Benevolent in the form of a child
Amidst scenic surroundings atop the Kurunda hill in Coimbatore district is the abode of Kuzhandai Velayudhaswami. T. K. GANAPATHY elaborates on its special features.
Kuzhandai Velayudhaswami temple... the vicinity is dotted with natural springs.
LEGENDS SPEAK of the manifestations of Lord Subramanya on hill-tops throughout Tamil Nadu. Kurundamalai in Coimbatore, surrounded by a beautiful landscape, is one of His abodes. Located five kilometres west of Karamadai, 28 km from Mettupalayam on a 16-acre plot, silhouetted against an idyllic environ amidst Sanjivimalai, Bhagasuramalai and Vallimalai on the Nilgiri ranges, is the Kuzhandai Velayudhaswami temple sanctified by the visit of savants and saints like Arunagirinathar, who has sung His praise. Worshipped affectionately as Kurundamalai Kuzhandai Velayudhan, the Lord stands majestically atop the hill and showers His grace upon the devotees. According to tradition, the Kongu traders dealing in pepper at Mysore halted at the foothills here. When they could not solve a child's riddle, their pepper sacks turned into chaff.
On their prayerful appeal, the divine child changed the chaff once again into pepper. After this incident, the leader of the traders, Gangadharan, dedicated himself completely to the upkeep of the temple and a shrine was built in his memory in the vicinity. His son Kuzhandaivel, named after the deity, proved to be a worthy son of a noble father. When he was determined to build a deepasthambha, it is said, the Lord came as an adivasi youth and lifted the stone, carrying it to the top of the hill.
As in the Palani hills, here also, the deity faces west in a standing posture. Different versions are attributed to the derivation of the name, Kurundamalai. Kurunda trees were once aplenty here and hence the name.
According to another version, the Lord here gave initiation to sage Agastya as Guru and hence it came to be known as Kurundamalai. Water springs called Kaanasunai, Gajapushkarni and Hanumansunai are seen here. It is said that Hanuman placed one foot on the Sanjivi hill and another foot on this hill during His passage to Lanka. A shrine of Anjaneya with His left foot on the rock Hanuman paadam is on the left side of the temple.
However, it is pathetic to see the shrine of Anjaneya crowded with mendicants of all kinds spending their time in gossip and smoking tobacco. The temple authorities should take serious measures to maintain the sanctity of the precincts making it a no-smoking zone.
Offerings to the Lord
Devotees visiting the temple first worship Vayu Kumara before climbing the steps to the temple. The devotee offers his prayers to the imposing Raja Gambheera Ganapathi at the entrance before climbing. Paying obeisance at the shrines of Sapthamatas, Idumban, Kadamban, Veerabhadran,Viswesvarar, Sivasurya, Panchakshara Ganapathi, Panchalingam and Valli Deivanai, during the ascent, one crosses a 60-ft dwajasthambha made of single stone before being led to the sanctum sanctorum of a turbaned Velayudhan.
The benign grace of the Lord as a youth sporting the turban and holding a Vel, His abhaya hastha and two rudraksha malas adorning the bosom is a delightful sight. In the upper portion of the ardha mandapam, an emblem of fish and another of snakes grabbing the sun and the moon as symbolic explanation of the solar and lunar eclipses are seen.
Sage Agastya, Ananta, the divine serpent, and the Sun God had worshipped the deity in the precincts of this temple. Even now, the Sun's worship of Kuzhandai Velayudhan is a great event.
On March 22 every year, the deity, starting from the blessed feet right up to His bosom, is bathed in the rays of the Sun indicative of His worship here.
It is said that when a buyer in Kunnathur near here obtained an encumbrance certificate for purchase of land, it showed the name of the deity as the owner.
Thus, the Lord assumed ownership of the land and the yield from it is set apart for the use of the temple.
According to Manikanda Gurukkal of the shrine, very often sounds of footsteps and Thiruppugazh chants are heard in the sanctum sanctorum. There is a huge cobra as well but it does not harm anyone. A stone inscription behind the Ganesha shrine records the grant of 78 acres of land to the temple during the reign of Thirumalainaicker. Kurunda tree is the sthala vriksham here. Water from Kaanaasunai, a perennial spring here, tastes like tender coconut.
Gajapushkarni covered by herbs on the east of Hanumansunai branches into two parts one used for drinking and the other for bathing. Kuzhithamarai as it is called, is rich in copper content. Patients with physical ailments, eye and cerebral problems get cured after a dip in the spring. Hanumansunai, adjacent to Hanuman paadam is believed to bestow long life. The Lord's Thirumanjanam is performed with the water drawn from Mayilsunai. Arumughasunai below the garbha griha gets filled naturally and the Lord's feet are washed with its water. Partaking of this sacred theertham blesses one with progeny, it is believed.
Seva timings in the shrine are from 7 a.m. to 12 noon and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Car festival and the Thaippoosa padi thiruvizha are the events that are eagerly looked forward to. Devotees undertake giri parikrama on every full moon day.
The temple renovation committee has work on hand like the construction of kanakasabhai, setting up of a nandavana, parivettai mandapam and so on.
Devotees may send in their contributions to The Executive Officer, Kuzhandai Velayudhaswami temple, Karamadai, Mettupalayam, Coimbatore District.
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