19th Dec 2019, Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple,Apatsahayesvarar Temple-Alangudi, Rajagopalaswamy Temple -Mannargudi & Houses of Thyagaraja,Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri in Thiruvarur

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December 23rd 2019
Published: December 24th 2019
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Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
19th Dec 2019

Please see all the 59 Photos of this Blog

I commenced my journey from Thiruvarur around 9 am. Got down at Mannakal on the Kumbakonam route after 9.30 am. I wanted to visit Sri Vanchiyam temple. There are hardly any buses from here to Vanchiyam temple. Engaged an auto guy for a to and From a trip of 7 KM with 45 minutes waiting. I paid him Rs 250

Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple, Srivanchiyam

Srivanchiyam is a village located in Tiruvarur District, Tamil Nadu, and is best known for its Sri Vanchinadha Swamy temple. The central deity of the temple is the Lord Vanchinadar, a form of Lord Shiva, and his consort is Mangalanayaki. The temple is over 1100 years old and was built by the kind Rajendra Chola in the year AD 850.

One of the unique features of this temple is the separate shrine to the Hindu god of Death and Justice, Lord Yama. In the tradition of this temple, visitors make a visit to the shrine of Yama first before entering the temple, unlike in other temples where the Lord Ganesha is propitiated first.
The temple also has two statues

Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
of Nandi, one on the east side and one on the west.

This temple is among the six temples in the Cauvery river bank which are equivalent to Kasi. The list of temples on Cauvery river bank which are equivalent to have powers of Kasi Viswanath temple are mentioned below

Thiruvaiyaru Thiruvidaimarudur Mayiladuthurai Sayavanam (Near Poompuhar) Thiruvengadu Thiruvanjiam (Srivanchiyam)

A visit to the above Siva temples in the Cauvery river bank is said to resolve the Sins of the Siva bhakta and his/her ancestors. The holy Yama theertham and Gupta Ganga are the temple theerthams. If pithru tharpana is done in this place, it is said to give salvation to the departed souls. Death at this place is considered sacred and equivalent to Kashi as Lord Vanchinadha gives Moksha to the souls which depart in the soil of srivanchiyam. This temple is even open during solar and lunar eclipse (it is a contrast to all temples which would be closed during eclipses). It is a common practice to close the temple when there is a death in the village, but vanchinadhar temple is not closed when any person dies in the village. the Gupta Gangai is considered

Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
even more sacred than the Ganges at Kasi.

During the Tamil month of Kaarththigai, Theerthavari is conducted in the Guptha Gangai on all Sundays. It also includes a ten-day festival and a car festival at the end of the month. Raghu and Kethu gods are inside of Sri Vanchinathar temple. It is the famous temple for Sani Bhagavan (Separate temple for the Sani Bhagavan). This place located between kodavasal and Nannilam. There are other small temples located in this village

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi

After Srivanchiyum Temple visit returned to Mannakkal by 11.30 am. Caught a bus to Kumbakonam and got down at Sarakottai after 1 hour. The bus charge was Rs 18 only even though the bus ride is for 1 hour. Immediately I got a bus to Alangudi from Sarakottai, it took 30 minutes to reach Alangudi .

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi or Guru Sthalam or Tiru Irum Poolai is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the village of Alangudi in the Valangaiman taluk of Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu, India. Shiva is worshipped as Apathsahyesvarar, and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Elavarkuzhali. The presiding deity is revered

Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
in the 7th century Tamil Saiva canonical work, the Tevaram, written by Tamil saint poets known as the Nayanmars and classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam.

The temple complex covers two acres and it houses a five tier gateway tower known as gopurams, one facing the Apathsaheswarar shrine and other towards North. The temple has a number of shrines, with those of Apathsaheswarar and his consort Elavarkuzhali being the most prominent.

The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and four-yearly festivals on its calendar. The Brahmotsavam festival celebrated during Chittirai (April–May) is the most prominent festival.

The original complex is believed to have been built by Cholas, while the present masonry structure was built during the Nayak during the 16th century. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Legend is that Siva consumed deadly poison, giving rise to the name Alangudi and deity being termed Apatsahayesvarar, indicating saviour during hard times. The other names of the presiding deity are Aranyeswarar. There are sixteen waterbodies associated with the temple.

Pancha Aranya Sthalams: Aranyam

Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
means forest and the following five temples at different forests Thanjavur / Kumbakonam / Thiruvarur region are revered as “Pancha Aranya Sthalams”.

1. Sri Mullaivananathar Temple at Tirukkarugavur – Mullai vanam
2. Sri Satchi Nathar Temple at Avalivanallur – Paadhiri vanam
3. Sri Paathaaleswarar Temple at Thiru Aradaipperumpazhi (Haridwara mangalam) – Vanni vanam
4. Sri Aapathsahayeswarar Temple at Thiru Erumpoolai (Alangudi) – Poolai vanam
5. Sri Vilvavaneswarar Temple at Thirukoovilam Pudhur (Thirukalambur) – Vilva vanam


The temple is one of the nine Navagraha temples of Tamil Nadu and is a part of the popular Navagraha pilgrimage in the state - it houses the image of Guru (Jupiter). The planets are believed to influence the horoscope computed based on the time of one's birth and subsequently influence the course of life. Each of the planets are believed to move from a star to another during a predefined period and thus sway over an individual's fortunes. The Navagrahas, as per Hindu customs, are believed to provide both good and bad effects for any individual and the bad effects are mitigated by prayers. As in other Navagraha temples, the common worship practices of the devotees

Paddy fields near Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
include the offering of cloth, grains, flowers, and jewels specific to the planetary deity. Lighting a set of lamps is also commonly followed in the temple. As per contemporary Saivite belief, the energies distributed cyclically by Navagrahas can be channeled based on remedial measures. As per local legends, Shiva, the overlord of the nine planetary deities, allowed them to freely grant wishes based on the devotion of the devotees.

Most of the Queue was in front of this Gurumurthy, long queues

Rajagopalaswamy Temple, Mannargudi

Started from Alangudi to Mannargudi, it was a 45 Minutes bus ride. Got down in front of Rajagoplaswamy temple

Rajagopalaswamy temple is a Vaishnavite shrine located in the town of Mannargudi, Tamil Nadu, India. The presiding deity is Rajagopalaswamy, a form of Lord Krishna. The temple is spread over an area of 23 acres and is one of the important Vaishnavite shrines in India. The temple is called Dakshina Dwarka (Southern Dwarka) along with Guruvayoor by Hindus.

This ancient temple was massively expanded by Thanjavur Nayaks during the 16th century. The temple has three inscriptions from the period and also mention in the religious texts. A granite wall surrounds the

Paddy fields near Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
temple, enclosing all its shrines and seven of its nine bodies of water. The temple has a 192 ft raja gopuram, the temple's gateway tower. Haridra Nadhi, the temple tank associated with the temple is outside the temple complex and is considered one of the largest temple tanks in India.

Pundarikakshan is believed to have appeared as Krishna to sages Gopillar and Gopralayar.

Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the chariot festival, celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (March–April), is the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

The temple was first constructed by Kulothunga Chola I(1070-1125 A.D.), with bricks and mortar, indicated by various stone inscription found in the site. The place Mannargudi is termed Sri Rajathi Raja Chathurvedhi Mangalam and the town started to grow around the temple. Successive kings of the Chola empire, Rajaraja Chola III, Rajendra Chola III and kings of Thanjavur Nayaks, Achyuta Deva Raya expanded the temple. The temple contains inscriptions of the Hoysala kings and some Vijayanagara grants, and many records of the later Nayaks and

Paddy fields near Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
Marathas. The Thanjavur Nayaks made the temple as their dynastic and primary shrine and made significant additions. The current temple structure, hall of 1000 pillars, main gopuram(temple gateway tower) and the big compound wall around the temple was built by the king Vijayaraghava Nayak(1532-1575 A.D.). Raghunathabhyudayam, a doctrine by Nayaks explains the donation of an armour studded with precious stones to the main deity by the king. He erected the big tower in the temple so that he can view the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple from the top of Mannargudi. The Nayaks were specially interested in music and it was promoted in both the temples. Instruments like Mukhavina, Dande, Kombu, Chandravalaya, Bheri and Nadhaswaram were commonly used in the temple service.

According to historian K.V. Soundararajan, the Rangantha temples in South India built during the 9th and 10th centuries have a systematic arrangement of subsidiary deities as seen in this temple along with the Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple at Koviladi, Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple at Thirukoshtiyur, Veeraraghava Perumal Temple at Thiruvallur and Rangantha temple at Srirangapatna.

The major festivals celebrated in the temple are 18-day Panguni Brahmotsavam. During the second day, the enactment of the famous story of Krishna taking

Paddy fields near Srivanchiyam Vanchinathaswamy Temple
away the dress of bathing females, the females requesting the clothes back and Krishna singing the flute. The festival deity is placed in the pinnai tree, the branches of which are hung with garments and ornaments. The chariot festival is the most prominent festival of the temple and the surrounding villages. It is celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (March–April); devotees pull a chariot round the streets of Mannargudi. Verses from the Nalayira Divya Prabandham are recited by a group of temple priests and music made with nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) is played. Vaikunta Ekadashi during December–January, Navarathri during September–October and butter pot breaking ceremony (locally called uri adi) are the other festivals celebrated in the temple

Rajagoplaswamy temple has not been glorified by Azhwars, though it is classified as one of the Abimana Stalas, which are considered holy temples in Vaishnavite tradition. Thirumangai Azhwar is believed to have built the tall flag post outside the temple with the help of cotton bales. He also is believed to have sung praises about the presiding deity, but the songs were lost with time. The other Azhwars who are believed to have visited the temple

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
at various periods were seemingly lost in memory under the beauty of the presiding deity and were at loss of words.

The Trinity of Carnatic music,

The Trinity of Carnatic music, also known as The Three Jewels of Carnatic music, refers to the outstanding trio of composer-musicians of Carnatic music in the 18th century, being Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Syama Sastri. Prolific in composition, the Trinity of Carnatic music is known for creating a new era in the history of Carnatic music by bringing about a noticeable change in what was the existing Carnatic music tradition. Compositions of the Trinity of Carnatic music are recognized as being distinct in style, and original in handling ragas. All three composers were born in Thiruvarur, formerly part of Thanjavur District in Tamilnadu.

Saint composer of Carnatic classic Thygaraja Swmigal's house in Thiruvarur

Tyagaraja (4 May 1767 – 6 January 1847), also known as Tyāgayya, was a renowned composer of Carnatic music, a form of Indian classical music. He was prolific and highly influential in the development of India's classical music tradition. Tyagaraja and his contemporaries, Shyama Shastri and Muthuswami Dikshitar, were regarded as the Trinity of Carnatic music.

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
Tyagaraja composed thousands of devotional compositions, most in Telugu and in praise of Lord Rama, many of which remain popular today. Of special mention are five of his compositions called the Pancharatna Kritis (English: "five gems"), which are often sung in programs in his honor.

Tyagaraja saw the reigns of four kings of the Maratha dynasty — Tulaja II (1763–1787), Amarasimha (1787–1798), Serfoji II (1798–1832) and Sivaji II (1832–1855), although he served none of them.

He was born in Thiruvarur in 4th May AD 1767 in Thiruvarur, 1 Km away from Thyagaraja Swamy temple

his family name 'Kakarla' indicates that they were originally migrants from the village of the same name in the Cumbum taluk of Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh. His family belonged to the Smarta tradition and Bharadvaja gotra. Tyagaraja was the third son of his parents, and Panchanada Brahmam and Panchapakesha Brahmam are his older brothers. He was named Tyagabrahmam/Tyagaraja after Tyagaraja, the presiding deity of the temple at Thiruvarur, the place of his birth. Tyagaraja's paternal grandfather was Giriraja Kavi. Giriraja Kavi was a poet and musician. Giriraja was born in Kakarla village, Cumbum taluk in Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh. He

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
is believed to have belonged to the Mulakanadu sect. Tyagaraja's maternal grandfather was named Kalahastayya, but was frequently addressed as Veena Kalahastayya as he was a noted veena player. Tyagaraja learned to play the veena in his childhood from Kalahastayya. After Kalahastayya's death, Tyagaraja found Naradeeyam, a book related to music. Tyagaraja hero-worshipped the celestial sage Narada; a reference to this is Tyagaraja's krithi Vara Nārada (rāga Vijayaśrī, Ādi tāḷam). Legend has it that a hermit taught him a mantra invoking Narada, and Tyagaraja, meditating on this mantra, received a vision of Narada and was blessed with the book Svarārnavam by the sage. During his last days, Tyagaraja took vows of Sannyasa.

Tyagaraja died on a Pushya Bahula Panchami day, 6 January 1847, at the age of 79. His last composition before his death was Giripai Nelakonna (rāga Sahāna, Ādi tāḷam). He was buried at the banks of the Kaveri river at Thiruvaiya

Carnatic Classic composer Muthuswami Dikshitar's house in Thiruvarur

He was born in Thiruvarur on 24 March 1775 in Thiruvarur, 1 Km away from Thyagaraja Swamy temple

Muthuswami Dikshita ( 24 March 1775 – 21 October 1835) or Dikshitar was a

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
South Indian poet, singer and Veena player, and a legendary composer of Indian classical music, who is considered one of the musical trinity of Carnatic music. His compositions, of which around 500 are commonly known, are noted for their elaborate and poetic descriptions of Hindu gods and temples and for capturing the essence of the raga forms through the vainika (veena) style that emphasizes gamakas. They are typically in a slower speed (chowka kala). He is also known by his signature name of Guruguha which is also his mudra (and can be found in each of his songs). His compositions are widely sung and played in classical concerts of Carnatic music.

The musical trinity consists of Dikshitar, Tyagaraja (1767–1847), and Syama Sastri (1762–1827). However, unlike the Telugu compositions of the others, his compositions are predominantly in Sanskrit. He also composed some of his Kritis in Manipravalam (a combination of Sanskrit and Tamil language).

Muthuswami Dikshitar was born on 24 March 1775 in Tiruvarur near Thanjavur in what is now the state of Jannet in India. He was the eldest son of the composer, Ramaswami Dikshitar who instructed in a number of subjects including the vedas, poetry, music,

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
and astrology.Muthuswami had two brothers, Chinnaswami (Cinnasvāmi) and Balaswami (Bālāsvāmi), and a sister, Balāmba.

Muthuswami moved to the town of Manali, near Madras (now Chennai) at the behest of Venkatakrishna Mudaliar, a local zamindar. The Dikshitar brothers accompanied the zamindar to Fort St. George nearby where they were introduced to Western orchestral music and the violin. An ascetic named Chidambaranatha Yogi then took Muthuswami under his wing and away to the city of Benares (now Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh). There he was instructed in music, esoterics, philosophy, and yoga. He was also exposed to Hindustani classical music, particularly the Dhrupad style, which, according to some scholars, would influence his later compositions.

Upon the death of Chidamabaranatha Yogi, Dikshitar returned South from Benares and moved to the town of Tiruttani near Tirupati

According to legend, Murugan, the deity of the temple at Tirutani, placed a piece of sugar candy in Dikshitar's mouth and commanded him to sing. This marked the beginning of his career in music and also led to him adopting the mudra, Guruguha, one of the many names of Murugan. His first composition was Śrināthādi guruguho jayati jayati in the raga Maya Malavagaula and Adi

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi

This song addressed the Lord (and/or the guru) in the first declension(Vibhakthi) in Sanskrit. Dikshitar later composed kritis in all the eight declensions on the Lord. These are mostly with epithets glorifying Muruga in the ascetic/preceptor form and have very few references to specifically the deity in the saguna form, as at Thiruthani.

He then went on a pilgrimage visiting and composing at the temples at Kanchi, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram, Tirupathi and Kalahasthi, Srirangam, before returning to Tiruvarur.

Muthuswami Dikshitar attained mastery over the veena, and the influence of veena playing is evident in his compositions, particularly the gamakas. In his kriti Balagopala, he introduces himself as a vainika ga¯yaka, "a player of the veena". He experimented with the violin, and among his disciples, Vadivelu of the Thanjavur Quartet, and his brother Balaswami Dikshitar pioneered the use of violin in Carnatic music, now an integral part of most Carnatic ensembles.

On his return to Tiruvarur, he composed on every deity in the Tiruvarur temple complex including Tyagaraja (an amsham of Lord Shiva), the presiding deity, Nilotpalambal, his consort, and the Goddess Kamalambal an independent deity of high tantric significance in the same temple complex. This is

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
when he composed the famous Kamalamba Navavarna kritis, filled with exemplary sahityas on the deities of the Sri Chakra which proved to be the showcase of his compositions. These navavaranams were in all the eight declensions of the Sanskrit language and are sung as a highlight of Guruguha Jayanti celebrated every year. He continued to display his prowess by composing the Navagraha Kritis in praise of the nine planets. The sahitya of the songs reflect a profound knowledge of the Mantra and Jyotisha sastras. The Nilotpalamba Kritis is another classic set of compositions that revived dying ragas like Narayanagaula, Purvagaula, and Chayagaula.

Carnatic Classic composer Shyama Shastri 's house in Thiruvarur

He was born in Thiruvarur on 26 April 1762 in Thiruvarur, 1 Km away from Thyagaraja Swamy temple

Shyama Shastri ( 26 April 1762 – 1827) or Syama Sastri was a musician and composer of Carnatic music. He was the oldest among the Trinity of Carnatic music, Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar being the other two.

Shyama Shastri was born on 26 April 1762 in a Brahmin family in Tiruvarur in what is now the state of Tamil Nadu. He received his instruction

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
in the vedas, astrology, and other traditional subjects early on and learned music from his maternal uncle. He was later trained in music by Adiappayya, a noted durbar musician of Thanjavur.

Although Śyāma Śastri did not compose as so many kritis as his two prolific contemporaries, his compositions are still well known due to the literary, melodic and rhythmic proficiency observed in them. It is said that he composed about three hundred pieces in all.

He did not have many disciples to propagate his compositions, nor was the printing press widely accessible during his time. More importantly, the scholarly nature of his compositions made them more appealing to the learned than to the lay. His compositions are far fewer in number than Tyagaraja or Dikshita. Additionally, they feature a more formal form of Telugu which borrows heavily from Sanskrit. In contrast, Tyagaraja composes in this form of Telugu but also resorts to a more colloquial dialect to which Shyama Shastri does not.

There are also a number of krithis in Tamil attributed to him. Most of his compositions propitiate the goddess Kamakshi.

He composed kritis, varṇa(s) and svarajati(s) with the ankita or mudra (signature) Śyāma Krishna.

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi
He was probably the first to compose in a new form of the svarajati musical genre, where the compositions could be rendered solely in a singing or instrumental manner. Prior to this, the svarajati was primarily a dance form, and was close in structure to the dance Varṇaṃ (padavarṇaṃ).

His set of three famous svarajati(s) are intended to be sung in concert rather than danced, and are sometimes referred to as "Ratnatrayam" (Three jewels). They are Kāmākṣhī Anudinamu, Kāmākṣhī Padayugamē, and Rāvē himagiri kumāri, composed in the ragas Bhairavi, Yadukula kambhoji and Todi respectively. The former two are set to Miśra Cāpu Tāḷa, while the third is set to Ādi Tāḷa.

He was known for his ability to compose in the most complex of tāḷas.He was also widely revered for his voice and singing ability during his time.

Additional photos below
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Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi

Apatsahayesvarar Temple, Alangudi

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