Thiruvellarai – Sri Pundarikasha Perumal Temple, Trichy

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இந்திரனோடு பிரமன் ஈசன் இமையவர் எல்லாம்

மந்திர மா மலர் கொண்டு மறைந்து உவராய் வந்து நின்றார்

சந்திரன் மாளிகை சேரும் சதுரர்கள் வெள்ளரை நின்றாய்

அந்நியம் போது இது ஆகும் அழகனே சாப்பிட வாராய்

This is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and deity here is called as Pundareekakshan.

This place has Sri Pundarikasha Perumal Temple, one of the 108 Divya desams.

Thiruvellarai is situated in Tamil Nadu near Tiruchirapalli (Trichy). It is located at a distance of 27 km from Trichy, en route to Turaiyur.

Sthala Puranam:

Vellarai means White rock. Since, this sthalam is situated 100 feet high in the top of the small mountain, which is white in colour, this sthalam is called “Thiru Vellarai”
Once when Sibi Chakravarthi has been tented here with his warriors here, a white boar crossed him. He chased It and the Boar finally went inside a hole. Saint Markandeya was under penance here and King Sibi narrated the incident that occurred here and the saint asked the king to perform a Milk Abhiseka to the hole. While doing so Lord Vishnu appeared before them. So Saint Markandeya asked Sibi Chakravarthy to bring 3700 Vaishnavites from North and build a temple here for Lord Vishnu. As requested Sibi Chakravarthy brought the 3700 Vaishnavites from the North and built the temple. While do so one of the Vaishnavite died and King Sibi was very much worried about it. Lord Vishnu again appeared Himself as a Vaishnavite and told King Sibi to count Him and make the numbering as 3700.

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The temple has two entrances to the sanctum sanctorum or the Moolasthanam (place of principal deity) of the deity.  Normally only one door is open by turn. The procedure is to use one door during the ‘Utharayana’ time (from middle of January to middle of June of the English calendar) and the other during ‘Dakshinayana’ time (from mid June to Mid January).  The doors are known as Utharayana vaasal – door and Dakshinayana vaasal.  It is the belief of the people here that the 2 entrances or doors represent (1) entering of the life and (2) coming out of the life. While going through either of the doors the devotees are to feel the existence or the presence of the god or Paramaatman.  To remind this principle or make it understandable to the devotees the Lord of the temple resembles to Surya Narayanan during Utharayan and as Govindan during Dakshinayan. There are certain beliefs about Dakshinayan (6 months from middle of Jul to middle of Jan of English calendar) when no auspicious activities like marriage or setting up of home etc are supposed to be done. Similarly death during this period is supposed to be inauspicious. In Utharayan period (6 months from mid Jan to mid Jul) it is good to perform all auspicious activities. Death happening during this period is supposed to be very good. But for doing auspicious activities during Dakshinayana period there is a way out by offering worships to Surya Narayan before starting the intended activities.

Though officially the temple is having 2 doors as mentioned above, there is supposed to be a third door known as ‘Naazhi kettan vaasal’ meaning door for late coming. The story behind is that once when the Lord came very late, his consort asked him why he was s late. For that he replied that he tried to come through the Naazhi kettan vaasal.

There are 22 steps to be climbed to reach to the temple. The first 18 steps are supposed to represent the 18 chapters of the Bhagavath Geetha and the next 4 steps are supposed to represent the four Vedas.  This place is having the Balipeetam (place where offerings are offered to the Bhootha ganas of the deity). After offering the worship here cross the 5 steps representing ‘Pnacha boothas’ (the booth thathwas of life namely fire, water, space – ether, air and earth) to the two entrances. Take the appropriate entrance (Dakshinayan door) during Dakshinayan period and Utharayan door during Utharayan period) to have darsan (view) of the Lord Pundarikashan also known as Thamaraikannan, Maayavan and Thai Maatha Naayagan of Vellarai.
Perumal and Thayar:
The Moolavar of this Sthalam is Pundarikashan. Moolavar in standing position facing east direction. Prathyaksham for Garudan, called as “Periya Thiruvadi”, Sibi chakravarthy, Bhoomi Piratti, Maarkandeya Maharishi, Lord Brahma, Rudhran (Lord Shiva).
Thayaar here is Shenbagavalli. Also called as “Peri Pirattiyaar Lakshmi Devi”. There is a separate sannadhi for Thaayar. Utsavar thaayar is named as “Pangajavalli”.
Sriman Narayanan is giving dharshan to all living and non living things as Sooriya Narayanan. By extending his rays, he is giving security to the entire world. Sooriya Narayanan, is the person who is making the plants grow, making to rain, calculating the Jeevathmas paapans (sin) and punniyams (good things). He is revolving round the Earth to make good things happen and to destroy the bad things (or) evils. Lord Emperumaan, who turns himself has Suriya Bhaghvan, revolves round the universe and he flashes his rays to make all things live.
As is the custom in Vaishnav temples, idol of his vehicle the Garudan (golden eagle) can be found. He is known as Periya (big) Thiruvadi (sacred feet) normally.

There are other images of Sibi chakravarthy, Bhoomi Piratti (representing mother earth and second consort of the lord), Maarkandeya Maharishi, Lord Brahma, Rudhran (Lord Shiva).   All the idols and images of this temple namely Sri Pundareekakshan, Bhoomi Piratti, Periya Piratti, Suriya and Chandiran and Aadisheshan (the serpent king who is a constant companion of the Lord) all are made in the form of human beings.

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Mangalasasanam:

Periyalwar – 11 Paasurams

Thirumangai Alwar – 13
Pushkarani:

  1. Divya Theertham.
  2. Kanda Kshree Theertham.
  3. Chakkara Theertham.
  4. Chakkara Theertham.
  5. Pushkala Theertham.
  6. Padma Theertham.
  7. Varaaha Manikarnika Theertham.

Vimanam:
Vimalaakkruthi Vimaanam.

.

Swami Engalazhwan, a great Vaishnav Acharya and a Disciple of Sri Ramanuja and Thirukurukai Piran Pillan and teacher of Sree Bhashyam and Sri Nadaa thooram Aalukku oppatra pungai Maalai was born here. Nadaathoramaal means Bhakthan – devotee who was an epitome of Bhakthi (devotion to Lord) on the God. There is a story related as to how the name “Nadaathoramaal” was given to Engalazhwan.  He used give milk everyday to Emperumaan (Lord Vishnu is addressed as Emperumaan in respect). He was so devoted to the Lord that he used to blow the milk with air from mouth to cool the milk if it happens to be hot so that the Lord does not have any inconvenience.

.   Another staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu Bhakthar Uyyakondaar was born here and he along with Sri Ramanujar Acharya stayed in this place and explained about Vaishnavam to spread Vaishnav cult.The temple is on a white rock hill of about 100 feet high.

. If any sound is made in front of the big pillar of this temple, it replicates and echoes within the temple. For this reason some of the paasurams (verses praising the Lord) in Divya prabhandhams (holy scriptures) are recited 2 or 3 times so that it replicates, reverberates or echoes within the temple complex. This is due to the fact that there are some rooms built around in stones which cause the echoes or the feeling of repetition of the sounds made.

The Raja Gopuram (main entrance) of the temple is an incomplete structure. While the construction of the Gopuram was going on there was a mishap and the work was stopped. The work to complete the Gopuram was not taken up again till today.

Lord Vishnu is also Sriman Narayanan and Surya Narayan. By his rays he gives light, security and heat for the life. Because of him it rains in the world; it is because of him plants grow; his heat will destroy the adverse forces which affect the lives; and his rays make life in the universe.

This temple has a big wall (Mathil sevar).
The temple is situated on top of a Mountain which has a fall of white rocks and is 100 feet high.
In front of the big pillar in his temple, when one makes any sound, it replicates and echoes around the temple. Because of this, some of paasurams in Divyapprabhandhams are said for 2 or 3 times.
It appears from hearsay that, the temple’s Raja Gopuram is left unfinished due to a mishap that occurred when it was being constructed. The completion process has not been initiated from that incident.

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