Abhayapradhana Ranganathar Koil (Karur - Tamil nadu)

It was a boring Sunday and by evening I got really freaked out and asked my friend to accompany me to the Abhayapradhana Ranganathar Koil / Temple. She was like “What..???!!!!! Is there such a temple here. Sounding seems ancient but I guess the only ancient temple in the locality is Pasupathiswarar Koil”. Well, that’s what many people in and around Karur think. Of course, as far as Karur is concerned, Pasupathiswarar Koil (Aa Nilayappar Koil) is the area’s Ishwaran (Lord Shiva) Koil and another famous temple is Karur Mariamman Koil. But the unknown secluded Perumal (Lord Vishnu) temple is this Abhayapradhana Ranganathar Koil. Mom gave me a clue that a Perumal temple also exists in Karur. A bit of research and field work and I got the address!!!! So, off we went…

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:

In Karur

From Karur Bus-stand – 2 km via Jawahar Bazaar.

From Karur Railway Station – 1 km via Jawahar Bazaar.

In Jawahar Bazaar left turn before Mariamman Temple, to reach Mettu Vidhi.


Dedicated to Moni

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

22 comments:

  1. I love to visit quiet places of devotion. Not for me those that are full of tourists.

    Lovely photographs and dialogue looks like your your Sunday evening was very rewarding.

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  2. Visiting un-explored or not-so-popular temples was a hobby of mine when I was a kid and I've visited almost all the temples in my locality in Trivandrum. The hobby somehow left me. But ye. I can understand your excitement!

    And unlike your previous posts, I can see that you have started including factual details like "how to get there?" and stuff. Good post!

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  3. @Winifred,
    Exactly same here Winifred. I too love those places that are solitude... It was a great evening indeed.

    @Ekanthapadhikan,
    Hey actually I've always included the factual details in all my posts. Do check out my previous posts. All those that are in 2 or 3 parts will have the factual details in the 1st or last part...

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  4. Hello Mitr! Lovely post! I really liked the story of the tree that produces fruit of 7 flavours, very cool!
    :)

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  5. Lovely :) and the Jamun Tree give fruits in 7 flavours?? Amazing.. first of its kind I guess :)

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  6. Hi Friend! It looks a quite nice place and the post is rather interesting. Great that you were bored on a Sunday evening... ;))

    Old Town Bilbao is now at Blogtrotter for your joy. Have a great weekend!!

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  7. Interesting to learn about this ancient temple and its history. Interesting that there is a temple tree, too.
    Lovely photos.

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  8. Good discovery of a little known temple and considerable information collected & presented.The temple tree is normally referred to as "Sthala Vriksham" & the holy temple water as "Teertham".

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  9. Hey Janie,
    Thanks so much Janie.. :)

    @Ram Sir,
    Thank you so much. Yup, missed out on giving that point... Thanks for pointing out... :)

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  10. You bring little places into the limelight and that is great. Enjoyed this piece too. I did not know it is as old as they say.

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  11. Wonderful, I never knew about this temple here. It is this kind of information that prompts people who enjoy travel to discover more about India.

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  12. @Anup,
    Thank you so much dear... :)

    @Rajesh,
    Thanks a lot dear.. :)

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  13. Hello:)

    Greetings:)

    Very interesting and informative narration of an unknown temple with lovely photographs. You are a wonderful adventurer ready to explore, visit unknow places and show case them to the world. You must be deriving great happiness and satisfaction in these exciting trips.

    Have a wonderful day:)
    Joseph

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  14. You have such wonderful travel experiences :) I like to know when people roam and enjoy the life to the fullest :)

    Roads of Japan

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  15. no wonder why ur blog is among the top travelogues in bloggerschoiceawards. travelled with u through ur blog posts. Nice coverage by words and by photos :)

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  16. Thanks for the very interesting post :-)
    Lovely shots its beautiful there...
    (@^.^@)

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  17. Lovely post! I really liked the story. You have such wonderful travel experiences :)

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  18. @Joseph,
    Thank you so much.. Of course, this is what that fulfills the heart's thirst.. :)

    @Bhavesh,
    Thank you so much dear... :)

    @Subu,
    Thank you so much. Guess its your first visit o'er here. Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting.. :) Do visit often...

    @Anya,
    Thank sweetheart.. :)

    @Hyper Minor,
    Thanks dear.. :) Welcome to my blog. So happy that you like it. :) Thanks for dropping by and commenting. So visit often.. :)

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  19. This is an especially intereting read for me, considering I lived in the 'mettu street' for 2 years of my life when I was very young :)

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  20. @Ramanathan,
    Great to meet someone from that street itself!!! Thanks for dropping by and commenting.. Do drop by often!!! :)

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  21. Vithuvakkodu temple was mentioned in Silappadikaram as "Aadaha Maadam" when Cheran Senguttawan ruled from Karur,Vanji. Before his northern expedition, temple priests offered "Prasadam" to the king as blessings (R. Raghava Iyengar, Vanjimanagar, 1918, 1932). Kulasekharan Azhwar sang prayer songs (7th century A.D) on the deity as Vithuvakkodu Amma (Pandit M. Raghava Iyengar, Azhwar Kaala Nilai 1925). The temple exists from Sangam period (2nd century A.D.)

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