1st Stop - Uchipillaiyar & Ranganathar Swamy
Trip Start Jun 17, 2010
57Trip End Jun 29, 2010
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This morning we woke up ay 6.00 am and got ready by 7.30am. Went down fro breakfast at the hotel and immediately went to Uchi Pillaiyar Temple.
We arrived at the temple at 9.10 am. Bought 51 cocunuts and told the guy to bring it up. Quite a steep climb up and took it slow.
FIrstly we went to Tayumanaswamy Temple and then to Pillaiyar Temple up hill. Managed to see the full abishegam for Pillaiyar and finished prayers and left the temple at 11.30 am.
A short brief of the temple as follows:
Rockfort or Ucchi Pillayar koil, is a combination of two famous 7th century Hindu temples, one dedicated to Lord Ganesha and the other dedicated to Lord Shiva, located a top of a small rock. Geologically the 83m high rock is said to be one of the oldest in the world, dating over 3 billion years ago, and mythologically this rock is the place where Lord Ganesh ran from King Vibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.
The name rock fort comes from the fact that the place was used for military fortification first by the Vijayanagar emperors and later by the British during the Carnatic wars.
The Rock Fort temple stands 83m tall perched atop the rock. The smooth rock was first cut by the Pallavas but it was the Nayaks of Madurai who completed both the temples under the Vijayanagara empire.The temple complex is composed of two parts: a Shiva temple (Thayumanaswamy) carved in the middle of the rock and a Pillayar temple at the top portion of the rock. The Shiva temple is the bigger one, housing a massive stone statue of Shiva in the form of Linga along with a separate sanctum for goddess Parvati. The temple is mystic in its nature with an awe-inspiring rock architecture. The Ganesh temple is much smaller with an access through steep steps carved on the rock and provides a stunning view of Trichy, Srirangam and the rivers Kaveri and Kollidam. Due to its ancient and impressive architecture created by the Pallavas, the temple is maintained by the Archaeological department of India.
Vibhishana, was the younger brother of the Asura King Ravana who ruled Lanka. Lord Rama in the epic of Ramayana rescues his wife Sita, who was kidnapped and held by Ravana, with the help of Sugriva and Hanuman defeated him. In this war, the moral and truth-abiding brother of Ravana, Vibishana aids Rama in his battle against his brother. Ultimately Rama wins the war and as a token of love, He gifts Vibishana an Idol of Lord Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu.Vibhishana, though he supported Rama, was basically an Asura, hence the Devas wanted to stop this idea of an Asura taking Lord's supreme form to his Kingdom. They request the help of the Remover of obtacles and God of learning , Lord Vinayaka and the Lord accepts the plan. Vibhishana, while on his back to his Kingdom, goes through Trichi, and wanted to take his bath in the river Kaveri and do his daily rituals. However, he is perplexed as the idol once kept in land, can never be removed and has to be in that place forever.As a solution, Vibishana tries to find someone to hold the idol while he was taking bath and finds the Lord Vianayaka under disguise of a cowherd boy. As per the plan, when Vibishana is fully into water, Vinayaka takes the statues and keeps it firmly in sand, in the banks of kaveri. On seeing this, the angry Vibhishana chases the boy, to punish him, and boy keeps running and climbs over the rock near the Kaveri bank. Vibhishana finally reaches the boy and hits him on the fore-head of little boy who then reveals himself to be Vinayaga. Vibishana immediately apoligizes and the Lord gives him his blessings and sends him off to Lanka. This is similar to the story Of Lord Ganesh in Gokarna with Ravana in the same Ramayana period.
The place on which the Ranganathan idol was kept was later covered in deep forests, due to disuse and after a very long time, it is discovered when a Chola king chasing a parrot finds the idol accidentally. He then establishes the Ranganathaswamy Temple. Srirangam as one of the largest temple complexes in the world.
Meanwhile, the Pallavas built the Vinayaka temple and the Thayumanaswamy temple, in the rock which Vinayaka uses to escape Vibishana.
According to another mythology, a pregnant woman named Rathnavathi is nearing labor and she suffers in enormous pain as her mother who is to help her has not yet arrived. The pregnant women suffers alone and pleads to God. Then Lord Shiva takes the form of her mother and helps her in the pregnancy. Thus, the Lord was praised as "Thayum Ana Swamy" (The Lord who could act like a Mother) and hence the temple began to be called as "Thayumanaswamy temple". Around 200 steps need to be climbed to reach the beautiful temple. The paintings on the ceiling is amazing. The structure of the temple shows the excellent art in olden days. The temple has many small shrines inside, but major shrines is for Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Mahalakshmi.
Then we went to Thiruvanaikaval Temple and reached at 11.45 am. The mulavar is known as Jambekeswarar and ambal is Akilandeswary and this is the Panca bootham stala for water. After prayers, we left this temple at 1.10pm.
A short brief of this temple is as follows:
The main deity of the temple is Jambukeswara, representing the element water. Jambukeswara is depicted sitting under a jambu tree, which grows over a small stream that engulfs the deity during the rainy season. The temple is also considered the abode of goddess Akilandeswari, one of the forms of the goddess Parvati.The massive outer wall, known as the Vibudi Prakara, stretches over a mile long, and is two feet thick and over 25 feet in height. Legend maintains that the wall was built by Shiva working along with the laborers. The temple is one of the hosts for the annual Natyanjali, a festival of classical indian dance.
The sannadhi of the goddess Akilandeshwari and the Sannathy of Prasanna Vinayaka are in the shape of the pranava manthra called "Om". It is believed that people who go round the sannathy (which is in the shape of "Om") 12 times and for one full mandala (48 days) will get the blessings of the goddess Akilandeshwari and have a good, healthy and wealthy life. It is believed that the Amman in the temple was in deep anger hence during one of Adi Sankara's visit and he installed the Prasanna Ganapathy Idol right opposite her Sannathy and thereafter her anger subsided.
Long time ago the place was a jungle where an elephant and a spider was worshiping the Lord Siva under the Jambu Tree. The elephant was cleaning the statue of Siva with water and put some flower under him every day. At the same time the spider made a web over the Siva statue for shadow. The elephant always clean the spider's web because it thought it is dust. The spider was curious to know who ruined its web. One day the spider waited to see who is that. The elephant came and clean the web by showering the water on Lord Siva. The spider got angry and get into the elephant's trunk. Both died and went to the heaven. Over there Lord Siva gave them an eternal lift of "Motcham". The spider got a rebirth as a king. The king name was Kotchengannan cholan means red eyed king.There was a story behind the kings red eyes, when he was in his mother's womb the kingdom astrologer predicted a time to give birth. If she gives birth that time he would be a wise king and rule the kingdom very well. when the queen got the labor pain the time was to early. The queen told the servant to hang her upside down for the time to come. so the waiting time made a the baby's eyes red. After his birth and became the king and he build the temple for Lord Siva and Goddess Akilandeswari in the name of Aanaikka (elephant protected) later days it changed to Thiruvanaikovil.The Siva sannathi was made very small to keep the elephant away from the god.
Then we went for lunch at a local restaurant called Rajageetham restaurant for lunch. Finished lunch and then left at 2.30 pm to Amma Mandapam.
Amma Mandapam is not very far away and we reached at 2.35pm. This places is at the banks of the river Cauvery and is used for ancestry prayers.
From there, we reached Sri Rangam Temple at 3.00pm. I took a guide and paid him Rs. 250 to take us through the temple explaining the entire temple. Also got a good darshan of the Ranganathar Swamy and viewed all the 4 main mandapams in the temple. We then left the temple at 4.15 pm to head to Palani.