Muthheeswara Temple

Thirukurippu Thonda Naynar at Muthheswara Temple Kanchipuram

Thirukurippu Thonda Naynar at Muthheswara Temple Kanchipuram

Muthheswara Temple (not to be confused with Muktheswara Temple) is located in the busy Gandhi road of Kanchipuram famous for the Saree shops.

This is the place where Thirukurippu thonda nayanar who is the 19th in the line of 63 naayanars got Mukthi. He was a Vannar (dhobi) by profession and was a staunch devotee of Shiva. He used to wash the clothes of devotees as a service to Shiva. He was also well known for soothsaying based on face reading. Hence he got the title thirukurippu thondar.

To test his devotion and give him an opportunity for early mukthi, Lord Shiva appeared here in the form of an old devotee with dirty clothes. As was his wont, Nayanar offered to wash the clothes for him. The devotee warned him that he would need the clothes by nightfall as it was his only protection for the night. Due to clouds and rains, Nayanar could not deliver the dry clothes on time and was very agitated. To atone this, he tried to bang his head against a stone. Miraculously a hand appeared and supported him. Shiva appeared and blessed him.

This story was narrated to us by the temple priest.

Though the temple is in the middle of the bazaar, it is fairly big but a bit cluttered with structures. Fortunately, it is clean and the temple tank had some water.

 

Krishna stealing the clothes of Gopis

 

Krishna Vastraapaharan Kanchipuram

Krishna stealing clothes – Kanchipuram

 

The story of Krishna stealing the clothes of gopis is an interesting and a recurring theme in many temple sculptures. I have already posted a couple of blogs on these with photoes from different locations.

Vastraaharan: Krishna and Gopis

Krishna at it again

The two pictures in this post are from Kanchipuram but from different sources. The one above is from a mandapam in front of the West entrance to Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple.

The one below is a mural from a private house near the Varadraja Perumal temple. It belongs to one of the descendants of Prativadi Bhayamkaram Annangaracharya. The paintings were done around 1930 and are need of restoration. The helpful owners opened up the door and showed us around all the paintings.

90- year old Wall painting Vastrapaharan

90- year old Wall painting of Vastraharan Lila

Mathangeswara – Another little known Pallava temple

After seeing the Vaikunda Perumal Temple, we wanted to see the Mathangeeswarar temple, which according to Google Maps was nearby. However, no one could guide us properly. We ended up at the State Museum (small, but enthusiastic staff) and having an early lunch. After lunch, we decided to have one last try. We parked the car and started walking on the busy Hospital Road. All of a sudden, between two shops, we saw the familiar blue and rusty ASI board informing about all kinds of offences and fines.

Entrance of Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchiouram

Entrance to Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram from Hospital Road

Going through the short passage we were pleasantly surprised to see a quadrangle with a small but imposing temple.

First sight of Mathankeshwarar temple, Kanchipuram

The Mathangeeswarar (or Mathangeswarar) temple is built on a high platform. The peaceful ambiance in the midst of the bustle of the bazaar is truly remarkable. There were a handful of young men reading and preparing notes. When we enquired they informed us that they are preparing for the state competitive examinations. To our query whether there is any spiritual significance for choosing this place to study, they said that it is only the peaceful ambiance which attracted them.  To our amusement, we found a polite request on the Mukha Mandapam not to sit on it for studying.

Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

The style of architecture as highlighted by the lion pillars is definitely Pallava. The pillar details (ornate brackets, palagai & kumbha) indicate 8th century Pallava style.  The sanctum was closed when we were there but we understand that the main deity is Lord Shiva.

Pillar details at Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Pillar details at Mathangeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

The mukhamandapam has six panels. Two are the Dwarapalakas.  The others are 1) Gaja Samharamurthy 2) Ravananugrah Murthy [click here for the background story,  my blog on Ravana and Mount Kailash]  3) Urdhva Tandava Murthy & 4) Gangadhara.

Dwarapalaka at Mathankeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Dwarapalaka at Mathankeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Gajasamhara Murthy panel at Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Gajasamhara Murthy panel at Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Ravananugraha Murthy - a panel in Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Ravananugraha Murthy – a panel in Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Urdhva tandava Murthy a panel in Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Urdhva tandava Murthy a panel in Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Gangadharan at Matangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Gangadharan at Matangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

The figures on the outside walls are highly eroded.

Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Outside view Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

There is Nandi with a broken face on a pedestal under a peepul tree but there is no Nandi mandapam.

Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram

Another heritage monument neglected by the authorities and the public.

Mahishasura Mardini – a recap

Happy Navaratri to all. Being Mahanavami today, I thought of bringing you some of the images of Mahishasuramardinis from various locations. The pictures were taken by me at different points of time.

Mahabalipuram Mahishasuramardini

Mahabalipuram Mahishasuramardini

The above is perhaps the most majestic and well-preserved one. With its fluidic movement and detail, it is almost like an animated presentation.

Mahishasuramardini Ellora cave 16 (Kailasanatha )

Mahishasuramardini Ellora cave 16 (Kailasanatha )

at Kailasanatha temple, Kanchipuram

at Kailasanatha temple, Kanchipuram

Durga at Cave 14

Durga at Cave 14 Ellora

 

Mahishasuramardini in Kailasanatha temple, Kanchipuram

Kailasanatha temple, Kanchipuram

 

Mahishasuramardini at Ellora Cave 16 (kailasanatha)

Another Mahishasuramardini at Ellora Cave 16 (Kailasanatha)

 

Mahishasuramardini near Tiger Cave, Saluvankuppam

Mahishasuramardini near Tiger Cave, Saluvankuppam

☝️Near Tiger Cave, Saluvankuppam

The rock North of Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

The rock North of Shore Temple Mahabalipuram (outside view above & closeup below)

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Mahishasura Mardhini Baijnath temple, Himachal Pradesh.

Mini Mahishasura mardini inside the lion, shore temple.

Cave 14 Ellora

Mahishasura mardini cave 14 Ellora & a visitor.

 

At Aihole, Karnataka

At Aihole, Karnataka

 

Another one at Aihole, Karnataka

Another one at Aihole, Karnataka

Click here for: ‘Development of Iconography of Mahishasuramardini in Badami Chalukyan Art -A Canonical Study’

Little known gem of Kanchipuram

Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, Pallava 7-8 Century C.E

Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, Pallava 7-8 Century C.E

I was not aware of the Vaikunta Perumal Temple of Kanchipuram till now. If you are amazed by the Kailasnatha temple, you will be stunned by Vaikunta Perumal temple. This 7 century Pallava temple has bas-relief sculptures all over the walls – divine images as well as battle scenes, everyday life etc. Sadly, a lot of the sandstone sculptures are eroded and were plastered by ASI in an attempt to stop further damage.

The temple is in three levels – Vishnu is in sitting posture in the main sanctum. At the next level, approachable by a narrow stairway, he is Ranganathar, in lying posture. At the third level, which we did not see, he is in standing posture.

 

The picture was taken with phone camera (Redmi 4 Note) and tweaked on Snapseed. #phoneography.