Sendhamangalam Someswarar

Sendhamangalam is much like Rasipuram in many ways. It has ancient narrow streets with closely built houses and a scattering of tiny street-end shrines painted brightly with the traditional ochre and white stripes.

Although comparatively quiet today when compared to Rasipuram, it was an important town and administrative headquarters of the kings who ruled over the region even in ancient times.

A brief account of its history from the 13th century A.D. to the 17th century A.D can be found in Wikipedia.

Between CE. 1216 and 1279 CE, Sendamangalam was the capital of the Kadava kings Kopperunchinga I & Kopperunchinga II, who converted it into a military stronghold and fought successfully against Kulothunga Chola III and Rajaraja Chola III, against successive Hoysala kings, and against Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan. The Kadavas remained friendly with the Magadai/Aragalur chief ‘Magadan Rajarajadevan pon parappinan Magadaipprumal’ and the Tirukoilur chief Malayaman. Their kingdom was eradicated by the campaigns of Maaravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I. After the fall of Hoysalas, Vijayanagar EmpireMadurai Nayak ruled this part by Poligar Ramachandra Nayakar.

Temples in Sendhamangalam, Nammakal district

The most famous temple in Sendhamangalam  is the Datthagiri Murugan temple.

The 17th century Lakshmi Narayanan temple is popular among the local people and in the surrounding villages. Built by King Govindappa Nayak and located in the centre of the town, it has a towering Raja Gopuram and is an amazing example of the uniqueness and beauty of  Nayak architecture.

The Someswarar temple is a lesser known Siva temple and the oldest of the three temples in Sendhamangalam.

Legend of Someswarar Temple

Almost as old as the Rasipuram Kailasanathar temple, the sthala purana (literally the history of a sthala or holy place) of the Someswarar  temple says that it was built by Somapuri Raja and that Sendhamangalam was known by different names in different yugas. In the Kritha yugam it was called as Somapuram.  In the Thretha yuga its name was Chandrapattanam.  In the Dwapara yuga it was called Krishnapuram and in the present Kali yuga as Sendhamangalam.

It is believed that Hanuman worshipped the lingam in this temple before going to Lanka.

For this reason, Sri Rama and Sita while returning to Ayodhya after successfully vanquishing Ravana, stopped here to worship lord Someswara with whose blessings Hanuman was successful in his mission to Lanka and which later led to the rescue of Sita.

It is believed that Serndha-mangalam later became Sendhamangalam, The Tamil word Serndha means that which is joined or united and alludes to the story that Rama and Sita came to the temple as a reunited couple.

Although it is not mentioned in the sthala purana, it is a local legend that this was one of the temples which the king of Kolli malai, Valvil Ori regularly visited and that the great king has done thirupani (renovation) in his time (2nd century A.D).

The Temple

The Someswara temple is situated about ½ a km from SH 95 which is also the main road in this small town. With no signboards showing the way to the temple, it is the local people who guide you to the ‘Sivan Kovil’. There are houses and farmlands all around.  From the outside it looks like any other village temple, but after many temple visits I have learnt that there are unique features and surprises in every temple. So it was in this unassuming village temple which had beautiful architecture and the shrines though small were exceptional.

The temple faces east and all the shrines face due east barring a few like the Dakshinamurthy and Kaala Bhairavar  shrines which always are south facing ones.

Past the Kodimaram and the Nandi mandapam, the Someswarar shrine has a pillared mahamandapam, an arthamandapam and garba griham.

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After praying before Lord Someswarar, to the left of the garbagriham, in the artha mandapam, we see the idols of Lord Chandra, and Lord Surya with Lord Sani seated between them. They are beautiful deities depicted as being seated together on a raised peedam. The idol of Sani is small in size when compared to that of Chandra and Surya deva, almost like a small boy sitting between the two devas. As in Thirunallaru, a temple famous for the worship of Lord Sani, the Sani Bagawan here faces east. Since Saneeswara is seen with Chandra and Surya it is believed that those who suffer from planetary afflictions will find relief if they worship here.

Opposite these deities is the navagraha peedam with the nine planet gods. Lord Saneeswara deities in both the navagraha peedam and in the raised peedam with Chandra and Surya, are facing each other, an arrangement of deities seen only in this temple. Therefore it is believed that worshipping here gives relief from the adverse effects of Sani dosha and Navagraha dosha.

In the pradakshina path, the Dakshinamurthy shrine is large and has its own open pillared mandapam, very much like the one in Rasipuram Kailasanathar temple. He is depicted as Yoga Dakshinamurthi.

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Kanni moola Mahaganapathi is the sthala Vinayakar, The Subramanya shrine is more elaborate with a pillared outer mandapam. Here, within the same shrine are two beautiful depictions of Lord Murugan – one as Sri Bala Dhandayudhapaani and the other as Sri Subramanya with Valli and Devyani.

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The name of Ambal is Soundharavalli ambal. The separate temple of the goddess is next to the shrine of Lord Someswarar.

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Another unique feature of the temple is the Arubathu moovar sannidhi. It is in very few temples that we can see the 63 nayanmar saints of South Indian Shaivism together with the 9 Thogai adiyaargal who are also revered in southern Shaiva siddhantha.Someswarar Nkl (32)

This temple is a must visit temple when you are in Namakkal as Sendhamangalam  is barely 11 kms from Namakkal. It is a very popular venue for weddings for the people living in Sendhamangalam and also in nearby villages. There is a modern marriage hall adjoining the temple.

Highlights

A temple where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Siva

A temple where Hanuman performed puja to the lingam

Goddess Soundharavalli bestows people with all prosperity.

Goddess Swarna Durgai removes obstacles and gives victory. People pray to her for success in studies, in business, for marriages for the unmarried, and for the boon of children for the childless.

Lord Murugan blesses devotees as Sri Bala Dhandayadhapani and also as Sri Subhramanya with Valli and Devyani, in the same shrine.

As in Thirunallaru, in this temple Sani Bhagawan faces east. Another Sani Bhagawan is seen facing the first idol. Besides, Sani takes his place with Surya and Chandra to remove Sani dosha and Nava graha dosha .

In this temple, the Nayanmars are 72 in number. This includes the 63 nayanmars and the 9 Thogai Adiyaargal.

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The Theppakulam which is in a very dilapidated condition is located a short distance from the temple. You can just make out the padi thurai – the steps built at a strategic place on the outer perimeter of the tank and the fallen remnants of the Neerazhi mandapam in the middle of the now barren holy tank. The tank was built with a view of the Kolli hills in the background and one can’t help thinking what a lovely sight it would be if the tank was restored and filled with water!

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The fallen remnants of the mandapam in the middle of the tank

How to reach Sendhamangalam

Sendhamangalam is 11 km from Namakkal, the district headquarters.  It can be reached by taking SH 95 which is the Mohanur- Namakkal- Sendhamangalam- Rasipuram highway. It is on the way to Kalappanaickenpatti, where you take the road leading to the Kolli Hills.

From Rasipuram it is at a distance of 26km on SH 95.

Both Namakkal and Rasipuram have good hotels where you can stay and visit nearby temples.

Timings

9.30 a.m to 12.30p.m

Timings are extended on special days and festivals.

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Contact Details

Gurukkal T.M. Rajkumar

Mobile no:  94423  09413

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lakshmi Narayanan Temple, Sendhamangalam

Sometime during the 16th century CE Salem and its surrounding areas which include Namakkal, Dharmapuri, and Attur, came under the rule of Madurai Nayakar kings. The kingdom of the Madurai Nayakar kings consisted of 72 smaller administrative regions called palayams headed by local chieftains who were called Palayakarars. Salem under the Madurai Nayakars rule came under the Palayakarars known as Gatti Mudali and Nayaks. Besides collecting taxes, they ably administered the regions they ruled, maintained armies, built forts and built or extended temples. The temples they built and those that were extended by them are architectural gems, showcasing their keen interest in art and architecture.

NAYAK TEMPLE ARCHITECTURE

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A beautiful damsel and her parrot.Beautiful sculpture in a temple doorway

Nayak temple architecture had a distinct style. It was characterized by enormous multi-storied gateway towers called gopuram, richly decorated with brightly painted stucco figures of gods, goddesses demons and animals both real and mythical, and pillared mandapas. The large courtyards surrounding the central shrine of these temples were designed to accommodate the crowds who would gather to view temple rituals and processions of gods. The temple grounds were enclosed by high fort like outer walls called madhil – always useful in case of invasion from rival chiefs and invaders.

LAKSHMI NARAYANAN TEMPLE

sendhamangalam lakshmi narayanan temple

Lakshmi Narayanan temple in Sendhamangalam, 11kms from Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, is one such impressive structure.

Sendhamangalam today is a sleepy village taluk in the Nainamalai foothills in Namakkal district and very near the Kolli hills. But it was an major town in ancient Tamilagam and in the 17th century, an important administrative center  of the Nayakar kings.

HISTORY

The temple of Lakshmi Narayana Perumal was built in the 17th century by king Govindappa Nayakkar. According to the local people it has been there since paattan,mupaattan kaalam’,a colloquial Tamil phrase is used often in rural Tamilnadu and is a charming way to state that something has been there or was done for along time. Pattan is tamil for grandfather and mupaatan denotes their fathers – three generations removed before them.

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Rajagopuram, Sendhamangalam Lakshmi Narayanan temple

In a tranquil rural setting, the towering multi-storeyed Rajagopuram and high surrounding walls of Lakshmi Narayanan temple are so unexpected that they take you by surprise. This could easily have been a temple in Kumbakonam where such huge gopurams are the norm. On entering, the massive doorway opens on a spacious open courtyard. The large pillared mandapam has ornately carved pillars showing mounted warriors in combat and mythical incidents.

King Govindappa Nayakar
King Govindappa Nayakar

Here we find a larger than life statue of King Govindappa Naicker on a stone pedestal. The statue depicts an authoritative king. The upward slant of the face, the hair knotted on top in a style known as a kondai that was typical of the age, an outstretched hand with a forefinger pointing in a commanding manner, the folds of the clothes and impressive jewelry all combine to create a regal and slightly fearsome personality.

This outer mandapam also has idols of other gods and a shrine for navagrahas.

Venugopala swamy, Sendhamangalam
Venugopala swamy, Sendhamangalam
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Dwarapalakas

A narrow passage leads to the sanctum through an inner mandapam.

In the sanctum the 6 feet high idol of a seated Lakshmi Narayanan with Thayaar on his lap is extremely beautiful.

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Lakshmi Narayana Perumal
Nainamalai Varadaraja perumal in sendhamangalm temple
Nainamalai Varadaraja Perumal in Sendhamangalm temple

Nainamalai is the hill that lies two kilometres from Sendhamangalam where the famous hill temple of Varadharaja Perumal is at the very top of the 2600 feet high hill. Believed to have existed since four yugas – which time period spans millions of years, the present temple was built during the Pallava period.Until recently ancient stone steps going all the way to the top were the only way to reach the temple.There are more than 3000 steps and climbing them is no mean feat.  To this day, it is an important pilgrimage destination and kula deivam (family deity) temple and thousands make the difficult ascent to the top every year, particularly in the sacred Tamil month of Purataasi.

The two temples are intrinsically connected. In the mandapam leading to the sanctum sanctorum of Lakshmi Narayana Perumal are kept the idols of Nainamalai Varadharaja Perumal,Sridevi and Bhudevi. All those who are not able to visit the hill temple and the old and infirm can worship here. There is also a sealed and locked doorway which is believed to be the entrance to a secret passage way that goes all the way up to the Nainamalai temple. Mysterious and intriguing, isn’t it? The passage way was probably used as an escape route by local kings in times of war. Similar secret pathways are also believed to have existed in the Rasipuram Kailasanathar temple and the Kaala Bhairavar temple in Dharmapuri.

THAAYAR SANNIDHI

The Thaayar sannidhi is a small separate temple next to the main temple. Perundevi thaayar is as beautiful as her name suggests and a picture of compassion and grace.

Thaayar, Sendhamangalam
Perundevi Thaayar,Sendhamangalam

A WALK AROUND THE TEMPLE

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Ganapathy near the main doorway
Ganapathy near the main doorway
Intricate Patterns on a temple doorway
Intricate Patterns on the temple doorway
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Gomukam

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Lakshmi Narayanan temple

It is a temple to be seen and admired at a leisurely pace because it is full of surprises. My visit was a hurried one and I hope I can visit again to admire and be awed all over again.

LOCATION

The temple is next to the Sendhamangalam bus station.

Distance from Namakkal – 11 kms.

Distance from Rasipuram – 26 kms

Distance from Salem  – 53 kms

Updated on 2nd August 2018

The temple is being renovated for kumbabhishekam after a gap of 32 years.