Goddess – Periya Nayagi in sanskrit Brihannayagi means the ‘Great Goddess’
Holy Water – Kaveri, Arasalaru, Jada Theertham
Holy Tree – Vilvam
Festivals – Chathurthi Vizha in Aavani
Kabardeeshwarar Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which is located in the village of Thiruvalanjuli just 6 kms Kumbakonam Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India. The Temple is more popularly known as Vellai Vinayagar Temple owing to the white color of the Vinayagar idol worshiped in the shrine.( ‘Vellai’ means ‘White’ in Tamil ).
The idol is pure white and is protected very fiercely by silver and gold frames. No abhisheka or pushpa are offered to the deity, lest the cream is washed away. Every decoration and splendour is for the surrounding frames alone. The only offering is Pacha-Karpooram (a fine edible form of camphor), which is finely crushed and sprinkled over the image on a basis. This alone is the main offering by the devotees to the temple.
When Devas and – asuras churned the milky ocean – Parkadal poison – Nanju came out of the mandara malai. The devas were upset with the poison and Devendran the ruler of Indra Loka attributed this to the negligence on the part of Devas to propitiate Vinayaka before embarking on this divine mission.
Thus Indra created an icon of Valampuri Vinayaka from the froth of the sea waves called Swetha Vinayaka. In North India the Lord is called Vellai Varnam Pillayar in Tamil speaking areas. After worshipping Vinayaka the churning of the milky ocean was successfully completed.
Indra wanted to install the Lord in Deva Loka and worship there. But everyone wanted to worship him thus he was worshipped in different places in different yugas; in Krita yuga – Mt Kailash, Treta yuga – Vailuntam, Dwapara yuga – Sathya loka, and in Kali yuga he was taken to deva loka.
Due to Indra’s misconduct with Ahalya, he undertook a pilgrimage to the Earth to redeem his curse and he carried the Lord with him.
Indra undertook a pilgrimage to the shrines on the banks of Cauvery. At one place Shiva appeared in front of Indra in disguise, as a youth. Indra wanted to have a bath and at once handed the icon of Vinayaka and requested him to catch the icon until such time he returns. Indra returned and found the youth missing and the icon was installed on the ground. He tried to uproot but could not do so. Indra now requested the celestial sculptor to design a chariot placed Vinayaka on it and tried to pull it. Low and behold Vinayaka refused to budge from the place . The place where he stayed back is now called Thiruvalanchuzhi. River Cauvery, before she went underground circumambulated the Lingam and thus this place is called Thiruvalanchuzhi and the deity is called Thiruvalanchuzhinathar, The hallowed spot is called Santhavanam, Thiruyanavartham and Dakshina vartham.
The temple gopuram is mammoth with five tier gopuram.
The temple has five prakaras and the pillars are a treasure trove of sculptures. Brahma and Indra worshipped the deity here. Since Bhairavar plucked the Brahma’s head he was cursed with Brahmahathi dosham. Bhairavar was redeemed of the curse after taking a bath in the tank and worshipping Vinayaka.
Inscriptions reveal that Raja Raja Cholan had made several endowments here. There are also inscriptions from the period of Parantaka Chola I.
The most important festival in the temple is ofcourse the Chathurthi Vizha in Aavani, celebrating the birth of the elepahant faced one.
Another interesting celebration is the one in which the utsavar of Swaminatha Swami is brought from Swamimalai.The Valli Kalyanam episode of Skanda purana is then enacted out with great fervor.In this episode Ganesha comes as an elephant to scare Valli into marrying his brother Skandha. There is also this one day in a year when the temple is closed at mid day after the priest lays out all the items for worship. It is believed that Indra himself performs the pooja for the day as was the boon granted to him(One year on earth equals a day in swarga).
The temple is situated near Kumbakonam on the Kumbakonam Thanjavur road.