Swamimalai Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2016

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From Kumbakonam we visited temple at Swamimalai. "The temple has three ‘Gopurams'' with three ‘Praharams''. The ‘Gopuram'' on the south side of the temple is decorated with statues and contains five storeys while the other two entrances have no towers above them." Praharam means inner temple wall. "The first Praharam is at the base of the hill, the second halfway up the hill and the third at the top surrounding the sanctum."

Coconuts and bananas for sale near entrance. It is called Swaminathaswamy Temple, Swamimalai. Temple 8 kms from Kumbakonam. "The temple is a very ancient one and is known to have existed even in the 2 nd century BC. It is said that Parantaka Chola I built the temple."

Entrance on south side. We went in Jan 2016. "It is one of the six famous abodes (Arupadaiveedu) dedicated to Lord Muruga (also spelt Murugan). Lord Muruga preached Pranava mantra “OM” to Lord shiva and that why he is called “Swaminathan”."

Side view of north side gopuram. Stucco images, left is of Nataraja. Top Kirti Mukha to keep away evil spirits. "The temple was damaged to a great extent and the Gopurams were demolished and razed to ground in the year 1740 when the Anglo-French War was waged later when war broke out between Hyder Ali and the British."

Temple at a height so have to climb stairs. Walked around temple first, saw men folk throwing coconuts on ground to break them. It is called SIDARU THENGAI - an offering to ward off evil eye. If someone is affected by evil eye the coconut is rotated around in clock wise motion and broken the in the form of the deity. This is Praharam one.

Every temple has a tradition wherein a particular colour is worn by devotees for Sabarimala is black, Samayapuram and Melmaruvatthur is red. These details got from a friends wife over phone. In case of any errors they are because of me, do write back.

Climb up stairs to go to sanctum. Ceiling beautifully painted. In the sanctum Murugan has an elephant as his vehicle instead of the typical peacock.

Hall leading to sanctum. "You climb further to reach the level where the shrine for Lord Swaminathan is built. It is believed that the sixty steps of the temple ascending to the sanctum sanctorum represent the sixty months of the ancient Tamil calendar."

When devotees take a vow they clean the steps with water and then apply haldi kum kum on step as you see. It helps to reduce one''s ego as it involves touching the Paada duli of devotees. Shriman Narayanan Himself values the paadi duli (dust) of devotees.

Temple at ground level dedicated to Ma Sakti. "Lord Shiva enshrined at the foot of the hillock is known as “sundaresar” and the Devi is known as “Meenakshi”."

Sculpture on pillar. "Hymns in praise of the presiding deity have been sung by saint Nakkeerar in Tirumurukatrupadai and by Saint Arunagirnathar in Tiruppukazh."

A Tamilian family allowed me to take their pic, thanks. To see more pics on official temple site Click here

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