Hill temple a la Tiruttani
Tiruttani is not the only shrine where one finds Lord Muruga in wedding resplendence. The hill temple near Ulsoor is a beautiful replica. T. K. GANAPATHY.
ANCIENT: The Subramanya temple atop a hill near Ulsoor. Photo:K. Murali Kumar.
Among the temples dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya on hilltops, the one at Tiruttani deserves special mention.
For here he appears with Valli and Deivanai on either side, wedding pose He is said to have assumed soon after Soorasamharam.
Sri Valli Devasena sametha Sri Subrahmanya Swami shrine, located on the old Madras highway in Ulsoor (Bangalore), is a replica of the Lord as Thanikaimalaikkolan in Tiruttani.
Thanikachalapuranam records the instance of Vasuki's prayer answered at Tiruttani where the deity created a Nagasunai whose waters cured the serpent of the skin rashes it developed during the churning of the ocean.
Once a Siva shrine
That this temple was once a Siva shrine is evidenced from the Nandi (Rishabhavahana) seen on the temple walls. Also, there is a separate shrine for Chandikeswara and one finds an idol of Kalabhairava. A sculpture of Mandavya in this mantap and a similar sculpture in the Muruga temple are ample proof that the mantap and the Subrahmanya shrine were constructed at the same time. It is believed that this temple is older than the adjacent Sri Someswara temple known as Panchalinga Kshetra.
This ancient temple is said to have been built by the then Maharaja of Mysore about four centuries ago. When the Maharaja was on his way to call on the ailing elder brother of his father at Mysore, he came across a snake pit often frequented by the devotees for worship. Standing before the snakepit, the ruler prayed to Muruga that he would construct a temple for the Lord should he find his uncle cured of his ailment when he reached Mysore. His Majesty was thrilled to see his relative relieved of his eye disease and in fulfilment of his word, went ahead with the construction of a temple here.
Sage Mandavya was divinely commanded to resurrect an idol of Lord Muruga flanked by Valli and Deivanai (in the celestial wedding form He assumed after killing Soorapadman) as seen in Tiruttani from under the seat of his meditation where he was in a state of deep sleep.
According to yet another version, a Vaishnava couple, Subbaraya Mudaliar and Mayilavu Ammal, natives of Ulsoor, could not make their annual pilgrimage to Palni owing to the birth of a child in their family. When the couple saw the newborn child with a row of teeth, Subbaraya was directed by an apocalypse to build a temple for Muruga. Accordingly, Ulsoor, the army recruiting centre of Bangalore, became a sacred spot of the Lord's manifestation in the same form found in Tiruttani. Set against the idyllic environs of Ulsoor dotted with jackfruit trees and surrounded by the Ulsoor lake for about two km, stands the temple of Thanigaikkolan. Lord Vishnu, normally found in the rear at Siva shrines, is seen here at the entrance. Passing through the Navagrahas, we reach the sanctum sanctorum to find the deity in a standing posture Ananda Muruga. The imposing form with the vel and vajrayudha in the right hand and sevarkodi (flag showing a cockerel) on the left hand is captivating.
A unique feature of the Ulsoor shrine is the artistically carved sculptures of the 16 postures of Lord Subrahmanya besides the usual Arupadaiveedu on the walls around the gopuram in the outer prakara.
CAPTIVATING: Ananda Muruga
There is a separate shrine for Nagadevata. The temple rituals are performed in accordance with Saivagama guidelines.
Akhandanamajapa is conducted in this temple on October 2.
Thaipoosam is celebrated for three days every year. The float festival in the Kalyani pushkarani is popular.
Regular classes in Thevaram, Thiruppugazh and Thiruarutpa are conducted in the temple.
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