Saturday, 23 January 2016

Sri Andal temple - recent Consecration

Srivilliputhur Sri Andal temple,consecration 2oth Jan. 2016. ,
Srivilliputhur Sri Andal temple, The Aadi Pooram car festival
In the second week of January 2016, the southern state of Tamil Nadu witnessed innumerable consecration ceremonies at various  Vaishnavite and Saivite temples across the state. It is reported that consecration was done at more than 60 Hindu temples on the same day under the control of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment, a state government agency. Of particular interest are the great events - kumabisekam done at Sri Ramanatha temple at Rameswaram, one of the important temples in India and the other one at Sri Andal temple, Srivilliputhur dedicated to  Andal (Kothai), consort of  God Vishnu. She was the adopted daughter of Periyazhvar and  a composer of devotional hymns in Tamil in prise of Lord Vishnu.

A major religious  event Mahasamprokshnam (consecration  or  Kumbabisekaham) was held  on the 20th of January, 2016  at the auspicious time of 10. 15 am with great devotion and amidst chanting of mantras by the Veda Pundits at the famous Sri Andal temple, Srivilliputhur, Tamil Nadu,  one of the 108 Divyadesa Vaishnava shrines. Atop the tall towers, the Bhattacharyas sprinkled holy 'Thertham'- holy water  kept in the Yagasalas on the kumbams and after that they did Deepa Aradhana. The HR and CE had special sprinklers fixed at various vantage points on the gopuram (tower) to sprinkle holy water on the thousands of devotees standing down below on the ground. This grand and rare religious ceremony was witnessed by prominent politicians, industrialists, VIPs, District Collector and others. In view of terrorist threats, the security arrangement was given special priority.

As part of this consecration, the temple got a face lift and  now looks impressive with special and fresh coat of paints, etc. An important feature of this event is the  laying of gold plating on  the Vimana above the main shrine. This was done by the HR and HC as per Agama Sastras and under the expert guidance of a team of pundits, sculptors and goldsmith from Srirangam Ranganathar temple, T.N and Sri Balaji temple, Thirupathi, Andhra. The gold plates weigh  about 75 kgs. Now  the glittering  Thanga  Vimanam
(in Tamil 'thangam' means gold) is a new attraction and adds special aura to the shrine.

The temple, which is believed to be older than 8th century, has two parts Vadabadra  Sayanar Temple  and the second part is  Andal  Sannadhi (shrine).The former was built by King Villi. Periyazhvar, a well known Vaishnavite saint and Tamil scholar  built the tall  tower with help from Pandya ruler Vallabha Devan in AD 765-815. Many rulers of  Pandya Dynasty built the Andal shrine as suggested by the fish image, which is the symbol of Pandya dynasty, one can see on the roof.  Andal dedicated her life to Lord Vishu and composed devotional Tamil hymns called ''Thirupaavai.'' Upon knowing Andal (kothai's serious intention to marry the lord himself, Periyazhvar was in grief as his daughter was demanding something impossible. As  instructed by lord himself in a dream ,Periazhvar  took his daughter to Sri Ranganathar temple Srirangam and gave his daughter in marriage to Him. After wedding Andal merged with the lord himself. In this  temple at  Srivilliputhur, the lord's consort is  Andal.  One can also see garuda (lord's mount) in the garbagraha (Sanctum Sanctorum).

This popular  temple follows 'Thenkalai' tradition (Sampradhayam) of worship with six kaala pooja and three annual festivals. Margazahi (December-January) month is  the holiest  month for this temple.