Understanding Spiritual Tamil Nadu -3 -Hanuman Temple, Paramakudi
Paramakudi is a small town near Manamadurai, in South Tamil Nadu. Manamadurai has a Railway Junction and is around tenty five kilometers from Paramakudi. All trains to Rameshwaram from Chennai, have a compulsory stop at Paramakudi.
It is in this place that there is a very famous Lord Hanuman temple. There is a history to this temple. Some three hundred years ago, in the very same spot where there is a temple now, there was a old tamarind tree, that was in a state of despair and next to this, was an idol of Lord Ganesha.
A Sanyasi, from North India, would perform daily poojas to this small Lord Ganesha temple, and the people of the small village -- what was Pramakudi then, that is, three hundred years ago -- would present to him their grivevances, and the Sanyasi, would give them his opinion. It was said that the people lived in absolute peace and happiness.
An advocate who had no children, went to the Sanyasi and requested him to pray for him, so that he could get a child. The sanyasi accepted to pray for him with a sanguchakra at the foot of the depleted tamarind tree. The Sanyasi also placed an idol of Lord Hanuman at the very same tamarind tree, saying that the prayers to Lord Hanuman will bear fruit, and that the tamarind tree would grow to the biggest size. However, when these things happen, the advocate would have to construct a temple in praise of Lord Hanuman.
The advocate faithfuuly obeyed the advise of the Sanyasi, and his wife became pregnant. The tamarind tree also started growing as a very big tree.
Today, the temple has become a very famous one, with ghe roots of the tamarind tree perfectly in place and the idol of the Lord placed right at the roots of the tamarind tree. The concrete structure is thus said to be over three hundred years old.
There is a story to the tamarind tree as well. Lord Hanuman is said to have carried the Sanjivi mountain and a seed had dropped at the very same spot where the tamarind tree was found.
There is a very big speciality about this tamarind tree. This tree has grown to a very big size, but the branches of the tree do not extend to outside the temple walls, The braches are always found turned inside the temple premises. Not only this, This tamarind tree flowers and tamarind does get grown but the tamarind never becomes ripe. Before the ripe stage, the tamarind crop becomes rotten. Today, there is a belief that if one chues the leaves of this tamarind tree, he or she will be perfectly fit without any disease or ailment.
On advise of the Jeeyar of Tirupathi ( Jeeyars are the Holymen, who have their own "maths" and these institutions are very sacred for the Vaishnavite people), in the year 1976, the idols of Lord Gothanda ramar, Seeha and Lord Lakshmanan were also installed after observing all the rituals in this regard. It is said that Lord Hanuman in his previous avatar was a very furious God.
Hence the three new idols of Lords Gothandaramar, Lord Seetha and Lord Lakshman were also installed, and after Lord Ramar entered the picture, it is said that Lord Hanuman has toned down his anger. It is now called the "Lord Hanumar Gothanda ramasamy temple".
In front of this temple, there is a Ashtalakshmi Mandapam, and it is here that marriages and speical cultural events on special religious days are conducted. At the top of this Mandapam, there is another idol of Lord Hanuman.
Every Saturday, there are special poojas called "thriumanjanam" in Tamil that are conducted and the Lord Hanuman is decorated with vada mala. .The vadas are put into a big mala and Lord Hanuman is in every temple in Tamil Nadu, decorated with vada mala. After the poojas are over, the vadas are faithfully distributed to the devotees.
In December, starting the 15th of December to the 15th of Janurary of the next year, there is this Tamil month called "margazhi" in Tamil. On each of these days, the temple is open very early in the morning. The poojas are always done in every temple in the wee hours as it is believed that women and men who are awake at that time and engage themselves in religious work, happen to enjoy all the advantages of the ozone layer at that point in time.
The pongal is a hugely famous festival of Tamil Nadu, and it is very special in this temple as well. There is a vert sacred valampuri sangu (chank) in this temple. The chank poojas are done only on Srinama navami, Sudharshana Jayanthi, and Hanuman Jayanthi days, and what is called "Sangaabhishegam" (pouring of the sacred water on this chank and all the accompanying prayers) is done. The devotees deem it a great plesure to worship at this temple.
HOW TO GET THERE
Readers from the North of India, often get confused about places in Tamil Nadu, and assume that everything is near Chennai, as the metro is the only thing that comes to their mind.
Please do note that this temple in Paramakudi, in the town of Paramakudi, in the heart of the town itself, is situated 575 kilometers from Chennai Egmore, the second largest Railway terminal that connects Chennai to many parts of South Tamil Nadu. On Saturdays and Wednesdays, there is a train called the Silambu express that goes between Chennai Central and a town called Manamadurai. This is a small town, but it has lodges and other amenities. One can stay here and go to Paramakudi which is around 25 kilometers from here. Train number 16101, which is still called the "Boat mail" by people of Rameswaram, is a very famous train that runs daily between Chennai Egmore and Rameswaram, and reaches Paramakudi at exactly 9.10AM in the morning. This is the best train on this route.
One can check into a lodge at Paramakudi and visit the temple in the evening. Thje temple is open between 6.30AM in the morning to 12 noon and between 5PM to 8.30PM in the evening.
This is a great temple to visit, and it should be in the itinery of those who plan to visit Rameswaram, which is considered very sacred for doing poojas for those who are dead and gone in one's family.
The temple's telephone number is 04564-223435. Any one who wants further details can contact this landline number and get all details over phone.
However, please do not believe touts and it is possible to find many who speak Hindi. It is very safe to ask Lodge managers and other such decent people, when visiting such temples.
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