Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sri Nellaiappar Kanthimathi Temple, Tirunelveli

Sri Nellaiappar Kanthimathi Temple, Tirunelveli

Compiled by
Sri Elango Kadhirvel

Ø  This ancient temple is located in the heart of the city of Tirunelveli
o   The temple is located at a distance of 2kms from the Tirunelveli Junction railway station
Ø  Tirunelveli is well connected by trains/road to Chennai (554 kilometers), Bangalore (581 kilometers), Madurai (153 kilometers)
Ø  Nearest Airport is Tuticorin Airport which is about 32 kilometers away

Presiding Deities
Ø  Sri Kanthimathi Ammai (Ammai – Mother) – Goddess Parvathi
Ø  Sri Nellaiappar- Lord Shiva
o   Tirunelveli is also “Nellai” in the local language (Tamil) owing the Prime Deity Sri Nellaiappar

Ø  The temple dates back to 700 AD and has been sung by the Shaivite poet/saint ThiruGnanaSambandar
Ø  There are several inscriptions in the temple dating all the way back to 950 AD

Ø  This is one of the largest temples in South India
o   Covering an area of 14 acres; This is the biggest temple in Tamil Nadu
Ø  This temple is known for the Musical Pillars and other brilliant sculptural splendour
Ø  The temple complex consist of two huge temples, one for Lord Shiva (Nellaiappar temple) and the other for his consort Parvathi (Kanthimathi Ammai temple)
o   These two temples are linked by a big terraced hall that has life sized sculptures adoring the pillars
Ø  The main deity of Kanthimathi Nellaiyappar Temple is a “Suyambu Lingam”, which erupted from underneath the earth

Ø  Nel-Veli – Name reason
o   There was an ardent Shiva devotee named Vedapattar, who had not missed a single day in offering rice to Lord Shiva (despite any shortcoming)
o   One day, Vedapattar left some paddy near the sanctum of Lord Shiva and went to take bath in the river (Taamiraparani)
o   Meanwhile, it started pouring
o   Vedapattar was devastated for he feared that all the paddy might be washed away due to heavy rains and he has nothing left
o   He became much distressed and prayed for help to the Lord Who protected the paddy from the rain by covering it and standing around it like a fence
o   From then on,  the place came to be known as "Nel veli" – paddy (Nel) that was saved by a fence(veli)
Ø  The celestial wedding of Kanthimathi Ammai with Nellaiyappar which is celebrated every year in the Tamil month of Aippasi (corresponding to October-November)
o   There is also a shrine to Vishnu near the sanctum, signifying the belief that Nellai Govindan (Sri Vishnu) visited Tirunelveli to officiate the divine marriage of Nellaiappar and Kanthimathi
Ø  Venu-Vana-Naathar
o   According to another legend associated with this temple, Lord Shiva came to Tirunelveli and took his abode here
o   All the four Vedas stood around Him as bamboo trees and provided Him shade
o   So this Sthalam is came to be known as Venu Vanam (Venu means bamboo tree and Vanam means forest) and the Lord came to be known as Venuvananaathar

Ø  Tirunelveli also is one of the five places where Lord Shiva (Sri Nataraja) is said to have displayed HIS Cosmic Dance and all these temples have stages (called ambalams)
o   Tirunelveli has the Thaamirai (Copper) Ambalam
o   Thiruvalangadu  as the Rathina Ambalam (rathinam – ruby / red)
o   Courtallam has the Chitra Ambalam (Chitra – painting)
o   Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple has the Velli Ambalam (velli – silver)
o   Chidambaram Thillai Nataraja Temple has the Pon (Gold) Ambalam


Hymn by ThiruGnanaSambandar
மருந்து அவை; மந்திரம், மறுமை நன்நெறி அவை; மற்றும் எல்லாம்;அருந்துயர் கெடும்; அவர் நாமமே சிந்தைசெய், நன்நெஞ்சமே!---பொருந்து தண்புறவினில் கொன்றை பொன் சொரிதர, துன்று பைம்பூஞ்-செருத்தி செம்பொன்மலர் திரு நெல்வேலி உறை செல்வர்தாமேThiruGnanaSambandar

Transliterated Text
Marundu avai; manthiram, maRumai nan-neri avai; mattrum yellaam;
Arunthuyar kedum; AVAR Namame sithai sei, nan-nejame!
Porundu thaN-puravinil kondrai pon sorithara, thundru paimpoong-
Seruiththi sem-pon-malar tiru nelveli uRai selvarthaame!

§  IT is panacea to all ills
§  IT is a mantra
§  IT is the PATH/WAY to the Next World (Realization)
§  IT removes any possible suffering (including birth and death)
The LORD Resides in the cool forest (VenuVanam), where the Konrai flowers glitter like gold!

Hymn by Sri Pamban Swami
பூவளம் கொண்டு ஒழுகச் சிவபுண்ணியம் தான் தழைக்கத்
தா அறவே தினமும் நல்ல தாம்பிரவன்னி எனும்
ஆவகை தான்பெருகு நெல்லை அப்பர் விமானம் உறை
வீவுஇல் அயில்கரனே என்றன் வேண்டலைப் பூர்த்தி செய்யே. – Sri Pamban Swami

Transliterated Text
PooVaLam kondu ozhukach siva-punniyam thaan thazhaikkak
Thaa aRaVe thinamum nalla taamiravanni enum
Aavai thaan perugu Nellai Appar vimaanam uRaI
Veevu-il ayilkarane enRan vendalaip poorthi seiye

Lord Subramanya!
YOU are Housed in the Holy Temple of Sri Nellaiappar, which is beside the perennial bountiful Taamiraparani River
The Temple is an resonates with The Lords’ (Sri Nellaippar) Love and Grace
YOU (Lord Subramanya), please hear my prayers and fulfil them


1 comment:

Debosmita Roy said...

Very informative post on Sri Nellaiappar Kanthimathi Temple, in Tirunelveli district. Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai or Tinnevelly, is a city in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the west bank of the Thamirabarani River and believed to be an ancient settlement there are a number of historical places to visit in Tirunelveli , the Nellaiappar Temple being the most prominent.