Friday, February 26, 2016

Brahmapurisvara Temple, Tirupullamangai, Thanjavur

Brahmapurisvara Temple, Tirupullamangai, Thanjavur
Brahmapurisvara Temple, Tirupullamangai is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Siva located in PasupathikoilPapanasam taluk of Thanjavur district, TamilnaduIndia. The temple is incarnated by the hymns of Thevaram, the 7th century Tamil literature and is classified as Paadal Petra Sthalam. Tirupullamangai is situated about 15 Km from Thanjavur. It is more than 1500 years old. The main vimana is surrounded by a 1 foot wide and nearly 3 foot depth moat which is supposed to be filled with water. Temple is situated on the banks of Kudamurutti River, a distributary of river Cauvery. Main deity is Siva (pasupathi nathar). Mahishasuramardhini Durga is blessing the devotees with special appearance along with lion and stag sitting on a buffalo under an umbrella.

Pullamangai is located on the outskirts of Pasupathi Koil, Papanasam Taluk in the Thanjavur District of Tamilnadu. It is home to an early Chola temple of extraordinary grandeur, which is visited by throngs of pilgrims and tourists annually. Known as Sri Brahmapurisvara Temple, Thiruvalanthurai Mahadevar Temple, or Tirupullamangai Temple, it was built during the early years of Chola king Parantaka Choladeva-I, and is the 16th temple in the group of Tevara Sthalams.

Pullamangai is a simple village on the southern bank of River Cauvery. Surrounded by paddy fields and coconut trees, the village is an easy drive from Thanjavur and Kumbakonam. In these simple environs, it is quite amazing to find an architectural monument as stunning and refined as the temple at Pullamangai.

Brahmapurisvara is the presiding deity of Pullamangai. Although the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Chola sculptures on the interior and exterior of the temple include a number of beautiful images of Lord Brahma, who is parivara Devata here. Because the sculptural images of Lord Brahma are so exceptional, this temple is often cited as a Brahma temple.

Lord Shiva here is also known as Alandurai Naathar or Vatatheertha Nathar, and Ambal, his consort is Alliyankothai. The name Alandurai is related to Shiva's drinking the poison from the churning of the milk ocean. Parvati, or Alliyankothai, is said to have taken the form of a Chakravaha bird, coming here to worship Shiva.

There are a great many sculptures of other divine personalities, including a beautiful Durga Ma and a rare collection of Shiva's ganas, who are depicted in a fascinating range of expressions and poses. The temple Vriksham (holy tree) is Aalamaram, and the theertham is Shiva Theertham.

This is the fifth of seven temples (Sapthasthanam sthalas) praised in the hymns of saint Tirugnanasambandar who lived in the seventh century. Thiruchakkarapalli is the first in this series. These seven temples were worshipped by the Sapthamadhas – Ariamangai, Chakkara Mangai, Shoola Mangai, Nandhi Mangai, Pasu Mangai (Pasupathi temple), Thazha Mangai and Pulla Mangai and also the Saptha Rishis (seven sages). This temple was worshipped by the Divine Cow Kamadenu. This is depicted in a sculpture.

A Chola king, Kochengat Cholan was a spider in his previous birth, spun webs on the Shivalinga and worshipped Lord Shiva. The spider spun the webs to prevent birds spitting on the Linga and falling of stale leaves in the Lord. Knowing not the Bhakthi of the spider, an elephant, also a Shiva devotee performed abishek to the Lord with water from Cauvery, thus removing the spider web. The spider entered into the ears of the elephant. Unable to bear this torture, the elephant struck the ground strongly with its tusk and died killing the spider too. Both reached the Feet of Lord Shiva simultaneously.

The spider begged the Lord to grant him a royal birth and was born as Kochengat Cholan and built temple which elephants could not climb. These temples are called Mada temples. Based on this story and the services of Kochengat Cholan, these events are sculpted in the temple tower in small size. Scientifically too, these Mada Temples are considered a means to protect people of Cauvery delta villages from heavy floods.

Earliest references to this temple are found in Panniru Thirumurai the famous collection of Saivite devotional hymns in Tamil, compiled during the Middle Ages. In the hymns on various temples of Lord Shiva sung by Sambandar, a child prodigy who lived during early part of Seventh century AD, Thiruvalanthurai Mahadeva Temple is one of the temples sung by Sambandar as being in the Chola Mandalam area (present day Thanjavur, Kumbakonam and Thiruvarur districts). Clearly, the temple was in existence with active worship being conducted during the early 7th century AD. Later, during early 10th century, Pullamangai became a well known settlement of Brahmins.

At least one other temple by the name Thiruvalanthurai existed in South India during Sambandar's lifetime. This was in Pazhuvoor, now known as Keezha Pazhuvoor in the Ariyalur District. This temple was also sung by Sambandar.

The temple rose to prominence during late 7th, early 8th century. When originally constructed, it was likely made of brick and timber, comprising the sanctum sanctorum and probably artha and mukha mandapas. Mentioning Pullamangai in eleven hymns, Sambandar glorifies the natural springs that were plentiful in the area, as well as the many owls that were singing from the trees. This may suggest that the River Cauvery was running closer to the temple at that time.

The temple should have existed as a brick structure from 7th Century. The stone temple should have been built during the reign of Parantaka Chola I, which is evident from the inscriptions found in the temple. There are also inscriptions from the period of Sundara CholaAditya Karikalan and Raja Raja Chola I. The garbhagriha (sanctum) and the ardhamandapa (secluded hall) of the temple belong to the earlier structure, while there have been newer structures added to it lately.

The sanctum sanctorum is of Agazhi type – Agazhi is a deep water canal security arrangement around a fort with crocodiles put in to prevent enemy entry to the fort. Parantaka Cholan, the great grandfather of Rajaraja Cholan had renovated this temple in Tirupullamangai and other one in Pasupatheeswaram, as found in the stone carvings in pillars. Many of the sculptures as pillars and other temple structures and idols as Chandikeswara, Chamunda Devi on the eastern side of the temple, Jeshta Devi and Nandi represent the Chola period.

These temples were later renovated by Vijayanagara ruler Veera Sumbanna Udayar with sanctions of land for temple maintenance. He also built the five tier main tower – Rajagopuram 65 feet tall Naicker architecture. The then Thanjavur Maratta king Prataba Simhan, who was paying tax to the Arcot Nawab delayed the payment once. Exasperated, the Nawab, invaded Thanjavur twice. The second army of the Nawab Anwaruddin camped near the Pasupathikoil village and began attacking the temple with a tanker. In retaliation, king’s commander Manojiappa gave a fitting fight and defeated the Nawab and captured him.

Thus the place and Pasupatheeswarar temple were subjected to successive calamities and was renovated by the King Pratapasimhan. One can find a mix of Cholas, Naicker and Maratta cultures in the temple now. After the days of kings were over, there was none to take care of the temple and its maintenance leading to its poor condition. Many beautiful sculptures had been robbed and there is no trace of them. The first corridor (prakara) was almost floored off. The Goddess and Her shrine were almost destroyed. Bats were flying.

The Temple
This temple is one of the 7 shrines associated with Saptamatrikas (seven female deities in Siva temple). The lord of this temple Shiva as Brahmmapuriswarar is also known as Alandurai Mahadevar. The temple has been revered by the verses of Sundarar, one of the Nayanmars.

The shrine of Lord Siva faces east; the temple is entered through a small gopuram (entrance tower) on the eastern side of the enclosing wall. Both of these, along with the hall, directly in front of the entrance, are of recent date, as are various subsidiary buildings on either sides of the gopuram and the goddess shrine in the north of the hall. The original parivara (attendant deities) have disappeared.

Sri Brahmapurisvara Temple follows the typical plan of Chola temples from this age, having a sanctum sanctorum, artha mandapa, mukha mandapa and shrines for the parivara devatas (secondary deities).
The temple was constructed under the joint reign of Aditya-I and Parantaka-I, a time of intense temple building across Tamil Nadu. Aditya converted several ancient Shiva temples into more permanent granite structures on both banks of Cauvery River, while Parantaka provided a golden roof for the ancient Shiva temple at Chidambaram. But of all their works, the Brahmapurisvara Temple at Pullamangai is undoubtedly the finest example of what is now known as the Parantaka School of architecture.

The temple plan includes a square sanctum sanctorum, in which the presiding deity resides. There is a single entrance to this cell, towards the east. Openings in the other directions are symbolically implied by niches or shrines on the outer walls of the sanctum, called koshtams. Each of these holds either a subsidiary deity, or another aspect of the presiding deity. Lord Brahma usually resides on the north koshtam, with Vishnu or Lingodbhava on the west. Dakshinamurti is on the south. Lingodbhava murti here at Pullamangai is very similar to the Amravaneswarar Lingodbhava in the Ambiravananathar Temple at Tirumandurai.
A few of the other exceptional sculptures and murtis found in the Pullamangai temple include Lingodhbhava, Dancing Siva and eight-armed Durga. Among the many interesting ornamental aspects are figures of men riding a yali.
The ardha mandapa here has a flat roof, surmounted by a small shrine decorated with sculptures on each side. On the southern wall of the temple is a splendid Ganesh shrine, equipped with parasol and seated on a lotus. Various makaras adorn the walls and foundations.
Among the hundreds of sculptural subjects found here at Sri Brahmapurisvara, the Ganas are among the most memorable. They are unarguably among the finest collection found anywhere in India. Departing from the oft-depicted mood of troublesomeness they are known for, these ganas express a wide range of happy sentiments and pastimes. Some seem lost in a spirit of devotion to Shiva, dancing and playing musical instruments in an ecstatic mood.

The temple is built in accordance with the Agama rules in the north eastern corner (called Esanya corner) in the Kallar Pasupathikoil village. The 65 feet tall main tower (Rajagopuram) is very beautiful at the entrance. There are facilities to climb the tower. A Nandhi of the Chola period is on the western side under the Madakoil in a sitting form with its legs folded. Some sculptures are available here and there.
The temple’s beauty and reputation lies in the majestic form of Mother Sree Durga in the northern corridor (prakara) of the temple. This Temple speaks volumes of the skill of the sculptor, Mother Durga graces from under a stone umbrella, standing on the head of a buffalo holding weapons as conch, discus, sword, bow, club, trident, armour, angusam the rope. Two men are approaching her, one chopping his own head and other tearing his lap offering blood sacrifice. While the Goddess is holding her Lotus Feet in head, bow in one hand, the other hand assures safety with her ring finger touching the thumb, other fingers straight, a sign called chinmudra. A basket with arrows is at her back.
It is said that the Durga idols of Tirupullamangai temple and those in Tirunageswarm and Patteeswaram were made by the same sculptor, all having supreme powers. There are shrines for Chandeswara, Navagrahas the nine planets with Nandhi at the centre and Nalvar – Gnanasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar, Sundarar and Manickavasagar. Eagles are ever flying on the top of the tower. This is the place where Lord Shiva made nectar of Aalahala poison that came out of the milk ocean. The sanctum sanctorum is of Agazhi type – Agazhi is a deep water canal security arrangement around a fort with crocodiles put in to prevent enemies entry to the fort.
All the parivara (consort) shrines of the earlier period have not survived and few newer shrines have come up. The sculptures of this temple are highly acclaimed for its beauty. Apart from the lovely Devakoshta (divine) images of Dakshinamurthy, Lingodbhavar, Brahma and Durga, the vimana (shrine) too houses exquisite images of Vishnu, NarashimaTripurantaka. The temple has series of miniature panels depicting scenes from Ramayana. The sculpting in this temple is of high class and speaks volume of Chola artistry.
Many beautiful sculptures had been robbed and there is no trace of them.  The first corridor (prakara) was almost floored off.  The Goddess and her shrine were almost destroyed.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Praised by Saint Gnanasambandar in Thevaram Blue necked, adored by kondrai flowers in hair, Ganga occupying his head, my Lord in Alandurai surrounded by fragrant gardens, let us worship his Lotus feet ever. This is the 16th temple on the southern bank of Cauvery.
Mahasivarathri in February-March, Aipasi Annabishekam in October-November and Margazhi Tiruvadhirai in December-January are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Excellence in education, prosperity and happy conclusions in marriage talks are the prayers submitted to the Lord. Devotees perform abishek with vastras to the Lord.
Sri Brahmmapuriswarar Temple,
Pullamangai, Pasupathikoil – 614 206,
Thanjavur district
Phone: +91 9791482102, 8056853485
This is a village 14 km on the Thanjavur-Kumbakonam road. The temple can be reached from the Pasupathi Koil bus stop. The temple is 1 km from the road branching towards south.
Nearest Railway Station is located at Thanjavur & Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.

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