This is the 2nd part of the Two Part Article, the first part (Click on the link for the 1st Part) includes some information about 8th and 9th of the Shodasha (16) Samskaras (loosely the rites of passage in English) and also about the temple, Shri Kandaswamy Temple that we were blessed to visit for performing these Samskaras. The Second Part (this one) is a related temple, Arulmigu Baalambiga Sameta Kailasanathar Temple (Dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva) situated on the North Western side of the famous Shri Kandaswamy Temple.
This amazing temple is situated on top of Pranavamalai, Thiruporur the on Old Mahabalipuram Road, about 40 kms from Chennai and 10kms before Mahabalipuram. Click on this link Google map location of the Thiruporur Arulmigu Shri Kailasnathar Temple.
It is in this place that Murugan expounds meaning of Pranava (Om) to Agastya Muni. The very Pranava Principle itself worshipped Murugan in Thiruporur and took the form of a Hill, called Pranavamalai on which Shri Kailasanathar with His Consort, Shri Balambigai made their abode. Bhagwan Vishnu and Lakshmi who were cursed by Sage Kanva were redeemed of the curse after they worshipped Shiva as Vanmeeganathar in this temple. It is believed that Muruga Himself worshipped Arulmigu Vanmeeganathar (Shiva) and washed off his sins of killing Asura Shoorapadman (even if it were of Asuras, one accumulate sins).
Mahalakshmi took the form of a Neem tree and did penance for redemption due to curse of Sage Kanva. There is a temple of Ganapati below this tree and He is known as Vembadi Vinayagar here.
What is unique (and Unusual) to this temple pair is that Bhagwan Shiva’s abode is on top of a hill and his son, Murugan (as Shri Kandaswamy) is at the bottom. The Temple entrance is on the southern side of Main Deities (Kailasanathar and Balambigai) who are facing East and the Dwajasthamba and Nandi is on the Eastern side facing the Sanctum Sanctorum through a Window.
The abode of Srimad Chidambara Swamigal is on the Northern side of the Temple and there is a secret underground tunnel which is believed to divide into two paths midway, one leading to Chidamabara Swamigal’s Jeeva Samadhi and the other to Shri Kandaswamy Temple. Currently the tunnel is closed.
On the Koshta (outer wall around the garbhagriha or inner sanctum sanctorum) we can find Ganesha, Dhakshinamoorthy, Lingodhbavar, Brahma and Durga. The prakara has upadevalayas for Kasi Viswanatha, Shri Kalabhairava, Surya & Veerabadhra.
The lady selling Flowers and Bilva Patra, an old timer in this temple also said, “Not many know that we are supposed to visit Kailasanathar Temple, before visiting Shri Kandaswamy Temple. Many pilgrims skip this temple. A Pilgrimage to Thiruporur is never considered complete without visiting Kailasanathar and then Muruga Temple”
This is a Two Part Article, the first one includes some information about 8th and 9th of the Shodasha (16) Samskaras (loosely the rites of passage in English) and also about the temple, Shri Kandaswamy Temple that we were blessed to visit for performing these Samskaras. The 2nd Part is a related temple, Arulmigu Baalambiga Sameta Kailasanathar Temple.
The auspicious occasion of Karnavedha (Ear Piercing) and Choodakarma (Tonsuring) samskaras of our Grandson Anay, is what took us back after nearly 20 years to this amazing temple town on Old Mahabalipuram Road, about 40 kms from Chennai and 10kms before Mahabalipuram. Click on this link Google map location of the Thiruporur Arulmigu Shri Kandaswamy Temple.
Choodakarma Samskara (Mundan or Tonsuring rites of passage)
This sacred instrument (razor), made of metal (steel) which is as strong as Vajra (a weapon), be fit for cutting the hair. Let it not cause any pain whatsoever or inflict any harm to this child. O Child! I perform this ceremony so that you can attain a long life, possess positive power, strength and wealth, good progeny and vigour.
There are some schools where Choodakarma is 9th Samskara, but we follow this as 8th one, followed by Karnavedha (as 9th).
This Samskara has been in practice since Vedic ages as evidence by its mentions in Yajurveda, Atharva Veda and various other Samhitas. Symbolically hair is considered to represent our Raga and Dwesha (Extreme Preferences and Aversions). Since hair is countless just like the sins and undesirable traits that are accumulated over several births and lifetimes, removal of the same symbolises a clean start. A small tuft called Shika or Chooda to represent the roof of a chariot (our body) is left behind on the head. According to Sushruta (the Sage who performed the first Surgery of mankind), on the top portion is the Marma Sthana, a junction of critical blood vessels where life force is supposed to be stored. Death is instant if any damage occurs to the marma sthana. Therefore the Shikha also acts as a protective shield.
Karnavedha Samskara (Ear-piercing rites of passage)
The 9th of the 16 Samsakaras, Karnavedha is during which the lobes of the ears of an infant are pierced through for protecting it from diseases Raksha-nimit (protection) and for the purpose of ornamentation (Abhushanartha). The procedure is described in Chapter 16, Volume 1 of Sushruta Samhita
What was admirable was the way the Goldsmith in the temple, looked through the earlobe, marking the perfect spot for piercing. He later explained that a natural fissure can be detected and marked by him. Piercing is done exactly at that spot and if we pierce in any other place, it would cause bleeding and pain and chances of infection too.
Karnvedha is performed on right ear first in male child and left ear first in female child, which is to balance and harmonize the male and female energy flow in the body organ system subsequently. It is also believed that the first injury has to be with some precious metal where the natural healing characteristics develop and immunity is built into the body without injuring itself not causing infection. From the Ayurvedic angle (Sushruta), it is believed that sun’s rays give good health, when they pass through the holes of the ear. When a metal like gold is used, it removes diseases like hernia etc. Also, there are special nerve centers (such as between eyebrows, temple etc.) in various parts and they get activated when ear lobes are pierced.
Not writing much about both the samskaras as there are enough material on the web. The rituals were performed in Arulmigru Shri Kandaswamy Temple in Thiruporur. This 2-part Article is more about both Arulmigu Shri Kandaswamy Temple and Shri Balambigai Sameta Arulmigu Shri Kailasanathar Temple both ancient temples, and related to each other historically and also ritualistically.
Arulmigru Shri Kandaswamy Temple
Thiruporur, a town in Chengalpet district has come a long way from being a coastal hamlet in 2004 when I had visited in 2004. Located on the Old Chennai-Mahabalipuram road, it now a well developed town with modern eateries (branded ones) and excellent lodging and stay facility.
According to the legend Murugan fought demons in three geographies – on land in Thirupurakundram, on sea in Thiruchendur and in air in Thiruporur. After slaying slaying Asura Shoorapadman in Thiruchendur, Murugan as Kandaswamy encounters Asura Thalayaya. He fights fiercely and kills him in the war carried out in Air (Ether). This signifies victory over Pride and arrogance and helps devotees to overcome these negative traits. Thiruporur gets its name after “Por” in Tamizh means war/battle waged by Murgan to vanquish Thalayaya asura.
It is believed that Muruga Himself worshipped Arulmigu Vanmeeganathar (Shiva) and washed off his sins of killing Asura Shoorapadman (even if it were of Asuras, one accumulate sins) in Shri Kandaswamy Temple. It is in this place that Murugan expounds meaning of Pranava (Om) to Agastya Muni. The very Pranava Principle itself worshipped Murugan in Thiruporur and took the form of a Hill, called Pranavamalai. Bhagwan Vishnu and Lakshmi who were cursed by Sage Kanva were redeemed of the curse after they worshipped Shiva as Vanmeeganathar in Thiruporur on the Pranavamalai.
Tirupporur temple has Pallava and Chola inscriptions from as early as the 10th and 12th century respectively. There is an inscription on a stone pillar that confirms that temple must have been built by Pallavas because of the engravings, Atyantakama Pallava and Adiranachandra clearly attributable to Pallava Supremo, Rajasimha (Narasimha Varma II). Though it is clear that Tirupporur was its resplendent best during that era, it somehow fell off the glory in the interim until Thiruporur Adheenam Founder, Srimad Chidambara Swamigal, descendant of a poet of Madurai Tamil Sangam, acting on a vision he got of Madurai Meenakshi with instructions to restore and rebuild Temple for Murugan in Thiruporur somewhere around 17th Century. Some of the inscriptions also refer to Thiruporur as Samarapuri and Yuddhapuri (all meaning the same – Place of the battle)
Srimad Chidambara Swamigal
One of the most revered figure closely associated with Thiruporur is Founder of the Adheenam, Srimad Chidambara Swamigal, a direct descendant of a Tamil Sangam Poet of Madurai and an ardent devotee of Madurai Meenakshi. He began a severe penance seeking vision of Mother Meenakshi and gave up food completely as part of penance. Pleased with his devotion, Meenakshi appears before him and as he opened his eyes, he sees her Divine Feet and hears sounds of her anklets. She then raised him to his feet and upon Her touch, his skin turns into Gold Color. She then instructs him to build a Temple for Muruga in Thiruporur as Six earlier attempts to do it had failed. He then reaches Thiruporur and finds that it as just a Palm Tree forest and no signs of any Temple construction earlier. Murti of Murugan as Swayambhu (self emerging) lay covered by an anthill. While he was in despair at this futility, Murugan Himself appears as a small boy and leads Swamigal to the location where the Swayambhu Murtis of Seven Feet Tall Shri Muruga with His Consorts, Valli and Devayani laid covered by Anthill beneath a Palm Tree. Muruga is also believed to have given him a vision of the plan for Sanctum Sanctorum. Since the Moola Murtis are Swayambus and are under the Palm tree, no Abhishekam is performed to these murtis and Abhisheka and Aradhanas are performed on Abhishekam is performed only to the Utsava Deities installed in the Temple. Srimad Chidambara Swamigal has installed a powerful Yantra in the temple premises.
The priest in charge of this explained that the Yantra has the Bheejaksharas of Ganesha, Subramanya, Valli, Devayanai, Shiva, Parvati, Chandikeshwara, Ashta Dikpalakas, Bhairava engraved on it. The Yantra is a reflection of powerful energies of the Temple. Performing Mantra Japa in front of the Yantra or performing Pradakshina arthe Powerful form of Worship that will fulfill our prayers. The Peetam/Base of the Yantra is held by Koorma, Ashtagaja and Ashtanaga.
The Pushkarini or Thirukulam called Valliyar Odai is situated on the Southern direction of the Temple and maintained extremely well.
In literature, Arunagirinatha has composed Tiruppugazh in praise of Shri Kandaswamy as also has Ashtavadanam Sabhapati Mudaliar. Other noteworthy works relating to this Temple are Tirupporur Kovali, Tirupporur Anadadi and the songs of Ramalinga Vallalar and Pamban Swamigal.
Sharing some pictures clicked in the temple
Arulmiga Kandawami ku Ara aro hara;
Vertivel Muruganikkku Ara aro hara
Please provide your valuable feedback, especially if there are any errors in the documentation. The priest explaining it was using literature form of Tamizh and I could have comprehended it wrong
On our repeated pilgrimages to Kumbakonam region, a visit to Kovilvenni a town near Needamangalam in Thiruvarur District about 24 km away from Thanjavur, was missed due to some reasons or the other. When we went to Kumbakonam Navagraha circuit in December 2021, we had resolved that we had to have a darshan in this temple at any cost. But then Arulmigu Soundara Nayagi sameta Shri Vennikarumbeshwararar blessings was not forthcoming as we had to rush back to Bengaluru. Finally on 14th August 2022, our wishes fructified and By Shiva! What an amazing time was in the offing. It only goes on to prove, it is His time and call not ours anyway. The highlight for us, after Darshan of the Bhagwan, was very learned and knowledgeable Chief Archaka Shri Prabhakar Shivacharya AVL – his affable, patient explanation of the sthala purana (Historical Significance of the Shrine).
The temple dedicated to Shiva, as the Moolavar (Presiding deity), manifested as Shri Vennikarumbeswarar. Upadevata is His consort, Parvati, known as Arulmigu Soundaranayagi. The historical name of the place is Tiruvenni. It is one of the shrines of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams – Shiva Sthalams glorified in the early medieval Tevaram poems by Tamil Saivite Nayanars Tirugnanasambandar and Tirunavukkarasar. Koilvenni Arulmigu Karumbeshwarar Temple in 102nd of Paadal Petra Sthalams on the Southern bank of River Kaveri. He is also known as Venni Nathar, Rasapureeswarar, Triambakanathar It is believed that patients suffering from any ailments especially diabetes will be cured of the disease if they make an offering of sugar to the main deity at this temple. “Karumbu” in Tamizh means sugarcane and the main linga is in the form of a bunch of sugarcane stems tied together.
Sthala Purana or Historical Significance
In ancient times, the sthala vruksham was Nandivardhanam, a flower white in colour and hence called Venni or Nandivardhanam Flower (Pinwheel Flower or Crepe Jasmine). This is one of the favourite flowers of Bhagawan Shiva and used in His worship.
This place was also surrounded by dense Sugarcane fields. In Tamizh Sugarcane is called Karumbu. King Musukunda Chola Chakravarthy was a Chola ruler who ruled the parts of Chola Kingdom from Aarur (Thiruvarur). He was a great devotee of Bhagawan Shiva. He also had renovated the Thiruvarur Sri Thyagarajaperumal temple, after which he was passing by Venniyur with his troops. and when he overheard two Sages arguing between them on the sthala Vruksha of the place – one saying it was “Sugarcane” and the other claiming that it was “Venni“. Not wanting to take any sides, fearing curse of the other sage, King asked them why this argument about the Temple Tree, when there is neither a temple nor a Vigraha of Bhagawan Shiva. They hear an Akashavani (A voice from the Skies) which was that of Bhagawan Shiva saying that He should be named after Sugarcane (Karumbu) and the Temple Tree or Sthala Vruksha will be Venni. He also says that He is present in a self manifested form (Swayambhu), in a form that has seen all the Yugas (Krita or Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga), whose stem looks like a bunch of Sugar cane tied together, a form that has been worshipped by Devas and Rishis over the yugas. He continues saying He be found deep inside the earth below the very place the argument was going on, bring it up, build a shrine and perform Kumbhabhishekam. It is also said in Kanda Puranam that the wedding invitation of Devasena – Subramanya was sent to this place.
King then uses his men to dig the field and he finds the Shiva Linga whose stem part was spread deeper and deeper and he was lost how to bring it up. Once again Bhagwan Shiva gives him a solution to tie it up at the stem and lift it up. The height of this Linga pratishthe from Surya Teertham towards the East is 36 feet, signifying surpassing of 36 tatvas or elements. This incident is believed to have happened 5000 years ago. After the historic “Venni war” the Chola King , Karikala Chola rebuilt and renovated this temple.
This place which gained prominence even in the Sangam times, had found significance in the songs of Thirugnanasambandar and Thirunavukkarasar. Sundarar had hailed the Lord here as the one who heals diseases, in his song “ Kshetra Kovai.” So, the Lord of this temple, “ Sri Venni Karumbeswarar,” remains the Lord who heals all the diseases , especially diabetes, of his devotees. Thirunavukkarasu had sung in praise of the Lord in his “ Thiruthandakam” , singing the history of the Lord’s marriage in Mayiladuthurai.
The Goddess of this place is Shri Soundaranayaki. True to her name, this Goddess is amazingly beautiful, and showers her blessings. It is believed that if ladies whose Seemanta (Valai Kappu) ceremony is over visit Her to seek Her blessings and tie bangles in front of the Goddess, for having a safe delivery.
The holy waters of this place, “ Surya Pushkarani” and “ Chandra Pushkarani,” have the power to heal all diseases.
The Main Temple, Shri Vennikarumbeshwarar faces East and the Surya Teertham is right opposite to Him. Shri Soundara Nayaki faces South in this Temple in standing position with four hands, one of which shows the Abhaya Hastham. Surya Theertham, is where Surya worshipped the Lord. Since it is an East facing Lingam, the rays of the Sun fall on Him on 2nd, 3rd and 4th days of Tamil month Panguni (Mid of March) during Sun rise. Ambal Soundara Nayaki is in a south facing shrine. The shrine of Nataraja is in between the shrines of the Lord and the Mother.
Sri Ikshupureeswarar (another name of the presiding Deity, who is self – manifested remains with so much greatness , is also called” Sri Venninathar “ and “ Sri Venni Karumbeswarar.” ( The word “ Ikshu” means sugarcane.)
Other deities in the temple include Murugan,Narthana Vinayagar, Gajalaxmi, Bairavar and Navagraha. Goshta moorthies include Narthana Vinayagar, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingothbavar and Durga.
The sanctorum is constructed in such a way that the outer mandapam looks like a moat. The Peetham or the Base of the Shiva Linga is Square as against Round that we usually find elsewhere just as the form of Linga is square and not round. In the recent past, this temple saw extensive renovation, done by Nattukottai Chettiar community.
The main offering here is Rava and Sugar. After the Sankalpam and offering at His feet, Rava and Sugar is mixed and strewn around the temple. The ants eat the Sugar and only Rava is left behind. This is said to cure Devotees of Diabetes. Once they are cured, Bhaktas return back and perform a Ghee Abhisheka to Bhagawan Shiva.
Since there are not any shops around, it is better to carry all Puja offerings when we go to the temple. Typically we will need to carry Betel Leaves, Betel Nuts, Some fruits, Coconuts, Ghee and Flowers, apart from about a kg each Rava and Sugar.