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Sunday, 24 July 2011

Thiruvalanchuzhi Vellai Vinayagar Temple

7 kms from Kumbakoonam en route Papanasam (Tanjore) is located this Valanchuzhi Vellai Vinayagar Temple. The temple is about 100 meters away from the main road, on the road to Swamimalai.  The main deity is Swayambu linga known as Valanchuzhi nadhar with Periyanakai amman; Valanchuzhi Vinayagar or Vellai Vinayagar.  One of 275 Thevara Padal petra sthalams Arunagirinadhar sang Thirupugazh hymns.  The temple is known more for the Dwajasthamba Vinayahar in a separate shrine than the main deity Valanchuzhi nadhar.  This is one of the Panchakrosha sthalams along with the nearby Thirunallur, Patteswaram, Keezha Pazhayarai and Avoor. It is considered very sacred to worship all these 5 places on a single day during Dakshinayanam.

The Valanchuzhi Vinayakar or Sweta Vinayakar or Nuraippillaiyaar here is made of sea foam and is white in colour. So there is no abishekam for Him. Legend has it that the Celestial Gods (Devas) formed this image out of the sea foam that was generated when the milky ocean (Thirupparkadal) was churned by them, in their quest for the celestial nectar (Amritam). Indhra, the King of Devas is said to have had this image in his possession after gaining immortality through Amritam and during his penance at Swamimalai set the image down at Tiruvalanchuzhi after which it could not be moved and became rooted to the spot.

Once (river) Cauvery was flowing through this place and she entered into the hole through which Aadhiseshan came out from the Badhala logam on a Shivarathri day and worshipped Shiva. So Cauvery went down till the Badhala logam. Heranda maharishi entered into the hole and brought Cauvery back to the earth. When she came out she took a turn around right side and started flowing in order to avoid the hole where she was trapped last and hence the name Valanchuzhi. There is a separate shrine for Heranda maharishi. A nearby shrine at Kottaiyur is also associated with Heranda Munivar.  Many sages and Devas attended a yagna conducted by Durvasa maharishi and each one has installed their lingams here. There are about 20 of those lingams present in the outer praharam, some of which have square avudayar.

Ambal Brihannayaki (Periyanayaki)’s shrine is located to the right of Shiva’s shrine here.  Murals from the Nayaka period depicting the Pradosha dance of Shiva and images of celestial nymphs display enormous detail.  This temple is managed as a sub temple of the popular Swaminathar Temple (Subramanya) nearby.  

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