Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Orikkai Mani Mandapam - Temple of holy Sri Mahaswamigal, maha Periyavaal, Sri Chandra Sekarendra Sraswathi Swamigal

Today I had an opportunity to go to the great Mani Mandapam of Orikkai with a team of devotees. We started from Chennai at 6:40 AM and reached Orikkai at about 8:40 AM (nearly 2 hours drive) in a tourist van. Though it is a peak summer, sun has just started showing its heat and it was bearable.

About the temple

The village Orikkai is blessed to have the Mani mandapam or a great temple built to commemorate the sacred memory of  Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamiji, 68th Shankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

The construction of temple is not yet fully over. For example the installation of nandhi is in progress now.. However the Kumbabishegam (consecration ceremony)  was performed by Sri Sri Jayendra Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakodi peedam on 28th January 2011.  Please view the video in youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KYh5hMtoFM)

 This temple is built with one material (Granite stone alone, no mix of stone with other materials like bricks etc) like ancient temples built by emperors like Cholas. 

  • The Manimandapam has a 100 feet vimana
  • a 100 pillared hall
  • Paduka mandapa and Rudraksha mandapa
  • Statue and padukas of maha Periyavaal


About 5 KM from Kanchi, on the banks of the river Palaar. The manimandapam is located in a calm place away from the rush of the town.

 Once a king in a fit of anger exiled a very devoted servant of a sage called Kanikannan which was an undeserving punishment. The master also followed him and on seeing this the Lord too went with them and halted in Orikkai for one night. Realising his mistake the king apologised to all of them and requested them to come back, which they did. Thereafter the village was called as  Orikkai (oru iravu irukkai - place of overnight stay)

Chatur masya vrata was performed by Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamiji at this place only.
Temple Rules
  • As a matte of respect, gents are expected to remove their shirt and go with a angavasthram (towel) around the shoulder.
  •  Taking snaps inside the temple is not allowed. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thanjavore (Thanjai, Tanjore)- Brahadeeswaram or  Big Temple of Siva -Chola culture

During Feb 2011, I had an opportunity to visit Tanjore and visit this magnificent temple. When I was a school boy I read about this temple in my History book and after that many times contemplated visiting this place, but it materialised only very recently. After seeing the temple and the lovely ambience, I felt that I should have visited this place long back and also made many more visits.

History of the temple:

Thanjavur or Tanjore is in Tamil Nadu, the southern part of India. Once upon a time it was the capital of Chola empire (846-1279 AD). The king Raja Raja Chola, a great lover of art and devotion to God built this temple as a mark of great architectural beauty in the form of sculptures and design. This magnificent ancient temple is more a monument to sculpture and culture of India rather than just a temple. It is a proof of huge labour, best administration and great devotion.

The temple was first called as Rajarajeswaram and now it is called as Brahadeeswaram.

This temple has completed 1000 years and the 1000th year was celebrated in a grand manner by the State Government of Tamil Nadu in 22nd to 28th September 2010.

How to reach there?

From Chennai I had been to Kumbakonam by train for visiting the temples around that place. From kumbakonam I went by bus to Tanjore. You can reach Tanjore directly from Chennai by the following modes:

By Air
The nearest airport from Thanjavur is Tiruchirapalli that is situated 65 kilometers from the downtown Thanjavur. It serves planes from the
Middle East, Colombo, Chennai and Madurai. Another airport is Chennai airport that is about 350 kilometers away from Thanjavur. 

By Train
There is a railway junction in Thanjavur. It is well connected to Trichy, Chennai as well as other major cities in and around Tamilnadu. 

By Road
Thanjavur is well connected to all the major towns in Tamilnadu through state highways. Tamilnadu Transport Corporation and similar Transport Corporations of the adjoining states provide bus service to cities in and around Tamilnadu. 

Local Transportation
For local transportation auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and taxis are available.

About the temple and ambience:

Plan of the temple:

Are of the temple:  800’ *  400’  total area in which the temple area is 500’ * 250’

  • There are two gateways to the temple one after the other in the same direction having separate gopurams (arches) – called as Keralaandhagan Thiruvayil and Rajarajan Thiruvayil
  • Nandhi
    • Tanjore paintings inside nandhi mandapam

  • Ganesha
  • Murugan
  • Chandigeswarar
  • Bramhanayagi amman
  • Natarajar
  • Sri varahi
  • Main deity at the centre of the temple area - Lord Shiva, worshipped in the form of Lingam.
  • Sri vimana
  • Paintings- Tanjore, Nayakkar and maraati

Other interesting factors:

The temple and the surrounding areas are very well maintained. The place is so neat and clean. There is a proper place for keeping the foot wares and benches to help putting shoes.

A lovely elephant is there at the entrance to greet you.

It is interesting to note that  there is a stone figure of a foreigner with cap –It seems  he is Denmark business man who came during that time to India.

There are around 250 Siva lingams in and around the outer structures

Please visit the following site to have a virtual tour of the temple.