|Karur Kalyana Venkataramana perumal.Tamilnadu Tourism|
This rock-cut cave temple, (8th century AD) 4 kilo meter near Karur town Tamil Nadu, is a popular Vishnu temple and the presiding deity in the garbagraha/Srikovil is Kalyana Ventataramana Swamy and the goddess is Mahalakshmi who is on the chest of Perumal. The size of the west facing deity is majestic and is more than 10 feet tall adorned inside the sanctum. The sanctum, which is a cave is believed to have been carved out of the rock formation. The temple is atop a small hillock and the main temple entrance can be accessed by a flight of steps -70 steps
An interesting aspect of this temple is, unlike many Vishnu temples, the deity in the sanctum is self-manifested, god's image appeared on its own. Hence, the deity is called in Thanthoni Malai Perumal. There has been some controversy regarding the moola stone image which is considered as Lord Shiva. The presence and styling of Bhoodha Ganam support this view. According to a great saint Sadashiva Brahmendral of Nerur, who installed goddess in the famous Mariamman temple at Punnainallur, near Thanjavur city, the deity here is Muruga (Karthikaya) and he conducted prayers here centuries ago. Yet other historians say it is a Jain temple. Let us not get bogged down to this controversy over who the real god is.
|Kalyana Venkataramana perumal. Karur KarurOnline|
Sri Kalyana Venkataramana swamy Temple's Punarutharana Ashtabandhana Mahasamprokshanam (consecration) at Thanthoni Malai, Karur took place in September 2014. This temple is a prathana sthala (offering center) for childless and unmarried people. The temple is over crowded on auspicious days and lots of weddings are held on the temple premises.
|Kalyana Venkataramana perumal. Karur www.thanthoniperumal.tnhrce.|
The Maha Mandapam and other Sannidhis/shrines at the temple were said to have been built in the 12-13th Century AD. The
stricking facts are the huge sanctum in the cave, gigantic stone image of the Moolavar and 16 specially carved sculptures playing instruments. Features inside the sanctum are similar to those at Thanjai Maa Mani Narasimha Divya Desam shrine both in terms of the huge size of the Moolavar Lord as well. The shrine of Garudazhwar is on the left.
|Karur Dist. map. India Map|
According to another legend, Chola King Muchukunda, a Saivite devotee, was cursed to have the face of a monkey. To get rid himself of the effects of the curse, he built several Vishnu temples. The two perumal temples of Karur - this one at Thanthonimalai and the Abhaya Pradhana Ranganatha temple in the center of Karur town are among them.
Yet another story is: Once upon a time, in the absence of the chief priest - Bhattacharya who was unable to do his temple duties on a particular day, he sent his small son to perform puja, etc. There is a custom that the Lord is almost daily adorned with the life size garland called Nilai Malai. When a devotee wanted the boy to garland the lord with Nilai malai, being short, the boy intensely prayed to God. Then he cried and prayed the Lord to bend a little (Venkataramana Devudu, please bend a little). Pleased as he was, the presiding deity bent good enough for the boy's convenience. Then the boy priest was happy and garlanded the lord.This shows, the lord, regardless of devotees' age and status, pays attention to their wishes by lending his ears and blessing them. That is the reason, the temple has become popular for a pretty long time.
Donation of one slipper as an offering in a Hindu temple? Does it not sound odd? Yes, this practise has been here for a long time. We rarely come across a peculiar offering at other temples as we find it here. Lord Kalyana Venkatramana Perumal is believed to appear in the dreams of devotees and suggest a particular size of one foot wear of leg to be donated to the temple by the devotee. And the same footwear of similar size of another leg is to a be donated by another devotee. Thus, it makes two devotees come together, each offering one foot wear of similar size of different legs, making it a perfect pair.The footwear offering is made specifically by the devotees to have their wedding wishes fulfilled. Positively, they get their wishes fulfilled here. This is called Chemmali Samarpanam. How did the origin of this strange offering come about? It is not clear. Devotees offering the odd gift are quite satisfactory with the results. Those who offer their sincere prayers and present this slipper, as suggested by Kalyana Venkatramana Perumal, have their wedding wishes fulfilled.
|Chariot festival Thonthoni temple, Karur.KarurOnline|
01. A rare puja protocol here is there will be a Thirumanjanam (anointing) every day at this temple at 11.30 am for the Moolavar deity. This ritual, which is well attended, lasts for a long time. This ritual is rare in many Vishnu temples.
02. Unmarried women and men come to the shrine with a long Tulsi malai (garland made of basil leaves) to be offered to the main deity so that they could be blessed with a suitable life partner.
03. There is not a separate shrine for the goddess -lord's consort Mahalakshmi.
04. Thiru Kalyana Utsavam is another special feature at this temple.
06. Here the procession deity - Uttchavar is Srinivbasa Perumal.
07. Two important Brahmotsavams - one in Maasi and another in Puratasi are significant. Pavitrotsavam in Avani and Navarathri Utsavam are well-attended.
10. In this temple, Puratasi 3rd Saturday is a special occasion.
11. The place is referred to as Dakshina Tirupathi-Tirupathi of South. As in Tirupati, there is no shrine for the god's consort -Thayar