My granny and granda badly wanted to visit some temples in and around Karur. I asked my friend to accompany us and we were 4 on almost a pilgrimage. We rented a car and our devotional day started off.
Our first destination was Karur Pasupathiswarar Koil. Located just a km from the Karur Bus-stand, this temple is the local Ishwaran Koil (
). This temple is one of the Kongu Ezhu Sivathalangal (The 7 Shiva Temples of the Kongu region). Pasupathiswarar is also called Aanilaiappar in Tamil. This temple was during the reign of the Chola kings, however some parts of the temple seem like the Pallava architecture. It was built by Musugundha Chakravarthi along with the Abayapradha Ranganathar Koil. Lord Shiva Temple
The temple was given land as a gift by Rajendra Chola in 10th C. So it must be existing even before 10th C. Also Karur had business with the Romans, so the temple seems to be existing for atleast 2000 years now!!! Amazing isn’t it.? Am so happy to be a part of a civilization this old!!!
Apart from the main diety of Pasupathishwarar in the form of Lingam (As it is found I all South Indian temple), there are 4 more lingams situated in all the four other directions. So this temple is considered a Pancha Linga Sthalam.
The temple is east faced and the Raja Gopuram in the entrance is 108 ft tall.
Just as we enter there is a pillar which has some exquisite carvings on all four sides. These patterns are similar to the local Suzhi Kolams or the internationally knows Celtic Patterns. Further more as we proceed, we prayed to Vinayakar. The Maha Mandapam has several pillars and each of it has several reliefs on them. On the south a separate mandapam is located. On the north the temple’s well is located. Since this is located in Agni Corner, this water is called the Agni Theertham.
On far south is a small passage which is essentially the circumambulatory passage. This passage leads initially to the Karur Siththar Samadhi. As I said already in the Konganar article, Sithar’s are yogists who are in the high meditative state and lose their physical state and attain divinity. This is the place where the Karur Sithar lost his physical state and attained divinity.
As we take a turn the Vinayakar Shrine is located right behind the Sanctum Sanctorum of Ishwaran. Completely on the northern side of the temple, a huge Goshala in which several cows are taken care of. It is a very common sight to see several devotees feeding these cows regularly. At the turn is the Vilvam Tree which is the Sthala Vruksham (Tree of the
While taking the circumambulation, I took my granda’s hand and my dear friend took my granny’s hand. In the inner circumambulatory passage are the sculptures of Arubathu Moovar (The 63 saints of Saivism). Then there are the shrines of Kanni Vinayagar, Nageshwarar, Soundharanayaki, Arumugar with Valli and Deivanai. Facing south are Ishwaran’s consort Vadivudai Nayaki aka Sowndharanayaki. Next to it the Palliyarai of the Gods. Facing East is the shrine of Alankaravalli aka Kirupanayaki. This is one of the few temples where there are separate shrines for the 2 consorts.
Also facing south is the bronze sculpture of Nataraja (the dancing form of Lord Shiva).
There is something very special about this temple. The first pillar to the left as we come out of the Sanctum Sanctorum is a special crypt called the Nalayira Chakra Bhandhanam. Its to be read in a circular, horizontal, vertical, diagonal ways all at a time.
It goes this way,
Which means, “Oh Shiva who has the blue colored Nayaki in the left. You have the vahana of a Bull like a Horse! Oh Aaniyappa! The honored one! You’ve cleared the darkness of ignorance. You’re handsome! You dance in the dead night! Please show me the path to heaven!!!”
The Lingam in the Sanctum Sanctorum is called Aanilayappar or Pasupathiswarar as the Pasu (Cow) poured milk onto the Lingam directly from its breast. When the cow moved, it claw hit the Lingam. This mark as a small dent is still seen on the lingam. This lingam is a Suyambu Lingam which means it was created by nature itself and no one sculpted it.
The Consort Sowdhara Nayaki is considered as a human child and not a heavenly being like Alankaravalli. She was born in Appippalayam, a small village near Karur. She grew up to fall in love with Pasupathiswarar and married her on a Panguni Uththira Thiruvizha Day. This day is celebrated every year in a grand way and considered the annual festival.
Even though I and my friend had visited the temple already, we got a special treatment this time. To be accompanied by granny and granda is special isn’t it.? And for their age, everyone in the temple treated us with special care, I must add.
From there we went to Kalyana Venkatramanaswamy Koil. I’ll tell about this later. I went to this place later in a still more funny situation. So I’d tell about this temple on another day. From there we went to…………………
Wait and watch!!!
Dedicated to Granny, Granda and Monz