Monday, 14 November 2016

Historical Uttira Raganathar temple at Palligonda, Tamil Nadu

Rangnatha perumal, Pallikonda, Vellore dt. nrameshrao -
In Tamil Nadu there are countless Hindu temples of great antiquity dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and other deities. Most of them were built by the rulers of different dynasties centuries ago. The Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu at Pallikonda is an interesting one.

Uttira Raganathar temple at Palligonda (9 km SE of Gudiatham, 23 km west of vellore ) is located on the south bank of river Pallar. This temple, just like Ranganathat temple at Srirangm is popular and the presiding deity Ranganatha Perumal is said to have guarded and protected Lord Brahma while he was performing Yaga here. 

Legend has it, a king by the name of  Amba Raja , ruler of Thiruvedhi Mangalam (today’s Pallikonda), having lost interest in materialistic life realized that real pleasure was praying to god and getting his darshan. In order to make his life worthwhile, he meditated on god - Vishnu for a pretty long period. As the god did not answer his meditation, he was about to end his life. At that time he heard an Asariri's voice (voice from above) that advised him to be patient. and  continue his prayers so that he would soon get the darshan of God.

During the same time  when Brahma was approached by Lakshmi (for wealth) and Saraswati (for wisdom) and Durga (courage)  to give his unbiased opinion  about their supremacy. Brahma, being undiplomatic, gave the verdict in favor of Lakshmi. Being Brahma's consort, Saraswathi was full of fury  and walked away from him despite Brahma's request. Brahma who was in the middle of conducting the Yaga, could not complete it without his consort. Being in a dilemma he approached, Lord Vishnu who told him that he would bring Saraswathi back. 

Rangnatha perumal  made of saligrma stone. Pallikonda, nrameshrao -
When  Saraswathi took the form of a river named Vegavathi and started flowing through Vishu stopped her  for the first time with a reclining pose (Ranganatha) at Thiruvedhi Mangalam (Pallikonda). When Saraswathi bypassed him adjacent to his feet and moved ahead Lord Vishnu again stopped her  for the second time with his reclining posture at Thiruppaarkadal - near Kaverippaakkam on the Bangalore highway. This time Saraswathi cleverly bypassed him again above his head and moved farther.

 Upon encountering yet another obstruction for the third time by Lord Vishnu (reclining)  to stop her  at Thiruvekka, which is in Kanchipuram, Saraswathi  became calmed down because Raganathar is supreme and went  into the earth at this third place. There’s another Lord Ranganathar temple here. In all the three places, Lord Vishnu is seen in the reclining posture (Aaanthasayanam). In the mean time Amba Raja was much pleased as  he, at last, got the Lord's Dharshan  when he returned to Pallikonda.

 Upon king's request lord Ranganather stayed in this place where he blissfully created an harmonious relationship between Brahma and Sarawathi. The Itheegam (tradition) here is  unmarried people and the separated couples  are blessed by the God and their wishes are fulfilled. It is said that numerous unmarried men or women who visit this temple and pray to Lord Ranganathar  get married soon and lead a happy life. Also the separated couples, upon their worship at this temple, get  reunited and lead a pleasant life.
 Here Vishnu's consort is Ranganayaki.
Rangnatha perumal (Ananthasayanam posture) Pallikonda.

Several inscriptions point out the great antiquity of this temple.  Inscriptions  of NandiVarman II( (848 ) ParanthaganI (920), Rajarajan I (9850, Rajendran I (1012), etc are worth mentioning.
The temple has 5 tier tower - gopuram, swing mantap(Oonjal mantap), Artha mantap, Mahamantap. there are shrines dedicated to Sri Ramajujar,  Rama, krishna, Andal, Veera Anjaney, etc. There are 12 idols of Azhavars in the Mahamantapam. In the Grabagraha Lord Vishu is in reclining position on the coild bed of Adisesha, placing his head on the south and his sripatha (feet) on the north. His blissful appearance is inspiring and overwhelming.

Several temple festivals are celebrated here as at other temples
The major ones are: Chithirai Brahmmotsavam in April-May, Vaikasi Visakam Garuda Sevai in May-June, Aadi Fridays Tiruvadipooram in July-August, Sri Krishna Jayanthi, Purattasi Navarathri in September-October, Tirukarthikai in November-December, Vaikunda Ekadasi in December-January, Masi float festival in February-March and Panguni Uthiram in March-April.A large number of people actively participate in these festivals.