Thiru Valanchuzhi

Swetha Vigneswara swamy - Thiruvalanchuzhi

Swetha Vinayagar (Vellai Pillayar) -(file picture)
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The Swetha Vinayagar Temple ( Vellai Vinayakar) is situated in the village of Thiruvalanchuzhi  four kilometres from Kumbakonam near Swamimalai. The presiding deity is Kapardiswarar,with ambaal Brihannayaki. Though the moolavar is Kapardiswarar the importance here is for Ganesha, known as Swetha Vinayagar.

According to puranas (epics), there are ten important abodes for Ganesha in India.

  1. Swetha Vignesa puram
  2. Mayuresa puram
  3. Raja Sadhanam
  4. Kandageepuram
  5. Sidhasramam
  6. Bowmapuram
  7. Manipuram
  8. Kasi (Varanasi)
  9. Chintamani puram
  10. Prayagai
Thiruvalanchuzhi known in purana as Swetha Vignesa puram is in Tamil Nadu and other nine being in North India in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh

As per mythology ,devas and asuras were trying to churn the Thiru Parkadal using Mandhra mountain as the churn and the serpent Vasuki as the rope to extract the 'amudham', Vasuki spewed out venom thus polluting the ocean and poisoning the living beings. Unable to bear the heat generated due to the venom, devas and Asuras rushed to Lord Siva. Siva said that they are facing hardships because they had started the task without first getting the approval of Ganesha.

They scooped out the white foam and made a Ganesha figure an this was worshipped by Sri Parameshwaran, Parvathi at Kailash and later by Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi at Vaikundam, and by Brahma nad Saraswathy at Sathya logam, by turns during different yugas such as Kridhayugam,Thredha yugam. Later during Kaliyugam, Swetha Vinayagar was worshipped by Devendran and Indrani at Indra logam.

Once Devendran was cursed by Akalya and to remove the curse, he had to visit the Siva kshetrangal in the boo logam (earth). He brought this Swetha Vinayaga in a golden plate along with him. He reached Thiruvalanchuzhi and wanted to worship Sri Kabartheeswarar. As he wanted to bathe in the Jada theertham, he was looking for some one to hold the Swetha Vinayagar idol, as Sri Maha Vishnu had told Indra that this should not be put down in the earth.

Sri Kabartheeswarar appeared as a boy and offered to hold it for him on a condition that he will call Indra thrice and if does not appear, he will keep the idol down. Indra agreed and went to bath. Immediatel Kabartheeswar in the disguise of a boy called Indra thrice and he Indra could not hear him he placed the idol in a raised platforn near his sanctum.

When Indra came back, he could neither see the boy nor remove the idol. He gave up after several futile attempts and finally called Viswakarma ( the great architect) and constructed a beautiful Indra Vimanam (a vehicle) with intrinsic art so that he can pull it back to Indra logam with his white elephants.

At that time a voice from the Heaven asked Indra not to remove the idol and Swetha Vinayagar will stay in this blessed place to protect the human kind and will be fulfilling devotees wishes. Indra was asked to visit this place during every Ganesh chaturthis, which will be equivalent to doing pooja every day. Indran was delighted at this and every Ganesh Chaturthi, he would come and perform an elaborate pooja ( This is referenced in Swetha Vigneswarar Mahatmiyam of Bavishyotra Puranam in slokas 1 to 50)

As per legends, river Cauvery circumbulated Lord Kabartheeswarar while entering and also exits clockwise, it came to known as Thiru Valam Chuzhi (going around in a right circle).

Thiruvalanchuzhi Temple entrance
Thiruvalanchuzhi Temple entrance

The Temple: The temple faces east with a majestic five tiered gopuram. As you enter you can see the beautiful temple tank called Jada theertahm.

Sanctum entrance

Beautifully carved stone windows

The sanctum where Swetha Vinayagar presides is beautifully architected in granite with intricate works. The entrance on both its sides has large panes carved out of stones (could be granite or some soft granite like stone).

The Swetha Vinayagar idol is pure white and is placed in a silver and gold mandap. No abhisheka orflowers are offered to the deity,obviously as the idol is made up of soft white foam like meaterial. Every decoration and splendour is for the surrounding frames alone. The only offering is Pachai Karpooram (Borneal Flakes - edible form of camphor derived from plants and extensively used in sweets), which is finely crushed and sprinkled over the idol.

Karungal Palagini
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The stone pane in front of Swetha Vinayagar is called as 'Karungal Palagani' (Stone window) which is beautifully carved and has four pillars and hundred and eleven holes. This has many religious and spirtual meanings which is beyond the scope of writing. It is said whenever Kanchi Maha swami (Paramacharyal) used to visist this temple he used to sit beside this Karungal Palagani and admire its beauty each time.

kallmandapam. tiruvalanchuzhi praharam
Gayathri Mandapam Praharam
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The mandapam next to the sanctum is called Gayathri Mandapam, with 24 beautifully carved pillars with intricate designs, depicting the 24 akshars of the Gayathri manthram. It is beleived that sitting in this mandap and chanting Ganesha gayathri mantra will bring you releif from all the difficulties in the life, and you will be blessed by Ganesha with all prosperity.

Another interesting factor is that in the sanctum of Kabartheeswarar, we can see Suryan (Sun) and Shani (Saturn) are facing each other which is ver rare.

Ganesha idols
Ganesha idols in the prharam
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Daily pujas to the deities are performed four times a day.

Monthly sankatahara chaturthi,krithigai,Pradosham are celeberated. Needless to say, Ganesh Chaturthi is celeberated in a grand manner for 10 days and the whole village participates. It is said that even Lord Indra participates in the Ganesha Chaturthi festivals.

Temple Timings It is normally open from 5 am – 12:00pm and 4.30pm- 8:00pm.

How to reach?

The temple is located at 4 Kms from Kumbakonam. Plenty of local buses,cabs and auto rickshaws are available from Kumbakonam.

Where to Stay?There are plenty of budget and semi deluxe hotels are in Kumbakonam.
Where to Eat?There are many good restaurants in Kumbakonam
Places nearby Kumbakonam is a place with many famous temples and Oppiliappan temple, Patteeswaram Durgai, Darsuram, Thirubhuvanam,Swamimalai are very nearby.

Contact Sri Tiru Valanchuzhi Temple, Tiruvalanchuzi-612 302
Phone: +91 435 2454421, 2454026

Useful data
State: Tamil Nadu
District: Kumbakonam
Famous for: Pilgrimage
Languages: English,Tamil
Best Season: Throughout the year. Summer( from May to July) could be very hot and dry when the mercury shoots to 40 degree celsius.
Weather: Summer 33-42°C, Winter 16-28°C
Altitude: Sea level

note:Swetha Vinayagar (Vellai Pillayar)-photo courtesy from the Cover of Sthala puranam.