Thursday, 8 December 2016

Mystifying stone image (garuda) that increases and decreases in weight!! - Nachiyar Kovil

Kal Garuda and  Perumal, Nachiyar Kovil, Tamil Nadu. Famous Temples In Tamilnadu  
Srinivasa Perumal temple. Nachiyar Kovil, Kumbakonam en.wikipedia.org
At many Hindu temples in India, there are some amazing wonders that are mystical in nature and no explanation is satisfactory as to how such things occur. They  baffles our imagination and remain as an enigma. One such a riddle is the stone Garuda (stone Eagle), the mount (Vahana) of  the Hindu God Vishnu. When it is taken out in a temple procession from its shrine, it is interesting to note that  stone garuda's  weight keeps increasing and when it is taken back to its shrine, reversal in weight occurs. That the weight of the same stone image at different places  is at variance is a mystery. It is a true recurrence  during the festival season in a Vishnu temple in Tamil Nadu and it is not a cock and bull story to impress on the people.
Nachiyar Kovil, a small town near the temple town of  Kumbakonam in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is famous for the Vishnu temple and also for brass lamps of various sizes and designs. There are many small-scale industries here, making all kinds of beautiful temple lamps  using an alloy of five metals and they are  known for their artistic work of exceptional beauty.

Built  in the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple (5th century AD)  that follows Thekalai tradition, is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu and is glorified in the Divya Prabandham, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th to 9th centuries AD. Here the presiding deity is Srinivasa Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Nachiyar. This temple is also referred to as Thirunarayur Nambi Temple. In this divyadesam, Goddess Vanjulavalli Nachiyar is given much importance over Lord Srinivasa perumal and the tradition here is, on all festive occasions, the first rights are reserved for Nachiyar - goddess. In the festival procession, Vanjulavalli Thaayar leads the way ahead of Srinivasa perumal and even the food is served first to Vanjulavalli Nachiyar at this temple.
 

Kal Garuda, an image of Vishnu's mount or Vahana, is the most prominent feature of this temple.This vahana is the only one made of stone among the 108 Divya Desam shrines. According to the temple  legend, the sculptor who made the idol of Garuda,  became  frustrated as the bird flew away each time when he made a new image with the wings. Driven by frustration,  he threw a stone at Garuda, who unfortunately, got injured and  decided to stay at the temple as Kal Garuda to bless the people. The Garuda image here is made of Saligrama stone (available in the Himalayan region) and is located outside the main sanctum and near the Thayyar shrine. During the annual festival  procession in the  Tamil months of Margazhi (December–January) and Panguni (March - April), the festive images (Utsavar)  are  normally taken out in procession on silver plated Garuda made of  clay  or some metal.   Here the Stone Garuda (eagle)  idol  is used to carry Srinivasa perumal.

Kal Garuda (stone Eagle), mount of Vishnu, Nachiyar Kovil Pinteres
Now occurs the mystifying thing that may scratch our brain. The kal garuda (stone bird) requires  just four people to carry him from his shrine and as he moves ahead at each phase, it  needs  people  in multiples  of 8, 16, 32, 64 to carry  the vahana, before reaching the Vahana Mantapam (hall) near the temple entrance. Here Garuda is adorned with silk dhoti, jewels  and special flower garland sent by the Srirangam temple.  With Tahayyar - goddess leading the procession, Kal garudar begins his 6 hour long journey at 7 pm  with  handsome Perumal atop the vahana.

As the Kal garuda Vahaha in the procession has moved out of the temple  and on the street, it  now requires 128 people to carry him around. The puzzle is the weight of the stone image is the same no matter how many people carry it. Otherwise stone itself would become big or density of the stone image would be way high. It does not happen that way.  Does any  supernatural force act on the mysterious stone image of Garuda and increase it's weight?  When the garuda Vahana along with the procession  returns to the  temple in the early morning, reversal in weight  takes place. The  number of people needed to carry it decreases in multiples  of 128, 64, 32, 16, 8, and at last in its own shrine stone Garuda needs just four people to set it back in its place. 

Yet another note-worthy feature is, it is said, drops of sweat are observed on the image of  Kal Garuda during the six-hour-long procession on this festive occasion, Garuda receives honors from Srinivasa Perumal (presiding deity) in the form of dress and ornaments, etc for his services.
Ref: 
http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/unique-drama-unfolds-during-procession/article4244915.ece

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nachiyar_Koil