''Panchranga'' Kshetrams dedicated to Sri Vishnu, South India - 02

 03. Koviladi Appala Ranganathar temple:

Appakkudathan Perumal temple, Koviladi,TNpinrest.com

The Sri Appakudathan Perumal Temple, also called as Thirupper Nagar, located on the banks of the Cauvery  river, about 3 miles away from Kollidam, is an ancient Vishnu temple. Also called  Koviladi Appala Ranganathar temple,  it is  one of the 108 Divya Desams and also Pancharanga Kshetrams.  The  main deity in the sanctum is Lord Ranganatha in the sayana posture and this temple is believed to have been in existence prior to Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple at Srirangam. Utchavar: Appala Rangan.

Appalakudthan Perumal temple Koviladi. krawaman.wordpress.com

Above image: Moolavar deity in the garbagriha is in Sayana posture, Appalakudathan Perumal Kovil, Koviladi, Thanjavur District, TN.  Bhujanga Sayana posture -reclining posture  facing west.  The Vimana above the sanctum is of Indira Vimana design.  Lord Vazhikatti Vinanayaka (Guiding Vinayaka) graces the place. 

The deity known as  "Appala Rangan", is seen  with  Bhooma Devi and Kamala Valli Thaayar. The central deity is depicted in a reclining posture called pujanga sayanam, holding the holy pot in his right hand. The sanctum also contains the images of King Upayamanyu and sage  Dhurvarsa. 

Appakuduthan Perumal temple, Koviladi, wikipedia

This temple follows Thenkalai samprethayam and four-kala puja ritual is conducted here.  There are  many temple festivals held every year. The 13-day Panguni Brahmotsavam, Kaisika Dwadasi in Karthigai (November - December), Teertha Vari at the River Cauvery on the day of Maasi Magam  are significant. As part of Vaikunta Ekadasi (Dec.-January) during rapathu, Namazhwar Moksham (as in Srirangam) is held here with devotion. Upamanyu and Sage Parasara had the darshan of Lord Appakudathan here

The  temple is located on a raised platform and can be accessed through a flight of steps (21) to enter the shrine.  Yet another interesting fact is the presence of a shrine in the prakara dedicated to God Vinayaka  - Vazhikatti Vinanayaka (Guiding Vinayaka)   

Legend has it   King Upamanyu and Parasara Rishi were on a visit to this place to pray to the lord. King Upamanyu  is believed to have offended sage Dhurvasa and to wash off his sin he had to feed one lakh people daily, a tough job. He kept feeding the people without any seservation. To test his commitment Sri Vishnuin the guise of an old man  came here to be fed. He ate all the food meant for the others.  He told the bewildered king that he would be  satified if he got  a pot ful of neyappam  (sweet  dish). The king patiently obliged and gave it to him . Then he realized the old man was none other than God Vishnu. Pleased with his devotion and commitment to a cause, Vishnu got rid of hithe curse cast on him by sage Dhurvasa.  . Hence the lord  goes by the name of   Appakudathan - meaning a pot full of appam.  The deity here is belived to have got rid of Indira's ego and arrogance and also helped sage Markandaya to be free from the fear of death from Yama who wanted to take away his life when he was 16. 

Saint Periyalvar sang The Mangalashasanam, a hymn in praise of the Lord was set by  Periazhwar in front of the god before attaining  moksha or salvation.  This kshetram is a Mukti sthalam and it is believed that Nammazhwar  is believed to have recited his last song in Divyaprabandam from this temple.

It is to be borne in mind that it is the  only Divya Desam  temple where Neyyappam  as special offering to  the Lord every night as neivedhyam. is made. There is a beautiful idol of Santhanagopalan here and  childless couples upon praying and offering butter with sugar to the deity will be  blessed with children. This temple is located in a serene place at a higher location around the place. 





04. Sri Sarangapani Temple, Kumbakonam:

Sarangapani temple Kumbakonam, /upload.wikimedia.org

One among the Panchrangam  shrines, Sri  Sarangapani temple is referred to as Vatarangam in some references. One among the 5 Vishnu temples participating in  the Mahamaham festival that is hel in every 12 years. This temple is known as  Ubaya Pradhana Kshetram as the Moolavar (presiding deity) and utsavar (festive deity) enjoy the same importance in puja protocol. 

The huge Sarangapani Temple, in the prime area of Kumnbakonam, close to the river Cauvery is an important Divyadesam shrine and a Pacharanga kshetram.  At different times  dynasties  from Medieval Cholas, Vijayanagara  Empire and Madurai Nayaks made valuable contribution toward construction of this temple.  On 13 July 2015. Mahasamprokshanam (consecration) took place that was  attended by  large crowds. .

Portamarai kulam, Sarangapani temple, Kumbakonam wikipedia.. 

The main Rajagopuram (the main gateway) that is visible in this commercial town has eleven tiers  and is one of the tallest gopurams (towers) in Tamil Nadu (height: 173 ft.

In this temple the sanctum is in the shape of a chariot as the main deity Sarangapani (god bears bow and arrow)  appeared  to sage Hema Rishi who had meditated on him for a long time. The lord is said to have emerged from heaven in his chariot driven by  four horses and elephants.  The chariot opens out on either side. The belief has been that the  learned sage turned into temple tank-  Pottramarai kulam . This tank is close to main bazaar road and the central mantap is called   Hemarishi Mandapam.

Sarangapani temple, main gopuram, Kumbakonam, alamy.com

Legend has it that sage Bhrihu, after waiting for a long time  was unable to get the attention of Vishnu at Thiruparkadal.  Having  lost his temper  and in rage  without realizing his grave sin. kicked the lord in the chest. Though Vishnu remained calm and unperturbed, Mahalakshmi, on the other hand,  was wild and  angry.  She reached the earth and took the form of Padmavati and  Vishnu followed her and married her. Unable to cool her down, Vishnu lived in the underground chamber as Pathala Srinivasa. Sage Bhrihu resented his intemperate behavior and apologized to  God Vishnu . He further requested Mahalakshmi to be born to him as his daughter in the next birth and began his penance.  Sage Bhrihu was reborn as Hemarishi and  Vishnu  agreed  that Lakshmi would take rebirth as  Komalavalli.  At last goddess emerged from the temple tank potramarai  kulam. Vishnu descended from Vaikuntam  to earth  as Aravamudhan  in a chariot drawn by horses and elephants  and finally married her. 

Sarabgapani temple with tank, Kumbakonam, TN. alamy.com 

The temple chariot festival is an important event in this part of district and it falls   during the Tamil month of Chittirai (March–April). An interesting fact is the twin temple chariots are  said to be the third-largest in Tamil Nadu, each weighing 300 tons (660,000 lb).  The chariot festival of this temple was initiated by  Thirumangai Azhwar himself.  This temple is referred to as Chathurtharangam.




04. Parimala Ranganatha Perumal Temple near Mayavaram:

Parimala Ranganatha Perumal Temple in Thiruvilandur,.templepurohit.com

The Parimala Ranganatha Perumal Temple in Thiruvilandur,  one of the 108 Divya Desams and also a Pancharanga kshetram is close to the Cauvery river, Mayavaram town, Tamil Nadu.  The confluence of the river Cauvery with the Bay of Bengal is nearby. This temple of great antiquity was built at various times by medieval Cholas, Nayaks and Vijanagara dynasty.  As for rituals and  daily worship, this  temple follows Pancharatra Agama and thenkalai tradition or samprathayam.  Food offering is done 6 times  a day.  The annual Brahmotchvam (March-April)  and vaikunta Ekadasi (December-January) are  quite famous. Pushkarani/temple tank: Indu.

An interesting information is  this temple's association with one  pious bandit who ultimately became an Azhwar saint. Known as Parakal, he was devoted to Lord  Ranganatha. Quite pleased with his steadfast devotion to him, the god brought on him a complete transformation by teaching the Narayana mantra or Ashtaksara (the eight syllabled) – "namo narayanaya", 

A robber by profession with overwhelming devotion to Sri Vishnu,  it is quite strange that he   became a pious saint  later.  He first started  singing the  devotional hymns of  Peria Thirumozhi  (Vaadinen Vaadi). Upon  the saint's request lord Vishnu decided to reside in  his place  town Tirunakari as Parimala Perumal. The temple is said to have been built by him - Parakal  offering prayers to the god.  The Temple town is now known as Thiruindaloor in Mayuram taluk of Nagaipattinam district in Tamil Nadu.

Legend has it when planet Moon was under the spell  of a curse, he prayed to Vishnu who got rid of his curse.  When saint Thirumangai Azhwar  visited the temple the door were closed. Though he  kept singing in praise of the  lord, the doors still remained shut, Quite furious, when he was about to return with dejection, the doors had opened for him to worship the deity.

Dwajasthamba mantapam Hindu Temples - Blogspot

Above image: Parimala Ranganathar temple, Thiruvilandur, Tamil Nadu. here Vishnu's consort also goes by the name of   Chandrasaapa Vimochanavall.

The presiding deity Parimala Ranganathar (facing East) in the sanctum is in the sayana posture. It is large image 12 feet long made of green-colored hardstone.  His consort is Parimala Ranganayaki. There are other idols in the sactum- Ganga and Cauvery and Santhana Gopala Krishnan.   The Dwajasthamba Mandapam and Garuda Mandapam  have countless ornate pillars supporting the roof. The images of ten avatars of Vishnu in the Garuda mantapa are impressive. 

The practice of playing nadaswaram (a wind musical instrument) at temples, has been vogue for a long time, but not at certain temples.  First began in this temple using  musical composition with 2 to 8 notes according to their skills  nadaswaram playing became a regular feature here.   Credit goes to  both  Tiruvizhandur Subrahmanya Pillai and Kurainadu Natesa Pillai, who happened to be well-known for rakti (lyrics)  and who popularized  this tradition at  the Parimala Ranganatha temple at Tiruvizhandur. This place is called Pancharangam