Monday, 17 April 2017

Structure Of A Mythical Lion “YAZHI” Made Out Of Single Stone With A Rolling Ball Inside Its Mouth - Sri Thanthondreeswarar Temple, Belur, Salem

Sri Thanthondreeswarar Temple or Sri Thanthondrieswarar Temple is at Belur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The temple was built by the Cholas kingdom in the 12th century AD. The main deity is Lord Thanthondreeswarar (Lord Shiva) and the female deity is Goddess Dharmasamvarthini. Thanthondreeswarar Temple is located on the banks of Vasishta Nadi (Vasishta River). The temple has a serene atmosphere and is surrounded by beautiful hillocks.

Sri Thanthondreeswarar Temple Rajagopuram
Sri Thanthondreeswarar Temple Rajagopuram
The inner sanctum was constructed by 'Milagu Chetty' and the rest were constructed by King Paranthaga Chola (Paranthaka Chola). Construction of Rajagopuram was started during the 12th century by King Paranthaka Chola, but was left incomplete. It also showcases the Dravidian architecture and is representative of the Chola Empire's Ideology and the Tamil civilisation.

Mythical Lion “YAZHI” At Thanthondreeswarar Temple
Mythical Lion “YAZHI” At Thanthondreeswarar Temple
Manickam Chetty, a pepper merchant was living near a village close to the temple. His job was carrying loads of pepper and selling it in the market place. One day he was crossing this dense forest where the shrine is located at present. As darkness sunk in, he wanted to take rest. In order to eat, he crossed pea aubergine (Sundaikai, an edible vegetable) with a stone. Suddenly he heard a voice saying, "The stone hurts my head. Apply some pepper on my head. Bewildered by this incident, the merchant said that he did not have any pepper and added that he had only Black Gram (Ulundu). Next day he proceeded to the market place and opened his baggage. He was shocked to find black gram instead of pepper. He worshipped God and prayed for His forgiveness. God asked him to bring some mud from the place where he had crushed pea aubergine (sundaikai) and spray it in the baggage containing black gram. He followed His instructions and black gram transformed into pepper again.

Mythical Lion “YAZHI” At Thanthondrieswarar Temple
Mythical Lion “YAZHI” At Thanthondrieswarar Temple
On his way back, out of curiosity, he examined the place where he took rest. He was surprised to find a Suyambu Lingam (Lingam which originates by itself from earth). He worshipped the Lord and it is believed that the inner sanctum of the temple was built by him. Henceforth he was called Milagu Chetty (Milagu means Pepper) and the place where pepper transformed into black gram is called Ulundurpettai. The place has retained its name since then. As per history the inner sanctum was constructed by Milagu chetty and the rest was constructed by king Paranthaga chola. This has been mentioned in the book "The Manual Of Salem District in the Presidency of Madras" by Lee Fanu and the same idea has been endorsed by Rajannan, a History professor.

Rolling Ball Inside The Mouth Of Mythical Lion
Rolling Ball Inside The Mouth Of Mythical Lion
The temple is constructed in such a way that every year, in the first week of Tamil month (Chithirai) the sunlight falls on the main deity in early morning. A structure of a mythical lion, “YAZHI” (A statue of lion) made out of a single stone with a rolling ball inside its mouth is carved on two pillars. A structure of Lord Shiva riding a vedhic horse is carved on two other pillars made out of a single stone

Temple Timings:

Morning Timings : 06:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Evening Timings : 04:00 PM to 09:00 PM
On Special Occasions timings might differ.

Temple Location:

Temple is located close to the Belur Bus Terminus (Approx. 600 Meter from Bus Terminus). Belur has convenient bus facility frequently from Salem. The distance is 27 km from Salem. Proceed to Ayodhyapattanam, take left and proceed in state highway-18, within a km a diversion to the Belur road is there at right which will take you to the Temple. This road is good and traffic less than NH-68. Belur is 30 kms from Salem city and is 7 kms to the north of Vazhapadi, a neighbouring town.

Temple Address & Contact Details:

Sri Thanthondreeswarar Temple,
Salem district,
Pin Code : 636 104,
Tamil Nadu.
Phone: 96296 07409 ; 98658 09768 ; 97877 09742.

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