Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sri Kumbeswarar temple

Sri Kumbeswarar temple

Moolavar : Kumbeswarar
Amman / Thayar : Mangalanayaki
Old year : More than 2000 years old
District : Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

The glory of Lord of the temple is praised by Saints Tirugnana Sambandar and Tirunavukkarasar in their hymns. This is the 26th Shiva temple on the southern bank of Cauvery praised in Thevaram hymns.

Theerthavari festival is celebrated in the Mahamagam tank on Masi Magam (February-March). Sabthasthanam festival in Chithirai (April-May) when the Lord and Mother visit 7 places at a distance of 20 kilometres. Tirukalyanam (wedding festival) in Vaikasi (May-June), Tirumanjanam in Aani (June-July), Aadi perukku and Aadi Pooram (July-August), Panguni festival (March-April) with special pujas, Butter pot festival on the Aswathi star day in Masi (February-March), on the 8th day, and the procession of Panchamurthis are the festivals grandly celebrated in the temple. Masimagam is the biggest festival in Tamilnadu.

The Pottramarai tank is in front of the temple. Those visiting the temple during the Mahamagam festival (famous festival celebrated once in 12 years as the Kumbh Mela in North) take bath in the tank. The story goes that the 9 divine maidens had a dip in this tank after their bath in the Mahamagam tank. As the Linga is of sand, no abishek is performed. Only Tirumanjanam is applied. The Linga is broad at the bottom and narrows at the top in the shape of a needle. There is a Nadaswaram (a musical instrument) made of stone which is well maintained. A lion carrying some stones on head in the front hall of the temple stands as an example of the Tamil sculpture art.

Aavani covering August-September is the Malayalam New Year Day when Sun will be in Leo that determines the weather of the year throughout. The practice of fasting during the Sundays of this month praying to Sun and Nagaraja for protection of the crops from creatures as rat etc. is followed since ancient days.

During the devastating pralaya floods, Lord Shiva placed all ‘creation materials’ in a pot (Kumba) and saved them, hence Lord is praised as Kumbeswarar. Special pujas are performed in this temple on Aavani Sundays in August-September.

Devotees enter the temple through the Rajagopuram, pass the long Mandap, Bali Peeta and the Kodi Maram (flag post), seek the blessings and Sri Nandi Deva and worship Lord Kumbeswarar. They then go through the prakara worshipping the 63 Nayanmars, Saptha Mathas, Kamadenu, Bhava Linga, Mahalinga, Lord Dakshinamurthy and Lord Valanchuzhi Vinayaka. They then have to proceed to Mother’s shrine through the shrines for Lords Bikshadana, Muruga, Akshayalinga, Sahasralinga, Mothers Annapoorani, Gajalakshmi, Mahalakshmi, Saraswathi and Lord Brahmma. There is a glass room where Lord is in a reclining posture. Then are the shrines of Mother Ashtabhuja Durga, Navaneetha Vinayaka, Kiradhamurthy, Bhairava, Kala Bhairava, Jurakeswarar, Sastha, Great soul Govinda Dishithar, Nagambal. After worshipping Mother Mangalambika, devotees leave the temple after worshipping at the Navagraha (nine planets). It is believed that following this worship procedure would bring all the boons wished by the devotees.

Devotees pray to Mother Mangalambika for distinction in education and seek wedding and child boons, for progress in trade and profession and prosperity. They worship mother with red flowers on Sundays in Aavani month-August-September.

Lord Shiva announced that the Mango brought by Sage Narada would be presented to one who wins a marathon round of the whole world. Lord Vinayaka circumambulated His divine parents Shiva and Parvathy and established the fact that world means Father and Mother and going around them fulfilled the condition of competition. He won the mango. Based on this philosophy, the prakara structure of the temple covers both Lord and Mother shrines. In other temples, the prakaras are separate. There is no abishek to the presiding deity. The Linga is broad in base and sharp at the top as a needle point. The stones of the temple have musical tones. There is a lion sculpture in the Navarathri Mandap holding long stones on its head.

The Pottramari tank – tank with golden lotus flowers – is in front of the temple. Those coming for the bath in Mahamagam tank bathe in this tank also. After their bath in the former tank, it is said that the Navakannikas bathed in this tank also. Hence, this is practiced. Kumbamuni Siddha is in the outer corridor of the temple. Devotees pray here for relief from the adverse aspects of planets.

Mother Goddess is praised as Mangala Nayaki and Mantra Peeta Nalathal. Sage Tirugnana Sambandar in his hymns had praised Mother as Valar Mangai. Lord Shiva parted half of His body with Mother Parvathi, He had also parted 36 crore of His Mantra Shakti-power with Her. Mother also has Her share of 36 crore Shakti and the share of Lord makes it to 72 crore. Thus Mother is praised as Mantra Peeteswari. Of the 51 Shakti Peetas, this the first place. She wears the yellow sari with turmeric on the face and the Kumkum on the forehead. She glitters with all mercy.

The Mahamaha tank measures 3 acres situated in the heart of the Kumbakonam town. During the Pralaya floods, when nectar flowed from the pot, Lord Shiva made it fall in a pit on earth. This pit is the Mahamagam tank. The Kumbakonam Mahamagam festival is celebrated once in 12 years on a Poornima-full moon day when Jupiter enters Kumba-Acquarius and Sun Simha zodiac signs. On this day, other holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Narmada, Saraswathi, Cauvery, Kumari, Bayodhini and Sarayu also bath in the tank to cleanse themselves of their sins. It is also believed that those bathing on this day in the tank, takes the benefit to seven families related to them.

Lord Vinayaka of the temple is praised as Aadhi Vinayaka as He had arrived here well before Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi to the place. Lord Muruga had received the Mantra Upadesa from Mother Mantra Peeteswari before waging the war against Surapanma. He is praised by Saint Arunagiriar in his Tirupugazh hymns. Lord Shiva came here in the guise of a hunter (Kiradha) and broke the nectar pot here. Special pujas are dedicated to Him on the Magam star days by devotees to realize their wishes.

When the world was facing destruction due to the devastating tsunami, Lord Brahmma approached Lord Shiva to know wherefrom He had to restart creation. Lord Shiva suggested that Brahmma make a magic pot with the sand collected from various sacred places and float it in the flood water and also taught the procedure of leaving it on the water. The pot stopped at a place. Lord Shiva shot an arrow on the pot. The nectar spilled and spread on all directions. That nectar mixed with the sand and became a Linga. This Linga is Kumbeswarar.

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