Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Garuda, The Vehicle Mount (Vahana) Of Lord Vishnu In Female Form - Rajagopalaswamy Temple - Mannargudi - Tiruvarur

Rajagopalaswamy temple is a Vaishnavite shrine located in the town of Mannargudi, Tamil Nadu, India. The presiding deity is Rajagopalaswamy, a form of Lord Krishna. The temple is spread over an area of 23 acres (93,000 m2) and is one of the important Vaishnavite shrines in India. The temple is called Dakshina Dwarka (Southern Dwarka) along with Guruvayoor by Hindus. This ancient temple was massively expanded by Thanjavur Nayaks during the 16th century. The temple has three inscriptions from the period and also mention in the religious texts. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines and seven of its nine bodies of water. The temple has a 192 ft (59 m) Rajagopuram, the temple's gateway tower. Haridra Nadhi, the temple tank associated with the temple is outside the temple complex and is considered one of the largest temple tanks in India.

Rajagopalaswamy Temple
Rajagopalaswamy Temple
The temple is having a 192 ft rajagopuram, one of the tallest in TN. It is believed that if one stands on top of this tower, could view the tower of Sri Rangam temple! A mystery about this gopuram - though it is 11 tiered, sculptures of Gods are seen only from the 7th level! Haridra Nadhi is one of the tanks associated with this temple and is just outside the complex on the north eastern (Esanya moola) direction. It is one of the largest temple tanks in the country. It is surprising that the areas of both the temple complex and the tank are identical 23 acres! There are 7 prakarams (corridors) of which only six are now seen, 16 gopurams of various sizes and seven mandapams. There is a 1000 pillared hall. This temple is also having a big Ther (car) which is only slightly smaller than the Tiruvarur Ther.

Rajagopalaswamy Temple Inner Tower
Rajagopalaswamy Temple Inner Tower
Even the Moolavar is a massive Murthy (Vasudeva Perumal) who is nearly 13 feet tall, flanked by Rukmani and Sathyabhama on either side. Apart from other items, we find the tusk of an elephant in one of the hands. This is related to Krishna killing Kamsa’s elephant Kuvalayapeetam. The bronze Utsava Murthy, though of the Chozha period, is unlike the idols of that period, with a different hair style, with very little ornamentation. He appears as a shepherd boy with a dhoti and turban with a cow and two calves by His side. The Lord is wearing a kundalam in one ear (worn by boys) and ear ring or Thadangam (worn by girls) in another ear! There is a story behind this. Shri Krishna arranged for a competition amongst the Gopikas. He wanted to see which Gopika dresses well with all the ornaments. When it was going on, one Gopika found that one of her ear rings was missing. When they lost all hopes of finding it, to their surprise, they found it on Krishna’s ear!

Garuda In Female Form At Rajagopalaswamy Temple
Garuda In Female Form At Rajagopalaswamy Temple
Sengamala Thayar is in a separate shrine. Special Thirumanjanam is being performed on all Pushyam (Poosam) star days as it is the Birth star of the Mother. An unusual feature in Thayar’s shrine is the presence of the female form of Garuda. I do not know whether there is any other temple having this form of Garuda. Lighting ghee lamps in front of this Garuda is considered very auspicious. One of the important poojas one should not miss is the Viswaroopa Darsanam at 5 am. At that time, the temple elephant and a cow participate in the pooja (Gaja Pooja and Go Pooja). The temple elephant first bends its knees and bow to Shri Rajagopalan and then pour water over the Lord from its trunk! The Bhattars also advise the devotees to stay for a night in this place and have this darshan early in the morning. This is believed to be equivalent to gifting 1000 cows in Go Dhaanam.

Temple Timings:

Morning Timings : 05:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Evening Timings : 04:30 PM to 09:00 PM
On Special Occasions timings might differ.

Temple Location:

Mannargudi is 30 kms south of Kumbakonam ; 35 kms east of Tanjore ; 35 kms west of Tiruvarur and 50 kms west of Nagpattinam. The temple is in the midst of the town and easily found, Outside the temple is the pond called Haridra nadi. It has a temple in the middle. Mannargudi was a part of the erstwhile Tanjore district until India's independence in 1947 and Thanjavur district until 1991 and subsequently a part of the newly formed Tiruvarur district. The town is known for agriculture, metal working and weaving. The region around Mannargudi has considerable mineral deposits.

Temple Address & Contact Details:

Rajagopalaswamy Temple,
Pin Code : 614 001.
Tamil Nadu.
Phone : 04367 222276 ; 94433 43363 ; 04367 225738 ; 94423 99820

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