|Temple tank and the tower. Garbha Rakshambigai Temple, a 6th century, temple.dinamalar.com|
|Garbha Rakshambigai Temple, a 6th century Hindu temple. garbaratchambigaitemple.org|
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.