Tuesday, 17 December 2019

'Uyyavandha perumal' - 'Anju Moorthy' temple, Thirumittacode, Kerala - a sanctified place

Anju moorthy temple, Thirumittacode, discoveringindia.nem
Vishnu shrine. .templepages.com
Among Hindu temples in the southern part of India it is rare to see both God Shiva and God Vishnu, two important trinity gods on the same temple premises. The temple at  Thirumittacode, Kerala is an exception.
Uyyavandha perumal / Anju moorthy  temple, Thirumittacode town (way back this place  was called Thiru Vithuvakkode),  Palakkad District of  Kerala  has two shrines,  one dedicated to Sri Vishnu and the other one to God Shiva. This quiet town is  close to   Shoranur.  Pattambi is yet another near-by town. The former is called  Uyyavandha Perumal and the latter is referred to as Anju moorthy  temple. Vaikunda Ekadashi and Thiruvonam festivals  are  popular here - one of the oldest temples in this state.

The Vishnu temple is one of the 108  Divaya Desam shrines (94th)
Anju moorthy  temple, Thirumittacode,  divinebrahmanda.com
glorified by the Tamil Vaishnavite Azhawar saints who lived in the 6th to 8th centuries.
Kulasekara Azhvar sang in praise of the presiding lord here.  Located on the banks of  Bharathapuzha  (Nila river), it can be accessed from the temple though a flight of steps. This medium sized temple with a conical Srikovil/sanctum has a Shiva shrine as well; the main deity is  Uyyavandha Perumal (one who gives you salvation, free from rebirth). About 3 km from here across the river there is a Goddess temple dedicated to   Bagavathy called Nahangattiru Bhagavathy ( a form of Parvati, consort of Shiva). The sanctum (srikovil) has two shrines, the first one is for God Shiva and behind his shrine is Vishnu's, which is at a higher level.  Walls in both shrines are adorned with fine mural paintings.
 On the Prathakshana path near the entrance  out side the sanctum  there are small shrines dedicated to God Ganesha,  Dakshinamurthy and Goddess Durga,  besides four idols of Vishnu.  This temple is believed to have been worshipped  by the five Pandava brothers (Pancha Pandava) of the Mahabharata.   While in exile -angnadha vasam from their kingdom, they found this secluded  and serene place in the midst of greenery close to the river  most suitable for their  penance and  peaceful life. They, it is said,  installed five  Vishnu idols for worship.  The one  here in the sanctum was installed by  Arjuna, a reputed archer, rest in the Prakara were installed by other brothers, Dharmar, Bheemar, Nakulan and Shahadevan.  According to the sthalapuranam,  Vishnu appeared here to give darshan to king Ambarisha.

A unique feature of this temple is there is also a shrine for  God Shiva, the great comic dancer who has neither  aathi and nor antham (no beginning and no end; all-pervading and omnipresent). The story goes that in the by-gone era a sage from here went to khasi in Uttar Pradesh  on a pilgrimage. At Khasi, the sage kept the umbrella on the banks and went for a bath.  Upon his return, he found the umbrella missing; the umbrella disappeared to become a Shiva lingam.  It is said that lord Shiva took great pleasure to come over to this place  from Khasi in order to be  with the 5 pandavas. Hence this unique temple is referred to as Anju moorthy sthalam implying the presence of five idols. The  place is considered a highly sanctified one on account of God Khasi Viswanathar along with Maha Vishnu, much similar to Thirunavaya Nava Mukundha temple. 

The legend related  to king Ambarisha, who is believed  to have built this temple  goes as follows.  Being a true devotee of God Vishnu,  never had he missed  Ekadashi vrata (fasting);  following morning  being Dwadashi, the King would  break his fast by taking food after feeding  Brahmins.  Many rulers  and others in those days followed this age old tradition with religious conviction. Once sage Durvasa, who was known for his intemperate nature,  visited king  Ambarisha  on Ekadashi. The sage who was requested by the ruler to stay until  Dwadashi, wanted to test his adherence to this religious tradition of feeding the Brahmins  before breaking his fast. Following morning the sage went to the near-by water body to bathe and came late when   Dwadasi thithi was over. The King, having waited for the sage, did not want to miss the 'thithi time', so  he broke the fast and had food. When sage  Dursava realized that the king had already taken food without feeding him, he got angry and had an  ogre (a man-eating giant) to kill him.  King Ambarisha prayed to Lord Vishnu for help. Vishnu, sensing his true devotee was in danger,  sent his Sudarshana Chakra (celestial disc) to kill the giant and the giant fell down for good. After this,  the Chakra went after arrogant  Durvasa. With no other way to escape the sage  fell at the feet of Vishnu and sought pardon. On Vishnu's instruction, the sage  apologized to Ambarisha. The lord then asked his devotee to express his wish. He wanted the lord to give him darshan. The other version says the king had  salvation in this place. a privilege difficult to get from the almighty.  http://discoveringindia.net/thirumittacode-anju-moorthy-temple
https://www.templepages.com/thirumittacode/