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The Shiva Temple at Mahakuta

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Life is a dream
Staff member
The period starting from the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] century till the 8[SUP]th[/SUP] century A.D., witnessed a brisk temple building activity around Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal – all in the Bijapur district of Karnataka. The movement initiated several significant forms of temples, which later developed into characteristic Nagar and Dravidian styles. Of the temples around Badami, the Shiva temple at Mahakuta is of importance for its art and architecture as providing early prototype of characteristic South Indian ‘vimana’, consisting of an octagonal domical finial supported by a super-imposed series of small shrines.
Mahakuta, a small village, is situated in the picturesque secluded glade at the foot of the eastern slope of the two hillocks near Badami. It was an old centre of Shaivites as well as Shaktas, and was popularly known as ‘Dakshina Kashi’.

According to puranic legend, this is supposed to be the place of destruction of the two demon brothers, Vatapi and Ilvala, by sage Agastya. It is believed that the two large hillocks are the remains of these demons.

Near the village is a group of temples enclosed by a wall. Most of these are Shiva temples, some built in Nagara style, and others in Dravidian style. The largest adnd principal one at the entrance is dedicated to Mahakuta or Mahakuteshwara. The temple is of the early type and stands facing east. It consists of ‘Ardha Mandapa’, ‘Mukha Mandapa’ and ‘Garbhagriha’ with a ‘vimana’ and ‘kalasha’ of the Dravidian type. A beautiful ‘linga’ is installed in the shrine, and is under regular worship. On either side of the entrance to the enclosure is a Dwarapalak, of Shaiva type, of the fearful appearance resembling Bhairava and Chamunda. The porch with four square pillars is almost devoid of any decoration.

The outer walls of the temple bear a number of pieces of art executed by sculptors of the Early Chalukyan times. Noteworthy among them are Ardhanareershwara, Varaha rescuing Prithvi, and a few guardian deities. There are also pierced windows characteristic of the Chalukyan temples. The Nandi here is very prominent with long garlands of carved bells and looks very beautiful. A sand-stone pillar made to celebrate the righteous victory was found here with long inscriptions describing the wealth and glory of the deity Mahakuteshwara.

There are a number of inscriptions carved on the pillars inside the temple. One of them records a gift of certain ornaments of gold, a silver umbrella and some lands to the temple by Vinapoti, a concubine of the Chalukyan king Vijayaditya. Another inscription confirms the grant of lands around Aihole and Pattadakal to Mukteshwara by the Chalukyan king Mangalesha. On architectural grounds, the temple is assigned to the period begore 690 A.D.

The centre of the templeenclosure has a large masonry tank known as Vishnu Pushkarini. A constant stream of water passes through this tank from a mountain spring, and overflows into the adjoining gardens. In a little pavilion standing in the middle of the ‘pushkarini’, is a ‘linga’ with five faces upon it, known as ‘Pancha-mukha Linga’.

A car festival followed by a big fair is held annually during Maha Shivarathri, when a large number of devotees and tourists assemble at this place. The fair lasts for a period of ten days.
Amongst the Vaishna Divya Desams, Nanguneri is one of the important places.
The significance of this Temple is that the Vishnu Bhagawan - Perumal,
Thirumanjanam is done with Oil everyday with Gingili oil and Sandal oil.
The Oil thus used for Abhishekam is collected in an open well adjacent
to the Garbagraham. Normally in Vishnu Temples, only on Fridays, Abhishekam
is done. This Oil has very rich medicinal value and is said to cure many diseases.
In spite of the well being open, the oil collected is very clean and given to
the Devotees as prasadam. If the oil is consumed, it will be so sweet.

Location: Nannilam near Tiruvarur,
(Chola Naadu-South of Kaveri)
Shiva: Madhuvaneswarar
Ambal: Madhu Vana Nayaki
Theertham: Bhrama Theertham
Travel Base: Thanjavur

There is an ancient temple at Nannilam, near Thiruvarur/Mayiladuthurai.
This is a madakkovil built at an elevation by Kochenkan Cholan, who has built 78
other temples of this nature. It is considered to be the 71st in the series of
Tevara Stalams in the Chola kingdom located south of the river Kaveri.
The temple is located at a distance of 5 km from the Nannilam Rly Station.
This temple is also known as Madhuvanam, and Shiva is also known as Prakaasa Nayakar.
One of the important things, is that Lord Surya is said to have worshipped at this temple.
Sundaramoorthy Nayanar referred this Temple as Perum koil and also known as Brihadeeswarar.
The Bhramma Theertham is to the North of the temple. Legend has it that the Devas in the
form of bees worshipped Shiva here; there are 2 beehives here, one in Somaskandar's shrine
and another in the Subramanya shrine.
This small temple has 2 Prakarams and a small Rajagopuram. The Soola Theertham
(created with the trident of Shiva) is located to the north of the temple. The bronze
image of Bhoga Sakthi is always housedin Shiva's sanctum. A flight of steps
lead to the shrines of Somaskandar, Dakshinamurthy and Nartana Ganapati.
There is a shrine to Mahadevalingam - associated with Bhrahmas worship and
a shrine to Agatheeswarar.

Four worship services are offered each day. Vaikasi Visakam, Thai Poosam,
Valli Tirumanam (Kartikai), Aani Tirumanjanam, Aadi Pooram, Aavani Moolam and Skanda

Source : Google
The temple Thiru Kondeecharam is about three Kms East of Nannilam, on the River Bank of Mudikondan.
This temple is one of 275 Siva Devara sthalam.The temple is facing east with single Prakaram.

Main Deity is Swayambu Lingam known as Arulmigu Pasupathy Nadhar, and his
consort known as Santha nayaki Amman. There is a deep mark on the top of Siva lingam.

Teertham, of the temple is known as Ksheera Pushkarani and Sthala Vruksham is Vilvam tree.

Sthala purana says once Umadevi was in the form of a cow. She was searching for Lord Siva,
and grazing. Here in this place her horn hit on a Siva lingam and blood started oozing. As a cow,
she was helpless and started pouring milk on the Siva lingam to stop the blood. The deep mark
made by her horn is still there on the Siva Lingam says Archakar.

Here, we see the pillar sculpture of the cow worshiping Lord Siva related
to sthala purana. Kamadenu worshiped Lord Siva in this place.

As we go around the temple prakaram, we see sanctums of Vinayakar,
Murugan, Mahalakshmi, Sooryan, Chandran, Bairavar and Jurahareswarar.

Thiru Navukkarasar sang hymns on Lord Siva of this place. Stone inscription
of King Krishnadevarayar period is seen

This place Srivanjiam is about 16 Kms from Thiruvarore, and about 28 kms from Kumbakonam.
This place is also known as Boo kailasam, Sandana Vanam and Thruvarayoor. The place is
considered equal to Varnasi Kshetram.This is one of 275 Siva Devara Sthalam.

The temple is constructed with granite stones. The main Raja gopuram of the temple
is of five storeys and three prakarram. Sthala Vruksham is Sandal tree.

As we enter in there is a corridor where we see Dwajasthambam. To the left side
there is a separate sanctum for Yamadharma. Inside the sanctum we see Chitragupta
in standing posture near Yamadhrma. As we enter into second prakaram we see
Abyankara Vinayakar and Blamurugan to either side of the door. Mangalambikai sanctum
is seen here. s we enter thirs prakaram we see Irattai vinayakar, and Adikara Nandi.
We pass through Maha mandapam and Artha mandapam to reach msin sanctum of
Sri Vaanchi Nadha swamy.

Main Deity is Swayambu Lingam known as Arulmigu Vaanji Nadhar and his
consort known as Vazha Vandha Nayaki / Mangala Nayaki.
Teertham is
Yama teertham, Gupta Gangai and Anandha Koopam. Water in Gupta Gangai came
from the Trisoolam of Lord Siva in Krutha Yugam. Parvathy stayed on the banks,
and the pushkrani is considered sacred.

In Dwapara yugam the pushkarani is known as Prasara teertham. Veeradanu was
wandering as Brahma Rakshas and he was relieved out of his curse by parasar sprinkling
this holy water on him. In Tretha Yugam the pushkarani is known as Athri teertham.
Athri Maharashi stayed here and used water from the pushkarani and worshiped Lord Siva
here for a child. He was blessed, and Dattatreya is his son. In Krutha Yugam Thirumagal
left Thiruparkadal, came down to earth, and lived as Brugu muni’s daughter.
Thirumaal decided to penance in this place and join with Thirumagal. Lord Siva was pleased,
and he brought Thirumagal from Brghumuni’s ashram and got them married in this place.
The place is now known Thiru Vanjiyam.
Yama worshiped Lord Siva here and was blessed. There is a separate sanctum
for yama in this temple. Yama is considered as a Vahana, for Lord Siva in this temple.
Yama does not punish people who die in this place

Sthala purana says Uma Devi heard the importance of this place from Lord Siva.
She stayed back in this place. In the month of Feb/ March (Masi) Lord Vishnu along
with Umadevi came to this place. Lord Siva with his consort blesses with all prosperity,
for one who worships him in this place. Since Uma Devi liked and opted to stay back
in the place, it is known as Thiru Vanjiyam. Ganga worshiped Lord Siva here to get
herself purified, from the sins of those, who bathe at Ganges at Varnasi.
As we go around the prakaram, we come across Yamadharma, Yoga Bairavar,
Durgai, Vennai Pillayaar, Kasi Viswanadhar, Chandra mowleeswarar, Pancha
Boodha lingam, Gaja Lakshmi, Kailasa Nadhar, Sani Bagwan and Nataraja sannidhi.
Yoga Bairavar is seen in sitting posture in this temple which is rare. Raghu and Kethu
together bless here. This form of is known as Chanda Raghu.
Thiru Gyana Sambandhar,
Thiru Navukkarasar, and Sundarar sang hymns on Lord Siva of this place.
Manikkavachakar, Sekizhar, Arunagiri nadhar, Ramaling Swamigal and Mutthuswami
Deekshidar have contributed songs on Lord Siva of this temple.

There are stone inscriptions seen in the temple.

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