Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mandagapattu (Thirumurthy Temple)

Mandagapattu (Thirumurthy Temple)

It is 20 kms from Villupuram and 17 kms from Gingee in the Villupuram – Gingee road. This shrine, called the Trimurti Temple, is generally considered as the first of the Pallava cave-temples and was commissioned by Mahendra I in the early 7th century on a 100ft hillock. The Pallava temples along with a similar group by the Chalukyas of Badami represent the earliest Hindu stone temples in southern India. The temples were a significant architectural innovation as they marked the transition from wooden structures to stone. An inscription on the temple calls it the Laksitayatna and dedicates it to Brahma, Isvara, and Vishnu. “Mahendravarman showed leanings towards Jainism before he gravitated towards Hinduism — which is probably why one finds Jain settlements near his cave temples.

Steps at the end of a wide stone courtyard lead up to an uncovered porch before a simple rectangular mandapa with four massive equidistant pillars. The pillars of the mandapa facade have square bases, octagonal central sections and square capitals with curved corbels. Inside, another row of similar pillars divides the mandapa into three aisles. The aisles lead to the Trimurti shrines, deep plain niches cut into the rear wall.

Satrumalleswarar Temple (Dalavanur)

At Thalavanur, close to Mandagapattu, The central mandapa pillars have large medallions carved on each face of the square sections at the base and top. Steps lead to the entrance between these pillars. Above the entrance is an elaborately carved lintel. The temple houses door guardians flanking a linga. Above this, a gently curved eave has a row of equally spaced candrasalas with carved faces. On either side of the mandapa facade are deep niches with gently-leaning Dvarpalakas.

A small flight of rock-cut steps carved on the hill takes us to the shelters of Jain monks who probably meditated and rested there.

Candi Bima

Candi Bima

Located in the village of Dieng Kulon, District Batur, Banjarnegara, Central Java, temple is situated in the southern most complex enshrinement Dieng. Large and impressive, C. Bima is located about 1 km south on the road from C. Gatotkaca. The roof, its most remarkable feature, displays numerous sculpted Shiva heads looking out from horseshoe arches. The decoration originates in South India, for example, the Pancha Rathas in Mamallapuram and Galaganatha in Pattadakal.

The back of the temple (west side) is shown here; its central kala arch, with garlands dropping from the kala's mouth, is still intact. Just above is a band of swags, below a row of dentals that transitions to the first course of the roof, a simple band of rectangular elements beneath a lotus petal overhang. Above this rests the lowest course of arches, each framing a head of Shiva. The arches are lined with lotus petals. The arches of the second course contain kalasa pots, symbolizing abundance. Above, on the sides, rounded and ribbed amalaka capitals sit upon very short columns. The course above contains one arch with a (now missing) Shiva head, in front of a rectangular facade with lotus petal overhang that imitates the first course of the roof.

The projecting central facets are both wider and taller than the facets on the side. This imparts a strong verticality and momentum to the upward thrust of the structure, a tour de force of the builder's art.

Galtaji Temple

Galtaji Temple

Location : Near Sisodia Rani ka Bagh, On Jaipur-Agra Highway
Built by: Diwan Rao Kriparam
Built in: 18th Century
Dedicated to: Sun God, Lord Hanuman/Balaji
Highlights: Fresh Water Springs

Galtaji is a holy pilgrimage of India, located 10 kms away from Jaipur in Rajasthan. The vast complex of Galta Ji has several temples in it. The Temple of Galtaji is famous for its natural water springs. Set amidst the beautiful landscape, Galtaji Temple offers a picturesque view of the city. Galtaji is considered holy place, as Saint Galav spent his life meditating here. However, the temple was built much later by Diwan Rao Kriparam, a courtier of Sawai Jai Singh II, in the 18th Century.

The outstanding structure of the Temple looks more like a mansion or Haveli.The complex of Galtaji has numerous temples, pavilions, natural springs and holy 'kunds'. Built in pink sandstone, Galtaji Temple appeals to the aesthetic sense of the visitors. The temple, dedicated to the Sun God, is the most famous temple built on the top of a hill. The temple is decked with rounded roofs, exquisitely carved pillars and painted walls. Out of all other temples, Hanuman temple stands out, being surrounded by hundreds of monkeys. Besidesall other attractions, Natural water springs draw special attention of the visitors.

The water of these springs is accumulated in the tanks or 'kunds'. In all, there are seven tanks, holiest being the Galta Kund, which never goes dry. It is considered auspicious to take bath in the holy waters of Galtaji. Thousands of people come every year to take a dip in the tanks to rinse out their sins. Makar Sankranti is regarded as a special day to take bath in the holy waters of Galtaji.

Galtaji Temple is a prehistoric pilgrimage location, in a lush green landscape of nature. The location of temple is such that it provides awe-inspiring views of the surrounding plains. The Galtaji Temple is a souvenir of the former age and a sacred pilgrimage of the Hindus. The tranquility of the Temple, attracts people from far and near, to visit it again and again.



‘Wherever there is a hill, there is an abode for Lord Murugan.’ True to this saying, there is a beautiful temple for Lord Murugan at the foothill of Velimalai, on the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, fifteen kilometers northwest of Nagercoil on the road to Thiruvananthapuram, bordering the town of Padmanabhapuram.

Set in scenic surroundings, the temple is renowned among all the Murugan temples in Kanyakumari District. There are many versions as to how the hill derived its name veli malai. Vel was the surname for the Ay rulers. The Ay kingdom was a medieval Hindu feudal kingdom on the Malabar coast of South India. The hill that belonged to the Ay rulers came to be called as Velimalai. It is also known as Velvi Malai since Lord Murugan performed a yagna of sublime love, for the purpose of union of jivatma with Paramatma.

Kumarakovil is also known as Kumara Kshetram and Subrahmanya Sthala in Malayalam. The early Tamil epic Cilappatikkaram refers to the temple as Chera Nattu Aeragam.

Kumarakovil is a very ancient temple, as attested by the massive sculpture of Lord Murugan in a style dating from the Buddhist period. Buddhism probably flourished from 650-850 CE in Kerala. However, the available inscriptions about the temple date from from the 18th century CE only.

The temple is accessed through a flight of forty steep steps. Lord Murugan graces the devotees with His consort Valli. He is faces the east and said to be facing Sthanumalayan (Lord Siva) of Suchindram. The idol of Lord Murugan is a monolithic sculpture measuring eight feet and eight inches in height. Its long ears indicate that it belongs to the Buddhist period. Goddess Valli who adorns the sanctum is six and a half feet tall. Nandipadam and Murugan Padam on the top of the hill are believed to be the imprints of Nandi and Murugan.

Kalyana Vinayakar, who aided His brother in His marriage with Valli is in the right side of the entrance to the inner circumambulatory path. On the western circumambulatory path there is a shrine for Kasi Lingam and on the southern circumambulatory path there are shrines for Mahadevar, Sivakami and Chadikeswarar. The unique feature of this temple is that there is a shrine for Daksha, the maternal grandfather of Lord Murugan.

The sacred tree of the temple is a venerated vengai tree that is a hundred years old. Here, Arumuga Nayinar (Lord Murugan) is flanked by both His consorts, Valli and Deivayanai. This temple is associated with the legends of Valli’s marriage with Murugan. This is said to be the birth place of Valli.

Valli guhai is on the top of the hill which is two kilometers off the main temple, Valli sunai, a pond where Valli took bath, Valli colai, the millet field that Valli guarded, and kizhavan colai is where Murugan came in the disguise of an old man to woo Valli. The protocol of worship offered here is Kerala Tantram.

Celestial Wedding
The divine wedding of Valli and Murugan is celebrated with great fervor in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April) and is attended by thousands of pilgrims all over the state. Kuravar Patukalam, the war waged by Valli’s relatives against Murugan, is colourfully re-enacted during the divine wedding. The seven-day festival begins in the star of Anuradha in the month of Panguni. On the day of the wedding Manavalakkumaran (processional deity) seated in a palanquin proceeds towards Tiru Kalyana Mandapam which is at a distance of two kilometers from the temple. After the celestial wedding the deities are taken in procession back to the temple.

En route we witness the ceremonial Kuravar patukalam. Kuravas (tribal folk of the hill) wage a war against Lord Murugan in line with the legend associated with Murugan and Valli’s marriage. When the wedded couple reaches the rear entrance of the temple, Kuravas surrender to Lord Murugan and happily consent to the marriage. Then Lord Murugan is propitiated with abhishekam and deeparadhanai and a formal wedding is celebrated at night in the decorated temple mandapam bedecked with flowers. During the marriage, Valli colai, Vatta colai, Kizavan colai...etc are given as gifts to Lord Murugan from the bride’s side. This gift list is read aloud in the assembly. Kum-kum, honey and millet flour are given as prasadam after the divine wedding.


Kanda Sashti, Vaikasi Visakam and Thaipusam are the other festivals celebrated here. About two hundred years ago a severe draught affected this area, so the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore ordained his security guards to offer kavadi worship to Kumaraswami. Lord Murugan answered their prayers and prosperity restored in the region. To this day, the police offer kavadi worship to Kumaraswami on the last Friday of the Tamil month of Karttikai.

Nakkeerar’s Tirumurugatruppadai mentions about the unique worship offered to Kumaraswamy. Devotees cover the lower part of their body with wet clothes and enter the temple with flowers to have darshan of Lord Murugan. This unique worship continues till date. The gruel offered in this temple as prasadam is believed to be a cure for many diseases. Other prayer commitments are milk abishekam, sandal kaappu and tonsure

Kumaran Koyil Kalambagam and Kumara Koyil Pillaith Thamizh sing the glory of Kumaraswamy. During Navarathri festival Velimalai Kumaran on a decorated silver horse is taken to Tiruvananthapuram along with Padmanabapuram Saraswati and Suchindram Munnoottinanka (Goddess Shakti). After Navaratri the idols are escorted back to the temple.

Since Murugan married the tribal girl Valli here, marriages performed here are considered very auspicious. Velimalai Kumaraswami Temple, packed with natural beauty and divinity, is a place everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime.

This ancient temple to Murugan known as Kumaran Koyil is located at Padmanabhapuram, home to the palace of the erstwhile Maharaja, on the slopes of the Veli hills. It is located in a commanding position, visible for miles around.

Legend has it that Murugan married Valli here and hence the name Velimalai, Manamalai or Kalyanamala.

The main deities worshipped here are Subramanyar and Valli. A majestic ten feet high image of Subramanyar of great workmanship adorns the sanctum. The festival image of Murugan here is Manavaala Kumaran and this image is taken in procession every year during Navaratri to Thiruvananthapuram, along with Saraswati and Bhagavati from the Padmanabapuram Palace. Manavaalakumaran is also taken in procession to take part in the annual festival of the Suchindram temple.


Kerala Tantram is a protocol of worship offered in this temple along the lines of most other temples in Kanyakumari district. Fridays, especially the last fridays of every tamil month are considered to be very sacred here. The Kanji which is distributed here on fridays as prasadam is believed to have miraculous healing properties.

Murugan's and Valli's marriage is celebrated with great splendor in the month of panguni. This Tirukkalyanam is an enactment of the divine wedding and is attended by thousands of pilgrims from allover the state.

The seven-day festival begin in the star of Anuradha in the month of Panguni. Vaikasi Visakam is celebrated for ten days and as in other Murugan temples Skanda Sasti is celebrated for six days.

Pushpabishekam is celebrated on the last Friday in the month of aavani when the image of Kumaran is completely covered with hundreds of baskets of flowers contributed by the congregating pilgrims.

Just one kilometre from Kumarakoil Temple on the same mountain road one finds Ramji Ashram.

Pullamangai temple

The sculptures at Pullamangai temple speak volumes of artistry during the Chola reign

Pullamangai, a temple dedicated to Lord Siva, located near Pasupathikoil in Papanasam Taluk near Kumbakonam, is an architectural marvel. A series of icons here depict scenes from the Ramayana. One such is the 6” x 6” square where a touching scene is sculpted - the deceased Vali surrounded by other grieving vanaras after he is hit by Rama. The stone surface is somewhat rough, but that does not affect the profoundness of the relief. There are several such squares which show scenes from the Epics and Puranas and each one has a stunning appeal. The trip came about when the principal of the College of Fine Arts suggested that we visit the Pullamangai temple. It may have a simple and uninspiring façade, but each piece inside is a visual treat. Every little space is filled with carvings the largest not more than four ft tall and many of them are not carved from a single block of stone. But the blocks have been piled up so neatly that the outlines of the sculptures are perfectly aligned.

The temple is believed to have been built during the reign of Parantaka Chola-I (907-953 AD). Those days, it was the practice to remodel old brick temples suing granite. Even frequent wars did not deter such religious activities. The Saivite saint Thirugnana Sambandar has sung verses on many Siva temples in this region, including this one. It is said that his hymns on Thiruvalanthurai Mahadeva temple at Pullamangai could refer to this temple if one were to go by epigraphic evidences.

Situated on the banks of Kudamuruti river, the temple was also referred to as Alandurai. The sthalapuranam says Lord Siva rested here after he had consumed the poison following the churning the paarkadal. Another version states that Goddess Parvati worshipped the Lord here in the form of a chakravaka bird, and hence it is known as Pullamangai. The shrine is considered as one of the best examples of architecture from the Parantaka Chola period. The present condition of the temple may defy that opinion, though!

The high relief sculptures such as the lingodhbavar, Lord Siva seated on the snake or the standing female form on the tower, all have a smooth finish. But those made up of more than one block of stone on the vimanam or in the small panels appear rather rough. It could either be due to the ravages of time or they might have been left untouched in the beginning for some valid reason. Nevertheless, great care had been taken to include details in every scene, be it a dancing Siva, Rama taking an aim with an arrow or a relaxed Siva.. The dancing figures and the Mahishasuramardhini sculpture emanate grace. In one panel Siva is seated with His right leg crossed over the left, both turned towards His left, while his torso faces straight, His right arm is seen resting on a cushion.

Every sculpture is a reminder of the superb craftsmanship of artisans of those times. Indeed, we must celebrate those unknown artists who have sculpted each piece with such precision and style.

Othi Malai Aandavar Temple

Othi Malai Aandavar Temple

Location: Punjai Puliam Patti, Sathyamangalam(Tk), Erode(Dt).

The temple has 2000 steps

Specialty of the Temple: Lord Muruga having “Eight (8)” hands and “Five (5)” faces. It's so nice place and a loveable atmosphere.


It dates back to the times of Pallavas and Tirupporur is known by different names like Poriyur or Yuddhapuri or Samarapuri. There are many legends related to Tirupporur and one of them relates to Lord Shiva relieving Lord Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi from the curse of Kanva rishi. This Lord Shiva and his son Murugan are worshipped here. According to the Sthalapurana, it was here that Lord Murugan with his consorts Valli and Devayanai granted protection to the demi-gods and explained the true meaning of Pranava or the real truth to them and Agastya Muni. Thus, the hill behind the temple is known as 'PRANAVA MALAI ', where Lord Vishnu is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva. Legend also has it that Skanda worshipped Shiva as Vanmeekeswara to rid himself of the sin of having killed Soorapadman.

Tirupporur got lost into oblivion until it was rediscovered in the 17th century and was renovated by Chidambara Swamigal. The idol of Lord Murugan is said to be the 'Swayambhu Murti', (not made by the hands of a man) and was found by Chidambara Swamigalin in an anthill. The temple enshrines Skanda in several forms based on the legends of Skanda Puranam. To the east of the temple the the 'Palmyra' tree and the anthill where the image of Skanda was found can be seen. The anthill is now covered with Kavacha (armor) and other jewels. The other things enclosed in the temple premises are a 24-pillared hall, a 30-pillared circular hall, a shrine to 'Vembadi Vinayaka' under a Neem tree

Stala Theerthams : 'Saravana Poigai' and 'Valliyar Odai' to the south of the temple, and another Teertham known as 'Pranavamritam'.

Location : Tirupporur is 45 km from Chennai