Anantasayi group icons in India where Vishnu is reclining on Anantha (Seshanaaga).

T
Entrance Tower or Gopuram
Another view
Close up of the tower sculptures
The rock wall surface behind the temple
A sub shrine
Outer design of sub shrine
Naga Idols in stone
Other stone  idols
Stone Idol of Vishnu
Sculpture on stone pillar - Man carrying wife on shoulder ( I was forced to use flash hence the finer details are not as clear)