Sri Subrahmanya Swami temple at Kumara Vayalur is a famous temple glorified by Saint Arunagirinathar in Tiruppugazh. After singing the first song Mutthaitharu at Tiruvannamalai when Lord Muruga saved Arunagirinathar who fell down from the Vallaala Gopuram, he came in search of this Kshetram-Vayalur, as instructed by the Lord himself.
Arunagirinathar after coming to Vayalur, located on the banks of river Kaveri, near Tiruchirappalli, had no clue of what to sing. He then stood in front of Poyya Ganapathi and requested for help. It is documented in the Thiruppugazh – “Pakkarai Vichitramani”, that Lord Vinayaka at Vayalur guided him. Look at the song itself.
பக்கரைவி சித்ரமணி பொற்கலணை யிட்டநடை
பட்சியெனு முக்ரதுர கமுநீபப்
பக்குவம லர்த்தொடையும் அக்குவடு பட்டொழிய
பட்டுருவ விட்டள்கை வடிவேலும்
திக்கதும திக்கவரு குக்குடமும் ரட்சைதரு
சிற்றடியு முற்றியப னிருதோளும்
செய்ப்பதியும் வைத்துயர்தி ருப்புகழ்வி ருப்பமொடு
செப்பெனஎ னக்கருள்கை மறவேனே
வித்தகம ருப்புடைய பெருமாளே.
“Oh one who is knowledgeable and has a tusk! I will never forget the grace showered by you on me to sing happily in the esteemed Tiruppugazh, about the peacock which moves as majestic and fast as a horse and is adorned with stirrups, beautiful gems and golden saddle, garland made of kadamba flowers, the spear which pounced on the Krauncha mountain and destroyed it, the cock which is on the flag and is being glorified by all, the tender feet that gives protection to the devotees, the twelve strong shoulders which fought against the Asuras, and Seipathi.”
We are welcomed by a majestic tank brimming with clear water – Shakti theertham – as we enter the temple premises which is amidst the greenish fields as the name of the place indicates. This tank was created by Murugan himself for worshipping his parents – Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi, known here as Adhinathar and Adhinayaki. In the Thiruppugazh, “ennal pirakkavum”, Arunagirinathar mentions this theertham – kaNNadiyil thadam kaNda vEIA – the one who created a pond with water as clear as crystal with the spear.
Opposite to the tank, there is the main gopuram. As we enter the gopuram, we see the sthalavruksham of this kshetram – Vanni maram. Further as we move in, we have the darshan of Lord Adhinathar and to his left, we see Goddess Adhinayaki. Then as we circumabulate the prakaram we see the sannidhis of Arunagirinathar and Poyya Ganapathi. Next comes the utsavar sannidhi – Muthukumara swami; people also call this kshetram Kumaara Vayalur. Next is the sannidhi of Lord Subrahmanya with his consorts Valli and Deivayanai (Devasena). We move further to see the sannidhis of Mahalakshmi, Durgai and Dakshinamurthy, Navagrahas and we reach the dwajasthambam and perform namaskaram and come out of the temple with a divine feeling.
Karkudi is one of the Thevaara paadal petra sthalams (Sthalams praised in Thevaaram songs), on the south bank of the river Kaveri in Chozha kingdom. This sthalam is very near Vayalur. As we move towards Tiruchirappalli city from Vayalur, we reach Karkudi temple, which is also known as Uyyakondan Thirumalai. It is referred by Arunagirinathar also as Raja Gambheera Nadu, in his famous Pazhani thiruppugazh “nAdhavindhukalAdhi”.
ஏழ்த லம்புகழ் காவே ரியால்விளை
சோழ மண்டல மீதே மநோகர
ராஜ கெம்பிர நாடா ளுநாயக!
“O one who rules the place called Raja Gambiram, in Chozha Kingdom, where happiness is abundant in everyone’s mind and fertility is abundant in the fields due to the river Kaveri, whose greatness is glorified by the seven worlds!”
Karkudi is sung by all the three saints – Sambandhar, Appar and Sundarar and also by Arunagirinathar. Lord Shiva is known by the name Ujjeevanathar. It is in this sthalam that, Lord Shiva assured Markandeya that he will be saved from Varna and hence the name Ujjeevanathar (ujjeevanam-to revive life). This temple has two Goddesses – Anjanakshi ambal and Balambal. There are some 60 steps to climb up the hill and reach the sannidhis. At the base of the hill, there is a hall for Vahanas taken out during processions and there is a sannidhi of Muruga with six faces. There is also a tank called Jnana Theertham. After worshipping the twin Ganeshas at the foot of the hill, we climb up the steps to reach the temple. We see the dwajasthambam. Near the dwajasthambam we see the sannidhi of Vinayaka and we move around and climb up few more steps to reach the sannidhis of Ujjeevanathar, Anjanakshi and Balambal, Muruga. We again come down and move around the temple. The floor is uneven as the temple is built upon hilllocks. We also see many small sannidhis around the prakaram.
வருங்கா லன்னுயிரை மடியத்திரு மெல்விரலாற்
பெரும்பா லன்றனக்காய்ப் பிரிவித்த பெருந்தகையே
கரும்பா ரும்வயல்சூழ் திருக்கற்குடி மன்னிநின்ற
விரும்பா எம்பெருமான் அடியேனையும் வேண்டுதியே.
“Oh the mighty one who kicked off Varna, with the tender toes on your feet, for the sake of Markandeya (the child with great bhakti), the one who always resides at Karkudi which is surrounded by fields growing sugarcane, may you consider me too as the one who is qualified to receive your grace.” (Sundarar Thevaram – 7th Thirumurai, 27th Pathigam, 9th Song)
Further as we move towards the north of Karkudi, near the city limits of Tiruchirappalli, we are blessed to see another paadal petra sthalam – Tirumookkeecharam. This place is better known as Uraiyur, the capital of Chozhas. This is one of the Maada temples built by KochengatChozhan.
Lord Shiva is called as Panchavarneswarar. The Lord is said to have given darshan to Saint Udhanga in five different colours, at five different times in a day and hence the name. Devi here is known as Kanthimathi Amman. This temple has lot of sculptures with intricate design depicting incidents from Puranas.
We enter the temple and find a tank. Near the tank is the sthala vruksham Vilva tree. As we cross the dwajasthambam and Nandi, we see the Lord Panchavarneswara and Kanthimathi Amman. We circumambulate the temple along the beautiful pillared corridor, which has plenty of sculptures.
Uraiyur is also known as Kozhiyur or Tirukkozhi. One of the 108 divyadesam – Kamalavalli Nachiyar temple is also very nearby.
Vekkaali Amman temple, the kaaval deivam of Chozha kingdom is also very near to this temple. This kshetram is the avatara sthalam of Pugazhcchozha Nayanar.
Once upon a time, a Chozha king Veera Aditya Chozhan was coming on his elephant. Suddenly, the elephant became mad and started roaming over the streets of Uraiyur, destroying properties in its way. It is said that, a small hen, flew up to the head of the elephant, pecked its ear and brought the elephant back to normal. Since a hen was victorious over an elephant, the place came to be known as kozhiyur (kozhi – hen). This incident is also carved as a sculpture in one of the walls behind Ambal Sannidhi.
அன்னமன்னந் நடைச்சாய லாளோ டழகெய்தவே
மின்னையன்ன சடைக்கங்கை யாள்மேவிய காரணம்
தென்னன்கோழி யெழில்வஞ்சியும் ஓங்குசெங் கோலினான்
மன்னன்மூக்கீச் சரத்தடிகள் செய்கின்ற தோர்மாயமே.
“It is indeed a wonder that the Lord of Mookkeecharam (Uraiyur), resides with Parvati who walks very gracefully and beautifully like a swan, also has the river Ganga locked on his head, in the temple built by the Chozha King, who rules Kozhi or Uraiyur (refers to Chozha Nadu), Pandiya Nadu in the south and the beautiful Vanji (Chera Kingdom), upholding righteousness with the senkOI.” (Tirugnanasambandhar Thevaaram – 2nd Thirumurai, 120th Pathigam, 4th Song)