Thiruporur – Land of Divine War – Part 2

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.

Arulmigu Balambigai Sameta Shri Kailasanathar Temple.

Arulmigu Balambigai Sameta Shri Kailasanathar Temple Main Entrance (South Side)
Shri Kailasanathar (Bhagwan Shiva)
Shri Balambigai Temple
The Temple – West Side View
The Temple Welcome Arch
Arch at the Beginning of 100-step ascent over Pranavamalai
100 Easy to Climb Steps leading to the Temple

The Legend

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.

Ganesha Temple At the Foothills
The Author’s Better Half – She enjoyed the Ascent
With His Blessings Scorching heat and Sun did not Erase our smiles during the Climb
Vembadi Vinayagar Temple below the Neem Tree (Mahalakshmi)
Vembadi Vinayagar Temple View from the top of Pranavamalai

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.

Dwajasthambam and Nandi on the Eastern Side of the Sanctum Sanctorum
Closer View – Window Through which Nandi and Dwajasthambam faces Sanctum Sanctorum

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.

The Secret Tunnel – Connecting Kailasanathar Temple, Shri Kandaswamy Temple and Jeeva Samadhi of Chidambara Swamigal
Shri Kandaswamy Temple Gopuram – From top of Pranavamalai

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”

||Om Namah Shivaya||

Thiruporur – Land of Divine War – Part 1

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)

शि॒वो नामा॑सि॒ स्वधि॑तिस्ते पि॒ता नम॑स्तेऽअस्तु॒ मा मा॑ हिꣳसीः।
निव॑र्त्तया॒म्यायु॑षे॒ऽन्नाद्या॑य प्र॒जन॑नाय रा॒यस्पोषा॑य सुप्रजा॒स्त्वाय॑ सु॒वीर्या॑य ॥Yajurveda 3.63॥

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.

In History

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 Pushkarni-Valliyar Odai

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

The Temple Arch
Close up of the Temple Arch Exquisite Art
Pushkarni – Another view
A closer shot of the Pushkarni
The Main Temple Threshold
A Dip in the Pushkarini after Choodakarma (Tonsuring)
Temple Entrance and Threshold
The Dwaja Sthamba
The Vahana-Peacock
Gopuram View from the Left
Gopuram View from the Right
The Ornamental Doorway
Arulmigu Vinayagar
Towards the entrance of Garbha Gudi of Moolasthana
Sendhil ji & Family
Can any Engineering or Technological Advancement Beat this? The Sculpture, The Symmetry and Precision
Naga Devatas
Srimad Chidambara Swamigal

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

Leela Samson – (Un)worthy Inheritor of Proud Legacy

Leela Samsonthe Censor Board Chief (as with her usual condescending ways) calls most members of the board uneducated and an embarrassment. When legal notice was issued by 2 of the members, she was forced to apologize and play with words saying she meant “Cinema Illiterate” – What is her literacy on Cinema anyway?

(Updated on 14/12/2019 : The updated link where Leela Samson apologised  for her remarks) 


Reminds me of her days in Kalakshetra, Chennai where she was far more vicious and yet could get away due to the backing of the Powers-that-be. She changed the logo of years (since 1936) because it had Lord Nartana Ganesha with Lord Shiva‘s Emblem.


Citing superstition, she ordered stopping worship of all Lord Ganesh images in the campus for which traditionally puja was offered. But students at considerable risk to their own career with the help of some Hindu Cultural Organizations did not get cowed down and protested strongly. She had ordered removal of  Lord Ganesh Idols  but had to restore the one in front of theater due to protest. That is when her Judeo-Christian leaning began becoming evident. She tried to justify that with some compositions (to be fair, amazing ones) that were truly Sanatani and reflected ethose of the art and culture, but nothing could mask this bent of mentality. Her justification to be a rebel “My Judeo-Christian background gives me objectivity and clarity about the dance form” To buttress her argument she also said, the art community in Chennai is plagued and caught up with all factors other than those connected with the art.

Height was when she refused permission and threatened expulsion of students from participating in inaugural dance piece in the Health and Happiness Program Organized by His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ‘s The Art of Living in Chennai between Dec 5th to 8th 2006. As with done earlier in different states in the Silver Jublilee year of the Art of living (Mohiniyattam in Kochi, Odissi in Bhubhaneshwar and so on), it was decided to host  a performance of 500 dancers (one of whom happened to be my Daughter 🙂 showcasing Bharatnatyam as TN’s contribution to dance. She opposed participation of Kalakshetra students giving a ridiculous  Reason: It is a “Hindu Event”. She had no qualms to revel in the glory that this Hindu Dance form brought her. Unfortunately for her, the Student-Artistes ignored her threat, came and participated in the event, reminding her that Art is bigger than the Artist. She then continued harassing the Faculty who participated and coordinated in the event, till Karma caught up with her in the form of a CAG report.

CAG report severly indicted her ways of functioning – Principal Accountant General (Civil Audit) of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry raised objections to the awarding and upgrade of civil works, procuring of unused sound systems worth Rs.62 lakh and consulting an architect (and not a competent third person) to analyse tenders for the Koothambalam auditorium’s renovation.

Controrversial Renovated Auditorium (Koothambalam)

All the renovations and spending meant Kalakshetra took Rs.8 crore from the consolidated fund.Apart from renovation processes, the report showed irregularities in 16 appointments at the institution.

That is Leela Samson the renowned artist for you. Someone who faked her qualification to become Director of Kalakshetra, but thanks to her GodMother in Delhi, every rule in the book was bent to make it happen.  Rukmini Devi Arundale whose exploits (Sringara Rasa Controversy with Balasaraswati avl) itself became questionable will not be too pleased at her protege’s exploits. Just research on who peddled Rukmini Devi Arundale’s statement “The dance should not be sexy. Sexiness has no place in our arts” as Brahminisation of Bharatanatyam, Surprising because Rukumini Devi Arundale herself was Mrs George Arundale and how was it Brahminisation when she makes that statement? It is not that her composition had no Shringara aspects. But then narrative has to be set against Hindus and specifically Brahmins. Technically this pair, for all their best of achievements, can be primarily be credited for making the art diabolical

Screenshot of the Article in Daily Pioneer (linked in the paragraph above)

Reasons for her appointment as Chairman of Sangeet Natak Academy is also not far too seek. Not my point that being a Guru of someone from Gandhi family is a disqualification for that post, but that solely is not a qualification for the post either is the limited point I am making here. Or being regarded by those in Corridor of power will not make one an automatic choice for this position. During the raging controvery when Sonal Mansingh was sought to be replaced, I personally happened to listen to legendary Carnatic Musician Swargeeya Shri Balamurali Krishna Sir in his residence in Chennai (I was visiting him to invite him for an event) whose remark was it is now a “devil or deep sea” situation.

Excerpt from The New Indian Express Article

PS: A cursory Googling of “Leela Samson Controversy” would throw up results predominantly of “The Hindu” (not surprising, foretelling the things to come) and most of them drumming up support for her