Sunday, December 18, 2011

CHADAYAMANGALAM- UPCOMING PILGRIMAGE AND TOURIST SPOT

Chadayamangalam is a beautiful Place situated at the boundary of Kollam and Thiruvantapuram Districts.It is situated in Kollam District and only 50km from Thiruvananthapuram and  21km from Kottarakkara on the M.C.Road..Chadayamangalam is famous for the enormous
mountain of rock which is known as 'JATAYUPPARA'  and it covers an area of more than 100 acres.
The rock mountain and place is famous in history as it is said that it is the place where the Giant Bird Jatayu encountered with Ravana  and fought with him while  flying  his 'Pushpak Vimanam' chariot to Lanka after kidnaping Sita Devi.
The Story of Ramayana is very famous in India and several other countries also.While Rama,Lakshman and Sita Devi were staying at 'Panchavady' in the forest 'Soorpanakha,' Ravana's Sister who was passing by that place was fascinated by the  charming beauty of Prince Rama and approached him and requested to marry her.Rama said he was already a married man and his wife was also with him and so better ask his brother Lakshmana.Soorpanakha noticed Lakshmana and found him also as attractive and approached him with the request of marrying her.Lakshmana also refused and told her to again request Sri Rama.Rama sent her back to Lakshmana.Lakshmana again refused and so she became angry and tried to attack them.Lakshmana  drew his sword and cut off her nose.Soorpanakha immediately reached Ravana and persuaded him to do revenge. Uncle Marichan of Ravana   took the form of a golden deer succeeded to take Rama and Lakshmana far from their dwelling place and   meanwhile Ravana could kidnap Sita Devi.He placed her on his flying Chariot 'Pushpaka Vimanam' and proceeded in the southern direction to Lanka.
When Jatayu a Giant Bird who was in the Vulture form and the son of 'Aruna' who knew Sri Rama and Sita Devi heard the crying sound  of Sita,  flew towards the Chariot and fought with Ravana.When Ravana understood that
the bird was very powerful he took his sword 'Chandrahasa' which was presented  to him by Lord Shiva and cut off his wing on one side and the Giant bird Jatayu fell to the ground.Sri Rama and Lakshmana came searching Sita

on that way and Jatayu told them the details and died in their presence.His cremation was done by Sri Rama and Lakshmana and the Great Bird attained salvation.The place name was thus derived  as 'Jatayu Mangalam'
which after all these centuries  got  changed as 'Chadayamangalam'.
The native people had erected a Statue of Sri Rama which is 18 feet high on top of the rock and some people used  to reach there
occasionally and  lighted  oil lamps and worshiped him.Without proper passage it was difficult to trek the rock
mountain  but many local people and tourists who visit the place loved it.
Now, the tourist departments are constructing a huge sculpture of the gigantic bird on top of the mountain.
The Sculpture is 200 feet long, 150 feet wide and 50 feet high and in the shape of the bird lying on its back with broken wing and raising head.There will be a three storied building in it which contains a museum and a
mini film theatre.It will be the tallest  and biggest functional sculpture  in the Asian Continent  on completion.The work under construction is expected to finish very soon.The Jatayu's eyes are planned
as windows which gives an aerial view of the outside world to the visitors also.Trekking facilities will be also
arranged for the visitors.On completion this place will become a pilgrimage and tourist spot.Spiral steps for easily climbing to the top which will be well lit is included in the plan as well as kiosks for Coffee,Tea etc.Some honey moon cottages will also be constructed.
On the rock there are some foot prints which the devotees believe belongs to 'Sri Rama' and the spirutual tourists will be interested to see them.There are some caves also on the rock which will be also tourist's attraction.On the  rock there exists a pond which is believed to have formed when the 'Jatayu's beak pierced
Inner side of the Sculpture
Work in progress
Ravana cutting off Jatayu's wing-Ravi Varma Painting.
the rock.The pond however never dries even in the mid summer season also.
There is a flow of North Indian tourists to visit Kovalam and Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Trivandrum   and  if given proper propaganda they will be interested to visit 'Jadayu Para' at Chadayamangalam also. We can expect that not only North Indians, everybody will
love to visit that place with serene beauty and to see the premises where 'Jatayu' attained salvation.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR SABARIMALA PILGRIMAGE

Some years back I had been to Sabarimala with 4 people out of which two were my relatives and other two were their friends.Before that also I have gone to Sabarimala several times but with those four it was  my  first time.They have also visited that shrine several times together before that.We reached there and after 'Darshan' of  Lord Ayyappa  we all sat at one place and  collected the Ghee from 'Ney Thenga',  gave it for unction, and divided the ghee which we received back as 'Prasadam' among us.Then all of them were ready to return home.They have not visited Malikapurathamma,Vavar Swamy,Kochu Kadutha Swamy,Mani Mandapam,Nava Grahas and
Naga Gods.I was astonished about this and when asked to them about this they said that  it was their usual practice and they have never seen Malikapurathamma etc before  and they were not knowing where it was existing also.I said without visiting those shrines I could not return and invited them also with me.Two senior members did not come and they waited at the place they were sitting, but two others accompanied me and they were very happy that it was for the first time that they visited Malikapurathamma,Kochu Kadutha Swamy,Nagar ,Vavar Swamy etc at Sabarimala.
Like that when asked about the details of the Pilgrimage conducted last year to an experienced man  I was astonished that his practice was to put all the materials taken in the 'Irumudi' as offerings to the different deities  at Sabarimala  in the 'Aazhi' (The Fire Place) opposite to Ayyappa Shrine.He was not knowing what was the use of them till then.
                                                                I will describe some details regarding these things.The first thing is to put a garland from the near by temple.Put the garland (not in 'Rahu Kalam' :Gulika Kalam' 'Yama Kandaka Kalam' etc) in good hours of the day only.After wearing the Garland(Mala or Mudra which we call it) return to your home only.(Not to visit a friend or proceed for shopping etc).
Observances for 41 days 21 days or minimum 12 days has to be observed.On the day of pilgrimage 'Kettu Nira' or preparing the 'Irumudi'(The two compartment bag to be taken on head by the pilgrim) that function is better to be conducted in the nearby temple.If the deity of that temple is facing east, while preparing the Irumudi we have to sit facing North.If the deity is facing west we have to sit facing east and if the deity is facing north we have to sit facing east.People who travel for the first time(Kanni Ayyappan) may use red color silk Irumudi and wear Blue colored dhoti,others can use Irumudi which are white, blue etc and dhoti which are black,Blue,Saffron, or even white.'Karuppu Kacha( the black lace) has to be worn above the dress by all.
For preparing the Irumudi a 'Guru Swamy's help can be sought.A betal leaf, a coin and one arecanut  has to be put at first in the front compartment of Irumudi.The 'Ney Tenga(Cocconut filled with Ghee) is also to be placed in the front compartment.The Kadali plantain fruit,Sugarcane piece,Candy pieces,Pepper,Molasses,Honey,Turmeric Powder,Rice Flakes,fried rice powder etc has to be placed in the front compartment.All these items has to be submitted  at different places like Ayyappa Swamy,Kannimoola Ganapathy,Malikapurathamma,Nager,Kochu Kadutha Swamy, Vavar Swamy etc.
For example Sugarcane for  Ganapathy,Plantain fruit,molasses,honey,Raw rice
 etc for Ayyappa Swamy, Fried rice Powder for Kochu Kadutha Swamy,Turmeric Powder for Malika Purathamma and Nagar,Rice Flakes for Malika Purathamma ,Pepper for Vavar Swamy etc.
Give the ghee for unction and get back the 'Prasadam'.Put the two pieces of 'Ney Thenga'(Coconut pieces after taking out ghee) in the fire(Aazhi).Some agents may approach you for requesting the coconut pieces and they may also tell you do not waste it by burning in the 'Azhi' but better to give them.Ignore them and put them in the 'Aazhi' because there are some inner meanings in all these rituals.Do not bring back home those coconut pieces also.
While on the way to Sabarimala at Pampa Ganapathy Shrine you have to strike a coconut for blessings for a smooth pilgrimage.Light camphor at shrines of Hanuman,Sri Ram,Parvathy Devi etc.At 'Appachy Medu'
"Kanni Ayyappas' has to throw rice flour balls.They are availabe for sale there.At Sabari Peetom you have to worship and light camphor there.Kanni Ayyappans coming via Erumeli has to put 'Arrows' there.While climbing the holy 18 steps you have to recite this:-
                                                    'Ashtadasam Mahasaram
                                                     Sastha Darsana Dayakam
                                                     Viditham Sudhamulkrishtam
                                                     Sannidhanam Namamyaham.
After 'Darsan' of Ayyappa Swamy proceed to 'Malikapurathamma', Kochu Kadutha Swamy,Naga Raja,Naga Yakshi, and Nava Grahas.
Worship at all these places and submit the offerings.Perform nine rounds around 'Nava Grahas'.At Malikapurathamma Shrine throw a set of betal leaves upwards which is known as 'Vettila Parathal'.If there was some thing wrong with our observances it will be excused.Also if you are an  'Asthmatic Patient' pray to Malikapurathamma Devi and throw a set of Betal leaves upwards in her premises.relieYour disease may be get relieved..Also roll a coconut around Malikapurathamma shrine which is very auspicious.Your genuine desires will be fulfilled. At the abode of 'Vavar Swamy' pepper has to be submitted.
While coming back the 'Karuppu Kacha'(black lace) has to be deposited at the place near Sabari Peetam.
Do not take bath at Pampa river while coming back.Return to the temple where you prepared the 'Irumudi' and deposit the coin, Betal leaf and areca nut which you put at first in the Irumudi.Wait at the temple till dusk and go home after 6.30P.M. when your family members might  have lighted lamp at 'Pooja Room'.You enter the Pooja room and light camphor and recite like this:-
                                              'Apoorvamachalaroha
                                               Divya Darsana Karana
                                                Sastha Mudrathmaka Deva
                                               Dehime Vratha Mochanam.
After reciting this you can remove your garland  and you are free from the observances.You may pray to God to bless you and your Family.SWAMY SARANAM.
                             SASTHRU GAYATHRI TO RELIEVE POVERTY

To relieve Poverty 'Sasthru Gayathri can be recited.Those who recite this 'Mantra' will get its benefits.
Anybody can recite it 10 times a day and those who suffer from poverty may recite it 21 times a day.
                                      " OHM BHOODHADHIPAYA VIDMAHE
                                         MAHADEVAYA DHIMAHI
                                         THANNA SASTHA PRACHODAYATH "
May Lord Ayyappa Bless Us All.Swamiye Saranamayyappa.
                               

A.K.ANTONY

We Keralites are all proud about Shri.A.K.Antony who adorns the position as the Honorable Defence Minister of India.
He hails from Cherthala, in Alapuzha District and was born on Dec 28 1940 as the Son of Arackaparambil Kurien Pillai and Elikutty.He had his Primary and High School education at Chethala and for B.A. Degree course he studied at Maharajas College Ernakulam.He completed his Degree of law B.L from Mahatma Gandhi University.His father died in the year 1959 and and so afterwards he was so much attached to the love and care of his mother.
A.K.Antony entered Politics as an active member of the Kerala Students Union(K.S.U.) which is the student's wing of the Indian National Congress.He was leader of many strikes like 'Oru Ana Samaram' which was against the hike of Boat charges and similar activities earned name and fame for him so that he  became the KSU President very easily.Since he was an energetic leader who was able to lead the members staunchly he rose to the position as Youth Congress President and in 1972 he became the K.P.C.C. President.A.K.Antony was the youngest K.P.C.C. President in the history of Kerala.Again in 1987 also he became K.P.C.C. President.
When Shri.K Karunakaran resigned due to the Rajan Case A.K.Antony was made the 8th Chief minister of Kerala  and he served the Office from April 27 1977 to October 27 1978.He was the youngest Chief Minister of Kerala at the age of 37  which is another record which is not yet broken.He was always an idealistic personality and loved to lead a simple life.As he was young, A.K.Antony was ready to go to the Office on a bicycle and did not want an Official vehicle also.What he wanted to insist and spread was the idea   to cut down the lavish expenses of the Government departments.Due to security reasons he was not allowed to go to Office on bicycle.More over he insisted that instead of putting the garlands made of flowers  for the leaders use cotton  hand-loom towels so that it can be distributed among poor and needy people.That practice is still followed by many political workers.
A.K. Antony is well known for his idealistic actions and deeds.He is unselfish and never tried to cling on to positions or tried to catch up positions also.He is a true Gandhian and a very Honest Politician.In his work and duties he used to be very strident but he was always against  corruption.When A.K.Antony was made the Chief minister of Kerala for the second time from 1995 March 22 to 1996 May 9 and when he was made the Cabinet Minister of Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and public Distribution in 1994 he resigned because of his  ethics and idealistic reasons and not because of his faults.
He was the leader of Opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly during the term 1996 to 2001.He was member of the Rajya Sabha from 1985 to 1995.
In 2005 again A.K.Antony  became Rajya Sabha Member and he was nominated as the Indian Defence Minister in the Union Council of Cabinet Ministers.When the Congress party won the elections of 2009 and formed Government under the Prime Minister Shri.Manmohan Singh, he retained his position as the Defence minister for the second term.
A.K.Antony married Elizabeth Antony and they have two children, Anil Kurien Antony and Ajith Paul
Antony.
Shri.A.K.Antony is holding several other positions than the Portfolio as Defence Minister.He is member of Congress Working Committee.He is the Chairman of the Disciplinary action committee of Congress.He is a member of Cabinet Committees of Accommodation,Economic affairs,Political affairs and security.He is President of Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.He is also in charge of Karnataka and Maharashtra
state affairs of the Congress Party.
During the last so many years of Public service what he earned was not wealth but the love and respect of
M/S.Ghulam Nabi Azad,A.K.Antony,Pranab Mukherjee,Sonia Gandhi,Manmohan Singh
millions and millions of Indians.He is always moving along the right path as a true Gandhian.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chengannur Narasimhaswamy Temple

We  know that the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha is very powerful and the half human and half lion form itself creates a fearful respect and devotion in our minds.Actually Narasimhaswamy is very kind towards his devotees.Lord Maha Vishnu took this form to safeguard his firm devotee 'Prahlad ' and at the same time
to save the earth from the cruel King Hiranyaka Sipu.
Narasimha Swamy is worshiped in several forms and one is 'Lakshmi Sametha Narasimha Swamy' which is in a very calm and pleasant mood.Another form is 'Abhaya Narasimha Moorthy'.At Kuravilangadu Kozha temple the deity is in this form.
At Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple premises there is a Narasimha Swamy temple also which is very famous.
Ancestors were experienced of the roar of the 'Lion' from the temple in earlier days.When Swathy Thirunal Maharajah was  the ruler of Travancore, on an Aarattu Festival day one of the Elephants became violent and ran towards the King.The panic crowd ran away in all directions to save their lives while the Maharajah stood where he was as if nothing happened.The fierce Elephant came near him and bowed to him and obeyed to the orders.It is said that at that time Maharajah's face was resembling that of a lion and he made the Elephant calm by praying 'Narasimha Mantra'.Swathi Thirunal was a firm devotee of Narasimha Swamy.
Chengannur, which is the Cultural Center of Central Travancore is blessed by an ancient Narasimha Swamy
Temple which is known as 'Sastham Kulangara Temple'.It is very near to the Pampa River and half kilometres
from Chengannur Mahadeva Temple.Out of the most important 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu in India only 11 temples are in Kerala now which includes Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trivandrum,Thrikkakara Vamana Temple,Sree Vallabha Swamy temple,Thiruvalla etc.All the five Pancha Pandava Maha Vishnu temples are among these 11 temples out of which 'Thrichittattu Temple,Thrippuliyoor temple and Thiruvanvandoor Temple are in Chengannur itself and Thiru Aranmula Temple near to Chengannur.The fifth one 'Thrikkodithanam' is at Changanacherry.One of the very important Subramanya swamy temple established by Cheraman Perumal Maharaja is Bala Subramanya Swamy Temple at Cheriyanadu in Chengannur.
From these facts itself  it is clear that Chengannur was an important pilgrimage center from olden times.Sastham Kulangara Narasimha Temple is also a Vaishnava temple.It is believed that Sastham Kulangara Narasimha Swamy Temple is older than Chengannur Mahadeva Temple.

In this temple women were not allowed to enter the 'Nalambalam' as a custom.But  some years back during a 'Deva Prasnam(Astrologcal method to determine God's will) it was made clear that God does not have any
objection to allow women devotees inside the temple.But then also some women are still afraid to enter inside the temple.
This temple deity was installed by a Sage known as 'Muchira Swamiyar'.During the past olden days there were many eminent scholars and holy men who traveled all over the State and visited the temples to perform worship.They could understand the presence of different forms of God's energy prevailing in some places and
established   temples in those places  by consecrating the respective deities.

 One such famous Sage was 'Vilwamangalam Swamiyar' who established and sanctified several Deities throughout Kerala.Muchira
Swamiyar was also in this category who traveled with a group of disciples.Swamiyar and his disciples were
firm Brahmacharis and did not allow women even to come near them.When Muchira Swamy stayed at
Chengannur he used to perform pooja rituals to the deity  of Narasimha Swamy and meanwhile women were not allowed inside
the temple.
Thus it became a custom in this temple  but God has no dislike to women.The Deity of this temple is in a plesant
calm mood which is 'Lakshmi Narasimha Moorthy'(Narasimha Swamy with Goddess Lakshmi Devi).
Outside the sanctum Sanctorum there are so many ancient paintings on wooden planks which are scenes from Ramayanam,Bhagavatham etc which dates back to several centuries  but still very beautiful.Because of these ancient paintings and sculptures the Archaeological Department of India has taken over the protection of this Temple.
Another special mention needs to say is about the 'Ganapathy' of this temple.It is 'Lakshmi Sametha Ganapathy' which is 'Ganapathy' in the childhood form sitting on the lap of Goddess Lakshmi Devi which is very auspicious and rare.Everybody reading this article should visit  Chengannur Mahadeva Temple,All the five Pancha Pandava Maha Vishnu Temples which are among the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu in India(All these temples are in and around Chengannur) and Chengannur Narasimha Swamy Temple.If possible also visit 'Bala Subramanya Swamy temple of 'Cherianadu'  in Chengannur which was built by 'Cheraman Perumal'.

Narasimha Swamy has to be worshiped to get rid off our all kinds of fears and to gain vigour,strength, energy and stamina and obviously Lakshmi Sametha Narasimha Swamy will bless us with Prosperity too.
Important Narasimha Swamy temples are there at Mavelikkara Mattom,Sooranad North,Aanayadi Pazhayidom,Manganam in Kottayam District,Moovattupuzha,Puthur,Pattambi,Kaithali Kannambra Rishi Narada Mangalam etc.
                                                "Ugram Veeram Maha Vishnum
                                                  Jwalantham Sarvatomukham
                                                  Nrisimham Bheeshanam Bhadram
                                                   Mrithyu Mrithyum Namamyaham"
This is an important and sacred Narasimha Mantra which can be chanted 18 times every day after taking bath sitting or standing in front of the lamp,  if possible or other wise..Increase the number of chanting after consulting a 'Guru' or the priest of a Narasimha Swamy Temple Only.
It is believed that 'Panakam' is the most loved offering to Narasimha Swamy which can be done by the devotees  in the Narasimha Swamy Temples.
Thrichittattu Temple
Thiruvanvandoor Temple
Thiru Aranmula Temple