384. Our visit to temples – Part VII

Our last day journey started on Thursday. First, we visited Ramalingaswamy temple in Papanasam.   Shiva is worshipped as Ramalingaswamy and his consort  as Parvadhavardhini.   This is a temple of wonderful rarity and pleasantness filling the soul of the devotees with its 108 Shiva Lingas gracing from the very sanctum sanctorum itself that too, as presiding deities.   According to legends, this temple was build by Lord Rama and the 108 Shiva lingas were installed by him. Even though Ravana was a demon, he was a great Shiva Bhakta. By killing him, Lord Rama had got Dosha. To ward of this Dosha, he installed the 108 lingas. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva in this temple would remove all sins. There is a seperate huge Linga called Hanumantha Linga which is believed to have been installed by Lord Hanuman.It is a wonderful sight to see all the other lingas arranged equally in three rows. This temple is a must see for all those who visit Kumbakonam.

Our next visit is to Garbarakshambigai Amman temple at Thirukkarugavur.  The main deity Shiva is known as Mullaivananathar. The remarkable feature which distinguishes this temple from the other shrines is that, Goddess Sri Garbarakshambigai Amman here cures infertility related problems to women, blesses them to conceive and also helps them for safe and trouble free delivery.  A couple by name Nidhruva and Vedikai  had no children. They worshiped Sri Garbarakshambigai. The couple did that with intense devotion and their prayers got answered. Vedikai got conceived.

During her later stage of pregnancy and while her husband Nidhruva was away from home she was in a faint state due to the strain of pregnancy. At this moment, a sage by name Sri.Urdhuvapada came to her abode and asked for alms. Due to her unconscious state of mind, she did not respond to that sage’s request. The sage was enraged at this apparent indifference and cursed her without knowing the exact reason for her silence. Due to the curse, her fetus got disintegrated and descended. Shocked Vedikai prayed to the Goddess in great distress. The Goddess appeared before her, protected the fetus, preserved it in a sacred pot until it developed into a male child and presented it to the devoted couple. The parents named their child as ‘Naidhuruvan’. Struck by this great act of benevolence of the Almighty Goddess, the immensely grateful Vedikai prayed to the Goddess to remain in this place and protect women and their foetus as she had done in her case.

Then, we went to Thittai, Guru sthalam. Since it was thursday, there was heavy rush in the temple. The temple is unique in having a separate temple inside the main temple for Guru. The presiding deity is Vasishteeswarar and His cojsort is known as Ulaganayagi. A unique feature of this temple is a drop of water falls on the Lingam (Main Deity) exactly every twenty four minutes (1 Naazhigai) from the roof. But for a small hole, there is no source of water or anything, on the Vimana of the main deity.

Our final visit is to Brihadeeshwarar temple at Thanjavur.  Located in the town of Thanjavur, also called as ‘Big Temple’. This is main temple from the group of Chola Temples which comprise world heritage site.   The temple stands within a fort.  The towering vimanam, known as Dakshin Meru,  is about 200 feet in height. The octagonal Shikaram rests on a single block. and huge nandhis dot the corners. The big Shivalingam is set in a two storeyed sanctum and the walls surrounding the sanctum delight devotees as a store house of sculpture. The long praharams surround this big temple. The Ambal here is known as Periyanayagi.    This   the Big temple is the best example of excellent workmanship, grandeur and it has stood the testimony of time with its magnificent central dome which is a great attraction for one and all.  The most intersting part of this temple is the shadow of the temple, which surprisingly never falls on the ground at noon. It is the first complete granite temple. There are some musical pillars producing different sounds when tapped.

We finished our journey early and reached Thanjavur railway station by 1 PM after finishing lunch. The train came by 4 PM and reached Coimbatore by 9.30 PM. We reached home with full refreshment to body and mind. We didn’t feel tired anywhere in these four days by God’s grace. The trip was really good. Thank God.

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