The Saviour as an endearing child
At Nallattoor, on the bank of River Kosasthalai, near Tiruttani, is the temple for Sri Anjaneya where Vayuputra is worshipped as a child. T. A. SRINIVASAN traces the history of the ancient shrine.
The majestic and well-maintained Veera Mangala Anjaneyar Temple in Nallattoor...
THE MISSION of Anjaneya, an embodiment of devotion to the Divine Couple, Lord Rama and Sita, throughout the Ramayana is to save many precious lives. First he saves Sugriva and consoled him. Then he goes to Lanka and saves Sitadevi who is about to end Her life.
Later he brings the Sanjeevi hills and saves the lives of Rama and Lakshmana on the battlefield and finally he prevents Bharata from entering the fire pit at Nandigrama as Lord Rama does not return immediately at the end of the 14-year exile. Poet Kamban, in his invocatory verse on Anjaneya, has said that he went to Lanka to save the precious life of Sita (``Aaruyir Kaakka Aehi").
This is the correct interpretation of this invocatory verse as found in the Madurai Thamizh Sangam palm leaf manuscripts and the Sangam scholars refused to interpret it as ``Aariyarkkaga Aehi''.
Over 732 temples of Lord Anjaneya were built all over the country by Sri Vyasaraja, Madhwa saint, during the reign of Krishnadevaraya. When the king's life was in danger due to the conjunction of planets, the saint saved his life by ascending the throne for a brief period and after the threat was over, he gave back the throne to the king.
One of the temples built by the saint exists to this day on the southern bank of River Kosasthalai in Nallattoor (Nalla-aatru-oor), 18 km from Tiruttani. It was here that sage Jamadagni, father of Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Lord Narayana, did penance. So the holy place was in existence long before the Ramayana period in the Thretha Yuga.
The temple was a single mandapam shrine for over 500 years, with the five-and-half-ft-idol of Anjaneya lying half buried in a snake pit. It has been developed into a full-fledged temple in a sprawling area, thanks to the efforts of Mr. Chakravarty, a native of Nallattoor and the executive directorof a chain of hotels in Chennai. A dream inspired him to take up the project. The idol of Anjaneya, carved on a single slab of stone, faces north and is known as Veera Mangala Anjaneyar. It is one of the nine forms of Anjaneya, according to the Parasara Samhitai.
The moolavar facing North... Anjaneya in an enchanting form.
Considered to be Anjaneya's form in his younger years, the idol's right hand is in "Abhaya Hastha Mudra" blessing devotees, while his left hand is placed on the waist holding the Sougandhiga flower, the celestial blossom.
The tail is raised over his head with a bell tied at its end. The small-sized carving of Lord Rama is found over his head.
On the back of the idol is found the description of the ten incarnations of Lord Narayana. His neck is adorned with a Navaratna mala as well as the Saligrama garland. On his chest is found a carving in silver of Sita-Rama. Around his ankles and wrists are thandai and kolusu worn by a child.
His tuft carries the thazhambu flower and he is wearing Karna kundalam. A knife is found in his waist belt and he also wears the sacred thread like any Brahmachari. A 42-ft-high Sudhai image of Anjaneya, in sitting posture, blesses devotees at the entrance of the temple facing east and laid with marble floor. It has been constructed by the sthapatis of Mahabalipuram, who have also carved the idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Sudarsana, Vinayaka and the Navagrahas. The idol of the presiding deity, Sri Anjaneya, is an ancient one, installed by Saint Vyasaraja. The temple, renovated and consecrated in July 1998, has three shrines dedicated to Sri Rama, Sri Vinayaka and the Navagrahas.
Two more shrines one for Vishnu Durgai and another a Shadgona shrine for Sri Sudarsana with Sri Narasimha on the back have been got ready now, as well as the idols which are now kept under paddy grains for purification, known as "Daanyaativaasam". "Ksheeradhivaasam" and "Jalaadhivaasam", purification with milk and holy water, will be performed to the idols before they are installed in the shrines. The Navagraha idols in the temple have a special feature. Unlike in other places, all of them are found with their vahanas (mounts).
Saneeswara faces Anjaneya and hence will be more benevolent towards those who worship the Lord here, it is believed. All of them are adorned with silver kavachams. In the main shrine of Anjaneya are also found the utsava idols of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha, Sri Sudarsana and a dancing Navaneetha Krishna, which will delight the hearts of any connoisseur of art. A small silver idol of Anjaneya with Panchayutam is also found here. On either side of the Moolavar idol of Anjaneya are the images of Sri Sudarsana (Chakra) and Panchajanya (Shanka).
A 26 ft-high Dwajasthambam has been got ready and it is to be installed before the shrine of Lord Rama. The temple rituals are conducted according to the Vaikanasa Agama. A snake, which guarded the temple in the past, is said to be a regular visitor and provision has been made in the outer wall for its entry. The temple is not a stranger to VIP devotees. Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who visited the temple when he was the Opposition leader, went there again after he won the elections.
He spent some time offering worship to the deities and taking part in the many rituals conducted at the temple.
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