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OUR HERITAGE

SAIVAM

Siva means mangalam-welfare.  And the Cult devoted to the worship of Siva is Saivisam.  He is supposed to be the destroyer of the world and hence the most feared, but he is in reality the most benevolent and pleasing to those who abide by the laws of Nature, prescribed the code.  Among all the Gods, he is the one who is easily pleased.

His role appears to be ever meditating for the good of the living beings.  He has never taken an incarnation –except as spiritual preachers like Adi Sankara.

He is married to Uma, the tamasic form to Sakti - from whom he get his powers.


KEDARNATH (Himalayas)

Shiva

The temple of Kedarnath is located at an altitude of 11,735 feet in the Rudra Himalayan ranges, also called Sumeru Parvat.
Kedara is mentioned in the Siva Puranam as well as Mahabharata.  Legend has it that Vishnuj as Nara and Narayana was doing penance at Badrinath.  The two sages used to mould a Sivalinga from the soil and worship it.  Siva pleased with their tapas gave them a boon and as a sequel to their request Siva has taken the abode of Kedar as a Jyotirlinga.
Like Badrinath, Kedarnath is also closed during the winter and the God moves down to Ukhimath along with his devotees.


MAHAKALESWARA-(Ujjain - Madhya Pradesh)

Shiva

One of the seven sacred Mokshapuris Ujjain is the abode of Mahakaleswara, the Shiva who has incarnated at Ujjain to protect his devotees from untimely death.  Mentioned in Mahabharata as Avanti-(Ujjain), the city was the capital of the great Vikramaditya of the Mauryas and lately by the Holkars.  Kalidasa, the court poet of Vikramaditya lived here and rendered his immortal classics.  Even the Chinese traveler Hean Tsang has recorded the glory of Ujjain.
Besides being one of the Jyotirlinga Kshetra’s Ujjain is also one of the four sacred places where Kumbha Mela is held, when the planet Guru enters the Simha Rasi and the sun occupies the Mesha Rasi and the Moon is transitting Tula Rasi.


Sri VISWANATHA (Varanasi - Uttar Pradesh)

Shiva

Kasi or Varansi is the spiritual, religious and cultural centre of India.  It is believed philosophy and religion grew in that holy place, banked by the ganga which flows South-North.  Sage Vyasa, who synthesized, the Vedas into four divisons, is said to have lived here and wrote his commentary on Brahmasutra.  Adi Sankara met the sage here and presented his commentaries on Brahmasutra, Upanishads and Bhagavat Gita, and got his blessings. Adi Sankara had the darshan of Lord Visweswara at Kasi, who came in the form of a Panchama-low caste and taught the former the true import and meaning of I am the Brahman-one of the Mahavakyas, which inspired the rendering of Manisha Panchakam by Adi Sankara.

Kasi is one of the seven Mokshapuris-centres of spiritual emancipation and Lord Viswanatha. One of the twelve Jyothir Lingams. Kasi  Viswanatha Lingam is very small in size and devout pilgrims are allowed to worship personally.  According to tradition.  Vishwanatha is believed to utter the Taraka Mantra-Rama - in the ears of the dying persons at Kasi and hence the longing for everyone to spend one’s last moments at Kasi.  While at Kasi.Viswanatha in the form “Siva” imparted  “Rama” mantra to devotees, and at Rameswaram.  Rama worshipped Siva.  The ancient name of Sri Viswanatha is Ari Markteswara.


TRYAMBAKESWARA (Nashik Maharashtra)

Shiva

On the slope of the mountain of sahyadri and on the sacred bank of river Godavari resides Tryambakeswara whose mere vision destroys all sins.
Nasik, the main city barely 36 Kms from Tryambaka, is an industrial area.  The present temple of Tryambakeswara was built by Balaji Peshwa in place of the ancient temple which existed there.  The town of Tryambak is known for its learned Brahmins who are by traditions, students of the Vedas and Vedic rituals.

The Jyotirlinga of Tryambakeswara has a small crack at the top and there is a constant flow of water from it.  Devotees believe that Gautami Ganga performs constant abhishekam to the lord in this manner.  The linga is covered with a golden mask with five faces carved on it.


TIRUVANNAMALAI-(TamilNadu)

Shiva

 The holy hill of Arunachala is about 100 miles from Madras and at the foot of the hill is the siva temple-which enshrines one of the Panchabhutah Lingams namely Jyotir(Tejas) Lingam.  The presiding deity is known as Sri Annamalayar and his consort Parvati is here named as Sri Unnamalai Amman.

On Karthik Poornima day, a huge lamp is lit at the top of the hill-which can be seen for miles around and it is believed that everyone who sees the light attains salvation.
The hill side is an abode of spiritual glory and the renowned Ramana Maha Rishi lived here and many of his disciples took advantage of his wisdom.  The Ramana Ashram is a peaceful haven. Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Sri Sankara Matam at Tiruvannamalai is located near the foothills on the Girivalam path.


CHIDAMBARAM-Tamil Nadu

Shiva

Chidamabaram, situated 151 miles south of Madras is one of the oldest religious centres mentioned in inscriptions and history as far back as the 6th century A.D. Probably the holy city existed a long time before that.

Popularly known as Chitrambalam or Atmosphere of wisdom, Chidambaram is  mainly famous for the great temple of Siva as Nataraja.  The temple, extensively occupying an area of 32 acres, surrounded on all sides by massive walls, intersected by loftly and magnificent gopurams, is an abode of sanctity that is revered throughout India.

The Sancturary contains one of the Panchabhuta Lingams namely Akasa Lingam which has been described as the Chidambara Rahasyam or secret of Chidambaram.  The Lord is supposed to be existing here behind a curtain and when the screen is drawn for the devotees to have a darshan, mystery surrounds the shrine and just an empty space appears to one and all.  The Akasa Lingam does not appear to the naked eye.  It requires an inner eye to see the Lord in an empty space.  That is the secret.

There is perhaps no other temple in India where the religious differences to the two cults-Saivism and Vaishnavism have been overcome by absolute tolerance as at Chidambaram.  Here the devotee can worship both Siva and Vishnu simultaneously, made possible by the erection of a shrine to Vishnu, as Govindaraja at right angle to the shrine of Lord Nataraja.

What a nobler idea could exist than this? God is but one and religious are many Sects are too many.  If God is a tree, religious and sects are its innumerable branches and twigs.  Tradition asserts that Lord Siva gave a performance of his Tandava Nritya in this place to please two of his devotees Patanjali and Vyagrapada.

Religiously the temple is holy, architercturally it is great.  Artistically the temple is superb with thousands of sculptures, dancers, drummers and musicians.  The 108 Lasya poses of the dance is chiseled in granite all over the temple prakarams and the Nritta Sabha.

ocated twelve miles off Madurai(TamilNadu, amidst inspiring natural surroundings, in an area, popularly called Kallalagarkoil(Vaishnavite Shrine), is the sixth Padai Veedu, a temple for Subramanya is known as Pazhamudir Solai.

Tamil Poetess Avvayyar, reversed for her moral and ethical teachings, had darsan of Subramanya here in her ecstatic moments.

In the Sanctum Sanctorum, Lord Subramanya appears with his consorts-Valli and Devasena.


SRISAILAM-(Andhra Pradesh)

Shiva

Srisailam is situated in the hilly forest area of the Nandikotkur Taluk in Kurnool District.  Srisailam is described as the Kailasa of the South is overlooking the river Krishna or one of its branches which is known  here as Pathal Ganga.  On this Srisaila Mount is the famous and ancient temple at Lord siva known as Malikarjuna.  It is one of the twelve Jyotir Lingas.  Srisailam is 112 kms from Nandyal on the Guntoor-Vijayawada railway line.  Some inscriptions establish that this area of Srisailam was a part of the kingdom of the great ruler, Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagar, and that it was a very flourishing place at one time.

The temple of Mallikarjuna is spread on a plateau and above 1500 metres above sea level.  The courtyard occupies 500 600 feet.  The temple dedicated to his consort Bhramarambika is on the western side.  The devi is an incarnation of Ambika.

Bhramarambika’s is one of the ancient and famous Sakipeethas and the Jyotirlinga of Mallikarjuna is described by the Lingayat Jangama priests as the Linga Chakravarti.  The Shiva and Sakti festivals take place separately one after the other.  The Shiva festival takes place on the Mahasivaratri day.  After that the Sakti Festival  starts. Sri Adi Sankaracharya performed penance in a forest near the Mallikarjuneswara Temple. Pilgrims can visit the spot which is just off the road and is indicated by name boards.


Sri RAMANATHASWAMY(Rameswaram-Tamil Nadu)

Shiva

Rameswaram is about 165 Kms from the city of Madurai. It is famous for its Ramanatha or Ramalingeswara Temple, one of the twelve Jyotir Lingas(Dwadasha Linga Kshetra). This temple is noted for its impressive sculptured and pillared corridors, of width varying from 17 to 21 feet which are about 30 feet high, and whose total length is nearly 4,000 ft.

The tower measuring about 100 feet in height is in a quadrangle of 1000 feet length and 650 feet breadth.

Lord Sri Ramachandra is said to have installed Sri Ramanatha Swami after his victory over Ravan, for hsi personal worship and to atone for the sin of having killed Ravana, a repository of Vedas by birth. (Brahmahatya Dosham).

The holy pilgrimage for a Hindu strats with collecting sand from Dhanushkoti, seashore 20kms. from Rameswaram. It is complete only after immersing the sands in the Ganges at Prayag, the confluence of Ganga & Jamuna & the invisible Saraswathi, and the bathing of Sri Ramalingam at Rameswara wwith holy ganga's water brought from there. This pilgrimage can also be started from Varanasi, Rameswaram and Varanasi.

The daughter of Himavan the Lord of the Himalayas, known as Parvatavardini, bestowed the will-power and strength to Sri Rama, to defeat Ravana, recover Sita from his clutches, and proceed to Ayodhya for his coronation.

Sri Parvatavardini Ambal's shrine is on the Southern side of Sri Ramanatha Lingam at Rameswaram. She is on the right side of the Lord.

The Mandapam in front of Ambal's shrine is known as Navasakti or Sukra Vara Mandap (Friday Mandap). On Fridays, the idol of Sri Parvathavardinin is taken in a golden palanquin(Phalki) around the third Prakara with gaiety and music. It is a sight for the Gods to see.

During the day of Mahasivaratri, a very large gathering of Hindus from all parts of India, congregate at Rameshwaram.

Sethupati, rulers of Ramanathapuram, served as the protector of the pilgrims to Rameswaram and were called Sethupati Kavalars. They were greatly devoted to Rameswaram and have built a number of sculptures in the temple. Some of the portraits found in the temple are those of Sethupatis of Ramnad.

Sri Sankara Matam at Rameswaram is located on the Sannadhi Street , quite close to the Temple and just opposite the Agni Teertham. Read more about Sankara Matam at Rameswaram .


GANAPATYAM

SAIVAM

SAKTAM

VAISHANAVAM

KAUMARAM

SAURAM

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Our Heritage