Srivanchiyam

Pranams to all!

A good friend called from Paris and asked me yesterday – “Hey! No posts after Hanuman?” . I promised I would make amends, and so here goes…

When we did that Hanuman trip to Kumbakonam, we did have the happiness of visiting a few other temples as well. And this post is about one of them. The temple of Vanchinatha at Thiru Vanchiyam (Srivanchiyam).

I had heard of this temple in the discourses of the great Pravacana Chakravarti, Sengalipuram Sri Anantharama Deekshitar. He spoke of this village and the temple very highly. The village Tiru Vanchiyam, has the eminence of Kashi. Like in Kashi, breathing one’s last at Srivanchiyam, is believed to bestow salvation. The great Deekshitar has said that this is true even for animals. Such is the reverence that this little village holds…

We set off for Thiruvaroor from Kumbakonam in the evening. Sometime into the drive, we branch off from the main highway, turning to go to Srivanchiyam. A narrow road, with lush fields on both sides… With a canal or tributary of Kaveri accompanying us…. Somewhere along the way, we pass Parthiyur, which was on the other side of the canal. I remember Bramasri Paruthiyur Krishna Sastrigal (1855–1911), the great Rama bhakta, and Ramayana pravacana pioneer.

After a short distance, we come to Srivanchiyam. In a quiet, secluded village, stands a massive temple…

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The place had the silence of spirituality…. Some tea-shop or whatever, somewhere not far away, was belting out film music, but once you filtered that out of your focus, the silence of the majestic temple took over….

Just outside the main entrance, an old chariot, or what remains of it, was kept under covers…

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We enter the temple. And as per the temple tradition, the first shrine you visit here is  not that of Vinayaka, but that of, yes, hold your breath, Yama Dharmaraajaa! The story is that Yama Dharmaraja wanted to do penance and was directed to this place, where existed a forest of sandalwood trees. Later, as per divine direction, he built this temple of Siva here…

One walks into the main courtyard, and turns left to go across to the shrine of Yama. The belief is that all defects arising out of neglect of forefathers, or because of Pitru Shaapa etc, are overcome by offering worship in this shrine of Yama. The young priest offers soulful worship. He  tells us that only the chosen ones can come to this temple. He gives us Prasadam.

We then go across to the temple tank. The name of this pond is Gupta Ganga. A massive pond.

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The pond looks serene and inviting. A dip here is said to be bestow highest spiritual merit…

A closer look of the Ganga,

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An interesting fact about this temple is that although it is a Siva temple, Vilwa leaves are not offered in worship. As this was a sandalwood forest, only Sandalwood leaves are used. The Sthala Vriksha, is also sandalwood.

We have this large temple practically to ourselves. The priest takes us towards the sanctum. This temple is supposed to be ever so ancient. The Sivalinga is supposed to have existed here from before the beginning of time, or of this cycle of time…. Siva is known as Vanchinathar and his consort Mangalambika.

Another interesting fact is that Yama Dharmaraja is said to have requested that he should be used as Vahana (Vehicle) by Lord Siva. Lord Siva agreed to his request. And so we have a vahana of Yama too, on which the Utsava Vigrahas are taken on a procession.

The Yama Vahana is seen below… The temple priest, a picture of piety and peace, stands alongside.

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There are ever so many interesting aspects to this temple. The Bhairavar idol here is in Yoga Asana. And without the dog. The elephants near Goddess Lakshmi have four tusks each. It is also a Parihara kshetra for Rahu, Ketu appeasement…

This village was earlier known as Caturvedimangalam, which points to the presence of Vaidikas of all four Vedas here, at one time.

What a haven of peace…One just doesn’t feel like taking leave…

All glory to the land of Kaveri, that has such holy temples in such abundance!

Glory to Yama Dharmaraja! Glory to Vanchinatha! Mangalam! Glory to Mangalambika! Om Nama Sivaya!

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5 Responses to “Srivanchiyam”

  1. V.S. Kaushik Says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post.

  2. Radhakrishnan/Posty Says:

    Visit these parts often. Never visited this place. Next time.. thanks to this wonderful post.

  3. Ravi R. Chandhiramouli Says:

    Fantastic Kamesh. Thank you. Mouli.

  4. GLNMurthy Says:

    Dear Kameshji,Thank you for your latest posting.I am very happy to see the awesome photos of the temple tank.The closer photo is more attractive and holding my eyes for quite a long time.The yamarajavahanam,apart from Vooksharaja vahanam is also beautiful.I will try my luck next time when I visit Kumbakonam. Indeed this temple is very unique in many respects-ur’s friendly -Murthy

  5. ramanathan Says:

    wonderful post…. ….

    ramey

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