27 June 2008

Pushparatheshwara Temple

Named Gnayiru after the Sun God, the village (which is on the way to Chennai) has numerous legends, one of which is connected with Tiruvannamalai. The God Surya who was estranged from his wife Chayadevi came to propitiate the Lord at the Arunachaleswarar Temple. While circumambulating the shrine he saw a light which fell on him by way of blessings and then moved away. Intrigued, he followed the light till it reached the village of Gnayiru where it fell on a Linga and vanished. Surya was pleased at the happening and for Shiva's (Lord Pushparatheshwara) Blessings, afterwhich Surya returned to his wife.

Surya, the Sun God

Since the Sun God is said to have bathed in the pond, it became known as Surya Theertham and there is also a Surya Shrine in the Temple. People visit the Pushparatheshwara Temple in the hope that they will be cured of eye related disorders and ailments, relief of pains and that the Lord will shower prosperity on them.

Another legend explaining the history of Pushparatheswara Temple tells of a king and ardent devotee of Shiva, who during his travels went looking for red lotuses to propitiate the God. The king found a pond of red lotuses in the village of Gnayiru and struck by the beauty of one of the flowers went into the pond to pluck it.

But the closer he got to the flower the farther it moved away. Frustrated with his attempts to pluck it, he threw his sword at the flower. The sword found its mark on a Shiva Linga which was being guarded by the lotus. Blood started spurting from the Linga and the whole pond turned red. There was a blinding light and noise. Witnessing this spectacle, the king turned blind. His horse ran amuck.

The king repented his action and prayed to Lord Shiva, who returned his eyesight and instructed the king to build a Temple at the bank of the lotus pond.

Sri Pushparatheshwara Temple

A different story tells that Surya (the Sun) cursed by Lord Brahma, comes to Earth looking for a place to pray to Lord Siva. He chanced upon a beautiful pond, filled with huge lotuses, some of which even had 1,000 petals. Fascinated, Surya ventured into the water to offer his prayers. Touched by Surya's devotion, Lord Siva appeared as a Lingam on one of the lotuses and cured him. Filled with joy and gratitude Surya built a temple for the Lingam, in Gnayiru (Sun) Village.

It is said that the village used to be home of Kanva Maharishi. At the Temple there is also an altar for Sangili Nachiyar, the wife of Tamil saint-poet Sundarar. Sage Sage Agastiyar (author of Aditya Hridaya Stotram) is reputed to have stayed at Sri Pushparatheswarar Temple.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful picture of Surya - just lovely.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree and took a copy of it.