Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Nilthingal Thundam Perumal temple and its link with the Shiva temple, Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram city near Chennai,  one among  the few temple cities of Tamil Nadu, is  associated with several Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The Ekambareswarar temple has been around at least 600 AD and is in northern Kanchipuram. Nilthingal Thundam Perumal temple, also called Chandrasoodeswarar Perumal temple, dedicated to Vishnu, is in a shrine in Ekambareswarar Temple. The temple is a large one and its gopuram (gateway tower) is 59m tall, which is one of the tallest gopurams in India. The Ekambareswarar temple covers an area of over 23 acres (93,000 m2).
Nilathingal Thunda Perumal temple, Kanchi. Temples of Indi

The earliest temple builders were Palavas and the later rulers Cholas rebuilt this temple. Adi Sankara of Kaladi, Kerala (10th-century saint and philosopher) visited this place and is believed to have been associated with expansion of this temple Kamakshi Amman temple, and Varadaraja Perumal Temple with the help of local rulers. The temple saw rapid growth and expansion during the reign of the Vijayanagar kings in the 15th century. Philanthropist Pachiyappa Mudaliar, a successful business man during the colonial period spent quite a big sum on the temple expansion and renovation  Like him, many wealthy  Nattukottai Chettiar families of Ramanad spent liberally (1905-1906) on the temple renovation work.
location map. JungleKey.in

 Nilthingal Thundam Perumal temple also known as Chandrasoodeswarar Perumal temple is one of the 108 Divyadesam shrines  dedicated to Vishnu  and glorified in the Divya prabhandham by medieval Tamil poets Azhwars.  Saint Tirumangai Azhwar sang devotional hymns in praise of Lord Vishnu here. Here, Vishnu is worshiped as Nilathingal Thunda Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Nilathingal Thunda Nayagi. Unlike Vaishnava temples elsewhere, here, Saivite priests conduct the puja rituals, a tradition that been there for centuries, The other exception is Govindaraja Perumal, temple  where the Saivite priests do the religious duties.  Located on the first precinct/ corridor/ prakaram  around the Ekambareswarar Temple in the the sanctum. Nilathingal Thundam Perumal is seen in standing posture facing West in the shrine under Purushasuktha Vimana. His consort Nilanthingal Nayagi does not have either a separate shrine or any separate festival image - Utchavar.The shrine faces West.      
Nilathingal Thunda Perumal/ his consorts, Kanchi. Famous Temples In Tamilnad
Legend has it Parvati, consort of lord Shiva,  was seriously engaged in penance under a mango tree to attain Shiva. In order to test Parvati's dedication, he directed a powerful hot  light beam on her. Lord Vishnu, brother of Parvati, helped her out, upon her request, by making the hot beam of light into a cool one by using the Crescent moon taken from Shiva's head. He cooled both Parvati and the mango tree, Then Shiva asked Ganga to disturb her penance which Ganga did not do. At last, Parvati made a Shiva linga out of sand and worshiped Easwara. Finally, she got united with the lord. Hence, Easwara is referred to as Ekambareswarar or god of Mango tree. Vishnu  and his consort Lakshmi  are called as Nilathingal Thunda Perumal and Nilathingal Thunda Nayagi respectively. Ner Uruvilla Valli is yet another name of the goddess/Thayyar. Here, the Theertham is Chandra Pushkarani.
Samundra manthan,, churning of the ocean. en.wikipedia.org/
Yet another legend says that during the churning of the primordial ocean (of milk) lord Vishu took the Kurma  (tortoise) avatar and held the Meru mountain as a giant pillar (in Tamil Matthu), while the giant serpent Vasuki was used by the Devas on one side and Assuras on the other as a rope (see the image).
Hindu mythloy,churning of the ocean 6yes.net
Bangkok air port, churning of ocean, Hindu mythlogy mesosyn.com
Unable to bear the pain, the poisonous snake spat the venom and darkened the skin of Perumal. As advised by Brahma, he invoked Lord Shiva, who with his Crescent moon directed the cool rays and restored Perumal back to his original color, blue. Now, he looked  more dazzling than ever before. Hence, the temple is in the Esana moolai, NE part of the temple complex.

Here, goddess Lakshmi has her  abode in the heart of Lord Vishnu on the left and blesses  the  devotee from the naval chord lotus of the Lord that is supposed to belong to  Lord Brahma. Brahma creates life based on past birth, sin, etc. Brahma's bad effects on the people will be nullified if devotees  pray here. Perumal restored the the third eye of Shiva shut by Parvati's playful act and she  was  also relived of her sin by Vishnu.

People with stomach, skin problems and childless couple pray here for remedy. 

That this temple is steeped in history  is proven by te following: Second century AD Tamil poetry speaks of Kama kottam, and the Kumara kottam (currently the Kamakashi Amman temple and the Subramanya temple) mentioned about the temple.The Vedantist Kachiyapper served as a priest at the temple rebuilt by the later Chola rulers.

Kanchipuram can be reached by high ways and railways and the nearest  towns are Chingalput and Thiruvanamalai.