After I reached the locality of the temple, I had to enquire road by road to every shop. Once I reached the correct street (Mettu Viidhi), the whole scenario changed. It had glimpses of Kerala styled homes with sprawling traditional frontages (Thinnai – as it is called in Tamizh). Women sitting there and chatting and spending a leisurely Sunday evening. I enquired again to those ladies about the temple. They explained so sweetly and an extremely friendly way, like how my own granny would explain. I could completely feel the change in atmosphere in this street. Being a part and parcel of a temple locality would change people calmer and spiritual I guess. My friend said, she was reminded of Mylapore, Chennai.
From Mettu Viidhi, one left and one right and we reached the temple and went right to the Sanctum Sanctorum. But unfortunately, there was a screen closing it. We enquired the priest and he said that for 48 days from the Avittam Nakshtra day of the Tamizh month of Aani (Mid June-Mid July), the Lord would be covered with Thaila Kaapu which literally means Oil Mask i.e a full body mask of Oil that contains 18 different types of herbs. Unfortunate us. We couldn’t have Darshan of Abhayapradhana Ranganathar.
The Lord Vishnu here, gave shelter and helped Markandeyan. Since he gave him Shelter and help, i.e Abhayam in Tamizh, he’s called Abhaya Pradhana Ranganathar. He is in Ananthasayanam (sleeping) posture here. A lotus from his belly button has Lord Brahma on it.
This temple is believed to have been built in Thredha Yugam (That’s before the great flood that destroyed everthing and started new life!!!). It was built by Musuguntha Chakravarthi. When his people dug out for the temple’s well, they found this huge 12 feet sculpture of Ranganathar. But since a finger got chipped during the digging process, its kept here behind the temple, as damaged sculptures are not to be kept in shrines.
Then we started taking the circumambulation. There were the shrines of Ranganayaki, Andal, Azhwars, Hanuman, and Vinayakar.
There is a special Vishnu Padham (Vishnu's feet) here as well.
The temple’s tree is Ilandhai maram that’s Jamun tree. This tree supposedly gives fruits of 7 different tastes. Usually Janum trees give fruits only in the months of December and January. Buy this one gives throughout the year.
In the Tamizh month of Chiththirai (Mid April-Mid May), on the Chiththrai Nakshatra day, the Brahmothsavam (the temple’s annual fest) of this temple takes place. The temple’s ratham / car is taken out and the festivities are huge.
I guess I hadn’t specified this earlier in other posts. Every temple would have its own tree and water. The Amaravathi river runs beside the temple. That’s the temple’s water.
Then I enquired about the Agraharams (Brahmin societies in temple localities are called so) in the locality, to the priest. Actually my mom gave me the info about this particular ‘Thiru Vithvakkodu Agraharam’ that’s in this locality. In a specific hymn in Naalayira Divya Prabhandham starting “Vaalal aruthu chudinum…”, Periyaval has sung praises on the Ranganathar residing in Vithvakkodu Agraharam. And there is confusion about the actual place about which he had sung. There is another Thiru Vithvakkodu Agaraharam in Kerala. And the Ranganathar there is in a standing posture. Its believed that the place mentioned is the one in Kerala. But he says in his song that the Lord is in sleeping posture unlike in Kerala where he is standing. So there cometh a doubt that this temple in Karur might be the place that’s mentioned which is also one of the 108 holy places of Lord Vishnu.
However, the priest shook his head in negative when I enquired about this Agraharam. He said there are Thennilai and Srinivasapuram Agraharam here near this temple. And he said this is one of the Abimana Kshetram which does not come under the 108 shrines.
Let the debate about the place go on. But whatever be the case, the temple was so peaceful with so less number of people. When we went there were only one family and an old lady apart from the temple staff. I loved the serenity of this temple. It was so so so peaceful.
TO REACH THERE:
From Karur Bus-stand – 2 km via Jawahar Bazaar.
From Karur Railway Station – 1 km via Jawahar Bazaar.
In Jawahar Bazaar left turn before
Dedicated to Moni