At the Naan Mathiyam Divyadesam, believed to be over 1,000 years old, is under way.
Lured by the beauty of the Naan Mathiyam Perumal of Thalaichangadu, Thirumangai Azhwar, sitting in Thiru Kannapuram, a Divyadesam about 50 km South West of here, indicated his instant desire to see the handsome Lord residing at this cool lotus filled Thalaichanga Nanmathiyam through his Periya Thirumozhi verse ‘Kannar Kannapuram ……. Than Aar Thaamarai Soozh Thalai Changam. In the Periya Thiru Madal, Thirumangai refers to the special sacred water at Thalaichanga Naan Mathiyam Perumal temple: ‘Nal Neer Thalai Changa Naan Madiyai.’ The sacred water (Theertham) has a special taste here at this temple.
Several inscriptions dating back to over 1,000 years, to the regnal periods of Para Kesari Varman, Raja Raja Chola and Rajendra Chola period, are seen on the outer walls of the prakaram that indicate significant contribution to this temple made by these rulers.
In ancient times, Thalaichangadu was a commercial hub famous for conches, with the Eastern coast of Kaveripattanam just around seven km from here.
Thalaichanga Naan Mathiyam Perumal temple’s legend has close connection with at least two other Divyadesams – Ranganathaswamy temple at Srirangam and Parimala Rangan Temple at Thiru Indhalur (Mayiladuthurai). Such a historical Divyadesam in Thalaichangadu, 15 km East of Mayiladuthurai - is finally receiving a face lift.
Chandran, who was learning under the tutelage of Guru Brihaspathi, once cast an evil eye on the wife of his Guru, whose curse turned Chandran into a disease prone being.
Another story goes that Dakshan offered the hand of his many daughters to Chandran after being impressed with his handsome looks. However, Chandran fell in love only with Rohini and disregarded the others. Dakshan felt that Chandran had become arrogant as a result of his good looks and cursed Chandran, who lost his ‘personality.
To cleanse himself of his sins, Chandran requested Brihaspati to suggest parikaram who directed Chandran to invoke the blessings of Lord Vishnu.
As the first step in his three-phased parikaram, Chandran took a dip in the Chandra Pushkarani and performed service at the Ranganatha temple in Srirangam for 15 years. This helped him liberate himself from his ‘disease.’
Subsequently, he moved to Thiru Indhalur (in Mayiladuthurai) and offered prayers to Lord Parimala Rangan. Answering his prayers, the Lord reduced the severity of his curse and brought back a few of his handsome features. As per Chandran’s request, this place in Mayiladuthurai came to be called as Indhunna (a name denoting Chandran) - later Indhalur- and this region was referred to as Chandran Kshetram.
Finally as the culmination phase of his parikaram process, he came to Thalaichangadu Kshetram (Aruna Vana Kshetram), had his bath at the Theertham and undertook severe penance invoking the blessings of Lord Vishnu who appeared in a Chandra Vimana along with Senkamalavalli Thayar and liberated him fully from all his curses. Hence the Lord here is also referred to as Chandra Saabha Haran.
A pleased Chandran requested that the Lord fulfil the wishes of devotees who pray sincerely to him at this temple, just as he had done and to relieve them of their curses.
Despite this temple being in a remote location with very little facilities, a redeeming feature is the commitment and devotion of Varadarajan Bhattar, who travels close to 20 km every morning from Mayiladuthurai to perform service to the Lord here at this temple.
A temple that saw Chandran being fully liberated from his preceptor’s curse and one whose handsome Lord drew praise from Thiru Mangai Azhwar is now being renovated. The vimanam, prakaram and the outer walls will be given a new look. The ‘madapalli’ which lies in a state of disrepair will be renovated. The Thayar Sannidhi mandapam too will receive a face lift. The Nandavanam (temple garden) is set for a new look. Constructing a new Gopuram at the Eastern Entrance is also on the cards. For contributions contact 99652 73712.
How to reach
Thalaichangadu is 15 km East of Mayiladuthurai on the Karaikkal Highway and two kms from Karuvi/Poompuhar Entrance Arch.
From Mayavaram, buses ply every hour to Karuvi/Thalaichangadu. From Sirkazhi, one can board the Karaikal bound bus.
One may take an auto from Mayiladuthurai to Thalaichangadu, for Rs. 250.