Faith

Symbolising religious unity

With devotional fervour: The neatly decorated Chariot of Sri Bhoo Varaha Swamy Temple, Srimushnum, making its way into the West Mada Street. Photos: S. Prabhu

With devotional fervour: The neatly decorated Chariot of Sri Bhoo Varaha Swamy Temple, Srimushnum, making its way into the West Mada Street. Photos: S. Prabhu  

The chariot festival at the Swayambu Kshetram of Bhoo Varaha Swamy temple in Srimushnum took place on Friday last (May 4) .



By 6.30 a.m. on Friday, the utsava deity – Lord Yagya Varahaswamy – along with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi, was all set for the one-day trip on the Chariot. However, it turned out to be longer with the unexpected turn of events on Friday.



Starting at 8 a.m., seated atop the chariot, Sri Yagya Varahaswamy began his trip around the four Mada Streets of Srimushnam. While he was expected to be back at the Garuda mandapam at the temple by evening, a slip of the huge chariot at one of the Mada Streets meant that the Lord had to remain in the sweltering heat for well over 24 hours.



It was only by 2 p.m. on Saturday that the chariot was back at the Garuda mandapam, where one witnessed a special Thiruvanthi Kaapu Vaibhavam. Later in the evening, a special abhishekam was performed at the Ahobila Mutt. After a special alankaram, Lord Yagya Varahaswamy made his way from the Ahobila Mutt to the Hanuman temple before reaching his sanctum to bring to end a rather tense Chariot festival.



Hindu Muslim Unity



A speciality of the festival at Srimushnam is that the Chariot sports a Muslim flag, symbolising the Hindu-Muslim unity. In fact, every year in the Tamil month of Maasi, the utsava deity goes on a 20-day procession to Killai and other villages near Chidambaram. Another interesting feature is that the Muslims in the area offer prasadams to the Lord Yagyavaraha and in return they take the flowers of the Lord and offer it to Allah. The Muslim devotees are said to thank Allah for having brought Varaha Swamy to their place. The Bhoo Varaha Swamy temple in Srimushnum is the only temple that boasts of such a unity between Muslims and Hindus and this event continues to this day.



The Story



Wanting to be a dominant force, Asura Hiranyakshan, brother of Hiranyakashipu, rolled over the earth and took it into the nether world, from where he ruled. Bhoodevi worshipped the Lord to free her from the asura’s clutches. Pleased with the prayers of Bhoo Devi, Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaha (a boar), killed the asura and brought back the earth on Adisesha and appeared in this place as a Swayambu idol.



Legend has it that he created the Pushkarani with the sweat that emanated from his body after his battle with Hiranyakshan. On his death bed, Hiranyakshan made a last wish where he asked the Lord to turn towards his direction. Hence Lord Bhoo Varaha’s face is seen turned towards South – the direction of the asura, while the body bearing a human shape is facing West, in the direction of the devotees.



Unlike typical moolavar deities in other Vishnu temples, the Lord here is in the form of a small idol signifying the Varaha avataram.



Worried that people may turn away from worshipping the Lord here, whose face is in the form of a boar, Bhoodevi requested him to display his handsome stature. Answering her prayers, the Utsava idol is seen as Lord Yagya Varahaswamy with a conch and a chakra.



Prarthana Sthalam



It is believed that those who visit the temple just once and offer their sincere prayers to this Lord at Srimushnam will be blessed to attain moksham.



This is a prarthana sthalam for childless couples. Women, who take bath in the temple tank and recite the Varaha Kavacham are said to be blessed with offpsrings. This is also a prarthana sthalam for those unmarried, who on offering their prayers at the Saptha Kannigal Sannidhi are said to find the right match. Belief is also that Lord Bhoo Varaha helps devotees in the purchase of house and car.



While in Tirupathi divyadesam, one will first visit Lord Varaha before having darshan of the moolavar deity Srinivasa perumal, at Srimushnam, devotees are supposed to worship Lord Srinivasa, at the Western entrance, before having a darshan of Bhoo Varahaswamy. One of the specialities at this temple is the offering of Korai Kazhangu as prasadam to the Lord.



Swayambu Kshetram



Srimushnum is one of the eight Swayambu Kshetrams in India. The others are Srirangam, Tirupathi and Vanamaamalai (Nanguneri) in South India and Saligramam, Naimisarinyam, Pushkaram and Badri in North India. The speciality at the Srimushnum temple is thirumanjanam for the saligrama idol is performed every day.





The divine touch



While the moolavar idol is a Swayambu, the temple is believed to have been constructed by Four Nayak kings – Achuthappa, Ananthappa, Govindappa and Kondappa. The story goes that Ananthappa Nayak developed severe stomach pain when they camped at Rajendrapatnam, eight kms East of Srimushnum. He was relieved of his pains when Lord Vishnu appeared in his dreams and touched his stomach. Delighted at this, he came here and constructed the temple. To this day, one can see the five fingers of the Lord below his left stomach. Also there areSeveral inscriptions in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi found on the walls of the outer prakaram of the temple.



How to reach: Srimushnum is located 35 kms West of Chidambaram and about 25 kms from Vriddachalam in the Kattu Mannar Koil Taluk. There are direct buses from Chennai to Srimushnam. By train, one can alight at Vriddachalam Junction and take a bus to Srimushnam via Rajendrapatnam (about 30-45mts).



Quick Facts



Moolavar : Bhoo Varaha West Facing Standing Posture



Goddess : Ambujavalli Thaayar East Facing (Separate Sanndihi)



Utsavar : Yagya Varaha Swamy



Time : 730am-1230pm and 5pm-9pm



Priest : S.S.Ramanuja Bhattar @ 94423 78303







Features of the temple



One of the eight Swayambu Kshetrams in India.



Temple built by four Nayak Kings.



Lord’s boar face is seen turning South, with His body facing the West.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 5:39:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/symbolising-religious-unity/article3404308.ece

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