Monday, October 23, 2017

Tirumuruganathaswamy Temple, Tirumurugapoondi

Location of the templeTirumurugapoondi
Lord Shiva known asMuruganathar
Female deity known asAavudainayagi
PathigamSundarar - 1
How to reach This Shivasthalam is situated 5 Kms from Avinasi on the Avinasi - Tiruppur road.
Temple addressArulmighu Muruganathar Temple
Tirumurugapoondi Post
Avinashi Taluk
Tiruppur District
PIN 641652

To the north of the river Noyyal in Kongunadu, is situated the holy place of Thirumurugar Poondi. The Shiva temple here facing west, is unique as it does not have a 'gOpura vAsal', the traditional temple entrance with a tower or gOpuram. Outside the temple, at the gate, one would find a granite 'deepasthambham' or lamp-post, a salient feature of the Kongu naadu temples. This beautiful temple is spread over an acre of land, surrounded by high walls on all four sides and boasts of two praaharams or circumambulatory passages.

The main deity, Thirumuruga Nathar appears as a magnificent 2.5 ft tall shivalingam. He faces the western direction. The rear wall of the sanctum is adorned with a beautiful relief (a piece of sculpture standing out from the background wall), that depicts an elephant gracefully lifting up a Shivalingam. The Vimanam or the overhead dome is embellished with artistic statues and other works of sculpture made of concrete. The inner corridor hosts the idols of Nirudhi Vinaayakar, the 63 nayanmaars, Lord Shanmuga, Goddess Durga, Bhairavar, Saneeshwarar and the Navagrahas.

Placed to the right of Thirumuruga Nathar, is the 5-feet tall valiant Lord Shanmuga, also facing west. True to his name, he is endowed with 6 faces, 5 of them facing front and one to the back. To the left of the presiding deity, is the shrine of his consort. The goddess here goes by the name, Muyangu Poonmulai Valliammai. Sundarar, the nayanmaar extols the goddess by this very name in five of his Thevaaram verses.

The inner praaharam is home to one of the temple tanks, Subrahmanya Theertham and outside the temple premises are the other two - Brahma Theertham and Gnana Theertham. It is believed that those who are afflicted with mental illnesses such as paranoia, anxiety, depression can take a holy dip in the three Theerthams and offer their prayers to Lord Thirumuruga Nathar to have their illness cured.

Sthala PurANam

Old lore suggests that Lord Muruga was possessed of the Brahmahatthi dosham, the sin of killing a god-fearing person, after slaying the asura Soorapadman in battle. It is here that he came to establish a temple for Lord Shiva, install the Lord as a lingam and offer his prayers to overcome his sin. Another interesting story is that of nayanmaar Sundarar who was passing by the forest areas surrounding Thirumurugapoondi, carrying with him, precious gifts bestowed on him for his poetic excellence, by Cheramaan Perumal Nayanmaar, also a renowned Shiva devotee. During his journey, as night was nearing, Sundarar took rest in the forest and did not think of Lord Shiva. Strange are the ways of the Lord, that he decided to put his favourite devotee through a test. He sent his Ganas as dacoits to waylay Sundarar and rob him of his belongings. Sundarar was very distressed; he prayed to Lord Vinayaka to help him recover the gifts. Merciful Vinayaka showed him a temple eastward. Sundarar found Shiva and sang hymns questioning the Lord about not protecting him from the robbers and demanding his immediate action to get back the lost possessions. Sundarar's devotion to Lord Shiva was that of a friend, wherein he enjoyed the right of even arguing with the Lord.

In the last line of every verse, he sings the words, 'எத்துக்கு இங்கு இருந்தீர் எம்பிரானீரே!', confronting the lord about the futility of his presence when the village is threatened by robbers and dacoits and when the Lord's grace is not there to protect his devotees. Lord Shiva, as the story goes, enjoyed the hard reading of the songs. Often happy to be commanded and chided by his devotees (presenting a glorious idea of Shaivite Bhakti philosophy that God needs his devotees as much as they need him), HE, at once, ensured the return of Sundarar's possessions. To support this narrative, the inner mantapam of the temple has an interesting statue of Lord Shiva in the garb of a dacoit, sporting a bow, and two other statues of Sundarar - an emotionally distressed, anxious one and a humbly blessed, ecstatic one. Hence, Thirumurugapoondi is often symbolic to get back lost things, including health, wealth, career and relationships.

The Ganesha here is known as 'Kooppidu Vinaayakar' meaning the 'Ganesha who beckons'. When Sundarar lost all his gifts and valuables, it was Ganesha who called him and revealed the place where they were hidden and hence, the name.

Behind the temple is another temple of repute, that of Lord Madhavaneshwarar. The roof of the main portico here looks grand and ornate with an outstanding statue of Lord Nandi. The northwest corner houses a separate shrine for the last of the navagrahas, Kethu. Hindu mythology notes that Kethu worshipped Lord Shiva here. Thus, this holy site figures as a rare place of redemption for those who are believed to be suffering from Kethu dosham.