Sri Hara Vimochana Temple




Hara Saabha Vimochana Perumal Temple in Thirukandiyur, a village in the outskirts of Thiruvayaru in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Hara Saabha Vimochana and his consort Lakshmi as Kamalavalli.

The temple is believed to have been built by the Medieval Cholas of the late 8th century AD, with later contributions from Vijayanagar kings and Madurai Nayaks. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines and its bodies of water. The temple has a 5-tiered rajagopuram, the temple’s gateway tower.

Hara Saabha Vimochana is believed to have appeared to Hindu gods Brahma and Shiva, and King Mahabali. Six daily rituals and four yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Panguni Brahmostavam, celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (April–May), is the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
As per the account in Brahmanda Purana, Brahma, the Hindu god of creation and Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, had originally five heads. Parvati, the wife of Shiva, once got confused and worshipped Brahma, instead of her husband. Shiva got enraged and cut off one of Brahma’s heads; the head stuck to Shiva’s hand due to Brahma’s curse. To get rid off the sin, Shiva worshipped the god Vishnu at Thirukarambanur as Bhikshatana, where a part of his sin was relieved. Shiva freed himself from the sin after visiting Vishnu at Thirukandiyur and taking a holy dip in the temple tank, Kamala Pushkarani. Since Vishnu relieved (vimochana) the sin (saabha) of Shiva (also called Hara), the temple is called Hara Saabha Vimochana Temple. After the incident, the tank came to be known as Kapala Theertham (kapala indicates skull). Shiva was pleased and he built the Hara Sabha Vimochana temple and also built a temple for himself near it.

As per another legend, Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu requested Shiva to cut off one of Brahma’s heads as she felt that Vishnu would ignore her and show all his affection towards Brahma. Sage Bhrigu, King Mahabali and the moon-god Chandra expiated their sins, worshipping Vishnu here. Sage Bhrigu, once wanted to test the superior of the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He kicked Vishnu in his chest in anger; the sage atoned here. Chandra sinned by seducing his guru’s wife; he partially expiated by worshipping here.
The temple is believed to have been built by the Medieval Cholas of the late 8th century AD, with later contributions from Vijayanagar kings and Madurai Nayaks. In modern times, the recorded temple renovation was carried out in 1984 under the aegis of seer Sri Thirukudanthai Vedanta Ramanuja Mahadesikan. The renovation is 2003 was carried out by his successor Sri Rangaramanuja Mahadesikan. The works involved renovation of the gateway tower and the shrines of Hara Saabha Vimocahana and Kamalavalli. The oldest deities of the temple are found to be that of Santana Gopala and Navneetha Krishna. It is believed that Tipu Sultan, the king of Mysore fought and won a war at this place and later became a devotee of the temple.

Festivals :

The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. As at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavaite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day: Ushathkalam at 7 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:00 p.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 10:00 p.m. Each ritual has three steps: alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Hara Saabha Vimochana and Kamalavalli. During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. Four major festivals are celebrated in the temple, namely, the Panguni Brahmmotsavam celebrated during the Tamil month in Panguni (March–April), Aipasi Pavithra Utsavam in Aipasi (October–November), Vaikunta Ekadashi in Margazhi (December–January) and Karthikai Deepam in Karthikai (November–December).

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