Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kandadevi - The Forgotten Heritage

There are a lot of places in Tamil Nadu associated with the Ramayana. One such forgotten place in the Kandadevi. Kandadevi marks an important event in Ramayana - the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana.

Ravana kidnapped Sita and went on his way to Srilanka. Sita cried in distress for help but in vain. Jatayu saw Sita being kidnapped by Ravana and in distress. Jatayu ventured into the skies to save Sita and fought against Ravana, but during the fight Ravana cut its wings. Jatayu fell to the ground after valiantly fighting against Ravana. Jatayu was holding its life hoping Lord Rama would follow to get back Sita from Ravana. As Jatayu hoped, Lord Rama found Jatayu hurt fatally. Lord Rama knew that Jatayu was his father's long time friend and shed tears on finding Jatayu in its deathbed. 

Lord Rama narrated the incidents that happened and died in Lord Rama's hands. Lord Rama considered Jatayu as his father and performed the final rites for the dead Jatayu. Lord Rama in remembrance of Jatayu installed a shiva lingam and named it as Lord Siragilinathar, meaning the lord without feathers.

The place where Jatayu saw Sita being abducted is Kandadevi, actually Kandaen Devi, meaning the Seeing Sita. Kandaen Devi later got transformed to Kandadevi. There is a place nearby called Iragusari (meaning place where wings fell - Iragu: Wings, feather, Sari - Fall) where Jatayu fought and had his wings cut. Iragusari has now been transformed as Iravuseri.

The temple is now called Lord Swarnamoortheeshwarar Temple. The Goddess is Periyanayagi. The original name of the deity is Lord Siragilinathar, however there are some interesting legends that explain why the name got changed to Lord Swarnamoortheeshwarar.

First one is very interesting. The King who ruled that region wanted to renovate the temple, but his kingdom did not have enough money or gold to renovate the temple. So, he took two businessmen, who were brothers, with him to get enough money from acquaintances. When they were walking near this temple, all three of them stumbled and fell on the ground. The King immediately found it to be strange that all three have falled and ordered his men to dig the place where they fell. There he found lots of gold and precious gems. He realised it as a blessing of Lord Siragilinathar. With the treasure temple the King renovated this temple and named the deity as Lord Swarnamoortheeshwarar as the he was bestowed with gold treasure.

The next - Once there was a severe drought and no rains. All the people in the nearby village suffered and went on without food for many days. They prayed to this Lord to save their lives and it rained gold in that village. The village is named after this incident as Semponmaari - meaning (rain of gold). As a result the Lord who bestowed them prosperity was named Swarnamoorthy

The last one is, The Lord's name in Sanskrit was called as Swarnabarneshwarar (Swarna (Gold) + Barna (Wings, Feather) meaning the Lord with the golden feather, later got transformed as Swarnamoorthy.

Behind the temple, is a big tank called the Jatayu Theertham. The tank is so huge and covers a large area. It is said that the temple tank has never dried up even during drought or intense summer seasons.

Now let us view the pictures of the temple

The Rajagopuram to Lord Siragilinathar Temple, Kandadevi

The temple Mandapam

The Rajagopuram from within the temple

The temple mandapam

The temple mandapam of Annamalaiyar Shrine, Vinayagar Shrine.

The pillar in the mandapam carved out of a single stone

Sculpture in the pillar, so intricate and artistic

The 12 zodiac signs sculpted on the ceiling of the temple mandapam

Lord Dakshinamoorthy carved in one of the pillars

The intricate sculptures in one of the shrines in the temple

At the backside of the temple Prakaram

Temple Vimanam

The temple Prakaram

Lord Subramaniyar Shrine from behind

Temple Prakaram the northern side

Lord Subramaniyar Shrine

The Nagalingam Tree

Lord Karuppar statue carved in the temple walls

Lord Bhairavar Shrine, behind it is the shrine of Periyanayaki Amman

The temple prakaram and the Lord Subramaniyar Shrine

Intricate carvings in the walls of the Periyanayagi Amman Shrine

Close-up picture of the carvings

Much closer look at the carvings

Sculpture of a Peacock holding a snake in its beak

The temple entrance from inside the mandapam (Baby Priyanka and My Father in the picture)

Intricate art of sculpture in the temple entrance

Sculpture masterpiece at the temple entrance. Notice the small shaft connecting the two pillars

The shaft that connects the two pillars, the shaft and the stone it appears attached to is made out of a single stone!

The entrance to the temple that we visited

The temple Rajagopuram, another view

The outer walls of the temple

The temple car (Thaer - தேர்), which is at least a few hundred years old

Intricate carvings in the temple car

Another picture of the beautiful carvings in the temple car

The following pictures show the Jatayu Theertham, the temple's tank

Aerial view of the temple and Jatayu Theertham, just look at the scale of the tank. (Courtesy:

Kandadevi is 2 km Devakottai. Devakottai is a town in Sivagangai district and is one of the oldest municipalities of Tamil Nadu. Renovation is being done in the temple, for further details about the temple timings etc., please contact Karthik Gurukkal - +91 94439 56357

Having so much of heritage to it, Kandadevi is really a forgotten place that needs to be revived and heralded of its glory it once had.

More to come, until then...


World News Trend said...

Really nice information.For more details and pictures of temple treasure in india go to

Anonymous said...

nice to read about shiva adobe in TN. i am from punjab and for me reading ur post about shiva temple is like gift. i recently visited Tungnath, one among panch kedar in uttarakhand. Shiva is the force binding this country together spritually since time immortal. many political power came and gone but shiva the symbold of supreme soul in form of jyoritlingam remain prominent from amarntah in JK to rameshwaram in TN and Tripursunderi in Tripura to somnath in gujrat. kathmandu, angkor wat in cambodia are evidence past glory thet hinduism once enjoyed. shiva is the metapher of both nirguna & sahgun form of supreme self. thank again for spreading his glory.

Ramu said...

This blog takes me to my child hood.Yes this is my native place. Really I am very proud to say this.Now I am living far away from native, Aberdeen, Scotland. I miss our temple Kumbabishekam on 05.02.2012. My thoughts are always with my village and temple.What a lovely admosphere? Please visit during festival time.
Thanks to Prabu for this post.

Ramanathan Jambulingam

R. Prabhu said...

Dear Mr. Ramu,

Good to meet a person from Kandadevi. Indeed it's a beautiful place. Thanks for the information about the Kumbhabishekam, but unfortunately i could not make it.

Muthukrishnan said...

Hi ,

Good Collections....wonderful job...

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Muthukrishnan

Golden Lotus said...

Mr. Prabhu, excellent blog - appreciate it. I would invite you to look at and join (Ponniyin selvan group) (Ancient Monuments of India) and (Bronzes of South India). You will enjoy these a lot.
Warm Regards
Swarna Lakshmi

AK said...

Keep up the work... Great read...

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Arun!

sinthu anjel said...

hi sir this is my native place and thanks for ur information it is realy nice.....

Daivik Kumar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daivik Kumar said...


Semponmari is my father's native, he was born and bred there before moved abroad. Most of the people who lives in that village wher my relatives or pankaalais, I been there twice in my life visited my last surviving cousins and worship the kula devata. Unfortunately I am not being blessed to be born neither in India nor this holy land.

But about the golden rain, as per what my father's version (the real story was not about gold rain instead in a bloody drought-famine no rain fall.. crops were dying ..upon worshipped the siva...the lord pleased with the prays and shower his grace...(why would he shower with gold..not making any sense at all..the water was much precious than a gold) in the hot sunny bright day no dark clouds but heavy rain poured the water droplets stroke by the sunlight glittering sparkling shone like a gold-sempon-aparanji..(an this can be proved if anyone has witness rain falls in a bright day during summer seasons) as usual over time people passed down the story and one dim witted culprit might have over hyped relayed the event erroneously) there is another version as well Maruthu pandiyar visited this place during a heavy famine and offered gold generously and praised like a pouring rain..

eravusari oorani(mumudinaathar kovil) is near the nagarathar sivan kovil i think about 4-5 kilometer south east to this temple.

there are other stories also related to the kanda devi temple:
1. dhaksha prajaapathi's daughetr sati devi (dhaakshaayani) immolated herself in fire ..siva carried here causal body dancing ferociously which disturbed the universe, to stop the destruction maha vishnu sliced sati's body into many pieces (different holy text gives different accounts..) one part of her body fallen here and also presume a part from a neck, thus kanda+devi (kanda stands for either throat/neck or chopped/sliced act)
.. so can consider it is sakti peeta...confirming with perianayaki amman's grace and fame surround the are

2.another story ..from sundara kaandam.. hanuman return back ..informed lord rama that...he witness sita such the name corrupted from kanden deviyai

but vast majority of us giving credit to the jadaayu story..... my mum use tell us...oorula entha ooraniyo kanmaiyo vaththinaalum..intha kanda devi ooranila mattum eppavum neer kuraiyaama nirainthu irukumunu

ithu pitru dosha nivaarana teertham, paapaharana theertham, sampath/santaana varadha teertham.
pitru dosham, saapam paapam theerka valla teertam and also endows wealth and progeny..

i think it should be swarna+parna+eeswar

parna means feather or wing or plume(arrangement of feathers)

barha means tail

aabarna means adorned, garment, parasol, ornament..

but i don't know the meaning of barna , for sure it has nothing to do with birds wing or feather

probably it might have corrupted from swarnaparneswar to swarnabarneswar

like talapathi is pronounced as dhalabathi and nalapaakam as nalabaagam

forgive me if i have been nosy

R. Prabhu said...

Thank you very much for the detailed comment Daivik Kumar. Appreciate the amount of information you have provided in your comments. In fact, the same place has multiple legends associated to it. Kandadevi, Iragusari and Semponmaari are such places.

Interesting to know the other versions of legends for those places.

n. saikrishnan said...

Thanks Mr Prabhu for the excellent write up and beautiful photos! I am a native of Devakottai and I know very well about both Kandadevi and Iruvuseri ( Iraguseri ) temples. Unfortunately, Kandadevi temple's name is there in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons. I only hope and Pray to Lord Swaarnamoortheeswarar that the Ther Festival of this temple is once again conducted without any animosity between the various groups. Thanks and regards Saikrishnan

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Saikrishnan, true this temple should be for the right reasons in the newspapers, instead bad politicians are using the temple for getting publicity for themselves. I too hope that the temples festivals would be celebrated without any animosity in future.