Temple where troubles melt like butter
It was at Sikkal in Nagapattinam district that Lord Subrahmanya received the Vel, which demolished Surapadman, from the Mother Goddess. A write up by N.V.R. Swamy ...
The 70-ft. Rajagopuram ... full of intricate sculptures.
SIKKAL, ALTHOUGH a small village in Nagapattinam district (Tamil Nadu), is one of the important abodes of Lord Subrahmanya, apart from the Arupadaiveedu Tiruparankundram, Tiruchendur, Palani, Swamimalai, Tiruttani and Azhagarkoil (or Pazhamudircholai)
At Tiruchendur, the Lord, after a vigorous battle, killed the demon king Surapadman. It was at Sikkal that he obtained the `Vel' (lance) from His mother Parvathi to destroy Surapadman and hence, this place gains importance. The seven-tier main Rajagopuram of the Sikkal temple, 70ft. high in front and built anew in 1933, is a specimen of splendid South Indian art work. Although it is referred to as the Sikkal Singaravelar temple, the presiding deity here is Navaneetheswarar (Siva) with Goddess Vel Nedum Kanni Amman (Goddess with eyes long as a lance). The divine couple are also called Vennainathar and Satyayadakshi respectively.
Once during famine-stricken time, Kamadhenu (the divine cow) was transformed into a tiger by the wrath of Siva, because she ate the flesh of a dead dog. She entreated for pardon and Siva, moved, said that she would regain her form on reaching this place (Sikkal), which was then a jasmine garden. Kamadhenu regained her form after bathing in the holy tank (behind the temple) and filled it with her divine milk. Hence the tank is known as Ksheera Pushkarani.
Sage Vasishta who visited this place moulded a lingam out of the butter obtained from the milk of Kamadhenu and offered his prayers. Lord Siva appeared before Vasishta and gave him the divine cow, the object of his tapas (penance). Vasishta wanted Siva to invest the linga with the power of relieving all worshippers of their ills and evil effects. The Lord obliged. When the sage wanted to remove the lingam, it got firmly stuck and could not be moved. Hence the place came to be known as Sikkal.
When Vasishta was offering puja to the lingam, Lord Vishnu appeared in the disguise of a child and took away some butter. Vasishta was furious with the child and Lord Vishnu revealed Himself with His four hands (holding Sangu and Chakra), hiding the butter between His fingers. He never left the place. It is unique that both Siva and Vishnu (as Navaneetheswarar and Vennai Peruman respectively) are enshrined here in the same temple.
Kola Vamana Perumal (Vishnu) with Goddess Komalavalli Thayar is enshrined in the adjoining sub-temple on the northern prakaram (courtyard), in the same form as He appeared before Vasishta. Before subduing Mahabali (the devout devotee of Siva), Vishnu sought the blessings of Siva in this place.
A picture of beauty... Lord Singaravelar (Utsavar) with Consorts.
Sri Singaravelar (Lord Subrahmanya) here is in a metallic luminous form with a unique charm about Him, enthroned on a silver seat with artistic work and enshrined in a beautiful chamber embedded with decorative porcelain slabs. The name Singaravelar is derived from the beauty of His form. The idol, with the golden kavacham is indeed radiant and handsome. The decorated tiruvasi, intricately carved, is attractive.
The huge idol of Arumuga with Valli and Deivanai on the peacock is unique for its sculpture, as the entire weight of the peacock with the trio on it, rests on the bird's single toe, all carved out of single stone. The same idol, sculpted by the same blind artist can be seen at Ettukudi and Engan, in Tiruvarur district.
The main festival at Sikkal is the 10-day Brahmotsavam in April. But the Skanda Sashti festival, on eighth day after Deepavali, draws a large gathering of devotees.
Singaravelar is taken to the sannidhi of the Goddess Vel Nedum Kanni Amman, where He receives the Vel. He is then taken to the shrine of Somaskandar, on the hillock where He stays for about an hour, with His Consorts. At this point of time, the idol of Singaravelar becomes completely wet with perspiration and the small beads of sweat are visible on the face of the idol, a spectacle that moves the devotees to a state of ecstasy.
This year the ceremony took place on October 29. The Sashti celebration concludes on November 2. Shatru Samhara Trisadi for Singaravelar and Trisadi archana for Ambal are special in this temple.
Renovation of the temple, which is maintained by the HR and CE Board began on February 9, 2002. Since April 14, lighting of one crore ghee lamps is going on.
Those who wish to contribute to this event and other puja rituals may write or send their DD/MO to the Executive Officer, Arulmigu Navaneetheswaraswamy Temple, Sikkal, Nagapattinam district, 611108. Phone 45350.
The importance of Sikkal is mentioned in Skandapuranam. All the seven sages (saptha rishis) stayed here. In the ancient scriptures, this place is referred to as Mallikaranyam and Vasishtasramam. The Tamil saint, Tirugnanasambandar in his "Thevaram", has sung in praise of Navaneetheswarar in 11 beautiful hymns, while Arunagirinathar has sung in praise of Singaravelar, in two delightful verses of "Tiruppugazh".
The first king who built a regular temple for Navaneetheswarar was Musukunda Chakravarthy, king of Ayodhya, several centuries ago. It was renovated by Kochenkannan, a Chola King, in the fourth century. In the 13th century, Veerapandiya Theva, king of Madurai, presented rich gifts to Navaneetheswarar. The Emperor of Vijayanagaram in 1350 A.D. gave a munificent gift of gold coins to Singaravelar.
There are eight stone inscriptions in this temple, which mention the salient features of this place and the gifts of several kings. From these, it is found that this place was known as "Keya Manicka Vala Nadu" and there is mention of the names Vennai Peruman, Pal Vennai Nathar and Navaneetheswarar.
The marriage hall in front of the temple is one of the biggest of its kind in South India. The marriage of Singaravelar with Deivayanai on the seventh day and Valli on the eighth day of the Skanda Sashti festival, takes place in this mandapam. Named as Coronation Hall this was gifted to the temple by the late Karumuthu Alagappa Chettiar in 1932. Marriages are conducted by the public in this mandapam.
Only few temples can boast of possessing huge vahanams (mounts) for use on different festival days during the year. Nearly a dozen of them, gold and silver plated ones, besides copper plated, are in this temple.
A bath in the scared tank (Pal Kulam) is considered to cure many chronic diseases, particularly those of the skin.
Sikkal can easily be reached by road or rail, directly from Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam, and the temple lies close to the railway station of the same name.
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