Vellore Temples


It was on a Friday that I decided to make a trip to Vellore. There wasn't enough time to check if my like-minded friends could join me so I decided to go all alone. There was hardly any groundwork done on how to reach the temples.
I've always been quite a squanderer during travel to temples so in an attempt to be a little frugal I planned to cover the temples by local bus/shared autos in Vellore. I gotta pat my back for I was quite successful this time!

I reached Vellore Bus Stand about 4:30am. I, casually, asked a newspaper seller on how to reach the list of temples I drafted on a piece of paper. To my surprise he knew the places in and out and the temples fair enough. He asked me about the transport I had planned to use. My answer was ‘public transport’ to it. I also added that if using the bus can leave the trip incomplete I’m ready to switch to a taxi. He told me that the bus frequency is very good and the trip can be completed by bus without any problems provided I use the New Vellore Bus Stand and the Old Vellore Bus Stand properly. This is when I realized that there are two bus stands there and the one I reached was the New Bus Stand. I wanted to buy a One-day bus pass but I got to know that One-day pass hasn't been introduced in Vellore yet. I still stuck to my plan of travelling by local bus. 


The places covered were (1)Sripuram Lakshmi temple, (2)Jalakanteshwara Swamy temple,(3) Rathnagiri Murugan temple, (4)Vallimalai Murugan temple, (5)Thiruvalam Sri Vilvanatheswarar temple, (6) Sholingur and (7)Thiruttani.
I have written about all the above temples except for Sripuram temple as my focus is on old temples.


Jalakanteshwara Swamy Temple

This temple is inside the historic fort in the heart of Vellore city. The temple was built during the reign of Vijayanagara king, Sadasivadeva Maharaya (1540 to 1572 A.D.) .

Jalakanteshwara Temple



Kalyana Matapam


The fort looks magnificent surrounded by a moat. The temple is known for its marvelous sculptures. The temple is dedicated to Jalakanteshwara Swamy and His consort Sri Akhilandeshwari Amma. The Kalyana Mantapam in the temple premises demonstrates exquisite craftsmanship of the artisans during the period.

Ganesha Sculpture on one of the pillars of the mantapam
Tank within the temple premises
Vishnu

Vidala rider

Specialty found in the temple
Like Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kanchi this temple has lizards on the roof- silver and golden .In addition to these lizards , there are silver and golden snakes(sculptures). It is believed that the one who touches them gets relieved of Sarpa dosham and lizard related doshams.

During the Muslim invasion, some of the sculptures were mutilated. The temple was without the deity in it for a long time and it was used as an arsenal for 400 years. On March 16, 1981, worship was revived in the temple. The first Kumbabhishekam of the temple was performed in 1982.This temple attracts tourists from far and across the country.    
     
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                                          Sri Ratnagiri Murugan Temple

Ratnagiri Balamurugan Temple

After my visit to Sripuram Mahalakshmi temple I came back to Old Bus Stand. I took another bus to Ratnagiri. This temple is on a hillock situated on Chennai-Bengaluru Highway. It was 12 in the noon when I reached the temple so I had to hurry up for darshan. Sri Subrahmanya Swamy is worshipped here in the form of Balamurugan. The Lord looks magnificent with Valli and Devasena. Poet Arunagirinathar of the 14th Century had sung the praise of Balamurugan here. 

This temple is flocked by devotees every day. The temple is clean, colorful and well maintained. This gave a look of a newly constructed temple. On enquiry, I found that this temple is about 600 years old. This temple was in a bad condition and it has been face-lifted by the dedicated efforts of Balamuruganadimai Swamigal.



Ratnagiri Temple Arch

There is a Swayambhu(self-manifested) Karpaga Vinayagar to the left. 
Karpaga Vinayagar Shrine
Durgai Amman’s temple is on the right side of the temple.


Durga Devi Temple
About Rathinagiri Tavatiru Balamurugan Adimai Swamigal:

Rathinagiri Tavatiru Balamurugan Adimai Swamigal’s earlier name was Dakshinamurthy and Sachidanandan. He was a clerk in Electricity Department. Sachidanandan was a devotee of Lord Murugan. One day in his 27th year, he climbed Rathnagiri hill to offer prayers to Lord Murugan. The main shrine of the temple was dilapidated by neglect. The priest was not to be found there. He tried to find camphor and incense for aradhana but they were not available. He was moved with this sight and tried to circumambulate the temple heavyhearted. As he walked round the shrine he overcame with a divine awakening and fainted. On waking up he was not able to recall what had happened. On that day, he took to vow not leave the temple till it was restored to its past glory. This event happened on 20th March 1968.

Temple Timings: 6.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and from 3.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m

Temple Address: Arulmigu Balamurugan TirukkovilRathinagiri, Kilminnal, Walajah Taluk, Vellore - 632 517

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Vallimalai Murugan Temple

After Rathnagiri visit I came back to New Bus Stand. There was a direct bus to Vallimalai (Krishna Bus Service). It took me around 30 mins to reach Vallimalai (close to 35kms from Vellore). This temple is about 1500 years old. It is situated on top of a small hill with a flight of 300 steps leading to it. This is one of the most beautiful temples I had been to so far.  I definitely wish to take my family there the next time.


Vallimalai Temple Arch
The presiding deity here is Lord Subrahmanya Swamy. Saint Sri Arunagirinathar had sung in praise of the Lord here. There is Subrahmanya Swamy temple at the foot hill. Most part of the temple is a cave. This is a parihara sthalam for removing obstacles in marriage. This hill temple is named after Valli(one of the consorts of Lord Subrahmanya Swamy). Valli is said to have done penance here.


Pariharam: People suffering from malefic effects of Mars will find relief here if they offer red flowers and curd rice to the Lord.
Vinayaka Temple at the Arch

Temple at the Foothill

Inside view of the Temple at the Foothill


Saravana Poigai Tank behind the Temple at the Foothill

Valli Shrine at the Foothill



Mantapam for Shelter


Vallimalai Temple on the Hill
Path leading to the Ashramam on the Hill



Sign board in Tamil[hmm..I don't know what it reads :)]
Signage to the Jain Caves

Sthala Puranam:

As per the legend Lord Vishnu came to this hill to perform penance. Goddess Lakshmi is said to have come here in the form of a doe (female deer). The doe delivered a baby girl by the mere sight of the sage.

Nambi Rajan, the chief of a mountain tribe, found the baby girl among valli plants (creepers). He named her Valli. Valli grew up into a beautiful girl. She is also known as Pongi (Twelve -year old girl) at Vallimalai. She had her heart and soul dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya. She always prayed Lord Subrahmanya with utmost devotion. The lord was moved by Valli’s love.

One day, Valli stood guard over her father’s millet field. Lord Murugan saw this as an opportune moment and decided to meet Valli assuming the form of a handsome tribal hunter( well known as 'Veduvan Kolam' at Palaniyappar temple at Belukurichi village in Namakkal). He met Valli with the pretext of having lost his way while chasing a deer. Valli could not see through this form and asked Him to leave the place. Just as the hunter was about to leave, Valli’s father was found returning to her with fruits and honey for her. To avoid being caught, the hunter transformed Himself into a tree. After ensuring that Valli was alone, He turned back into the hunter and proposed His love to Valli. This enraged Valli and she tongue-lashed the hunter. Just as this was happening, Nambi Rajan and his men were seen returning to Valli again. Without being noticed by Valli, the hunter transformed into an old man. When Nambi Rajan saw the old man, he requested him to stay back with her till he returned from hunting.

When the old man was hungry, Valli gave him millet flour mixed with honey. The old man was thirsty now. Valli took Him to a stream to quench his thirst. The lord who was in the form of an old man playfully asked her to quench his thirst for love. Valli was furious and gave Him a piece of her mind. While Valli was leaving Ganesha appeared before Valli in the form of a wild trumpeting elephant.  At the sight of this wild elephant Valli rushed into the arms of the old man and asked Him to save her.
The old man told her that He would save her only if she agrees to marry Him. On the spur of the moment, she agreed to the condition and the Lord appears before her in Subrahmanya form. This is when the Valli realizes that the hunter and old man were none other than her beloved Lord.

Lord Subrahmanya and Valli spend their period of courtship on his hill and eventually got married. It is said that the divine couple moved to Thiruttani after wedding.

On being requested by Nambi Rajan Lord Murugan stays on this hill to bless His devotees.

Other Information: This temple is about 10 kms from Tiruvalam
Temple Timings: 7.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m

Temple Address: Sri Subramaniaswami Temple, Vallimalai, Vellore-632 520

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Thiruvalam

I took another bus to Thiruvalam( also known as Thiruvallam) from Vallimalai. It is about 10ksm from Vallimalai. Thiruvalam is famous for its ancient Shiva temple. This temple is located on the western banks of the river Ponnai/Neeva( because Nandi ordered Ponnai to flow towards Thiruvalam so that its water  is available for the Lord for abhishekam).  The presiding deity is Sri Vilvanatheswarar and His consort is Sri Vallambikai/Sri Dhanumathyambal.


Thiruvalam Temple

Pariharam: Consuming the prasadam here bestows the devotees with wisdom and progeny. It also relieves the devotees from skin problems and laziness.


View after entering the first Gopuram

Sthala Puranam:  The famous competition between Sri Vinayaka and Sri Subrahmanya took place at Thiruvalam contrary to another version that states that the competition took place at Kailasam. 

‘Thiru’ means ‘Sacred’ or ‘Holy’ while ‘Valam’ means ‘Circumabulation’. 
Once there was a divine fruit called Gnanapalam (meaning fruit of knowledge) gifted by Sage Narada to Lord Shiva and Parvathi. This was to be gifted to the one who would be the Prathamapujya(the one to be worshiped first ). There arose a dispute between Sri Subrahmanya and Sri Vinayaka as to who was superior and to be the Prathamapujya. Lord Shiva and Parvathi decided to settle this by a competition. The competition was that whoever circumambulates the world 3 times the fastest will be the winner of the divine fruit. Lord Vinayaka won the competition, overcoming His brother Sri Subrahmanya, by merely circumambulating His mother and father 3 times. This made Him Prathamapujya.

This is a legendary temple with great importance attached to it.

Specialties of the temple:

·              Shiva Lingam  of this temple is considered holier than Kashi.
·              Lord Vinayaka was designated as Pratamapujya after He circumambulated His parents to show that one’s parents are equal to the whole world.
·              This is where Lord Shiva destroyed Daksha yagna.
·              It is one of the 275 Thevara Sthalams of Shiva
·              This is one of the Muktisthalams
·              Vilva is offered as prasadam here
·              Saint Thirugnanasambandar has sung in praise Lord Shiva here.
·              Saint Arunagirinathar has sung in praise of Lord Muruga of the temple in his Thiruppugazh.
·              Poetess Avvaiyar is associated with this temple. [I was told by a knowledgeable localite that were 3 poetesses titled Avvaiyar. However, it is not clear to him which one of them is associated with this temple.]


Nandi facing Kanjangiri instead of the Lingam

Another interesting feature of this temple is that Nandi, which conventionally faces Shiva lingam, faces the opposite direction. This normally indicates that Nandi is on the warpath.
A demon named Kanjan had become immortal by a boon. He started troubling the temple priest by preventing him from fetching water for Abhishekam  for the presiding deity in the temple. Nandi stood guard and tore the demon into pieces. These pieces fell  at a nearby hill Kanjangiri. These pieces transformed into Swayambhu(self-manifested) lingams. Since that day Nandi faces Kanjangiri to protect the priest and the temple from Kanjan.

Other Information: This temple is about 10 kms from Vallimalai and 12 kms from Katpadi

Temple Timings: 6 am to 12pm and 4 pm to 8 pm

Temple Address: Sri Vilvanatheswarar Temple, Tiruvallam, Vellore– 632 515.

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Sholingur 

Sholingur temple will feature under the upcoming 'Divya Desam' post.

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Thiruttani

Thiruttani temple will feature under the upcoming 'Arupadai Veedu' post.

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2 comments:


  1. Thanks for the tip G...This is a GREAT deal, and today is my birthday, so I just got it as my birthday present to myself.

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