'Appu Lingam' (Parvathi’s Penance):-
Once Devi Parvati mocked at Lord Shiva’s penance for betterment of the World. Lord Shiva wanted to condemn her act and directed her to go to the earth from 'Kailayam' and do penance. Devi Parvathi (Akilandeswari) as per Shiva's wish found 'Jambu' forest (Thiruvanaikoil) to conduct her penance. Devi made a Lingam out of water of river Cauvery (also called as river 'Ponni') under the 'Venn Naaval' tree (the Venn Naaval tree on top of the saint Jambu) and commenced her worship. So, the Lingam is known as 'Appu Lingam' (Water Lingam).
Lord Siva at last gave darshan to Akilandeswari and taught her Siva Gnana. Devi Parvati took 'Upadesa' (lessons) facing East from Shiva, who stood facing West. So as the temples idols are also installed in the same direction. Such places are known as 'Upadesa Sthalams'. As the Devi was like a student and the Lord like a Guru in this temple, there is no 'Thiru Kalyanam' (marriage) conducted in this temple for Lord & the Devi, unlike the other Shiva temples. As Akilandeswari worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple, even today at noon the 'Archakar' (priest) dresses like a female and does Pooja to Lord Shiva and 'Ko Maatha' (Cow). This noon pooja is very famous and pilgrims wait for this pooja every day. For the purpose of this pooja the temple is growing a 'Karam Pasu' (complete black color cow). Annabhishekam to Lingam (Abishekam with cooked rice) is a daily ritual at Thiruvanaikoil
Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated 2 kms east of Srirangam, The temple is named after the elephant which is believed to have worshipped Lord Siva here. Installed under an ancient Jambu tree, the lingam is partially submerged by water and meant to represent God incarnate as water.
The Legend :-
As one of the pancha bootha sthalas, a lot of significance is attached to this pilgrim centre. The deity is said to have been installed by Goddess Akilandeswari , one of the forms of the Goddess Parvathi To signify that the devi worshipping the lord, even today the priest wears a saree and performs the noon pooja.
Jambukeswara, Lord shiva in Lingam form , is depicted sitting under a Jambu tree . Therefore the lingam came to be called as the Jambulingam . The Lingam grows over a small stream that engulfs the deity during the rainy season.
According to the legend there was once a forest of Jambu trees in the place of modern Thiruvanikkaval. Nearby was a tank called Chandratheertha which was filled by water from the Cauvery river. Due to a curse, two of shiva ganas Pushpadanta and Malyava, were born in a forest as a white elephant and a spider. The elephant worshipped the lingam with flowers and with water brought in its trunk. the spider too worshipped the lingam, spinning the web over the lingam to prevent leaves if the tree falling on it. the spider’s web appeared to be unclean for the elephant and it destroyed the web. This lead to big clash between the two and ultimately resulted in their death. Lord shiva granted Mokshas to both. The spider was born in a royal Chola family as the great king Ko. Chenkannan , who built 70 temples , including the Jambukeswarar Temple at Tiruvanaikaval. Because the king rememberred about his earlier birth, he built the temple in such a way that no elephant can enter the sanctum sanctorum and come near the Sivalingam.Since an elephant worshipped the Shivalingam here, the place is known as Tiruvanaivakaval (Aanai in tamil means Elephant).
The Massive outer wall, known as the Vibudi Prakara, stretches over a mile long, Legend says that the wall was built by Lord Shiva , working along with the labourers.
The Myth is known as Pittukku Mann Sumatha kathai :-
At the time of constuction, the king decreed that every household shall send one man to work on the temple’s construction. An old lady of the village, with no male relatives requested a vagabond known to her to serve in her honor in exchange for a sweet dish called Puttu. The vagabond was actually Lord Shiva in disguise, who reluctantly accepted the offer. At the construction site of the Prakara, Shiva sang and danced without working, irritating the constuction supervisor whipped shiva on his back, an infliction of pain that was felt immediately by all people in the world and left the mark of spine on the backs of humanity. Henceforth , the supervisor and the king realised the folly and begged his forgiveness.
Goddess Akilandeswari Sannathy :-
History of the Temple:-
Legend of the temple in a Sculpture in a Pillar in the temple
Once Devi Parvati mocked at Lord Shiva’s penance for betterment of the World. Lord Shiva wanted to condemn her act and directed her to go to the earth from ‘Kailayam’ and do penance. Devi Parvathi (Akilandeswari) as per Shiva’s wish found ‘Jambu’ forest (Thiruvanaikoil) to conduct her penance. Devi made a Lingam out of water of river Cauvery (also called as river ‘Ponni’) under the ‘Venn Naaval’ tree (the Venn Naaval tree on top of the saint Jambu) and commenced her worship. So, the Lingam is known as ‘Appu Lingam’ (Water Lingam).
Lord Siva at last gave darshan to Akilandeswari and taught her Siva Gnana. Devi Parvati took ‘Upadesa’ (lessons) facing East from Shiva, who stood facing West. So as the temples idols are also installed in the same direction. Such places are known as ‘Upadesa Sthalams’. As the Devi was like a student and the Lord like a Guru in this temple, there is no ‘Thiru Kalyanam’ (marriage) conducted in this temple for Lord & the Devi, unlike the other Shiva temples.
[Temple Archakar dressed like Devi Akilandeswari is going in procession to perform Shiva Pooja] As Akilandeswari worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple, even today at noon the ‘Archakar’ (priest) dresses like a female and does Pooja to Lord Shiva and ‘Ko Maatha’ (Cow). This noon pooja is very famous and pilgrims wait for this pooja every day. For the purpose of this pooja the temple is growing a ‘Karam Pasu’ (complete black color cow). Annabhishekam to Lingam (Abishekam with cooked rice) is a daily ritual at Thiruvanaikoil.
The Legend of the Name:–
There were two Siva Ganas (Siva’s disciples who live in Kailash) by name ‘Malyavan’ and ‘Pushpadanta’. Though they are Shiva Ganas they always quarrel with each other and fight for one thing or other. On top of all in one fight ‘Malyavan’ cursed ‘Pushpadanta’ to become an elephant in earth and the latter cursed the former to become a spider in earth.
Both the elephant and the spider came to Jambukeshwaram and continued their Shiva worship. The elephant collected water from river Cauvery and conducted Abhishekam to the lingam under the Jambu tree daily. The spider constructed his web over the lingam to prevent dry leaves from dropping on it and prevent Sunlight directly felling on Shiva.
When the elephant saw the web and thought that as dust on Lord Shiva and tore them and cleaned the Linga by pouring water. This happened daily. The spider became angry one day and crawled into the trunk of the elephant and bit the elephant to death killing itself. Lord Siva, moved by the deep devotion of the two relieved them from one other curse.
As an elephant worshipped the Lord here, this place came to be known as ‘Thiru Aanai Kaa’ (Thiru – Holy, Aanai – Elephant, Kaa (Kaadu) – Forest). Later the actual name ‘Thiruaanaikaa’ become ‘Thiruvanaikaval’ and ‘Thiruvanaikoil’.
In the next birth the Spider was born as the King Ko Chengot Chola and built 70 temples and Thiruvanaikoil is the one among them. Remembering his enmity with the elephant in his previous birth, he built the Lord Shiva ‘Sannathi’(Sanctorum) such that not even a small elephant can enter. The entrance on the sanctorum of Lord Shiva is only 4 foot high and 2.5 foot wide.
he presiding deity is Lord Siva as Kalahasteeswarar. The Siva Linga here is one of the five supreme Lingas representing the five elements (Panchabutha Lingams): water (appu), fire (tejas), air (vayu), ether (akash) and earth (prithivi). The Linga form in Kalahasti is believed to represent vayu. Even today the flame placed in Garbhagraha inside the temple flickers indicating the presence of the wind while there is no entry of wind to disturb the flame. The air is just sufficient to breathe in. This according to a belief is the existence of Shiva in the temple.
According to the legend there was once a forest of jambu trees in the place of modern Tiruvanaikka. Nearby was a tank called Chandratheertha which was filled by water from the river Cauvery. Lord shiva appeared as a Lingam under one of the trees. The lingam came to be called the Jambulingam. Due to a curse, two of the shiva ganas Pushpadanta and Malyava, were born in the forest as a white elephant and as a spider. The elephant worshipped the Lingam with flowers and with water brought in its trunk. The spider too worshipped the Lingam, spinning out a web over the Lingam to prevent leaves of the tree from falling on it. The spider's web appeared to be unclean for the elephant and it destroyed the web.
This lead to big clash between the two and ultimately resulted in their death. Lord shiva granted Mokshaa (salvation) to both. The spider was born in a royal Chola family as the great king Ko Chenkannan who built about 70 temples (Maadakovils) including the temple of Jambukeswarar at Tiruvanaika. Because the king remembered about his earlier birth, he built the temples in a such way that no elephant can enter the sanctum sancotrum and come near the Sivalingam.
Architecture of the Temple:-
Chola King “Ko Chengot Cholan” (He is also called as Chenkannan) constructed this temple in 1st Century B.C. Ko Chengot Chola had built 70 other Shiva temples all over Tamil Nadu and he is one among the 63 “Nayannmars” (Holy Saivite saints). Thiruvanaikoil temple was built according to 'Saiva Aagama Sasthra'. According to Saiva Agamam, the temple reflects the human body and the idol of Lord Shiva is considered as the soul. Many other kings like Pandiyas and Nayakars of Madurai later renovated this temple.
The 2nd and 3rd praharams were built in 13th century A.D. and the 4th Praharam was constructed in the late 13th century A.D.
There is eight other “Kodi Maram” (flag masts) in this temple in the 3rd praharam. Apart from the main huge “Kodi Maram” in front of the Lord and one in front of Devi Akilandeswari. Thiruvanaikoil temple was built in an area close to 18 acres and measures 2500 feet by 1500 feet. The temple has five “Praharams”. All the temple “Madhils” (wall) are 35 ft. high and 6 ft. thick and measures 2436 feet by 1493 feet. The “Swami” (Shivalinga) is installed facing West and “Ambaal” (Akilandeswari) facing East.
View of the 3rd praharam in the temple, an example for Thiruvanaikoil temples architectural marvel
There are many mandapams in the temple, a 1000 Pillar (This Mandapam is on the North West corner of the 3rd praharam. To be precise its on your left when you enter the temple) and a 100 Pillar Mandapam (this is on the North East corner of the 3rd Praharam), Vasanta mandapam (The mandapam is surrounded by pool of water where Lord Shiva and Goddess Akilandeswari are worshipped on summer evenings), Somaskandha mandapam, Nataraja mandapam, Trimurthi mandapam, etc. The thousand-pillared mandapam looks like a chariot.
Gopurams Raja Gopuram:-
This is the Gopuram in the West 5th Praharam (the main entrance). The other 3 entrances of 5th praharam have no Gopurams.
The East Gopuram on the 4th praharam. Pandiya King Jadavarman Sundarapandian constructed this.
This is the West Gopuram in the 4th Praharam. King Sandhirabendiran son of King AdhithayDevan built this in 1435 A.D.
This Gopuram is the West Gopuram after Mallapan Gopuram. This was constructed in the early 13th century (at the period of Third KulothungaChola)
There are many interesting legends in this temple. 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 for the next day of work. On that night in the Kings dream Lord Shiva 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 and others came to know that the Sanyasi is none other than the Lord himself. Because of this instance the East Side praharam is known as “Vibhoothi” (sacred ash) praharam.
There are nine theerthams near the temple:-
1. Sreemath Theertham
2. Rama Theertham
3. Chandra Theertham
4. Agni Theertham
5. Indira Theertham
6. Akasthiya Theertham
7. Jambu Theertham
8. Surya Theertham
9. Brahmma Theertham
There are nine Theerthams in this temple, all of which held very sacred.
This is in the South side of 4th Praharam (South Car Street)
This is in the 3rd Praharam opposite to Kasi Viswanatha Swami sannathi.
This is in the South West 3rd Praharam near the old Jambukeshwara temple (Opposite to Sangareshwarar temple and opposite to Kubera Linga)
This is outside the temple. Just directly opposite to the temple across the G.S.T Road. You can see this on the way to the Srirangam. This is where the “Thai Poosam theppam” festival is celebrated. This Theertham is full of beautiful Lotus flower plants.
This is nothing but the water spring oozing inside the Sanctorum of Lord Shiva.
This is the well in the South East corner of 3rd Praharam. Just opposite on the side of Vasantha Mandapam and temple Nandhavanam.
This is the small well opposite to Amman sannadhi and close the “Palli Arai”
Its believed that this the “Chandra Pushkarni” in the Srirangam Sri Ranganathasami temple (adjacent to Sri Rama sannadhi)
This is in the South West corner of the 4th praharam. Just opposite to the 1000 pillar mandapam. This Tank is architecturally beautifully built with two stories of Mandapams around the tank. Each mandapam built with 100 pillars. “Theppam” festival is celebrated in this tank in the Tamil month “Aadi” on “Pooram” day (the day when the star is Pooram, which is the star of Akilandeswari).
Places around Tiruchinapalli:-
Rockfort is a collection of three temples: Maanikka Vinayakar temple at the foot, the Ucchi Pillayar koil at the top of the hill, and the Taayumanavar (Siva) koil at the midway point. Six worship services are offered every day. The preferable time to visit is early morning or evening and on a light stomach, as there are steep steps and climbing is involved. It will take 30-45 minutes to reach the top so it is advised to carry water and first aid items. Allocate a minimum of 3 hours for your visit so you can enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the top of the hill.
Samayapuram Mariamman Temple:-
This temple is dedicated to Mariamman, a manifestation of Sakthi Kali. Sakthi Kali is a mother Goddess, provider of prosperity and health, curing all health ailments, including recovery from small pox and chicken pox. Several worship services are offered throughout the day. Offerings include salt, jaggery, lentils and jewels.
This temple is extremely popular attracting thousands of Devotees every day. Be sure to decline unwanted services or “offers of help/escorts” and take good care of your personal belongings. Travel as a group and stay with each other-caution is recommended
Tiruvarangam Srirangam Temple:-
Tiruvarangam Srirangam is located 15 kilometres from Tiruchi. This is the foremost of the 108 Vishnu Shrines and is the largest temple in India. Ranganather is the presiding Deity. Thayar is Sri Rangannayaki and Thertham is Chandra Pushkarani.
The area enclosed by the outer walls is about 100 acres. A total of 21 towers adorn the temple, 7 concentric prakarams surround the shrine and an elaborate protocol of worship is offered throughout the day. In the month of Margazhi grand Adhyyamotsavam is celebrated involving recitations in the thousand pillar hall. Also in Srirangam is the Dasavatharam temple, the only one of its kind in India, enshrining the ten incarnations of Vishnu along with Lakshmi Narasimhar and Vishwaksenar.
Pillayarpatti Karpaga Vinayakar Temple:-
This is one of the oldest cave temples in Tamil Nadu. Pillayarpatti is situated in between Pudukottai and Karaikudi and is about 90 kilometeres, about a two hour drive, from Tiruchi. The town is named after Pillayar. The temple houses a rock cut image of Ganesha, a mammoth image of six feet portrayed with two arms and a trunk in valampuri style. It is believed that merely standing in front and looking at him is adequate, and the answers and solutions for your problems will be forth coming, for He understands his devotees more than anyone.
Each day 5 worship services are offered commencing at 6am and closing at 9pm. The Nagarather community has been traditionally involved with the temple, patronising the maintenance of this temple and in the scrupulous conduct of worship services.
5.30 a.m. to 1.00 a.m. and
3.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
At Thiruvanaikoil temple daily Pooja is conducted in five different times in any normal day
Usha Kalam (Early Morning Pooja) – 06:45 AM – 07:15 AM
Kala Sandhi (Morning Pooja) – 08:00 AM – 08:45 AM
Uchchi Kalam (Noon Pooja) – 11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Sayaratchai (Evening Pooja) – 05:00 PM – 05:45 PM
Artha Jamam (Night Pooja) – 09:00 PM
During Uchchi Kalam the ‘Archakar’ (Priest) dresses like a lady and conducts pooja at Jambukeshwara Sannadhi and also perform ‘Ko Pooja’ (Cow Pooja). This Pooja is conducted to represent Devi Akilandeswari’s Pooja to Lord Jambukeshwara . This particular pooja draws hundreds of pilgrim and devotees daily.
Pancha Praharam (Brahmotsavam):-
A number of festivals take place in this temple throughout the year The Mandala 'Brahmotsavam', celebrated in the Tamil months of Panguni and Chithirai (March- April), lasts for 40 days and attracts thousands of devotees from surrounding places.
The myth behind this is, once Lord Brahma (the Creator) became very proud on himself as a creator and he fell in love with one of the beautiful girl he has created and because of this he began to lose his powers and people created by him turned vicious and died an early age. Then Brahma realizing his mistake prayed to Shiva to wash out his sin. He came to this “Jambu Vanam” and started to do penance on Lord Siva.
He created a “Theertham” (Spring) and took a dip every day before pooja. His Shiva pooja lasted for One “Mandalam” (40 days). The Theertham created by him is called “Brahma Theertham” (which you can see at the 4th Praharam South Car Street).
Shiva wanted to test him whether he could be distracted again from his duty as a creator. Siva and Parvathi exchanged their dresses and appeared before Brahma. Brahma recognized Siva and prayed to him to forgive his sins and so did Shiva.
That Brahmotsavam is still celebrated in the month of 'Panguni'. On the 37th day of the Brahmotsavam the Pancha-Prakara (5 Praharams) festival is conducted. In this festival Shiva is dressed like a Parvathi and Parvathi as Shiva were taken out in procession in all the five praharams (enclosures) of the temple. This procession lasts for one night and one day. This is the only day Lord Shiva and Devi Parvathi were taken in procession on the 5th praharam.
“Aadi Pooram” is another sacred festival in this temple. It’s a ten days festival. The tenth day will fall on the star “Pooram” which is the star of Annai “Akilandeswari”. On all these ten days Akilandeswari will be taken out as procession in the 4th praharam. Each day Akilandeswari will come in different “Vahanams” (like Rishabha, Pushpa Pallakku, Annapakshi, etc.,). Aadi pooram is celebrated for 12 days.
Tamil month “Aadi” is a auspicious and only in this month you will come across five Fridays. All these Fridays are very auspicious for Annai Akilandeswari. Hundreds of thousands of devotees will visit and pray to Akilandeswari on those Fridays. You can see non-stop crowd from the dawn to the dusk in the temple.
Like “Pancha Praharam” another important festival is “Thai Poosam”. On the day when the star is “Poosam” in the Tamil month of “Thai” (January – February); The Lord and Devi are taken as a procession to the “Poosa Mandapam” on banks of river “Cooleron” for “Theerthawari” [Cooleron is a river branched from river Cauvery at Mukkombu just few kilometers West of Srirangam-Thiruvanaikoil island and again merges and splits at “Grand anaicut” (Kallannai)]. Thai Poosam is the only day when the Lord and Devi leave away from 5th Praharam.
Vasantha Urchavam (Autumn festival) is celebrated for 10 Days in the month of 'Vaikasi' (May - June).
Navarathri is celebrated for 10 days in the month 'Purattasi'.
Theppa Urchavam (Float Festival) is celebrated for 12 days in the month of 'Thai' (January-February).
Pidari Amman festival:-
'Pidari' Amman Thiruvizha is celebrated for 7 days in the month of 'Maasi' (February-March).
Panguni Ther (Car Festival).