Sri Pancha Lingaeshwara Temple, Begur
Nestled about 25 km from the posh M G Road, Bangalore is a small hamlet called Begur off Bomanhalli on the Hosur highway. This insignificant village was once a great center of Sanskrit and Vedic studies; sadly today amid the ravages of time subsist a reminder, and is the 1300-year-old Sri Pancha Lingaeshwara or Begur Temple. Sri Kulutunga Raja the First of Chola Dynasty, and Sri Rajasimhanandi of Talakad Ganga Dynasty built this Temple in 8th century A D. They built about 108 Temples in South India, and this Temple is 18th in hierarchy. Built in granite the Temple reflects simplicity and grandeur, and truly has an ambience that is spiritual and sanctified.
Sri Parvati Sametha Nagaeshwara Swamy Linga
This Shrine has a Nava Ranga, and is an area where devotees can pray looking towards the Garbha Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum) of Sri Parvati Sametha Nagaeshwara Swamy Linga. There are Idols of Sri Ganesha, Sri Chamundaeshwari, Sri Kaala Bhairava, Sri Vishnu, Sri Soorya Narayana, Sri Chandra, Sri Sapta Matruka and Sri Kashi Vishwanatha facing north towards Kashi in the Nava Ranga. Another interesting aspect here is that the idol of Sri Soorya Narayana (Sun God) is placed facing west towards this Linga, and according to B N Lakshman, nephew and assistant Priest to B S Ananth Deekshitar, this probably is the only Temple in India where Sri Soorya Narayana is placed like this. Traditional Temple Vaasthu Shastraa proclaims that the idol of Sri Soorya Narayana should be placed facing east. This Temple also has a small shrine dedicated to Him. This positioning according to B N Lakshman Deekshitar is to encompass the first rays of the rising sun on the Moola Vigraha, or the Linga. This Temple is also known as Bhaskara Kshetra (Sun Temple).
There is a colourfully drawn Yantra (Divine Symbol) below carvings of Uma Maheshwara and Ashta Dik Palakas (8 Guarding Angels) on the ceiling. Standing here facing the Sri Parvati Sametha Nagaeshwara Linga and praying is said to ward off mental depression, enemies, disease and protection from black magic etc.
Area between Nava Ranga and Garbha Griha is a room known as Sukanaashi, and is a place where Pooja Samagri (Articles used for Pooja), and Utsava Moorthi (Idols used for processions during Temple Festivals are kept). This Linga is about 3.5 feet long and is usually adorned with jasmine, bilva leaves, kankambara flowers, vihbhuti (Sacred Ash), cloth and sandal paste etc.
Outside the Nava Ranga is an idol of Sri Nandi facing the Linga, and behind Sri Nandi is a Homa Kundam (Altar where Homam or a special type of Poojas are performed). There is a small Sri Nandi facing this Homa Kundam.
Sri Parvati or Dakshina Kali
There is a seperate shrine for Sri Parvati, and is represented by a five-foot idol of the Goddess. She is also known as Sri Dakshina Kali and standing left of this idol and praying is believed to cure all blood related diseases, including blood cancer. This divine form of Mother Goddess is the consort of Sri Nagaeshwara Swamy, and is never seen with other forms of Sri Shiva that are worshipped here. Praying to Her also bestows happiness, wealth and spiritual solace.
At the entrance to this shrine is the oldest idol of Sri Ganesha found in south India, and according to B S Ananth Deekshitar, Chief Priest, is about 1300 years old. According to recorded archeological documentation there are only two, two-handed Ganesha’s in the world and are in Pillarpatti, Tamil Nadu, and in Afghanistan. There is no mention of the Ganesha idol seen here. This Ganesha idol is in Chola tradition, and is seen holding a Linga in the right hand. The idol of Sri Karpaga Vinayaka at Pilliarpatti has the trunk turned to the right (Valampuri), and here it is to the left (Edampuri).
* “Pilliarpatti Temple is rock cut and probably was built around 4th century A.D. by Pandian Kings. A master sculptor called ‘Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan’ carved Sri Shiva Linga and idol of Sri Karpaga Vinayaka in this Temple. His signature on a stone inscription can be seen in the Sanctum Sanctorum and is inscribed in Tamil language that existed between 2nd and 5th century A.D. The idol at Afghanistan is in a standing posture and has a number of ornaments adoring the deity and was built at a later era*.
Picture and *Source: The wonder that is Pilliarpatti
Published by: Karpagam Publications, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu- First Edition: Aug-1997
*1Two-handed Ganesha represent Pranava or Om, the sacred syllable from which Sri Parvati created Sri Ganesha. Sanskrit and Tamil are two ancient languages of India with divergent origin; yet, both eminently project the same heritage evolved in religion. Their alphabets are different, yet the letters, which represent OM, have a remarkable semblance. If the Sanskrit OM resembles the head of an elephant with a raised trunk, the Tamil OM has almost the same shape with a downward trunk. In fact, in all the major Indian languages, although the alphabets vary much, this resemblance is noticeable in all letters that represents OM*1.
Picture Courtesy and Source*1: Sri Ganesha by Srikant
Published By: Integral Books, Payyanur, Kerala
Revised Edition January 1995
There are also idols of Sri Subramanya in serpent form, Sri Soorya Narayana and a carving on the wall depicting a scene from the Puranas (Fables).
Sri Cholaeshwara Linga
The shrine of Sri Cholaeshwara is where unmarried girls come and pray, standing below the carved Ashta Dik Palakas (Eight Guardian Angels) and Uma Maheswara on the ceiling, for an early and good alliance. The Linga is about four feet high, and there are no other idols in the Nava Ranga here. There is a Sri Nandi in the Sukanaashi about two feet high facing the Lord.
Sri Kali Kamateshwara Linga
The idol of Sri Kali Kamateshwara is about three and a half feet high and is very similar to the idol of Sri Mookambika at Kollur. Both idols have a Linga (Depicted as the head of Sri Eashwara) placed at their feet. Here the idol is known as Kamateshwara Linga, and is less than one feet. On the ceiling of the Nava Ranga there is a Padma (Lotus) shaped carving and devotees come here and pray to Sri Kali Kamateshwara for Santhana Bhagya (Progeny), court disputes, health and protection from enemies etc.
In the Nava Ranga is an idol of Sri Ganesha. An idol of Sri Nandi faces this idol at the entrance of this shrine and is placed not directly to the idol, but towards the right. Hence it is not auspicious for Sri Nandi to face Shakti or Divine Mother in Rudra (Angry) form directly.
Sri Nagareshwara Linga
There is a huge idol of Sri Nandi (About four feet) in front of this Shrine of Sri Nagareshwara here in Begur. As mentioned earlier there is a Shrine for Sri Soorya Narayana here and is located behind this Sri Nandi. Here again the idol of Sri Soorya Narayana is placed East, facing West towards the Linga of Sri Nagareshwara.
In Nava Ranga here, there is Sri Rama Linga facing south towards Rameshwaram, Idols of Sri Chamundaeshwari, Sri Kaalabhairava and Sri Ganesha (Similar to the idol found outside the Shrine of Sri Parvati). There are carvings of Astha Dik Palakas (Eight Guardian Angels). Devotees stand right side of this Linga and pray for good business prospects and prosperity; and on the left side of this Linga for prevention and cure of eczema and other skin disorders. This is the largest of all Lingas in this Temple, and is over four feet tall
It is believed that Sri Kalinga Sarpa or five-hooded cobra resides in the Temple, blessing and protecting devotees who come there. In the night Saptha Rishis (Seven Sages) and Ashta Dik Palakas (Eight Guardian Angels) are believed to perform Poojas here.
The last Shrine is dedicated to Sri Karnaeashwara. This is the smallest of all the Lingas here and measure about two and a half feet. There is a small Sri Nandi in front of this Linga and is devoid of Nava Ranga and Sukanaashi. Devotees stand on the right side of the Linga for relief from stomach pain and other stomach and intestine related diseases, in front for ear pain and other ear related problems, and left side of Linga for paralysis, nervous problems and brain disorders.
There is also an altar for Nava Graha Mantapa (Nine Planets) in this Temple, and is near the Shrine of Sri Parvati.
The shrine for Sri Soorya Narayana is in front of Sri Nagaeshwara’s shrine, behind the idol of Sri Nandi.
The Temple is built in granite, and entrance is through a small Raja Gopuram.
A stone Sri Vrishabha Kambha is seen outside the Sri Kali Kamateshwara shrine and depicts Sri Nandi, and usually seen in most Sri Shiva Temples. In ancient times an oil lamp used to be lit on top of Sri Vrishabha Kambha, and this ritual does not exist anymore. Sri Garuda Kambha is seen in most Sri Vishnu Temples.
Kambha is a granite pillar with carvings in semblance like a Dwaja Stambham (Flag Mast).
Sri Vrishabha form of Sri Nandi is depicted as a complete bull without any human attributes. Sri Nandi has a human face with a body of a bull.
There is another stone Sri Vrishabha Kambha in the Temple courtyard, over 30 feet tall and one of the tallest in Karnataka. At the base are carvings of Sri Ganesha, Sri Linga, Sri Vrishabha and Sri Brahma Rakshas haunting the Chola King Sri Kulutunga Raja the Second, when he committed Brahma Hatya or murder of a Brahmin.
This legend from antiquity tells a tale of a Rishi of great sanctity and perception who blessed a poor Brahmin with divine water. This water was placed in a Sorai Kai (A type of Gourd) or the vegetable used to make the base of Tambura instrument, and had divine elements to convert anything it came in contact into gold. The Rishi also warned the poor Brahmin not to speak to any one, since this gesture could cause the magical properties of the water to disappear.
In the night the Brahmin took refuge in the sugar cane storehouse of the Chola King. In the morning people where amazed to see that all the cane, had turned into gold, since a few drops had trickled out when this vegetable carrying the water was placed down. When Sri Kulutunga Raja the Second heard this news, he thought that the Brahmin had divine powers to convert anything to gold, and ordered his arrest. The flabbergasted Brahmin was petrified and refused to speak, and adhered to the warning decreed by the Rishi. Away from his family and the solitude of the dungeon finally killed him. His death bought Brahma Hatya or the sin of killing a Brahmin to the King. As atonement the King built many Temples and finally got salvation after completion of Sri Tiruvidai Marudhur Temple near Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu.
Outside the Shrine of Sri Nagaeshwara, in the courtyard are a carved wooden Dwajastambha (Flag Mast) and Bali Peetham (An area where the subtle energies of the Temple reside).
There is also a stone carving on a slab of Sri Kulutunga Raja the First of Chola Dynasty who built this Temple, and his wife behind the Sri Vrishabha Kambha.
There are remains of an ancient wall and this small slab has inscription in Kannada, inside the Temple.
These inscriptions however have been dated in the Karnataka State Gazetteer Part 2 as 9th century A.D. and the content in this book, page 1144, reads as follows “ Bangalore is the capital of Karnataka, and was the capital of princely Mysore from 1831. A popular story is narrated on the origin of the present name. Hoysala King Viraballala had to satiate his hunger with boiled green beans, served by an old poor woman. After the food was served to him, he called this place as ‘Benda Kaluru’, which became Bangalore in course of time. A stone inscription dated 9th century found at Begur mentions the place as ‘Benguluru’ and belies the above story”.
The Vimanas on all Shrines have sculptures on them, even though not very intricate have an awesome appeal. There is a well inside the Temple premises catering to all Sthala Theertha, and this water is used for all Temple rituals.
Shami Vriksha and Bilva Patra are the revered Temple Trees.
Legend and Historical Information
There is no written or a spoken declaration from antiquity about the Sthala Purana (Legend), except for the fact that this Temple was built, patronised and conserved by the Talakad Gangas and the Chola Dynasties. B.N. Lakshman Deekshitar spoke about an interesting prophecy made when Naadi Shastra (An ancient traditional method of predicting past, present and future using palm leaves) was done to find out more about the ancient past of this magnificent Temple. It revealed that a dominant Sage by the name of Sri Bodayana Maha Rishi and his disciples built Sri Panchalingeshwara Temple between 3000 and 5000 years ago to worship and perform Sadhana (Penance) and not by Chola and Talakad Ganga Dynasties.
Also it is believed that Sri Ravana after loosing the Sri Atma Linga in Gokarna (A place in North Kannara, in Karnataka) , worshipped in this Temple and spent the night there before leaving for Sri Lanka.
According to legend, Sri Ravana the king of Sri Lanka performed penance at Kailash and was given a stone Sri Atma Linga, by Sri Shiva. Sri Shiva decreed that if this Atma Linga was placed on the ground it would have to remain in that particular place for worship. Ravana intended to carry the Atma Linga to Sri Lanka. The Devas (Gods) however feared that with this divine stone in his possession, Sri Ravana would do great harm to them. They implored Sri Shiva, who sent Sri Ganapathy to prevent the Sri Atma Linga from reaching Sri Lanka.
During the journey back home, Sri Ravana, paused at Gokarna and desired to bathe and perform his Sandhyavandana (Evening Prayers) before nightfall. Sri Ganapathi in the guise of a small boy materilised before Sri Ravana, who requested the boy to hold the Sri Atmalinga, while he bathed in a pond.
The boy agreed but cautioned that if taken a long time , would call out thrice and then place this sacred stone on the ground. As pre determined by destiny, Sri Ravana did not emerge from Pooja and rituals on time, and was enraged to see Sri Atmalinga placed on the ground, where it remained firm and immoveable. He attempted to extract the Sri Atma Linga from the ground, but found it to be immoveable, as the Devas had placed the weight of all the three Lokas (Worlds) on the Sri Atma Linga.
This Sri Atma Linga is worshipped to this day in Gokarana as Sri Mahabaleshwara (God of strength).
In the Begur Temple there is a Sri Ravana Vahana (Chariot) that is used to carry the Sri Utsava Moorthi (Festival Idols) of Sri Nagaeshwara and Sri Parvati.
Karnataka State Gazetteer page 223 has informative content about Gangas of Talakad and reads as follows “The Gangas of Talakad ruled in the southern parts of Karnataka from about the middle of the fourth century to the end of 10th century A.D.” The history, the chronology, and the reign periods have been the subject of protracted controversy among the historians. Fleet regarded the majority of the Ganga copper plated as spurious and unhistorical. Lewis Rice however thought that the majority of their copper plates are genuine and dependable for reconstructing their history. Thus the history of Gangas still bristles with problems.
The origin of the Gangas has been narrated only in later inscriptions beginning from the tenth century A.D. According to them they were first ruling in Ayodhya and later at Ahichchhatra and the two princes Dadiga and Madhava migrated to Gangaperur in the South and established their kingdom Gangavadi 96,000 with Nandagiri and Kuvalalapura as their important cities. After some time changed their capital from Kuvalalapura to Manne and subsequently to Talakad. Of these places Ayodhya and Ahichchhatra are in North India; Gangaperur is in Cuddappah district in Andhra Pradesh; Nandagiri is Nandi Hills near Bangalore and Kuvalalapura is Kolar”.
Karnataka State Gazetteer Part 1 page 229 “The Gangas are unique in the history of Karnataka. Perhaps few dynasties ruled longer than the Gangas. The whole of southern Karnataka were united under them for many centuries. They also controlled the fortunes of the Deccan for many decades. The dynasty produced some of the ablest military rulers and distinguished men of culture. The Ganga Monarchs called themselves as Dharmamaharajas and this is reflected in their administration. They followed the tenets of Manu and Kautalya in revenue, military and judicial departments. The Gangas patronized Shaiva, Vaishnava and Jaina religion. They also patronized Kannada and Samskrita literature. References have already been made to Madhava, Sripurusha, Pujyapada, Durvinta, Chavundaraya and other literary men. The Gangas also contributed to the development of art and architecture. They followed the Dravida style of Temple architecture and built many Temples and basadis. Their best specimens of architecture are seen at Shravanbelogola. In the field of sculpture the monolithic statue of Gommateshvara at Shravanbelogola is alone sufficient to immortalise the Gangas. This tallest freestanding image has been considered as a unique sculpture in the art history of the world. The Gangas erected large number of hero-stones of high artistic merit.
Their bronze sculptures though rare are of excellent workmanship. Thus the Gangas distinguished themselves in the history of South India.”
Seven Days before Anuradha Star, during Chaitra (Mar-Apr) is Dwaja Rohana or hoisting the Vrishabha Flag on Dwaja Stambham (Flag Mast) inside the Temple. On the seventh day the Chariot Festival commences and different embellished Chariots carry the Utsava Moorthi (Festival Idols) of Sri Nagaeshwara and Sri Parvati. Some of the Chariots are Sri Nandi Vahana, Sri Vrishabha Vahana, Sri Shesha Vahana, Sri Gaja Vahana, Sri Soorya Mandala and Sri Ravana Vahana etc. During the last day of Temple Chariot Festival, Utsava Moorthi of Sri Nagaeshwara and Sri Parvati are taken out in a decorated Palanquin, and about 20 Utsava Moorthi from neighbouring Temples come here in decorated palanquins and participate in this grand Festival.
During this Festival, Kalayana Utsava or the marriage ceremony of Sri Nagaeshwara and Sri Parvati is conducted.
Shiana or consumation of these marriage vows between Sri Nagaeshwara and Sri Parvati is celebrated on the last day of this 13th day Festival. For this ceremony the idols are placed on a specially constructed bed with offerings of fruits and milk etc.
On Shiva Rathri (Feb), four Jaama Abhishekam are performed here. These special Abhishekam start at 5 AM and continue till 10.30 AM of the next day, and the Temple is opened for devotees to come and take part in these rituals.
Special Poojas are performed on Karthika Somvara (Oct-Nov), and the Temple is open from 5 AM to 10 PM.
During Navarathri Festival (Oct-Nov), Lalitha Sahasranama Pooja is performed to Sri Parvati. On the last day (Vijaya Dashami), Utsava Moorthi (Festival Idols) of Sri Nagaeshwara and Sri Parvati are taken out to the village in an adorned palanquin.
On Ugadi, Sri Rama Navami and Shankara Jayanthi (Adi Shankaracharya’s birthday) special Abhishekam’s are performed here.
Kalayana Utsava is performed on request of devotees, and the Temple Priest chooses the time and date for this ceremony.
Prodosha (Monthly) Poojas are performed in the evenings on the second day before Amavasya (New Moon).
During Dhanur Maasa (Dec-Jan), daily Poojas are performed at 3.30 AM and Mangalarati is performed before sunrise.
Sri B S Ananth Deekshitar is the chief priest, and his family has been the caretakers and priests (Archakas) of Begur Temple for the last 1300 years, and authorised by the Chola and Talakadu Dynasties. He says that this Temple is an energy zone and standing in specific places in the Temple have positive attributes and helps in mental peace, protection from enemies, diseases, skin problems, spiritual enhancement and protection from black magic etc.
Abhishekam are important rituals performed here, and a few performed here are Rudra Abhishekam and Panchamritha Abhiskekam etc. Homams are also performed, and Yagnas are performed in a Yaaga Shaalas during Festivals and other important ceremonies. Rudra Abhishekam is performed on Monday mornings. Evenings generally Bhajans are sung, and other specified Poojas/Abhishekam or Homams as requested by devotees are performed.
Abhishekam is a ritual where the Linga or Idol is decanted with fruits, milk, Vibhuthi (Sacred Ash), ghee, sandal powder, honey, sugar cane curds, tender coconut, rose water etc
Sri Shiva is known as Abhisheka Priya (to be fond of), and Sri Vishnu is known as Alankara (Decorations) Priya.
What some other websites say about this Temple
Several speculations have been made about how the name “Bangalore” came about. Based on information from the Gazetteer of India, Karnataka State, Bangalore District section, the name “Bangalore” is an anglicised version of “Bengalooru,” a word in the local Kannada language that was given to a town. The story goes that this word was derived from the phrase “bende kaalu ooru,” which translates into “the town of boiled beans.” It is said that King Ballala of the Hoysala dynasty lost his way in the jungle while on a hunting expedition. Tired and hungry, he encountered a poor, old woman who offered him the only food she had – some boiled beans. Grateful to her, the king named the place “bende kaalu ooru.” However, historical evidence shows that “Bengalooru” was recorded much before King Ballala’s time in a 9th century temple inscription in the village of Begur. “Bengalooru” still exists today within the city limits in Kodigehalli area and is called “Halebengalooru” or “Old Bangalore.” Source: http://www.bangaloreit.com/
“Bangalore seems to have been an inhabited area from the first century A.D. Many Roman coins have been found in Yeshwanthapur and the present HAL area. The Gangas ruled Bangalore for six centuries till the 10th Century A.D. The Cholas took over and the name ‘Bengalooru’ came into existence and inscriptions of this name can be still seen at Sri Nageshwara Temple in Begur, a village in the eastern part of the present Bangalore”. Source: http://www.bangalorehousing.com/blr2000/history.html
“Historically, the name Bengalooru occurs for the first time on a 9th century stone inscription in Begur, a village in south Bangalore taluk. (So the story of the 12th-century Hoysala king Ballala II, while on a hunting expedition, being pleased with an old woman’s offering him boiled beans, and calling the place Benda Kalooru or town of boiled beans in her honour is just a legend after all.) This Bangalore hamlet was part of Gangavadi 96000, the numeral being a revenue-pin code of those days”. Source: http://www.brigadegroup.com/newsletter/sepdec99/insight1.htm
There are Government buses plying from Bangalore city to Begur. Also taxis and autos are available.
Nearest Airport: Bangalore
Nearest Railway Station: Bangalore
Bangalore also known as the Garden city is well connected by air, road and Railway with the rest of India, and different kinds of accommodation ranging from five star deluxe hotels, to cheap rest rooms are available. Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city and offers a wide range of cuisine
Naveen Chandran R
Posted in Religion.
– August 8, 2006
Folk traditions and worship is seeped in mystical and
supernatural traditions. Most of the folk culture
evolved away from reigning society, mainly because of
discriminatory caste systems that for centuries have
disintegrated values in India and eroded an awakening
called oneness. Folk traditions are true aspects of
any region, before the advent of creed. Some of
traditions and rituals could date back to an era
earlier than Hinduism.
Theyyam is an ancient ritual worship, which involves
trance-oriented dances. Malabar, the northern region
of Kerala, is where these ritual dances still
flourish. The faith and credo it constitutes is a
belief that man with apposite mental, physical and
spiritual commitment can consecrate a specific deity
in his body. In this state of trance the dancer
performs phenomenal acts of prophesy, blessing and
healing devotees who gather during this ritual.
It is identical to the philosophy of Aham Bramhasmi or
“I am one with the divine” and Tatwamasi or “I am
that”. This contemplation of faith is ultimate reality
in Hinduism, where purity in mind, body and soul
transforms to high level of mental awareness where man
and God are same. Acquiring divinity is an
extraordinary honor, but the paradox here is that
Theyyam dancers belong to a community, which in
Kerala’s complicated caste hierarchy is at bottom of
the chain. They are respected and privileged in divine
trance and go about their everyday chores with
humility. The word ‘Theyyam’ means ‘Daivam’ or God.
The Shrine where this ritual is performed is known as
Kavu and generally is in month of December-April. Men
who perform this primordial trance rite abstain from
liquor, non-vegetarian food and abstain from sex etc
for a period of 41 days prior to ritual. The
performers inherit their rights from their mother’s
families and depending on purity and importance of a
God or Goddess, the artist starts his preparation for
the festival. Sometimes the rights are inherited and
are also deity-specific and the trance is preceded by
a strict code of conduct. He meditates and focuses on
the specified divinity. The transformation begins in
this period. Omens and symbolic translations of events
during this time are interpreted. This penance will
determine the intensity of the trance dance.
In simple and natural surroundings men transcend into
divine beings. Their individual features are changed
with elaborate makeup, dress and headgear, which
removes all human aspects and sacred aspect becomes
more apparent. This is the physical form of specific
deity. The colours used are all-natural, and are
dye of plants, leaves and flowers etc. Face and body
makeup is enriched with symbolism. Masks and elaborate
costumes used are kept in the Shrines and worshipped.
The cosmic forces invoked are male or female,
compassionate or malicious and charismatic or terrible
etc. They could be heroes who lived on earth or are
from a different divine dimension, and summoned
through chants, dance, sacrifices and symbolic
interpretations. Theyyam is an intricate blend of
dance, songs and music, which enshrines the rudiments
of an ancient folk culture.
Most headdresses are made of palm leaves and cloth,
and some are over forty feet. The hood, headdress,
make up, breastplate, bracelets, garlands, anklets,
weapons and costume of each Theyyam are
individualistic and meticulously define the deity
implored. It’s the costume that gives Theyyam a
stunning splendor. The costumes of Theyyam are made
out of cloth and coconut leaves. Fresh coconut leaves
are intricately cut and woven to make skirts, headgear
etc. The sheer size of some headgear and other
ornamental decorations are awe-inspiring. Breasts are
made out of dry coconut shells. The ornately costumed
and made-up dancer looks like a supernatural being.
The dancer moves to the rhythm of Chenda (Drums)
Veekuchenda (Another type of drums), Elathalam and
Kuzhal (horn). Sometimes Hindu Gods and Gods are
invoked, but generally cosmic energies of guardian
spirits, animals, trees, serpents’ etc are summoned.
There are many Bagavathi Kavus (Shrine of Goddess) and
Thraravadu (Ancestral Homes) in Malabar where Theyyam
is performed. Sometimes it is carried out in a
courtyard of a house or Temple.
Shrines or Kavu generally have a tree and engraved in
it are idols or images. Trees depict the dynamic
aspect and represents life, and images or idols are
static representation of a mountain. Tree and mountain
symbolically share the same attributes. The roots of
the tree extend below in a larger area than the
branches above. The mountain diminishes in size at the
top and has a lager base symbolizing an inverted tree.
In Hindu Temples, the main image is static aspect and
is called Achala or Dhruva and represents mountain.
The Utsava Moorthi, which is taken out in procession
during festivals in Temples, is called Chala
(Dynamic). The dance ritual (Dynamic) is as important
as the shrine (Static), and it is the combination of
these two that manifests sanctity and inviolability.
There are over 400 Theyyams. Many are deities from
Hinduism and others are of native origins and
particular to Malabar.
Theyyam festival usually starts at night to the
reverberation of throbbing drums at the shrine. Visual
exuberance is an important aspect of this ancient
ritual. Vannan, Malayan, Navilan, Pulayan, Koppalan
and Velan caste perform this rite. Female divinities
are also invoked and only men perform this dance.
After make up the costume is adorned, then the dancer
venerates all consecrated forces in the shrine and is
called ‘Thudangal’ (the beginning). Time for synthesis
with the deity happens when the performer gazes into a
mirror and sees a reflection of the embodied spirit
made up on his face. Theyyam than stands on a stool
and starts the ritual by singing a special prayer
known as Thoottam Pathu in front of a shrine. A single
Veekuchenda player accompanies him. This slow paced
singing slowly gathers in momentum, and all
accompanying instruments join the dance. Liquor
(Toddy) is offered to dancer who has reached a semi
trance state. Sometimes a chicken is sacrificed in the
altar and blood consumed by the dancer. From here on
the dance intensifies and the invoked deity manifests
in the dancer.
A few of many Theyyam are Raktha Chamundi, Kari
Chamundi, Muchilottu Bhagavathi, Wayanadu Kulaveni,
Gulikan, Pottan, Kutty Chattan, Vasuri Mala,
Kandakarnan, Bhadrakali, Thacholi Othenan, Unniarcha,
Darikan, Nagakali, Thee Chamundi, Bapuran, Angakaran
and Muthappan etc.
Theyyam festivals are generally from December to
Among hundreds of dance rituals a few are
Goddess Muchilottu Bhagavathi dances and carries two
flaming torches as she descends only at night. Two
silver masks cover her eyes, to prevent her piercing
gaze from burning her devotees and universe. These
masks are only removed when she symbolically enters a
Another Theyyam Panjurli to hurls on to an ancient
tree where this Goddess is said to dwell.
Thee Chamundi jumps into a large heap of burning
Kandakarnan has burning torches tied round him and
swirls in rhythmic dance.
Valiya Tampuratti carries a towering headdress that
weighs about 40 kg and dances.
Gulikan dances on stilts.
Kutty Chattan twirls on a small stool holding two
Vasuri Mala dances and scares away small pox and other
This liveliness is a unique synthesis of man and his
beliefs. Come to Kerala and experience this inimitable
form of worship.
Naveen Chandran R
Posted in Religion.
– August 8, 2006
Warriors Of Peace
KALARI PAYATTU – WARRIORS OF PEACE
There are different paths to Spirituality and Awareness. Martial Arts
are the physical activity, which blends mind and body in perfect
synchrony and procreates a high degree of positive energy. The learner in the
beginning fights the enemy or combats with an excellence that raises
his levels of confidence. As he progresses a more lethal combat is fought
with the enemies lurking in his mind akin to greed, lust, ego,
selfishness etc and translates these emotions to altruistic giving, compassion
Kalari Payattu is the oldest Martial Art of the World. Kalari
translates to Gymnasium and Payattu, Martial Arts. In the Classical literary
works of Dhanur Veda, Agni Puranam, Natya Shastra, Hasthangastham and
Srakraneeti mention that Sage Parasurama after creating Kerala from the
Ocean, taught his twenty-one disciples this graceful lethal Art to
protect and maintain peace in the land. Legend from antiquity asserts that
Lord Shiva and Shakthi taught the Northern Style (Thekkan) to two
disciples who later opened manifold Kalaris and promulgated this technique
in Kerala. Maharishi Agasthya created the Vadakkan style (Southern
Style). Kalari flourished up to the 18th Century. When British ruled India
they banned Kalari, and probably was because of dexterous feats and
fighting skills accomplished by the proficient. The Art was practiced in
secrecy and thankfully survived a definite extinction for the only
reason, that few sincerely interested Warriors and Gurus taught and kept it
alive. Today hordes of people come to Kerala and learn Kalari Payattu ,
the Mother of all Martial Arts.
Around 520 AD Bodhi Dharma came from China to learn the Eight Fold path
of Buddhism from Kerala. Fascinated by Kalari Payattu he took with him
over hundred experts back to the Shaolin Temple in China. The Art Form
that evolved through Kalari Payattu became Kung Fu.
The Architecture of Kalari is as unique as the Martial Art. It is built
three feet below ground level, and usually an area of 18, 32, 43 or 52
feet in length from East to West and width exactly half from North to
South. There are five styles of Kalari and are Kurum Kalari meant for
guerrilla training, Anka Kalari for duels, Cheru Kalari intended for
healing and treatment, Kodum Kalari designed for meditation and teaching
the Science of Marmam (Vital Nerve Centers) and Kuzhi Kalari for training
A three feet wall is built all around the Kalari and a thatched roof of
bamboo and coconut leaves cover it. The floor and walls are made of mud
and beaten to make it smooth and level. The floor is subsequently
disinfected with herbs; different kinds of oils and natural pigments to
protect the bare body of the Martial Artist, and is then made slippery by
applying oil made from the leaves of Kulir Maavu, which increases
footwork ability and abdominal power.
The entrance is in center of the Eastern wall having three steps
leading down. The Poothara or a seven-tiered conical shaped structure in the
Southwest corner symbolizes the subtle and gross aspects of self and
the Universe. The important zones inside the Kalari are determined
through Vaasthu Shasthra. A flower or lamp is placed on top of Poothara and
is the focus point for eye exercises and concentration. This area is
known as Trataka. On the right are smaller platforms representing seats of
earlier Teachers (Guru Thara) and Ganapathi Thara, where Lord Ganesha
is propitiated for positive thinking. All weapons are kept on the
Western side and Gurukkal stands here when teaching facing east. No exercises
are done either North or South. and according to Yoga and Ayurveda the
magnetic fields in South and North have detrimental properties.
Two main styles of Kalari Payattu found within Kerala are Northern
(Vadakkan) and Southern (Thekkan). Parasurama taught Thekkan style and
Maharishi Agasthya, Vadakkan style. The other styles are Dronapalli,
Odimurisseri, Valla Batta, Madhya Keralam, Kadathanadan, Thulunadhan,
Pillathangi, and Malanadan etc.
Instruction in all styles commences by massaging the novice with
medicinal oils to improve litheness and endurance. The student’s body is
smeared with medicated oil and the guru massages it with his feet to make
the body and muscles supple. Three forms of massage or Uzhichal are
practiced in Kalari. Sukha Thirummu for physical comfort and relaxation,
Raksha Thirummu to increase body resistance, with specially prepared
Ayurvedic herbal oils and Katcha Thirummu, for flexibility of the body.
The student wears a cloth Mundu (Dhoti) called Katcha, which supports the
central muscles of the body. One end of this cloth is tied to a pillar
or coconut tree and the learner begins to wind him self into it with
elaborates series of movements called Katcha Kettal. The student begins
his training by offering obeisance to Goddess. This is done in a war
dance ritual called Poothara Thozal, where the student salutes the lamp
lit Poothara and performs Vandhanam in a crouched cat stance with the
hands moving in a circular motion. The eyes are focused at a single point
on the Poothara to improve vision and concentration . Every move is
done with grace and synchronized breathing. The next aspect is Kalari
salutation and are five yogic postures done in motion to instill body and
Other aspects of training are twelve leg movements (Kaal Ettuppu).
After a certain stage flexibility achieved are immense and the legs become
weapons of defense, offence and healing. Legend from antiquity asserts
that Lord Shiva and Shakthi taught Northern Style to two disciples who
later opened manifold Kalaris and promulgated this technique in Kerala.
Shiva,s style is known as Pillai Thangi and are aggressive with linear
movements and represents the male form. Shakthi Swaroopa or Arapu Kai
have subtle, more circular and symbolizes feminity. Great emphasis is
given to spontaneous and graceful body movements during combat in this
style. Meythari are 12 movements, which include twists, turns, leaps and
stances. With theses callisthenic’s maximum body- flexibility is
achieved and difficult feats with weapons are wielded. The learner learns
various leg-stretching exercises and several sequences of body exercises,
which help in balance, body posture jumps. Training with weapons made
of wood (Kolathiri) like long stick, short stick and curved stick (Otta)
are also given. Kol means stick. Otta combat is very graceful and needs
a lot of practice. This S shaped two feet stick with a knob at the end
is made out of tamarind tree and experienced fighters will use the
stick to hit the Marmam or vital nerve points of opponents. Training is
given with long canes; short wooden sticks and specially designed wooden
weapons and maces. Practice with mace increases strength and judgment.
The third phase of training is called Ankathari. The word Ankom mean
combat. Sharp edged weapons (Angathari) are taught and include dagger,
sword and shield, spear and perhaps found only in this Martial Art, the
different and deadly flexible sword, the Urumi. This razor-sharp sword
with a flexible blade when twirled correctly becomes a lethal weapon and
produces a most terrifying sound. The next stage of unarmed combat is
called Verumkai Prayogam or barehanded fight. Techniques like
Kathiyum Thalayum (where attacks with a knife are defended with a piece of
cloth) are also taught at this stage.
Puliyankam or sword fight is the ability to wield the weapon as an
extension of the body with perfection and experience. Puliyankam mean the
duel of Tigers having stealth and grace.
Unarmed combat (Verum Kai) , incantations, concentration and Kalari
Chikilsa (Medicine and Treatment) are the other aspects of this style.
Southern Kalari gives more prominence to unarmed combat (Verum Kai).
Movements are performed on a cross and square diagram drawn on the floor.
There is Siddha influence both in Yoga and Medicine in this style. This
style has 64 Adimura (Blows and Holds). Thattumura, Pidimura, Marmamura
and Marma Adi are the other unarmed combat techniques. Kicking is an
integral facet of this discipline. There are 84 different techniques in
kicking and are Ankachery Chavuthu (16), Balivazhi Chavuthu (18)
Ankamvettu Chavathu (12), Nalani (16), Karinada Chavathu (8), Cheena Adhi (6
Drunken Style) and Thattu Marma Chavathu (8).
The Gurukkal or Gurunathan (Teacher) is the most revered person in the
Kalari. The disciple offers his mind, body and soul and the Gurukkal
moulds and creates the perfect warrior of peace who expels negativity and
harmonizes positive vibrations.
The Teacher should have purity in mind and should be without politics,
religion, caste etc to edify the trueness of this ancient Martial Art.
He should also be an expert in Ayurvedic Marma treatment.
Marmas are vital points in the body. This ancient treatment cures
sprains, dislocated joints, fractures, back pains, rheumatism, sciatica,
lumbago, anxiety, depression, insomnia, obesity, arthritis and paralysis
Many classical folk art forms of Kerala, especially Kathakali dancers
learn the basics of this Art to increase endurance and flexibility.
Aromal Chekavar and Thacholi Othenan, who lived in Kerala in 18th
century, are great Kalari Payattu Legends. At the same time lived Unniarcha,
a lady exponent of this art. Even today farmers while harvesting the
lands sing Vadakkan Patthu (Folk Ballads), which are based on the heroic
combats and adventures of these great warriors.
Naveen Chandran. R
Posted in Sports.
– August 8, 2006
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEMPLE
Arulmigu Nataraja Swamy Temple
Deity: Lord Nataraja
Location: Chidambaram, Cuddalore District
DESCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE
This Temple is one of the principal Shaivite places of worship, and one among the Pancha Bhoota Sthalam. The element represented is cosmic space, and is portrayed by the Chidambara Rahasayam, the concept of Form Less (Aroopam). The Dancing form of Nataraja placed in the Chit Sabha or the Room of Wisdom here, interprets the 5 manifestions of Creation, Preservation, Destruction. Illusion and Liberation.
The main Deity is placed in the Chit Sabha, and is seen here performing the Ananda Tandava (The Dance of Bliss). The drum in the hand performs the act of Creation, the hand bestowing grace is Benediction, the fire in the other symbolizes Destruction, the leg trampling the dwarf-Liberation and Grace, and the complete form represents Preservation.. This dance also represents the Mantra of the 5 syllables ‘Nama Shivaya’. ‘Unmai Vilakkam’ describes that the syllables represent the feet, lips, shoulder, face and head. The ‘Tiruvasi’ or the ornamental covering encircling the form of Nataraja is said to be Omkara (The sound of OM), also explained in ‘Unmai Vilakkam’.
The Chidambaram Rahasyam is to the right of the Sabha Nayaka in the Chit Sabha, covered by a curtain that is drawn to show the Aarati. There are no images here, and only a golden garland of Bilva leaves is seen. Here the Lord is worshipped in the formless appearance, the empty space signifying the belief that God is present in every aspect of the Universe.
The five leading Nataraja Sabhas are the Kanaka Sabha (Hall of gold) which is here, The Rajata Sabha (Hall of silver) at Madurai, The Ratna Sabha (Hall of rubies) is in Tiruvalangadu near Chennai, the Hall of Copper or the Tamara Sabha in Tirunelveli and Chitra Sabha (Hall of pictures) in Kutralam.
There are many Shrines here, and some of the prominent one’s are-
On the left side of the Sanctum Sanctorum is the beautiful Shrine for Goddess Shivakamasundri and is located on the western side of the sacred tank, the Shiva Ganga. There is a small Shrine for Chitragupta (The account keeper of Yama Dharma Raja- the Lord of Death) and perhaps the only one in the country. The Devi Mahatmya (The Glory of the Goddess) is seen painted on the passage, but because of constant movement of devotees here, is in a damaged state. A granite pillar here is carved with much intricacy that it resembles wood. The idol of the Goddess facing east has eyes radiating grace.
The Mukkuruni Vinayaka Shrine in the southwest corner has a huge Ganesha about 8 feet tall. There is a similar idol of the Lord carved out of a single stone at the Basaveswara Temple in Basavangudi in Bangalore.
Adjacent to the western Gopuram is the Karapaga Vinayaka. This idol with 7 arms is seen here in a dancing pose. Legend says that Ganesha revealed himself to Sage Duruvasa in this dancing form here.
The Shrine of Balasubramanium is located in the inner side of the western Gopuram. In the ‘Aippasi’ month, a festival called Skanda Shashti is held here and Soora Samhara (Slaying of the Asura) is celebrated in the South Car street.
The Madurai Somasundara Shrine is in the outer circuit. North of this Shrine is the Tirumala Vinayaka Shrine, also known as Orraikal Mandapa Vinayaka.
The enchanting chariot shaped Shrine for Lord Shanmukha has carvings of wheels and elephants. It was erected by a Pandian King, and hence the Deity is known here as Pandaya Nayaga. The idol here has 6 faces and 12 arms, and is seated on His divine peacock and has his consorts, Valli and Devayani on either side.
In the Shrine called Shanmugan Sannadi in the north, also has Dharma Raja (Yama), and to the east from here is the Nava Linga Shrine.
In the Nitya Sabha is the Shrine for Sarabeswara-an aspect of Lord Shiva assumed to subdue the fury of Narasimha. There is a vivid mention of this Form of the Lord in Mantra Shastra.
Next to the Chit Sabha that faces south, is the Shrine of Govindraja Perumal facing east. This is perhaps the only Temple where Shiva and Vishnu idols can be seen from one point.
The 5 Sabhas (halls) are the Chitambalam, Ponnambalam, Perambalam, Nritya Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
The Chitrambalam or the Chit Sabha is the place where Lord Nataraja performs the Ananda Tandava. At Ponnambalam, 6 poojas are done to the Spatika Linga and the sacred bath to the Ratnasabapathy (This is a small idol of Lord Nataraja, and made of precious gems) is performed here.
The Perambalam or the Deva Sabha is the place where the Pancha Moorti (5 Deities are Somaskanda, Shivananda Nayaki, Vinayaka, Subramanium and Chandraeswar) is placed.
Nritya Sabha is the place where the Lord performed the Oordhva Tandava. His image is placed here.
The 1000 Pillar Hall is the Rajya Sabha. During the Ani and Margazhi Festival the Utsav Moorti of Lord Nataraja is taken around. At night the Deity is placed here and is bathed only at dawn.
This Temple has 10 sacred pools. They are the Shiva Ganga, Paramananda Kupam, Viyaghrapada Thirta, Ananta Thirta, Nagacheri, Brahma Thirta, Shivapriyai, Pulimadu, Kuyya Thirta, and Virupar Kadal. The most sacred is the Shiva Ganga.
The Temple has many Festivals and some of the important one’s are-
Two grand Festivals are celebrated in a year during the month of Marghazi Tiruvathirai (Dec-Jan) and Ani Uttiram (Jun-Jul).
The Tiruvathirai day is believed to be the favorite day of Shiva.This Festival has been mentioned in the classic literature and Hymns of the four Nayanmars. The unique feature of this 10day festival, is the idol of Manickavachaka (The Tamil Saint who composed Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva (Tiruvachagam) is taken to the Chit Sabha in the morning and evening, and Aarati is performed with the accompaniment of the Hymns of Thiruvembavai.
In the month of Ani the Temple flag is hosted 10 days in advance. From the 1st day to the 8th day the Festival Idols of Somaskanda, Sivananda Nayaki, Vinayaka, Subramanium and Chandraeswar (5 Deities) are taken around the streets every day in silver and golden vehicles. On the 9th day the prime Deities, Nataraja, Shivakami and the 5 Deities are taken around in 5 Rathas.After which Lord Nataraja and Goddess Shivakami Ambal are seated in the 1000 pillar hall, are adorned and worshipped. At 1 PM the idols are taken to the Chit Sabha where it is said that the Lord and His consort perform the Tandava.
On Chittarai New Year day, Thiruvathirai Star, New Moon and other special occasions the Moorti of Lord Nataraja is bathed in the Shiva Ganga (The Sacred Tank here). Pradhosam, Fridays, Thiruvathirai, Karthigai, New Moon Day, Night Festivals are conducted,on all months of the Tamil calendar
There lived a Sage named Madyandinar who had a son called Maadyandinar. The Sage taught his son all the Vedas and Shastras. To gain more wisdom the Sage told the son to go to the Forest called Thillaivanam and pray to the Swayambhu Linga there.
Maadyandimar reached the forest and started the rituals to the Linga. The flowers which were offered had to be plucked before sunrise, otherwise were spoiled by the bees who drank their nectar and were in the far reaches of the trees. Maadyandimar prayed to Lord Shiva for Divine intervention from this predicament.
Lord Shiva endowed Maadyandimar with the limbs of the Tiger to climb the tall trees and night vision, which enabled him to see the flowers before sunrise. Maadyandimar came to be known as Vyaghrapada ( He who possessed the limbs of the Tiger) and the forest, Vyaghrapuram.
Aadi Shesha the Serpent of Maha Vishnu came to Vyaghrapuram through an underground passage and found Vyaghraprada doing penance near the Shiva Ganga (The Sacred tank in Chidambaram). Aadi Shesha’s earthly name was Patanjali (The one who descended), and had come here to witness the grandeur of Lord Nataraja’s cosmic dance. They both bathed in the Shiva Ganga and at the auspicious time as pretold by the Lord, granted them the visual exuberance of His Cosmic Dance (Ananda Tandava) along with His Consort Shivakami.
According to another legend written in the Nrithya Sabha, one of the halls in Chadambaram Temple, there was a dance contest between Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali here. Shiva is said to have raised His leg upwards to the sky in the Urudhuva Tandava posture, a typical male movement. Kali in true feminine modesty refused to perform the posture, and lost the contest. To honor the gesture of feminine etiquette and propriety there is the Thillai Kali Amman Temple in the out skirts of Chidambaram.
The Temple is spread over an area of 51 acres with; 4 imposing Towers (Gopuram) in the East, West, North and South and is over 135 feet tall. The base of the Tower is about 90 feet long and 60 feet wide. The top portion is shaped like a Pyramid. On both sides of the Raja Gopuram are intricate sculptures of Bharata Natyam Karanas. A granite wall 30 feet in height encloses the 4 Raja Gopurams. It was renewed during the reign of Veerappa Nayakkar and is known as the Veerappa Nayakkar wall.
In the outer area, at the northern end, is the 100 pillar Mandapam, and the very sacred Shiva Ganga Tank. This perhaps is one of the largest found in any Shiva Sthala and has finely cut steps all around. To the east of the beautiful chariot shaped Shrine of Lord Murugan is the 1000 pillar Mandapam, and this is where all the decorations for Lord Nataraja are done during the Ani and Margazhi festivals.
The 2nd Prakara has the Nritya Sabha. Lord Shiva is said to have danced here with Goddess Kali. This Sabha is shaped like a chariot, and has wheels and horses. The northern area has a granite sculpture representing the holy tree of this Sthala (Thillai Tree). 63 Nayanmars, 26 images of Shiva and the Sree Chakra are painted on the opposite wall. The area of the Chit Sabha (Sanctum Sanctorum) and the Kanaka Sabha is known as the Ponnambalam. 9 golden Kalashas form the crest of the Chit Sabha. They represent the 9 different powers. The Ponnambalam rests on 64 wooden rafters, symbolizing 64 different art forms. The 21,699 tiles is said to be the daily breathe count of man, and the 72,000nails are the Nadis. The idol is placed a little to the left and not in the middle, this is said to represent the position of the human heart. The temple represents the body and the position of the idol, the heart. The 5 pillars indicate the 5 senses.
In the Kanaka Sabha, the 18 pillars symbolize the 18 Puranas; the 5 silver steps, the Panchaakshara and the 96 silver interstices denote the 96 different cults. The 10 pillars of the Brahma Pida are the 6 Shastras and the 4 Vedas. The Pranava and Sadashiva Pidas are installed as per the religious injunctions of the Chidambaram Rahsyam. The Spatika Linga (The white crystal Linga, and one among the 5 Lingas brought by Adi Shankara from Kailkash) that forms the crescent of Shiva’s crown, the gem decked Ratna Sabapathi, Svarnakala Bairavar and the Bali Vinayaka is kept here. To the right of Sabha Nayaka in the Chit Sabha is the Chidambaram Rahsyam.
HOW TO REACH?
Chidambaram is 80 km from Kumbakonam. Buses are also available from Madurai (310 km) Trichy (182 km) and Chennai (250 km). The nearest Bus and Railway Station are 1 km away from the Temple. The nearest Airport is at Trichy (190 km).
WHERE TO STAY
There are good hotels and lodges available at Chidambaram.
The famous other Temple is The Thillai Kali Temple in the out skirts of Chidambaram
Posted in Religion.
– August 8, 2006
Om Bhur Bhuva Svaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayat
Aum is sacred resonance and sound of cosmic creation. When Aum is used
with other sacred syllables it has an inherent power, known as “Mantra
Shakti”. Vibrations of this sound create a positive influence within
the body and around where it is chanted.
This sound is the beginning of Gayatri Mantra and is a most powerful
Ancient religions evolved from a way of life, thoughts and actions that
preserved and created in its entirety harmony, health and peace. Nature
was respected to the fullest and regarded as Mother. All forms of life
were respected, including the five elements (Earth, water, air, fire
and cosmic space or ether). The simple thought of being a friend to every
aspect in universe and simple joys of life can open conscious mind to
Everything in nature matures and expands towards positive enchantment.
People stop maturing mentally after a certain age. Their beliefs either
destroy or preserve all good attributes (Karmas) achieved in this birth
and what has been carried over from previous births. Negative emotions
and fears control all aspects of life, and impulsive impetus sets in
resulting in inactivity and pessimism. This mental aberration is the
result of a society degenerated for centuries because of prejudiced
beliefs, attitudes and cultures.
Human race have transformed from higher form of spiritual awareness to
lower levels of thought, which is materialistic, selfish and
constrained to sects. This loud declaration of transience plays an important role
in the passion and frenzied life styles of today. Contained everywhere
there are boundless energies of pervading forces sustaining and
creating positive energies. True knowledge transcends time and space. Gayatri,
Savitri and Saraswathi are dormant in everybody. Bhur, Bhuvah and Suvah
in the Gayatri Mantra refer to body (Physical), life force (Prana) and
soul (Illumination). Suvaha is Prajnana or Prana Shakti and is life
force. Chanting this Mantra attains a rhythmic and harmonious fusion of
physical, Prana and illumination, which result in chemical activity
opening many Chakras or energy points in our body that awaken these dormant
forces. Remember we live in chemical activity. Life ceases when this
action stops. This reaction is similar to other paths of spiritual
discoveries and Gayatri Mantra is the most simple among them. This is the
metaphysical constitution of Gayatri Mantra.. To benefit from sacred chant
one should have a universal spiritual philosophy of simplicity, purity
in mind and unconditional love for everything in cosmic reality.
Apart from potent positive sound vibrations, what does the Sloka
OM is the most sacred sound and is static form of cosmic energy or Para
Brahman and is the origin of creation.
BHUR is Bhuloka (Physical world) and represents body that is made up of
5 Pancha Bhutas (5 elements) and constitutes Prakriti (Nature).
BHUVA or Bhuva Loka is middle world and symbolizes the subtle body,
atmosphere and Prana Shakti (Life sustaining energy). However, it is
awareness or Prajnana that facilitates this Shakti.
SVAHA is Swarga Loka or Heaven and is Atman (Soul) and causal body.
TAT mean ‘that’ or Paramatma and is God (The Ultimate Reality is simply
referred to as ‘That’ because it defies depiction.)
SAVITUR mean from where all creation happen and is the protector
Savitri, the luminous, life-giving energy of the sun.
VARENYAM – Supreme Consciousness that inspires adoration and fit to be
BHARGO – The Light that bestows wisdom, radiance, luster, illumination
and destroyer of ignorance
DEVASYA – Divine Reality
DHEEMAHI – We meditate on knowledge of the Absolute
DHIYO – Buddhi or Intellect
YO – Which is
NAH – Our
PRACHODAYAT – Enlightenment.
This Mantra can be interpreted in many ways, and it is best for the
practitioner to understand true meaning from knowledge accumulated by
chanting this Sloka. Gayatri Mantra inspires perception, and constitutes
the philosophy “ Almighty God enlighten our intellect “. Mind is
diversity and intellect or Buddhi, comprehend this and unity or harmony is
achieved. It is through unison that divinity and sanctify of Atman (Soul)
When the Mantra is chanted with correct pronunciations, musical tone
and purity the place starts to resound with positive
vibrations. In the beginning it is chanted, then churned in larynx and finally
hummed in the mind. Harmony of Pancha Bhutas within the body and
externally happens, and begins to dispel all negative emotions. Primarily a
psychic self-defense against natural negative forces is built. Entities
and fears are controlled. Peace with every thing manifests in thought and
action. This state of mind if positively harnessed can attune mind and
body to merge with divine consciousness.
Gayatri Mantra inspires righteous wisdom and enlightens our mind. This
is the most important teaching and constitutes the philosophy of this
faith. Most mental and physical problems of a person are solved if
endowed with righteous wisdom. This astuteness grows from within, activated
by sacred sounds, which was bestowed from another dimension of
knowledge. This knowledge like the Sun extinguishes darkness and destroys
unawareness. Sri Krishna in the Bhagvad Geeta says: ” Among Mantras, I am
Gayatri Mantra consists of 24 syllables and legend say that Sage
Vishvamitra created this Sloka. According to the Skanda Purana there is no
knowledge or chants equal to Gayatri, which contains the essence of all
Vedas and Brahmanas.
Gayatri Devi is an embodiment of Saraswati Devi, consort of Lord
Brahma, representing aspects of “Shakti” (strength) and “Dev” (quality)
Knowledge in purest form. Awareness gained by chanting this Mantra bestowed
knowledge of four Vedas to Maha Rishis. Vedas are considered to be the
source of all true knowledge and the word “Veda” means “Knowledge”.
“Gayatri Mantra” is also known as “Guru Mantra” and “Savitri Mantra”.
Ga in Sanskrit implies ‘sing’ and Yatri means protection.
The Gayatri Mantra does not belong to any particular sect or worship.
It is a true knowledge of sound in the ancient language of Sanskrit and
is for a universal community, which is one world, one race.
Posted in Religion.
– August 8, 2006
Temples of Kerala
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEMPLE
THE SREE KRISHNA TEMPLE
PARTHASARATHY AND BALAKRISHNA
DISCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE
Among the lush green landscape and gently swaying coconut palms lies Ambalapuzha. Situated 12 KM south of Alleppey. Ambalapuzha literally means Temple River. And located here is a very special Sri Krishna Temple. So special that the sweetness can be tasted in the Paal Payasam (sweet milk porridge), the offering made to the Lord. The Lord is worshipped here as Parthasarathy the Divine charioteer of Arjuna. In this form He gave the world The Bhagavad Gita, the most revered Text of Hindus.
The Idol is installed by Saint Vilwamangala and faces east. The Lord has a whip in one hand and
a Conch in the other and dressed in the attire of the Divine Charioteer-Parthasarathi. He is also worshipped here as Balakrishna-The Divine Child
Idols of Ganapathi and Nagadevatha are installed under a huge Banyan Tree in front of the Temple.Guruvayurambalam is the place where the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan was once kept for a short time. This was in 965M.E during the invasion of Tipu Sultan. (The invading army of Tipu Sultan were plundering Temples and destroying Idols and Statues .To protect the Idol it was for a brief time kept in this Temple).
There is a 10 day festival from March-April and has a large number of dance performances.
When Saint Vilwamangala visited Ambalapuzha Chembakasseri Raja the King of Ambalapuzha took the Saint for a river excursion. The beautiful rhythm in the boat created by the river and the oarsmen together with the serenity of the place had a magical effect on the Saint. From the banks the lilting air brought fragrances of different flowers and the divine sound of the flute. The Saint in all his awareness knew that it was Krishna. Following the sound they reached the spot to realize that the music was coming out from a Banyan Tree. The Saint had the vision of Krishna inside the Tree. He instructed the King to build a Temple and to make an enchanting statue. .When the time to install the Idol came, the Namboodhiri of Putamana Illam was called in to perform the ritual. The learned Tantri found a defect in the statue and therefore refused to continue with the ceremony. The King was extremely disappointed. The people questioned the verdict of the Namboodhiri. The enraged Namboodhiri took an iron rod and hit the statue. It broke and to the amazement of everyone around a frog jumped out of the broken statue and water started gushing out. The original idol of Parathasarathy was brought from the nearby village. It was re-installed in the Ambalapuzha Temple with the help of Saint Vilwamangala.. This happened on the Thiruvonam day of the Mithuna month in the year 769KE (1584-85 AD)
Ambalapuzha is situated 12 KM from Alleppey.The nearest railway station is Tiruvalla.The closest airport is at Kochi-76 KM.Alleppey with her back waters and canals holds a water carnival and boat race every year on Independence Day.
WHERE TO STAY
There are good lodges and hotels in Alleppey
TEMPLE MANAGEMENT AND ADDRESS.
The Temple is managed by the Devasam Board
The Sri Krishna Temple
Phone: 0477 272090
Pooja rate incl articles
Ashtadivya Ganapathy homam
Paneer, milk, ghee, basmam, kumkum, tender coconut, honey, oil abhishekam
Vella !/4 litre
Sarkara payasam ¼ lt
Pal payasam ¼ lit
Idichu pizhinja payasam ¼ lit
Kadum payasam ¼ lit
Aravana ¼ lit
Appam ¼ lit
Ada ¼ lit
Mothakam ¼ lit
Panchakaryam / ghee Jabichu kodukke
Bhagyasooktha archana sathrusamhara Pushpanjali mrithyanja archana
Palayum kayuram nadakkuvaikkunnathinu
CHENGANOR MAHADEVA TEMPLE
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEMPLE.
THE CHENGANOOR MAHADEVA TEMPLE
SHIVA AND PARVATI
DESCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE.
This Temple is located in Chenganoor-Alleppey district and is one of the 18 Shaktipeetas in the CountryThe Shiva Linga is 3.5 feet in length and the idol of Goddess Parvati made out of Panchaloha is about 2.5 feet high and decked with dazzling jewels. Pushpanjali is one of the famous Poojas and is performed to the Goddess and done for 41 days.. Poojas are also done to ward off evil influences. Built on 6 acres of land it is one of the biggest Temple in Kerala
Both the images of the Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are enshrined in a circular Srikovil .The Shivalinga is three and a half feet high and faces east. The Linga is enveloped in a golden covering or Kavacha. This is made in the Ardhanari or half-man-half-woman form. The image of Goddess Chenganoor Bhagavati faces west and placed behind the Lord’s Garbhagriha is two and a half feet in height and made of Panchaloha .The Goddess is shown with the Varamudra on her right hand and the Abhayamudra on the left hand. The deity is decked with various dazzling jewels.
Near the western Gopuram there is a mini shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna.
There are also other shrines here dedicated to Ganapati,Neelasiva,Sthaleesa,Dharmashastha,Ganga and Gangadhara..
Thriputtu Aarattu is a famous ritual conducted monthly.This is performed when the Devi has her periods.
The Deity is taken in procession on a Female Elephant during Dhanu Masam Festival (Dec-Jan).
Navrathri is another important Festival in the month of Thulam (Oct-Nov).
The Shivarathiri is observed in a grand manner in the month of Kumbam (Feb-Mar).
The Chitra Pournami is celebrated during Medam (Apr-May).
The legend from antiquity portrays the importance of the harmony shared by the Male and the Female aspect of Energies .This symbolic interpretation shows the violent turmoil when the Divine nexus is disturbed by Ahahamkhara or ego. When Daksha Prajapati the Father of Sati conducted a Pooja. He invited all the Gods except Lord Shiva. This offended Sati and the disrespect given to Her Lord and Husband was unbearable. To save Honor and maintain the code of respect for Her Lord She immolated herself through Yogic Powers .When Shiva heard about the incident He was seized with fury. He destroyed the whole clan of Daksha.Then the Lord started the dance of destruction in His fury to destroy the Universe. To stop the terrible wrath Lord Vishnu split the body of Sati which was carried by Shiva. The body fell in 18 different places.These places are known as Shakthipeethas.The reproductive organ fell in Chenganoor.The Deity here gets her monthly periods.
The Temple is one of the biggest in Kerala built on six acres of land. With entrances from east and west.
At the eastern entrance there is a huge three tired Gopuram or Tower.
The Temple is surrounded by a massive Prakara.The main entrance takes you to the Anakottil or the spacious elephant shed. Next to it is the Koothambalam.(Area for any cultural performance)
Right in front of the Koothambalam is the Dhwajasthambam or Flag Mast which is gold plated. Then comes the Balikalpura followed by the Mukhamandapam.
Beyond that is the circular Srikovil which has a copper roof..
The image of Lord Shiva faces east, and that of Bhagavati the Goddess faces west. The Goddess is installed behind the garbhagriha of the Lord. The wodden pillars and exteriors of the temple are adorned with beautiful carvings.
HOW TO REACH
Chengannoor is well connected by bus and train. The nearest bus and railway stations are 2 km away from the temple. The nearest airport is 80 km away at Cochin.
WHERE TO STAY
Chengannur is a small town but one can get fairly decent accommodation there. Kottayam town is 20 km away and has many good lodges and hotels.
TheTemple is managed by the Devaswom board through the Administrative Officer
The Chenganoor Mahadeva Temple
Alleppey district Kerala State
Phone – 0479 450555
Muzhukappu kizhakkenada – Devi(east)
Muzhukappu Padinjar nada(west)
Aiyilyam for nagaraja
KADAMPUZHA BHAGAVATHY TEMPLE.
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEMPLE.
SREE KADAMPUZHA BHAGAVATHI TEMPLE
DISCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE
Kadampuzha is a small village in Mallapuram district and known for the Bhagavathy Temple.The uniqueness of this Temple is the absence of the Idol .The intense Divine Energy of the Goddess was consecrated by Adi Shankara in a small hole. In fact it was so intense The Saint installed Lord Narasimha facing south and Lord Sudarsana facing north to sustain the force. Only then were people able to access the Divine Mother and worship her. The Temple Is closed after 6 pm.
THE MAIN DEITY
The Pooja for the main Deity is done in a Garbhagriha in the Sanctum Santorum. There is no Idol of the Goddess. Instead the Poojas are performed through the hole where the Goddess was consecrated by Adi Shankara and is about 6 cm in diameter. A Thidambu’ made of Panchaloha is placed to represent the Goddess.
On either side of the Goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum Poojas are performed to Lord Ganesha and Mahavishnu. As there are no Idols representing them the Poojas are done by Sankalpa (Imagining the Divine Presence). Outside the Sanctum Sanctorum the Idol of Lord Narasimha and Sudarsana is installed on a raised platform. To the north of the temple is Goddess Naga Kanya . Outside the Prakara near the southern entrance is Shasta (Ayyappa idol).
After a Deva Prasana done in 1974 it revealed that no Festivals should be conducted here. However to commemorate the event of the manifestation of the Goddess in this spot which is said to have taken place here, the Karthika day in Vrishchika Month (Nov – Dec) is observed as Prathishta Dinam or installation day. The Poomoodal (covering with flowers) is the most important ritual to honor the goddess. The Poomoodal ceremony is booked in advance. .Only one family is allowed to worship at that time and this ritual done only one day in a year ,bookings have been made for this offering up to the year 2016.
Adi Shankara in his quest for reality and truth traveled far and wide searching for Gurus and learning from the Unlimited Knowledge bestowed on all by Mother Nature.The Saint through meditation had awakened his spiritual perceptions. His Divine Vision had opened. Lord Shiva wanted to test Shankara’s spiritual ability. So He sent his consort Goddess Parvati to show her presence. As She approached, Adi Shankara could see the glow coming from the East. The powerful glow did not allow the Saint to get close. The Saint contemplated on the Goddess and prayed for Her Darshan. The glow began to diminish and disappeared into a hole in the ground. It was Goddess Kirata Parvati in her Twarita Bhava (expression of speed). He worshipped that spot after covering the hole with a leaf. As the disciples found the power to be too intense, the saint installed Lord Narasimha facing south and Lord Sudarsana facing north to sustain the power so that devotees could offer Poojas. What is strange is that both these Deities are in a single Idol. Only Adi Shankara could have consecrated them on the same idol .Since than the Goddess has been showering her Divine Blessings to all her devotees.
There is no Idol inside the Sanctum Sanctorum and there are no Ornamental Towers (Gopuras or Enclosures) as in other Major Temples.
Several buses ply to Kadambuzha from Calicut which is 50 km away. The nearest railway station is at Kuttipuram which is 11 km from the Temple. There are buses from railway station to the Temple regularly. The nearest airport is at Calicut.
WHERE TO STAY?
In Calicut there are several good hotels and lodges for accommodation.
The Temple opens at 6.30 am and closes at 1 pm. It reopens at 3 pm and is closed by 6 pm. The Temple affairs are managed by HR & CE through an Executive Officer. An Embarandiri does the pooja here. Temple address:
Sree Kadampuzha Bhagavathi Devaswam
Kadampuzha – 676553
Malappuram District-Kerala State
Phone: 0494 615790
VAZHIPADU AND RATES
Katinapayasam (250 ml)
Mala pooja (Malayidal)
Poonaoodal (no booking)
One day pooja
INTRODUCTION TO THE TEMPLE
GURUVAYUR 680 101
DISCRIPTION OF THE TEMPLE
Guruvayoor is 31 km from Trichurr town. The greatness of the Temple is mainly because of the unique charm of the idol enshrined in the Sanctum Sanctorum.The Idol is said to be carved out of Patalanjana sila and therefore is very sacred. It was installed by the Guru of the Gods Brihaspati and Lord of the Wind – Vayu,to be worshipped by devotees for salvation.Hence the name Guruvayurappan.The Deity is considered as the Divine Healer.The first feeding of rice to children is done here.(Anna Prasna)
The Idol of Lord Guruvayoorappan is enshrined in the Sanctum Sanctorum.The Idol with a captivating countenance and an infectious smile has four Hands and stands facing east.The Upper Hands carries the Conch) and Disc.In the lower Right Hand the Lord carries the Lotus and the Mace in the Left Hand.
Behind the main shrine there is a small shrine dedicated to Lord Vinayaka. In the northeast there is a temple of Goddess Bhagavathi. There is also a Shasta (Ayyappa) temple in the southeast corner.
The Annual Festival is conducted In the month of Kumbha (Feb-Mar) It goes on for ten days.A colorful elephant race is held. Hundreds of Elephants run through the street to finally reach the final finishing line-The Temple.
Next is Vishu which is in Meda Masam (usually on the 14th April) Devotees throng the Temple on the previous night to have the Darshan of the Lord on the dawn of Vishu Day
.Ashtamirohini the Birthday of Lord Krishna which falls in the Chingam month (Aug-Sept) is celebrated with great fanfare.
According to the Puranas the Idol at Guruvayoor was first worshipped by Sri Mahavishnu. He handed it over to Brahma the creator. Kashyapa was given this by Brahma. Kashyapa in his next birth as Vasudeva worshipped the Lord together with his wife Devaki..Then it was worshipped by their Son Lord Krishna Himself. Before leaving the earth Krishna instructed his devotee Udhava to hand over the idol to Brihaspati and Vayu so that it could be placed in a suitable place where everyone could come and worship.
Both Brihaspati an Vayu searched everywhere to find a suitable place.They reached the present temple spot and saw Lord Shiva doing penance. Shiva advised them to to install the Idol.and moved to a nearby place called Mammiyoor along with His consort. Thereafter Brihaspati and Vayu installed the idol for regular worship as per the injunction of the scriptures.Hence the name Guruvayupura or Guruvayur..
The Temple is surrounded by high walls.There are Two Towers on the Eastern and Western sides.On entering the Eastern Tower one reaches the Ballikallu dedicated to Brihaspati and Vayu.Right in front of it is the Dhwajasthamba.There is a Koothambalam on the south eastern corner which is meant for entertainment.In the vast courtyard there are several rooms for storing, cooking etc.Opposite to the Main Temple is Vathilmadom.Next to it there is a big Mandapam.Which leads to the Sanctum Sanctorum.
HOW TO REACH
Guruvayoor is 31 km from Trichur. There is a railway and bus station which is 1 km away from the temple. The nearest airport is at Cochin, 115 km away.
WHERE TO STAY
The temple administration has provided lodging facilities near the temple. Apart from that several good lodges and hotels are available in Guruvayoor.
The Temple is managed by the Guruvayoor devaswom through the administrator
Guruvayoor 680 101
Tel: 0487 556660
Sugar and plantain
Butter after japam
Alankaram with kalabham (6 ball)
Kalabham (1 ball)
Kalabham ( 1 packet)
For lighting the lamps in the Sreekovil with ghee
Oil abhishekam (1/4 litre)
Malar nivedyam (1/4 litre)
Ashtapathi (one chapter)
Geetha (one chapter)
Bhagavatham (one chapter)
Narrayaneeyam (one dasaka)
Udayasthamana pooja (for booking
Illumination in the Bhagavathi temple
Malayidal for sabarimala
Kettunira for sabarimala
Thulabaram (thattil panam)
Maintenance of elephants
Two wheeler / three wheeler
Four wheeler / jeep/car etc
Saptha Sudhi abhishekam
Saptha Sudhi abhishekam (minimum)
Tulabharam : Substances equal to the weight of the devotee is offered.
Annaprasana : The first feeding ceremony of the child.
Chittuvalakku : The outside of the Temple is decorated with lamps.
Vaakachartu : The ceremonial bathing before decorating the Idol.
Udayastamana pooja :The Pooja from sunrise to sunset.
Alroopan : Offering small images of God in gold or silver.This is done to ward off defects in the various limbs of the body.
Posted in Religion.
– August 8, 2006