Monday, 16 October 2017

Goddess Saraswathi With Three Eyes - Sri Saraswathi Temple - Koothanur, Thiruvarur

Koothanur near Mayiladuthurai has a temple for Goddess Saraswathi. Tamil Nadu is famous for its beautiful temples, especially in and around the Tiruchi-Thanjavur belt. While some of these temples, such as the nine Navagraha temples, Vaitheeswarankoil temple, Brihadeeswarar temple, Thirukkadayur Abhirami temple and Oppilayappan temple are famous, there are hundreds of other temples, which are unique though not very popular. The temple for Goddess Saraswati, which is situated in Koothanur, near Mayiladuthurai, is one of such. It is the only known ancient temple for the Goddess of knowledge.

Sri Saraswathi Temple Main Entrance
Sri Saraswathi Temple Main Entrance
There are many stories of miracles attached to the temple. With Her grace, the mute, it is believed, have been able to speak and people have been blessed with the ability to write or compose poems. Musicians sing here and many even choose to perform here first. Instrumentalists have puja performed for their instruments here. Apart from art and culture, Goddess Saraswati also showers Her blessings for the education of children. Many parents see to it that the education of their wards begin on Vijayadasami Day, after the initiation ceremony at this temple.

Sri Saraswathi Temple Raja Gopuram
Sri Saraswathi Temple Raja Gopuram
Once upon a time a young devotee desirous of knowledge performed severe penance at the Goddess Saraswati shrine seeking the blessings. Goddess Saraswati took the form of a courtesan and materialised before him and expressed her desire to bless him. The devotee refused to accept her blessings, not knowing who she was. The Poet Ottakkoothar rushed to the spot upon hearing of this incident, and recognising the identity of the courtesan, the poet prostrated before her seeking her blessings. Only after this incident, the fame of Ottakkoothar spread throughout the Tamil land. In fact, the name Koothanur derives from the poet’s name Ottakoothar. The uniqueness of this temple lies in the fact that it is dedicated exclusively to the Goddess of learning Sri Saraswati. Although there are shrines to Goddess Saraswati in most Shaivite temples as well as shrines to Lord Brahma, temples dedicated exclusively to Brahma or Saraswati are very rare. It is believed that the poet Ottakoothar erected the shrine very early in the Chola Period. He is also said to have celebrated Vijaya Dasami, the day following the 9-day Navaratri festival in the Tamil month of Purattasi (Sept-Oct).

Entrance Of Main Shrine At Sri Saraswathi Temple
Entrance Of Main Shrine At Sri Saraswathi Temple
Goddess Saraswathi, in a penance performing posture, confers Her blessings on this world as the prime deity, only in this temple. A beautiful three eyed form, with one leg folded in a yogasana pattern, is a feast for the eyes. Another special feature is that there is no veena in Ambal’s hands in the prime deity. She is a seated on a white lotus, attired in white silk. She symbolizes her inherent Presence in studies, having a palm script in her hands. The other hand has the ‘Chinmudra’, blessing devotees. Another hand has the ‘Akshamala’, signifying penance. The fourth palm has the nectar pot, conferring happiness and spiritual bliss to devotees. With Her benevolent smile and eyes, she has Her third eye giving us the highest form of spiritual knowledge. In short she gives all who worship Her absolute bliss while giving us education, knowledge, intelligence and welfare. Here Goddess Saraswathi has three eyes. The front two eyes give us the “Divine power” and the eyes in forehead gives “Knowledge”.

Koothanur Saraswathi Temple Main Deity
Koothanur Saraswathi Temple Main Deity

Temple Timings:

Morning Timings : 07:30 AM To 01:00 PM
Evening Timings : 04:00 PM To 08:30 PM
On Special Occasions timings might differ.

Temple Location:

This temple is dedicated to Goddess Saraswathi and is located between Mayiladutharai and Thiruvarur road. It is situated in place called Punthotam. Koothanur lies in the Tiruvarur-Mayiladuthurai route, in a small, serene and scenic village called Poonthottam. Previously called Ambalpuri, Koothanur got its name after it was gifted to the Tamil poet, Ottakoothar, by the Chola king, Rajaraja Chozha II. The place is connected by good roads from Kumbakonam, Tiruvarur and Mayiladuthurai.

Temple Address & Contact Details:

Sri Maha Saraswathi Temple ,
Poondhottam Post, Nanilam Taluk,
Koothanur,
Tiruvarur,
Postal Code : 609 503,
Tamil Nadu.
Phone : 04366 239909 ; 04366 273050 ; 04366 238445 ; 99762 15220

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