Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Eydanur - The place where Tripura Samhara began!

The entrance to Adhipureeswarar Temple at Eithaloor
Recently, I had the privilege of writing and publishing the Sthalapuranam of Kailasanatha Temple at Nellikuppam near Cuddalore. More details about this temple can be found here on Aalayam Kanden. A young gentleman came forward to help with the publishing. When we went to Cuddalore for the event, he told me about Eiyaloor or Eydanur  (also called Nesanur) a small village near EID Parry on the outskirts of Nellikuppam and asked me to join him in visiting the temple.

We found the temple had been recently consecrated and had multiple unique features. First of all, the temple has the privilege of a complete puranam called Adhi pura thalapuranam . This thalapuranam is found in the Brahmaanda Puranam - Uttara Bhagam - Kshetra Vaibhava Kandam - 68th Chapter which explains the significance of this temple.

Tripura Samhara:

When Lord Shiva set out for Tripura Samhara, with the Devas as his army, the Earth as his chariot, the four Vedas as the horses pulling the chariot, Lord Brahma as the charioteer, Mount Meru as the bow, the snake Vasuki as the string and Lord Vishnu as the arrow, he started from Eydanur that came to be known as Adhipuri. The actual samhara is said to have taken place in Thiruvadhigai which was called Adhigaapuri. Adhipuri hence assumes equal significance as Adhigapuri. Over time, Adhipuri came to be known as Eydanur or Eyalur because it was here that the Lord strung his bow and shot an arrow to put an end to the Tripura Asuras.

Inside the Eydanur temple
Brahma Saapa Nivarthi Sthalam:

The temple has four lingams installed by Vishnu, Brahma, Surya and the Pandavas.

When Brahma was the charioteer for Lord Shiva during Tripura Samhara, he lost concentration watching the beauty of Lord Shiva as he strung the arrow in his bow. Because of this he failed in his duty of driving the chariot and in order to absolve himself of the sin, he came to Adhipuram in the Tamil month of Vaikasi, Sukla paksha Panchami, bathed in the Pinakini river and worshipped Adhipureeswara with its holy waters. Lord Shiva appeared before him and removed his curse. In gratitude, Brahma installed a theertham and a lingam in the temple.  Similarly, there was an argument between Vashista and Vishwamitra. When Surya was summoned by Brahma to bring Vashista, he came here to be rid of the sin of bringing him without the orders of Lord Siva. He also installed a lingam and theertham.

Surya Lingam and Vishnu Lingam at Eydanur temple
Vali and Ravana:

Every day the monkey king Vali would bathe in the four oceans, and worship Nandi, Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva in Kailash,  before beginning his chores. One day when he was bathing in the Southern Ocean, Ravana with an intention to catch him unawares,  slipped his hands through Vali's armpits from behind thereby disturbing his prayers . Vali lowered his arms and locked Ravana's hands under them and tied him up with his tail.

He then went on to complete his bath in the other oceans and reached Kailash with Ravana still tucked behind him. When he sought permission from Nandi to worship the Lord, he was informed that Lord Shiva was currently in Adhipuram preparing for Tripura Samhara and that Ravana could take him there. So Vali demanded Ravana to guide him to Adhipuram as a price for his freedom. Ravana requested Vali to release him first but Vali refused.

Unable to bear the pain, Ravana showed him the way to Adhipuram. Vali reached Adhipuram and bathed in the nava theerthams - Brahma Theertham in the East, Padma Theertham in the South West, Gnana Theertham in the West, Soma Theertham in the North, Surya Theertham in the South East, Chakri Theertham in the North West, Irudi theertham in the North East, and Vani Theertham in the shrine of Goddess Padmathala Nayaki. He also created a theertham in the South named after him.

Vali holding Ravana by the tail and worshipping Adipureeswarar at Eithanoor
He then worshipped Tripuranthaka Swamy and requested him to stay for ever at Adipuram and bestow his blessings upon those who worshipped him. He also requested him to release the Ganga into the Pinakini river (Gedilam as it is called today) created by Lord Vishnu, so that anyone bathing there would be removed of all their sins. Lord Shiva pleased with his selfless devotion, released the Ganga into the Pinakini river. Vali then appointed Sangukarna ( a  previous birth of Guru Raghavendra Swamy) to perform poojas to Lord Shiva as per the agamas at Adhipuram.

Birth place of Enadhi Nadha Nayanar:

Eithanoor is the birth place of Enadhi Nadha Nayanar
Enadhi Natha Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars, was born in Eydanur. As his title Enadhi denotes, he was a general in the army, a skilled swordsman and master trainer of princes in warfare. He was also an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and treated anyone who wore the Sacred Ash as His incarnation. His competitor, jealous of his craft and fame, wanted to put an end to him and challenged him to a sword fight. Both men met with their forces in a bitter combat The competitor lost all his men and weapons and had to retreat.

Wanting to win by hook or crook, the competitor smeared sacred ash on his forehead the next day, covered it with his turban and challenged Enadhi Natha Nayanar to a duel. When Enadhi Nadha raised his sword to attack, he revealed the sacred ash. On seeing this, he dropped his weapons and stood motionless. Taking advantage, the competitor raised his sword to kill Enadhi Nadha. At that moment, Lord Shiva appeared and gave him mukthi. Enadhi Nadha Nayanar's life story is enacted every year during his Guru puja.

Brahma Sarma Moksham:

A devout Brahmin by name of Brahma Sarma lived in Eydanur. He spent all his time on the banks of Pinakini, seeking a vision of Lord Shiva. On a Sankaranthi day, Lord Shiva appeared before him. Brahma Sarma sought to find eternal rest in the golden feet of the Lord. Lord Shiva asked Brahma Sarma to witness the ceremony being conducted by Vali at the Adhipuram temple. On the fifth day, during the Pancha Moorthi procession, Brahma Sarma sang a verse on Lord Shiva called "Dwadasa Manjari". As he finished the verse, a dazzling light emerged from the Lord and from Brahma Sarma. Both merged into the Lord. Till date there is an image of Brahma Sarma at the location where he merged with the Lord.

An image of Brahma Sarma at the Eydanur Temple

Which is greater - Knowledge or Wealth?

In Eydanur, there lived two women - rich Roopavathi and knowledgeable Vidyavathi. Both argued among themselves as to what was better - wealth or knowledge and sought the intervention of Goddess Padmathalanayaki. Based on her instructions, Kubera ruled that knowledge was greater. Enraged, Roopavathi cursed Vidyavathi to become a ghost. Vidyavathi sought the help of Goddess Vani (Saraswathi) to be rid of her form. Goddess Vani created a theertham near the Padma Thala Nayaki shrine and asked Vidyavathi to bathe in it. She did and regained her form. Even today the theertham is found as a well inside the temple.Vidyavathi is seen worshipping at the feet of Dhakshinamurthy in this temple.

The Vani theertham or well of knowledge at Eydanur
Other unique features:
  • The Saptha Rishis - Athiri, Bringi, Vashista, Gautama, Pulaththiya, Kashyapa and Aangeerasa are seen on the vimana of Lord Adhipureeswara shrine as they have worshipped the Lord here. Since these rishis are the ancestors of the Nava Grahas, the Nava Grahas are not found seperately in this temple and it is believed that the Nava Grahas come to Adhipuram to worship the Rishis. Worshipping here is believed to rid one of Navagraha Dosha. 
The Saptharishis found on the Vimana of Eithaloor temple
  • Lord Brahma unlike the standing posture in the Goshta, is seen in a meditative posture on the Vimana.

Lord Brahma found in a meditative posture in the Vimana
  • Goddess Durga is found with Prayoga Chakra leaning on a lion with her feet on Mahisha. She is found in Tribhanga posture with four arms, her face resembling a middle aged woman.

Goddess Durga at Eydanur

  • Lord Vishnu is also seen with Prayoga Chakra.
  • Saint Thirugnanasambandar is said to have stayed here for some time.
  • From the flagpost one can worship both Goddess Padmathala nayaki and Lord Adhipureeswara at the same time.


1. 28th year of Kulothunga Chola Deva - Commences with his meikeerthi, and gives the different amounts of money received by the Sivabrahmanas from the Chief of Eydanur, Thiruvayindiran Viraiyan Senan for burning lamps at the temple of Tirumaandurai Aandar, at Solakulavallinallur, in Pattan pakkai nadu, a subdivision of Gangaikondasolavalanadu, and of Vadathali Mahadevar, Durgaiyar and Ganapathiyar of the same village. (ARE No.141 of 1933-34)

2. 29th year of Kulothunga Chola Deva - States that Sivabrahmana Tiruvegamban Maninaga Bhattan agreed to burn twilight lamps to the Lord for the money received by him from Thiruvayindiran Viraiyan Senan, the Chief of Eydanur. (ARE No. 142/1933-34)

3. Kulothunga Chola Deva - year lost - Records a gift of money by two individuals for burning two twilight lamps at the temple. Another inscription close to it belonging to the 35th year of the king, refers to another twilight lamp lit with the money provided by Viraiyan Senan. (ARE No. 143/1933-34)

4. 36th year of Kulothunga Chola Deva - States that a Sivabrahmana agreed to burn a twilight lamp in the temple of Tirumanduraiyur Kulothunga Sola Iswaramudaiyar at Sozhakulavalli Nallur from an endowment by the general (Enadhi) Araiyan Sankaran Tamilavelan. (ARE No. 144/1933-34)

5. 35th year of Kulothunga Chola Deva - Commences with his meikeerthi Pugalmadhu. Registers an agreement given by the Sivabrahmanas to burn a twilight lamp in the temple in return for a gift of Paddy made by Tiruvaiyidiran Viraiyan Senan. Mentions also the provision made in the 31st year of the king for burning twilight lamps in the same temple. (ARE No.145/1933-34)

6. 38th year of Kulothunga Chola Deva - Mentions Nambi Siriyan alias Kulothungasola Pallavarayan of Alapakkam made provision for a twilight lamp in the temple of Tirumandurai Mahadeva by grant of a gift of 12 sheep to a manradi. (ARE No.146/1933-34)

7. Another inscription in front of the temple states that the sluice called Sokkachchiyan was put up by Palaiyan Taniaanmaivallan.

A service called Eydanarkattalai seems to have been instituted by Thiruvayindiran Viraiyan Senan to the temple of Eydanur and the deity has been referred to as Tirumandurai Mahadevar or Kulothunga Sola Iswaramudaiyar.

How to get here:

At the Nellikuppam EID parry Road, turn left at Melpathi Varasiddhi Vinayakar Temple to reach Eithanoor.
Coordinates: 11.7561965, 79.684052

Contact Details:

Murugan Iyer - 9345055036

Temple Timings:

At the moment, the temple does not enjoy a large patronage, so please check with the Gurukkal about their availability before visiting.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram - Come and be rid of breathing difficulties!

The 7th Century rock cut Trikkur Mahadeva Temple
I first heard about the Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram through a follower of the Aalayam Kanden Trust facebook page. I had plans of travelling to Guruvayur and Trichur in the following week and hence wrote back to him asking for further details like temple timings, contact details etc but did not hear back from him. Google searches yielded minimal information, but what I got added to the excitement. We did not know the exact location and timings, route or nothing further other than the fact that this was one among the oldest and very few rock cut Shiva temples of Kerala.

As usual, our taxi driver gave us a blank look when we mentioned Trikkur to him. He thought we were mispronouncing Trichur. When we tried to take help on the way, the passersby also gave the distinctive Kerala style shrug and shake of the head to say they did not know.

When we finally found the location and started the climb up the small hillock, we found the priest walking down after locking the temple. We were totally disappointed that all our efforts since morning had failed. The priest however, seeing us slow down, stopped to inform us that the "Chechimaar"were still at the temple and we could go in.

The entrance to the Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram
The temple is in multiple layers. At the entrance is a multi pillared hall painted in bright colours right in front of the Dwajasthamba. The main temple complex is at a higher level with steps leading to it. There are also another set of crude steps leading to the Ganapathy, Sapthamatrika and other shrines on top of the hillock. There are other shrines around the circumambulatory path and below the main temple complex.

The sanctum sanctorum is within a cave on a hillock. Extensions have been made to include an Artha Mandapa and a Nada with steps leading to the main shrine. Apart from this, the rocks also hold the office block and other shrines. This temple is an ASI protected monument. 

I have not heard of many rock cut Shiva temples in Kerala. Not just that, this temple also had several other unique features.

History of Thrikkur Mahadeva Kshetram:

Trikkur is situated on the shores of the Manali River, around ten kilometers north-east of Thrichur. The Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram is located about 200m above the sea level. In this temple, Lord Shiva resides as a Syambhoo. The majestically beautiful deity, is over six feet tall and is over two feet wide. 

The Sanctum Sanctorum is located within a cave that is twelve feet long and eight feet wide. The cave opens out towards the north.  In front of the sanctum sanctorum is a Mugha mandapa, that is carved fully out of rock. Even though the deity  faces the east , during the Darshan, the devotees get to see only the right side of the Linga. ( ‘Parshwa Darshan”.)

The stone carved Mukha Mandapam insdie the Trikkur Mahadeva Temple

The temple is believed to be created by the Lord of fire, Lord Agni. It is also believed that Agni eternally resides alongside Lord Shiva. Due to this, the Ezhunnellath ( the ushering of the deity outside the temple) is never done on rainy days or on the days when the atmosphere is cloudy. 

Goddess Parvathi too, perpetually resides alongside the Lord Shiva, personifying knowledge. Towards the West side of the sanctum, Lord Ganapathi is engraved on the wall of the cave. On the East side are two Dwarapalakas and on the Mugha Mandapa, resides a Saalagrama, which is said to have immense Vaishnava Chaithanya .

The floor, laden with rock, and the Namasakara Mandapa, which is constructed from sixteen rock pillars have a large number of beautiful carvings on them. Towards the North of the temple is a hall where Saraswati Pooja and Chakyar Koothu are conducted during Navraatri and Utsavas respectively.

It is also believed that this temple was first found by a person, belonging to a class considered untouchable in those days. He had been searching for his cow that had gone grazing, when he chanced upon this cave. He found the cow in the cave along with the magnificent form of Lord Shiva. He immediately ran and reported this to his master, a Namboodiri.

The Namboodiri, seeing the magnificent form of the Lord manifested in the cave, performed poojas to him. A floor has been erected in front of the temple, in memory of the man who had first sighted this temple. In the Utsava times, it is on this floor, that Kurathiyattam is performed. Since it was here that the temple was sighted – the village was named Dhrukpuram. (Dhrushti – sight) . Over time, the word Dhrukpuram shortened to Trikkur, goes the myth.

Cure for breathing difficulties:

There are numerous temples around the country that offer solace and relief to different problems. The uniqueness about the Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram is that it gives relief to those who are suffering from breathing difficulties like Asthma, and breathlessness. The method of worship used to be rid of these ailments is also unique.

Kayar Vazhipaadu(The Rope Offering)

Yards of rope are offered at the feet of the Lord, or in the form of  Rope Thulabhara ( offering rope equivalent to one's weight) . This Kayar Vazhipadu is said to have divine powers to heal Asthma  and people belonging to different religions and castes come to this temple to offer Kayar Vazhipaadu to the Lord and cure themselves of respiratory illnesses. This method of cure is termed as ‘Daiva Vyaapaashraya Chikitsa’ in Ayurveda. The Chechimaar at the temple also mentioned that if one paid Rs.500 for this offering, then the Kayar Vazhipaadu would be done on their behalf for twelve years. 

A look at the yards of rope in the temple one could well imagine the number of people who offered such rope to be rid of breathing difficulties.

Yards of rope offered as Thulabara to Trikkur Mahadeva
Apart from the Rope Thulabhara which is the most popular form of offering, devotees also offer Dhara (Abhishekam) of 108 and 1008 pots of water at noon, once they have been cured .

Lord Shiva is fond of Vilvam (Bilwa/Koovaram). Offering Pushpanjali with fifty one Vilva leaves is also another way of expressing gratitude after being cured. For children who are suffering from breathing difficulties, Karuka Homam or lighting of Pin Vilaku (lamp behind the Lord) is also done apart from the Kayar Vazhibadu.

The Dwajasthambam at Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram
The sacrificial stones (balikallu) and the flag pole (Kodimaram) are situated to the right of the temple. Ganapathi, Sastha, Antimahakalan , Kaali, Bhagavathi and Chaamundi are all found at different spots on the hillock.  The Saptamatrikas are housed in what is called a Matrusaala. This concept and architecture of Maatrusala is found very rarely in Kerala. In the south west corner, the Naga deities are also housed.

The Saptamatrikas on top of the hillock

At the top of the rock, there exists a miniature well, which has a constant, natural supply of water. It is known as the Theertha Well , though hardly anyone ever uses the water in this well. Even in the hottest of summers, this well, miraculously, never runs dry.

One of the shrines on top of the hillock.

There are  numerous rock engravings  found in this temple, closely associated with Jain religion. It is said that many Jain saints have undergone their penance on this hillock prior to it becoming a Saivaite temple.

Procedure for praying at the Trikkur Mahadeva Temple:

All devotees must start their worship by first bowing to the Dhwajasthamba. Above the Dwajasthamba, is a Ganapathi who is worshipped next, either from below or if one has the ability, by going up the rocktop.

Ganapathi on top of the hillock at Trikkur Mahadeva Kshetram

Then they must pray to the Sapthamatrikas and continue to circumambulate to the south west corner and prays to the Nagayakshi and the Nagaraja. After this, they must circumambulate through the North Nada and pray to Ganapathi/Sastha/Anthimahakalan/Bhadrakali/Bhagavathi/Chamundi all found next to each other on the North east part of the temple.

The circumambulatory path around the hillock

 Proceeding to the main shrine , the devotees must pray to Lord Shiva, circumambulate the Mandapa,  say a silent prayer to Lord Ganesha, come back to the main shrine and seek blessings of Lord Shiva again.

A number of festivals like Thiruvathira, Mahashivaratri, Navaratri, and Pradosha Puja are celebrated with great pomp and glory at this temple and people from different parts of the world arrive at this small village to partake in the celebrations and obtain the blessings of Lord Thrikkurappan.

The beautiful pillared hall before the Dwajasthamba

How to reach here:

Trikkur is about ten kilometres from Trichur in Kerala. Google map link here.

Temple timings:

The sanctum sanctorum  is open from 7 am to 10 am in the morning and again from 5 pm to 8 pm in the evening. All other parts of the temple are open through the day.

Contact Details:

Phone Number: 0487- 2359500


My sincere thanks to Rahul Kochuparambil for helping with the translation of documents received from the temple in order to give complete information in this article.