Thursday, February 25, 2016

Agniswarar Temple, Kanjanur, Thanjavur

Agniswarar Temple, Kanjanur, Thanjavur
The Agniswarar Temple is a Hindu temple in the village of Kanjanur, 18 kilometres north-east of Kumbakonam. The presiding deity is Sukra (Venus). However, the main idol in the temple is that of "Agniswarar" or Shiva. In concordance with the Saivite belief that Shiva is all-pervading, Sukra is believed to be located within the stomach of the idol of Shiva.

This Shivastalam is associated with Shukran - representing the plant Venus and is - regarded one of the nine temples in the Thanjavur area linked with the Navagrahams. Maintained by the Madurai Adhinam, it is located in a quiet hamlet in the vicinity of Tiruvavaduthurai, Suryanar Koyil and Tirumangalakudi, near Tiruvidaimarudur and Kumbhakonam. This shrine is also referred to as Palaasavanam, Bhrammapuri and Agnistalam. Kanjanur is considered to be the 36th in the series of the Tevara Stalams located in Chola Nadu north of the river Kaveri.

Kanjanur is the sthalam for Shukran. Agni is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva here and hence the name Agneeshwarar. As per the Temple story (Sthala Purana), Lord Brahma was blessed with a vision of Shiva's marriage with Parvathy here. The Brahma Lingam enshrined in this Temple is said to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma himself. There is no separate Sannidhi (shrine) for Lord Sukra as Lord Shiva himself is believed to have incarnated as Venus here.

The mythology and the evolution of this temple have been given in the highly renowned books like "Pavishyothra Purana" and "Shivaragasiyam". The mythology of this temple was first on hand with kanjanoor Shivasri Punjabakesa Sivacharya in Sanskrit as a manuscript. Later in 1929, it was transformed to printed characters by Thiruvaiyaru Brammashri Annasami Sirauthikal. 

The history of Shri Haratattar in books like "Shivabaktha Mahathmiyam, Ubamanyu Bakthavilasa Kaviyam" has been published by Shri Haratattar Bakthajanasaba in 1935. Later, it was released by Devakottai publisher and Tirunelveli Shivathiru Eshwara Moorthi Pillai. Later by the grace of Madurai Aadheenam 290th Guru Maha Sannidhanam, it has been completely translated into Tamil by Kanjanoor Shivashri. Pa. Arunajadesa Shivachariya which is later added with the summary of the history of Haratattar.

In 1942, it was published as the output of Kanjanoor Shri Agneeshwaraswamy Devasthanam. By the Blessings of Madurai Aadheenam 291st Guru Maha Sannidhanam, it was later summarized by Saiva Nerichemmal Mahavithuvan Vellai Vaaranam and it was published in 1964 on a Consecrated ceremony. In 2006, by the help of the Madurai Aadheenam 292nd Guru Maha Sannidhanam, it was published as the book of Consecrated ceremony.

Agniswarar Temple is considered as one of the Navagraha temples dedicated to Shukra (Venus). Navagraha temples are the nine temples dedicated to Navagrahas (nine planets or nine celestial bodies). The Navagrahas are believed to be the transmitters of Universal, quintessential energy or power. The Navagrahas are closely associated with the fixed stars in the Zodiac. Each Navagraha temples are located at different places in and around Kumbakonam sector. The Navagraha temples are considered to be the best destination to get rid of from the influence of planets.

And most of these Navagraha temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva is worshipped as the main deity. The only Navagraha temple dedicated to Grahas (celestial bodies) is Suryanar temple.

The Navagraha Temples are:
·        Suryanar Temple – Surya (Sun)
·        Agniswarar Temple – Shukra (Venus)
·        Kailasanathar Temple – Chandra (Moon)
·        Vaitheeswaran Temple – Mangala (Mars)
·        Thirunageshwaram Nageswarar Temple – Rahu
·        Tirunallur Dharbaranyeswarar Temple – Sani (Saturn)
·        Keezhperumpallam Naganathaswami Temple – Kethu
·        Abathsahayeswarar Temple – Guru (Jupiter)
·        Thiruvenkadu Swedaranyeswarar Temple – Budha (Mercury)
Agniswarar Temple was believed to be built by the Chola dynasties and was later contributed mostly by the Vijayanagar Kings. Agniswarar Temple is built in a Dravidian style of architecture and has a five-tiered Rajagopuram (temple tower) with two precincts.

Legends
For brief details, please refer below link;
The Temple
The temple was built by the Medieval Cholas and renovated by the kings of the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple has a 5-tier Rajagopuram surrounded by two prakarams (closed precincts of a temple). The temple is revered by the verses of Appar and hence referred as Paadal Petra Stalam.

This temple with a two prakarams has a five tiered Rajagopuram at its entrance. Haradatta Sivachariyar is said to have composed many works in Sanskrit here. Images depicting legends related to Haradatta Sivachariyar are seen in this temple. There are also shrines to Maanakkanjaarar Nayanmaar and Kalikkaamar here.


Stone images of Natarajar and Sivakami are seen in this temple in the Nataraja Sabha referred to as the Mukti Mandapam. The Shivatandavam here is referred to as Mukti Tandavam. Legend has it that Shiva blessed Parasara muni with a vision of the cosmic dance - Mukti Tandavam here.


Inscriptions from the Chola and Vijayanagar periods are seen in this temple. Appar is said to have visited Kanjanur on his way to Tirukkodikkaa from Edirkolpaadi.


The temple for Agneeshwarar and Karpagambigai faces towards east has separate Celebration mandapam, Decorative mandapam, Vahana mandapam and Sixteen Foot mandapam with three praharam. To the south of the Agneeshwarar Swami Sannathi, there is a place to devote Lord Shiva who has a separate Sannathi with Goddess Umadevi. Lord Shiva, who is called as "Mathisoodumperuman" is the one who can get us to rid from Shukradhosha.


At the exterior of the Rajagopuram, Karpaga Vinayagar temple is located towards south and Haratattar temple is positioned towards east in Sannathi Street. This temple is very sacred as it is surrounded by four rathaveethis with Chandira Theertha, Parasara Theertha and Agni Theertha along with Brahma Theertha popularly known as Cauvery.


The presiding deity of Agniswarar Temple is Lord Shiva worshiped by the name Lord Agniswarar. Lord Agniswarar in this temple is found in the form of a Lingam, an infinite nature of Lord Shiva, which depicts Shukra. And the Thayaar of Agniswarar Temple is Goddess Karpagambigai (Goddess Parvati). The other deities of the temple are Lord Karpaga Vinayagar, Lord Dhakshinamoorthy, Lord Natarajar, and Pullunda Nandhi. The special feature of this temple is that the sage Parasara Muni was believed to be blessed by Lord Shiva with his divine cosmic dance.


According to the belief of Saivite, followers of Lord Shiva, Shukra is found within the stomach of Lord Shiva. Agni, the fire god, was believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva at this place. Hence Lord Shiva is called by the name Agniswarar.


Beautiful stone images of Lord Natarajar along with Goddess Sivakami are found in this temple in Mukti mandapam. The temple also houses the deities of Maanakkanjaarar Nayanmaar and Kalikkaamar, in separate shrines. A special feature of the Linga of Agniswarar is that it absorbs all the oil poured on it during the process of Abishekam. This shrine is also referred to as Palaasavanam, Bhrammapuri and Agnistalam. Kanjanur is considered to be the 36th in the series of the Tevara Stalams located in Chola Nadu north of the river Kaveri.


Lord Dakshinamurthy (Guru) is always seen with a demon being crushed under his feet. The demon signifies ignorance.  It means that Dakshinamurthy leads us from ignorance to the knowledge of self.  Instead of this standard practice, we can find the image of Haradatta worshipping Dakshinamurthy, which is a unique feature of this temple. Legends of Haradatta have been depicted in temple Praharams.
The sacred water bodies in the temple are called ‘Agni theertham’ and ‘Parasara Theertham’. The sacred tree in the temple is called ‘Palasa Maram’. One of the important features of the temple is that the Vilva leaf (Bilwa Leaf) seen here is 5 in number, which is quite unique.



Temple renovations
Old Myths tell that this temple is built by Kamsarajan. At first, this temple was built with brick and later in the Chola period, it was reconstructed with Granite. Later, many Thirupani were made by Vijayanagar kings, Thuraiyur Veera Marthanda kings and by Nayaka kings who ruled Madurai. By the help of Madurai Aadheenam 284th Guru Maha Sannidhanam, the sanctum sanctorum of karpagambal and ardhamandapam are reconstructed by Granite in addition to this Mahamandapam, Aadipuraamman, Palliarai sannathigal were added.

By the help of Madurai Aadheenam 288th Guru Maha Sannidhanam, Decorative Mandapam, Urchava Mandapam, Sixteen Foot Mandapam were built by Shrimath Chithambarananathampiran, who is a follower of Shrilashri Arumuga Shri Gyanasambanthadesigaparama Acharyaswamigal.
Later by Madurai Aadheenam 289th Guru Maha Sannidhanam, in 1890 consecrated was held through the great effort of ravbahathur Shrilashri Swaminatha Shrinyana Sambanthadesigaparama Acharyaswamigal and by the support of Kanjanoor peoples.
By Madurai Aadheenam 291th Guru Maha Sannidhanam consecration was held on 5th of Aavani month in kurothi year with the support from Shrilashri Somasundara Shrinyana Sambanthadesigaparama Acharyaswamigal.

Now by Madurai Adhinam 292th Guru Maha Sannidhanam, Shrilashri Arunagirinatha Shrinyana Sambanthadesigaparama Acharyaswamigal maintains this temple and he also built a new Thorana mandapam along with the reconstruction of Karpagavinayagar temple and Haratattar temple in addition to this consecration was held successfully on the 15th day (31-08-2006) of Aavani month.
Pooja Timings
Kalasanthi
Morning 08.00 am
Ucchikaalam
Afternoon 12.30 pm
Sayarakshai
Evening 05.30 pm
Irandamkalam
Night 07.30 pm
Arthajamam
Night 09.00 pm
Festivals
·        Haradatta Sivachariyar Festival – January or February
·        Mahasivarathri – February or March
·        Navarathri – September or October
·        Aadi Pooram July or August
·        Arudra Dharisanam – December or January
Navagraha
Kanjanur is one of the nine Navagraha sthalas located in the Cauvery Delta region dedicated to planet Venus, called Sukra. Unlike other Navagraha temples, the main deity, Agniswarar in the form of lingam depicts Lord Sukra.
Contact
Arulmigu Agniswarar Aalayam,
Sannathi Street, Kanjanur Post,
Via Thugali, Tiruvidaimarudur Taluk,
Thanjavur District – 609804
Phone: 044 35 247 3737
Connectivity
By Air:
The nearest airport to Agniswarar Temple is Trichy Airport
By Train:
The nearest railway station to Agniswarar Temple is Mayiladuthurai railway station which is 18 Km away from the temple.
By Road:
There are direct local bus services to Agniswarar Temple from Mayavaram, Aduthurai, Thiruvidaimarudur and Kumbakonam. It is located 18 km away from Kumbakonam in the east and 20 km away from Mayiladuthurai in the west. This place can be reached through the Aduthurai Suriyanar temple via the highway between Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam.

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