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Place sanctified by Siddhars

THE SHRINE of Sithanvazhoor, near Thirukudanthai (Kumbakonam), 5 km on the southeastern side from Valangaiman, where many siddhars lived, is also known for its natural beauty. It is surrounded by four temples in all four directions. River Sullanar flows on its northern side. Sage Agasthiyar, visited the place to worship the siddhars, during the holy wedding of Lord Siva and Parvathi.

Unable to bear the pain of people suffering without water, he prayed to Lord Siva and drew a line with a stick, (sulli, in Tamil) and prayed that the Ganges should flow from within the line drawn. And water started flowing. The river, therefore, got the name River Agasthiya River or Sullan. It is also called Poigai as there was an uninterrupted flow of water.

Centuries ago, siddhars with Ashtamasiddhis lived in many places. Eleven out of 66 siddhars, headed by Sage Agasthiyar, had stayed in this place. Thus the place got the name Sithanvazhoor. The siddhars installed Lingams and worshiped them. Sri Kailasanadhar, one of the five Lingams the siddhars established, is still at Sri Kailasanadhar temple here. The Vedic exponents performed rites and rituals at this holy place. They elevated the village through their skills in languages of North and South, scriptures, arts and crafts.

One of the siddhars brought the Viswanathar Banam from Kasi, with which he installed Sri Viswanatha at a temple where Vayu, the God of Air worshipped. Ashtadik Balagars (Lords of eight directions), especially Vayu Bhagavan, the Lord of North, from the nearby temple of Alangudi Abathsahayeswarar (Guru Kshetram), performed puja facing the northwest direction.

Sri Kailasanadhar is in His full form in Lingam, which also stands for Nataraja and the Navagrahas. There is no separate sannidhi for Navagrahas at this temple. During the Tamil month of Margazhi, on the day of Aarudhra, the locals follow the traditional practice of offering `Pallayam' (offering on a large scale). This holy temple, found at the `Vayu Corner,' is a special feature of this temple.

Another outstanding feature of Sithanvazhoor is its location in the midst of four shrines, which entail the admiration of four directions, namely, Thirukalampudur, Padagacheri (named after the siddhar who lived there), Alangudi, the shrine of Guru and Aandankoil, the shrine of Ruthu.

It is said that Kaluvarayaswamy, an avatar of Lord Siva, on seeing this place where siddhars had lived, chose to stay here with his chariot.

Sage Agasthiyar, who installed Sri Viswanathar on the shores of the River Agasthiya, was an ardent devotee of Goddess Kamakshi Amman and installed the deity on the southern side.

It is believed that the Goddess, even today, protects her devotees and cures them of all kinds of eye ailments. About 60 years ago, this temple's hundi was kept at the house of a landlord, Bangaru. When a thief attempted to rob money from the hundi, he found a cobra safeguarding it. The next morning the villagers were stunned to see the cobra lying beside the hundi. There are more such incidents the temple speaks of.

With the help of the devotees, the Kumbhabishekam of Sri Kamakshi Amman temple was performed in 1992. From then on, various religious rituals such as Samvasthra Abhishekam and Eakadina Laksharchana are being organised every year, during June/July.

The presence of Lord Varadaraja, with His Consorts Sridevi and Bhoomineeladevi, in the northern yard, is a rare phenomenon. Kudamuzhukku was held in 1963.

At present the temple is in a highly dilapidated state. Renovation of the temple is on with the help of the villagers of Sithanvazhoor and the blessings of the Kanchi Math. Contributions may be made in the name, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal Narpani Mandram, and sent to Sithanvazhoor R. Vanchinathan, Old No. 22/ New No. 34, IV Main Road, Kasturba Nagar, Adyar, Chennai-600020. (Phone: 044-24413908).


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