Saturday, November 5, 2011

Onakanthan Thali

Video of the preist extolling the virtues of the temple

onakanthan thali

God Oneswaran
Goddess Kamakshi
Songs Sundarar – 10
Sthala Vriksham
Directions Near Panchupettai Electric substation on the Arakonam highway
Driving back to Bangalore late evening, I took a detour to Kanchipuram as the prospect of driving late night after a long day at work was far less enticing than a hot bath and a nice bed . “Kanchi” known as the land of temples is 75 km from Chennai and uniquely positioned. Being close to a major metropolis one has access to the comforts of modernity while soaking in the charm of the simple uncluttrered life of a small town. I was lucky as I landed on the day of Prodasham and the whole town was agog with activity. Having been city bred and grown largely on a diet of “I, Me, Myself “, the spectacle of the whole town coming out as one, to celebrate an event reminded me of some of the simple joys I have been denying myself. But then, that’s another story and I will cover the celebrations on another post and will confine myself to the topic of today.

This is the first of the “Paadal Petra Sthalam” *, I will elaborate on.

“Onakanthan Thali “ is about 3 km from the Kanchi town and is close to the Panchupettai electric substation. This was my 2nd visit to the temple, the last being 10 years earlier. I was drawn to the temple again ,largely by the passion and eloquence of the priest (see video). I reached the temple at 7.30 am and found the temple being swept and the main sanctum closed. The priest was waiting patiently for the cleaning to be completed, updating himself from Dhina Thanthi on the latest happenings in the state. The moment the cleaning was completed he was up and about.
He opened the door to the sanctum and very deftly closed the screen. I waited patiently for the darshan and I could hear him going about his chores and lighting the lamp. I didn’t have to wait for long, for in a flash he opened the screen. Never in my life was I so overwhelmed at the sight in front of me. The flower decoration of the previous day on account of Pradosham was stunning. I stood there numb with joy and ecstasy unaware of the tears flowing. What could one ask for when there is wholesome contentment?

The legends associated with the temple:

The Shivlingams were worshipped by Onan and Kanthan who were commanders of the demon King Vanasuran. These are 2 temples in a single compound with a 3rd temple dedicated to Jalandeswaran adjacent to it . “ Oneswaran “ is the bestower of wealth , “Gandeswaran” the bestower of happiness in family life and Jalandeswaran is the bestower of Victory.

However the most prominent legend is that of Sundereswar who had beseeched the lord of Onakanthan thali for wealth by singing 10 padigams . Moved by the devotion and the rich poetry, the lord rained gold coins. For the uninitiated ,Sundarar is one of the 63 Nayanmars

* Paadal Petra Sthalam : These are 274 Shiva temples glorified in rich tamil poetry sung in praise of Lord Shiva by the Nayanmars predominantly by the 4 saints viz : Appar, Sundarar, Manikavachagar and Thirunyanasambandar known as "Naalvar" . They lived in the 8th century. Hence these temples are more than 1300 year old. These temples are rich in antiquity and have stood the test of time and have still retained the magnetic pull over centuries. The energy levels in these temples is high . So high that it actually sizzles as if beckoning to all mankind to rise above borders, race, religion and look deep within .

These are early days in my attempt at blogging. I appreciate your views on the posting.