|Ammainathar temple, Cheran Mahadevi, TN ta.wikipedia.org/|
|Tirunelveli Distt. map, Tamil Nadu. charitycora.org/map-|
Cheran Mahadevi (Chandran) Ammainathar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a popular one in Tirunelveli district of south Tamil Nadu. Here, God Shiva goes by the name of “Kailaayathu Azhwar”, “Kailayaa Mudaiyar”(Lord of Kailash). Here, his consort is Aavudai Amman (Parvati). Among the Navakailayams, this temple ranks second.
Believed to have been built by sage Uromasa Maharishi, temple's expansion took place at the sustained efforts of two sisters who selflessly dedicated themselves to the services of the lord here.
As to the location of this temple town Chermahadevi (Cher+Ma+Devi), the inference made here to the confluence of river goddesses. Yet another version is the town is named after the daughter of the Chera ruler who gifted the town to her.
As I mentioned in many of my posts on Hindu temples, almost every temple has a legend that is relevant to its location, purpose and attributes of divinity. Legend has it sage Uromasa Maharishi, upon the advice of well-known sage Agasthiyar, had let nine lotus flowers float on the waters of Thamirabarani. In the place where the second flower got stuck on the banks of the river, the sage accidentally found a Shiva Lingam under a banyan tree. That place is Cheranmahadevi. This is the reason why the Sthala Viruksha (sacred tree) of this temple is banyan tree (in Tamil Aala Maram). This temple is close to the Thamirabharani river, one of the sacred rivers of India. The sage built a temple for Shiva and installed the lingam there. The two sisters, as mentioned earlier, took upon themselves the task of expanding the temple.
To raise the money for temple expansion, they toiled by way of hand-pounding rice grains almost daily and one day they realized it was a tough task to save money from meagre income for temple expansion. Having on other recourse, they, with sincere devotion, prayed to God Shiva to help them complete their endeavor.
|Ammainathar temple, Cheran Mahadevi, TN commons.wikimedia.org|
|Ammainathar temple, Cheran Mahadevi, TN tirunelveli.today/|
The belief has been that the three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati mingle here, hence Thamirabarani river is revered here. The confluence of rivers occurs in the early morning Sapthami, during the waxing phase of the moon. This place is referred to as
“Vyasartheertha Kattam” and the festival associated with this holy confluence of three rivers is called “Maha Viyathi Paatham”. It takes place in the month of Marghazhi and on this auspicious day lots of Hindus take a holy dip in the river to be blessed by the lord for peace of mind and prosperity.
Yet another interesting aspect is there is a bathing ghat called 'Vyasa Theertam'' and between it and the temple lies “Rana Vimosana Paarai”, a rock-outcrop. The conventional belief has been that if a devotee takes a holy dip for 41 days without a break and, at the same time, taking meal once a day, his wishes will be granted by the lord. Religious austerity is an important part of this special prayer, besides trust in God and faith in oneself. the devotees will be relieved from chronic diseases, etc., it is said.
The major temple festivals are Thirukalyanam in (Tamil month of Aippasi), Thiruvathirai, Shiva Rathri. As this place is Chandran sthalam (moon), worshipping here means devotees will be blessed with happy and peaceful life, a relief for Chandra thosha. Likewise, lots of farmers visit this temple as they will be blessed with good crop production in the paddy seasons, etc.
Dhinamalar - Bhaktimalar dated 18 August, 2019.