|Sri Dhathriswara Temple, Sithukadu|
On October 19th, 2011, I received an email from one Mr. Kumaran. On opening the mail, I sat up in shock. It was an invitation from the Gurukkal to visit the Sri Dhathriswara Temple at Tirumanam, Sithukadu.The time had come true, finally. The Siddhars had heard my prayer. I immediately replied that I would love to do so. We spoke over phone and fixed up the following sunday for the visit.
That morning, we set off early and reached the temple quite easily following Mr.Kumaran's instructions. As we turned into the road to the temple, we could see the magnificient five-tiered Rajagopuram (now covered because renovation work needs to be done) and the huge temple tank (about one acre!) connecting the Dhathriswara and Sundararaja Perumal Temples - a true symbol of Shaiva- Vaishnava harmony.
|A View of the Dhathriswara Temple as we turn in from the main road|
We got down at the temple and walked down to the magnificent tank. They say the level of water at any given point around the tank is uniform at all times,which is a testimony to the engineering skills of technicians of yore. Unfortunately, the tank is ill-maintained and needs help in cleaning and maintenance.
|View of the tank from the Dhathriswara Temple. The two gopurams|
seen are the Anjaneya temple on the bank of the tank and the
Sundararaja Perumal Temple in the background
We then went into the temple along with Mr.Kumaran who had joined us from his house across the road. He mentioned that over seventeen generations his family had been performing poojas at the temple and one son from each household in the family committed himself to the task.
Every nook and corner of this temple is a treasure trove. True to the name of Sithukadu, it has images of Siddhars everywhere. Some of them are distinguished and identified while others are not. In fact, even on the borders on walls, which I normally thought had "Dhristi Bommai"s there were images of Siddhars.
|Images of Siddhars on borders along the temple walls|
We stepped into the five level Rajagopuram, which has evidence of growth of vegetation and needs some repair, renovation and most definitely a fresh coat of colour.
|A picture of the Rajagopuram before it was covered|
Photo Courtesy Mr.T.N.Kumaran
The Vidhana of the Rajagopuram is exquisite with a beautiful panel of Various Roopas of Lord Shiva. This is just a beginning - a sample of the wonderful works of art that awaits us inside.
|Vidhana of Rajagopuram|
As we step in there is another gopuram, this without any tiers over it. This gopuram seems to be in bad shape with the shade in one corner having fallen down during the recent rains. There is a "Nandavanam" (garden) too here which needs cleaning and maintenance - it has several overgrown bushes and a lot of weeds which dim its beauty and divinity.
|Notice the broken portion on the right side of the mandapam with|
vegetation and huge cracks.
We then step into the temple. The main shrines of Goddess Prasunna Kunthalambika and Sri Dhathriswara are closed and Balalayam has been performed. A makeshift shrine has been created in the Yagasala with the moorthis made in "Athi Maram" (Ficus retusa). We watched as the harathi was performed and gave thanks to the Lord for having made the visit possible finally.
I was a little disappointed to find that the temple that I had longed for so much to visit was closed. Mr. Kumaran mentioned that the Balalayam was done with a hope that all the renovation would be completed in a year or two. He pointed out to the Dwajasthambam which had also fallen out and had been replaced recently through contributions from devotees.
|The new Dwajasthambam (Kodimaram) with the closed temple|
He took us to the Nandi in front of the temple and pointed out that it did not have a noose around its nostrils. Sithukadu had been( and continues to be ) a land of Siddhars.Out of the several Siddhars who dwell here, the two notable saints ( or atleast I must say those who have been identified) are "Padukkai Jadamudi Siddhar" and " Prana Deepika Siddhar". Since the Nandi was in the company of these saints, it was serene and calm and hence there was no need for a noose, says Kumaran. An image of Prana Deepika Siddhar can be found on the pillar next to the Nandi here.
|The Nandi without a Noose around his nostrils|
and Prana Deepika Siddhar on the pillar to his left
The Padukkai Jadamudi Siddhar (படுக்கை ஜடாமுடி சித்தர்) and Prana Deepika Siddhar (பிராண தீபிகா சித்தர்) while meditating in this region installed a Shiva lingam under an Amla Tree (நெல்லி மரம்) because of which he came to be known as Dhathriswara. They created a beautiful garden ( நந்தவனம்) here which gave sweet smelling flowers for the worship of the Lord because of which this place came to be known as "Thirumanam" (திருமணம்) - Holy Fragrance. The Nandavanam probably created by them, is like this today.
|The current state of the Nandavanam|
Prana Deepika Siddhar is said to protect people from life threatening ailments and several people with chronic ailments are said to have prayed to him and become better. The Padukkai Jadamudi Sithar can be seen with very long hair on which he is said to lie down in Yoga Nitra and move around saving people and protecting lives then and now.
|Jadamudi Siddhar (Photo Courtesy Mr. T N Kumaran)|
Mr. Kumaran now takes us to another mandapa to the left of the Nandi where the Vahanas are stored. This too is in a dilapidated state but the pillars are treasure troves showing several images of Siddars in different forms, sizes and postures. There are two more similar mandapas outside the temple with intricately carved pillars.
|Mr. Kumaran explaining the Sthalavaralaru in the vahana mandapa|
Note the condition of the mandapam behind me
It was interesting to note that the pillars had the Dasavatharams of Vishnu inscribed on them, which again goes to prove the Shaivaite - Vaishnavaite harmony in those days. There were also some pillars where the Rishabaruda was found at the bottom of the pillars and Siddhars above it.
|Siddhars in different postures|
Bodo Siddhar: After conversing with Mr Kumaran and promising to spread the word about the need for funds to repair and renovate this wonderful temple, we took leave from him to go to the Sundararaja Perumal Temple. At this time, another gentleman walked in with a sheaf of papers in his hand. One of them, I was happy to note was a blog post from Raju's Temple Visits. In fact Raju Sir was one of the lucky ones to visit the temple before the Balalayam, and he has some lovely pictures from inside the temple on his blog post which I share here for the readers.Raju's Temple Visit - Around Chennai - North.
The man also had an extract from a book Sivamayam Kanda Siddhargal " சிவமயம் கண்ட சித்தர்கள்" which mentions that this place was also an abode of Bodo Siddhar ( போடோ சித்தர்) whose Jeevasamadhi can be found here and he is supposedly the father of "Modern Computer Science"!! By worshipping him, one could be rid of any discomfort experienced due to Ashtama Sani, Ezharai Sani or Jenma Sani. We tried to identify this siddhar but could not do so. Anyone who has any further information about this siddhar, may share it here for benefit of all of us.
We then moved towards the Sundararaja Perumal temple which is behind the Dhathriswara Temple, connected by the temple tank. There is an Anjaneya Swamy temple near the steps of the tank. The Perumal Temple is relatively well maintained and clean.
|Sundararaja Perumal Temple|
Period of the temple:
Both the temples are believed to have been constructed during the times of King Sundara Pandiyan about 800 years ago. The King is said to have found the Goddess Prasunna Kundalambikai's statue in the Nandavanam (Garden) and so he installed it in the Dhatriswara Temple calling her " Poonkuzhali". As the King died in war before the temple construction could be completed, the work is believed to have been completed by a landlord Mr. Nalla Chinnathambi Mudaliyar from this village whose generations till date serve as Dharmakarthas of this temple (Source: Thalavaralaru of the temple)
The Perumal temple has a main shrine for Shri Sundaravalli Samedha Sundararaja Perumal and seperate shrines for Thayar, Garudalwar and Andal. This Garudalwar is said to be worshipped by the Garudakodi Siddhar to enhance his medical capacities.
Garudakodi Siddhar: On one of the pillars in front of Andal shrine, the image of Garudakodi Siddhar can be seen. This Siddhar holds a Kamandalam (Jar) on one hand and a creeper called Garudakodi on the other. He is said to wear Siddha herbs as wings and move around several lokas. This Siddhar is believed to have created a Herb Pandal over Sri Rama during Ramayana days to protect him wherever he went. This Garudakodi Siddhar is worshipped by those with eye ailments for permanent cure. Abhishekam is performed with rose water to the statue of Garudakodi Siddhar and this water is applied on the eyes for relief. Sandalwood paste applied on the siddhar's idol is also applied on the eyes.
Inscriptions found in this temple refer to it as Thirumandram Hariharanalayanallur (திருமன்றம் ஹரிஹரனாலய நல்லூர் ).
Why is this a temple for those born under Swathi Star?
They say it is because there are 17 different Narasimhas in various postures found in the Andal shrine mandapa. ( The Bhattar did not allow me to photograph them). Moreover, the word Swathi has the Aikkya Shakthis of Shiva and Hari. Days on which the Swathi star falls are ideal for disciplines like Yoga and Telepathy, because of which probably the Siddhars congregated here in the company of Shiva and Vishnu and practised their yogic skills .Worshipping Dhatriswara by performing abhishekam with Amla juice or Sri Sundararaja Perumal by performing thirumanjanam on Swathi days is said to be very beneficial, especially in finalising marriage proposals for those whose marriage is getting delayed for various reasons, because of which also, this place has come to be known as Thirumanam. One other unique feature is that people who seek childbirth perform a marriage of the Amla and Thulasi Trees in front of the Andal Shrine and find their prayers answered.
The Dhathriswara Temple is currently under Balalayam and seeks funds from noble souls to complete the repair and renovation of its vimanams,and reconstruction of Rajagopuram. An appeal has been put out by the Sivanadiyaargal Bhakta Jana Sabha Trust (SBJST) seeking liberal donations from devotees in supporting this noble cause. Further details on bank account and contact information can be found on the temple website
http://www.sitharkadusivantemple.com/. Further details can also be had from Mr. Kumaran, Heriditary Gurukkal of the temple at email@example.com or 94447 93942. I hope generous contributions from devotees are able to help the trustees complete the work on time and restore the glory and divinity of such a worderful place.
How to get here:
While travelling from Chennai on the Chennai - Poonamallee Bypass. On the left hand side, you will find a brewery and RRB Energy factory. On that signal, turn right. There is a Board which shows the direction towards Pattabhiram before you turn right. Go down that not-so-good route for about 8 kms. You will come across a bridge being constructed and a board which says Chittukadu. Take left there - you would be able to see the Rajagopuram from there itself. You could also go upto Thirumazhisai and turn right at Vellavedu and go down 3 kms to reach here.
There are buses too upto Pattabhiram from Koyambedu Bus Stand - M153 and from Poonamallee - M 54C which goes via Sithukadu.
Nearest Suburban train station is Pattabhiram from where one can take a share auto.
If you want to find a place to spend a few quiet hours in the company of Siddhars, head towards
Sri Dhathriswara and Sundararaja Perumal Temples,
Thirumanam, Vayalanallur Post, Sithukadu, Chennai 600 072
The temple is open between 8 am to 10 am in the mornings and 5.30 to 7.30 pm in the evenings.