Monday, 22 August 2016

A temple for pregnant women!! Garbha Rakshambigai Temple, Tamil Nadu

Temple tank and the tower. Garbha Rakshambigai Temple, a 6th century,  temple.dinamalar.com
Garbha Rakshambigai Temple, a 6th century Hindu temple. garbaratchambigaitemple.org
  Unlike places of worship in other faiths, in the Hindu religion the faith plays a key role and it creates a positive energy when we we go to the temple with our prayer focused on our desire and its fulfillment. In India many people with problems up to their neck take refuge in god and do the rituals with dedication and faith. In most cases, over a period of time, they come out of the trouble.                                                                                       
Garbha Rakshambigai Temple, a 6th century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is in Thirukarukavoor, Tamil Nadu,
 India. It lies  6 km east of Papanasam and 10 km north of Saliyamangalam. The nearest cities are Kumbakonam and Thanjavur. This temple is glorified in Thevaram, the 7th century Saiva Canonical work by Tamil saints Sambandar, Thirunayukarasar - Appar and sundarar. Sezhkizhar, a great Tamil scholar mentioned this temple in Periya Puranam.

This temple is a famous one and invariably childless women, pregnant women and others  from  local places  and other parts of Tamil Nadu visit this sanctified shrine to pray to goddess Ambika for a child, normal delivery of baby and good  health of mother and the new-born. Here, the goddess is an embodiment of  motherhood, Hence here, she is  known as the "Mother Who Protects the Womb". Situated in the middle of beautiful  coconut groves and lush green paddy fields in a quiet place, this temple gives the devotees peace of mind and tranquility.

The shrines of Mullaivana Nathar and Goddess Garbharakshambika are  in the outer Prakaram (court yard or corridor), facing the east direction. The main sanctum or Grabagraham / Srikovil  of this temple has the main deity - Shiva lingam and Goddess Garbharakshambika is  to the left of  Shiva's shrine. There are are 31 stone  inscriptions on the walls, dating back to Raja Raja I and his son Rajendra Cholas I. 
  
Some interesting facts:
 

.. Lots of childless women  as well as pregnant women come to this place to be blessed by the goddess for a child, safe delivery and good health. so are women with some gynecological problems. Many come here for prayer to get relief from family problems.

.. Here the goddess, according to the legend, saved a pregnant woman and her baby from certain abortion from a curse cast on her by an intemperate sage. Upon the couple's request, the goddess stayed here for good. That time the place had lots of Mullai flower plants (related to Jasmin); hence Lord Shiva goes by the name of Mullaivana Nather

.. Here  the  women devotees  clean the  foot steps  of the  goddess - Ambika's   shrine with ghee for successful conclusion of  their marriage proposals, etc.
Garbha Rakshambigai Temple, a 6th century Hindu temple  interiot path tamilnadu-favtourism.blogspot.com

.. Women  draw Ranglori (in Tamil Kolam) before the shrine along with  archanas (prayer) for successful completion of their wedding and child boon. Anticipating  granting of their wish, they hang   small model  of cradles and offer Tulabaram (offering grain, sugar sometimes money, etc equal to their  body weight).  

.. Childless women are given special ghee kept at the holy paatha - feet of the goddess in the Sanctum or Srikovil. They have to consume the ghee - just a small amount for 48 days with out a break. In variably in many cases, 
it is reported, that the women are blessed with pregnancy.

 .. The temple offers 'Pooja'  castor oil kept at the feet of the goddess to  the pregnant women in their advanced stage.  It will be applied  on the stomach during the labor time for safe delivery of the child. This oil is applied on them  even when they've severe  pain  at some times during the period. Mind you,  women do take modern medicine, etc  on doctor's advice and at the same time, they have strong  belief  in the power of the goddess. Faith is the main factor here.   

.. Those suffering from skin diseases pray to Lord Mullaivana Nathar offering Punugu Chattam

.. Here the Lord Mullinathar (lord Shiva) is Swyamabu (self-manifested). So the temple pundits  don't do abishekam (anointing) on the main idol. For this purpose in almost all temples, they have what is called Utchava Moorthty.

.. The main  offering  to the deity is  Punugu Chattam (cosmetic mix) to Lord Mullaivana Nathar on each Pradosha day of the full moon fortnight. Devotees offer rice, fruits, jaggery, sugar candy, money etc. equal to their weight called Thulaparam.

 .. On Sundays in the month of  Karthigai, abishekam (anointing ) is on the deity, using 1001 conch (in Tamil Sangu).

This quite popular  temple  is the the 18th Shiva temple on the southern bank of Cauvery praised in Thevaram hymns.    

Ref:           
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbharakshambigai_temple