Friday, December 2, 2011

Tennangur Panduranga Rukmayee Temple

Dear Readers,

From Editors Desk

I recently was travelling with my brother to Melmaruvathur. After finishing the darshan we thought of visiting few more temples on our way back to Chennai. We finally but fortunately landed in a small village known as Tennangur.

Tennangur hosts the divine Gnanandagiri Peetam established by Sri Haridas Giri Swamigal, known as Guruji to all his devotees, dedicated his life toward spreading Nama Sankirtanam just a decade before. One will be taken aback by the beautiful and divine archa Vigrahas of Pandurangan and Rukmayee (Rukmini) in the divine temple complex.

I used to hear the Music of Sri Haridas Giri and his discourse on the significance of “Radha Kalyanam” is still lingering in my ears! I want all my readers to buy at least one Musical CD of Sri Haridas Giri and hear his divine resonant voice. I am sure you will feel the divine vibration. Guruji has been blessed by his Guru Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamigal after severe tests and has been commanded to take up the service of spreading Bhakti among the people all over the world. His Guru Bhakti i.e. devotion to the Guru is unique and he swears that whatever he says is only because of the Mercy of the Guru who inspires him then and there to even utter and sing the divine names. Such is the greatness of his Guru Bhakti.

I hereby humbly request all those who read this article to visit this holy place without fail and seek the blessings of Swami Haridas Giri and the Gods Panduranga Rukumayee. Whenever Guruji greets his devotees he shows his two fingers and greet as “Radhe Krishna” representing the Jivatma and Paramatma and the path he shown to us was Namasankirthanam.

Radhe Krishna!

AV Devan / Chennai / December 1st 2011.

“Dakshina Halasyam” Tennangur

Thennangur is a small but beautiful village located roughly about 108 Kms from Chennai. You can reach Thennangur either via Kanchipuram or Chengalpattu. Tennangur hosts the holy Gnanananda Giri Peetam established by Sri Haridas Giri in the name of his Guru. The Peetam along with its temple complex attracts devotees from far and wide. The main temple is dedicated to the Sri Rukmayee (Rukmini) along with her consort Pandurangan (Vital). Thennangur is located about 6 Kms from Vandavasi. It can also be reached via Chengalpat and Uthiramerur.
(See the Route Map below - Tennangur is marked as ‘A’).

Legend of Thennangur

Thennangur’s ancient name is known as “Dakshina Halasyam” meaning the place where the wise drink the nectar. It was also known as “Shadaranya Kshetra” as it was covered by six forests. Pandya King, desiring to have a child, was exhorted to have a yagna done with the help of Sapta Rishis. It was here, in Shadaranya this yagna was said to have been done and a girl child appeared in this yagna. The king took the child to Madurai, and named her Sri Meenakshi. Therefore Dakshina Halasyam is the birth place of Goddess Meenakshi. As told by Kanchi Paramacharya in this episodical background a temple was also built for Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar at Tennangur.

Sadguru Sri Gnanananda Giri

Gnananandagiri Swamigal was born at Mangalapuri near Gokarna on the west coast in Karnataka to an orthodox Brahmin couple. At his young age, he was driven to Pandharpur with an urge to know the self. It is in this historic place, that Swami was guided to meet his Guru, Swami Sivaratna Giri of Jyotirmutt, one of the four mutts established by His Holiness Sri Adisanakaracharya himself. Swami Sivaratna Giri accepted this young boy as his disciple and swami then followed his Guru like a shadow and derived great delight in serving him. After Swami attained proficiency in Ashtanga Yoga, Hindu Scriptures, Upanishadic truths etc., Swami was given holy order of Sanyasa by his Guru and was named ‘Sri Gnanananda Giri’ into the ‘Giri’ order of Jyotir Mutt.

Later, after Mahasamadhi of his Guru, Swami adorned the Peetam of Jyotir Mutt for some time before relinquishing the same for undertaking intense penance at Himalayas. After long period of seclusion, swami travelled extensively on foot, spanning the whole of India, Tibet, Nepal, Burma and Srilanka. Finally swami is believed to have returned to Southern India and from around 1966, Swami permanently stayed at Thapovanam at Tirukkovilur, near Tiruvannamalai.

"Guruji” Sri Haridas Giri

The chief disciple of Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamigal was Swami Haridas Giri known familiarly as “Guruji”. Swami Haridhas Giri (Guruji) was born in the sacred month of Margazhi under the auspicious star of Utharattathi. He was born in the sacred land of Arunchala Shetram (Tiruvannamalai). His father, Sri Nott Annaji Rao, was an ardent Bhagavatha and a devotee of Swami Gnanananda Giri. Sri Nott Annaji Rao who was a doyen in the field of Sampradaya Bhajan. His mother was very pious soul. Haridas Giri even while he was youth was attracted to Namasankirthanam, the inspiration emanating from his father. Every Bhajan held in any part of the town he happened to live in, found him with eager eyes and throbbing enthusiasm. He gradually experienced in his own self a desire overflowing in his heart to take up this as his walk of life. Thus, the seed for a change in him was sown early in his teens. In 1954, One day when Guruji was sitting on top of a hill enjoying the nature around him, Guruji saw a small fire about 200 yards away, he asked some of his workers at the tea plantation, where Guruji was working at that time to check it out. The workers went down the hill to check and told Guruji that they could not see any fire around that area.

For one week Guruji saw that fire. Then one night Guruji heard a knocking at his door, as Guruji opened the door, Guruji again saw the fire there and suddenly it disappeared and His Master appeared before him. The Master told Guruji that his place is not here and that Guruji is for the world. The next day Guruji told his boss about the fire and the appearance of His Master. His boss said that it is only an illusion and gave him 15 days leave. Guruji went back to Madras see his father Sri Nott Annaji Rao, who took him to see a saint in a temple outside the city. When Guruji saw him again, Guruji burst out crying. He was the Master that appeared from the fire.
After many trials and tests on Haridas Giri, Swami Gnanananda Giri appointed Swami Haridas Giri (Guruji) and told him to spread and sing in the praise of the Lord ­known as Nama Sankirthanam, as the only pathway to salvation. Swami Gnanananda Giri gave Guruji His Paduka, blessed him with the hidden treasures of our great scriptures and commanded him to undertake a life of renunciation and the mission of spreading the great cult of Namasankirthanam with a musical discourses on saints and sages who had tread this soil in a similar manner. In the course of His mission, Guruji established many Mandalis, Seva Samajams and other Philanthropic institutions throughout the world. Sri Swami Haridhas Giri shed his mortal coil on 4th September 1994 at Koteeswar near Rudraprayag in the Himalayas by entering into Jalasamadhi but spiritually showering His Bountiful Blessings to all. The Namasankirthana mission started by Guruji is now being carried forward by his close disciple Sri Namananda Giri Swamigal.

Panduranga Rukmayee (Rukmini) Temple

Several God men descended this earth to propagate the ideals of Namasankeerthanam; the celebrated Maharashtra Saints, Sankeerthana Mummurthigal, Meera, Chaithanya Maha Prabhu, Badrachala Ramadas & others.- the line continues. The crest jewel of Sankeerthana Tradition of this century is swami Haridas Giri, affectionately called 'Guruji' who lived for establishing Namasankeerthanam and made people realise the words of Sage Suka. Touring the world to spread the gospel of Swami Gnanananda Giri, Guruji emphasised the need for a permanent establishment to propagate Namasankeerthanam. It was the command of His Master, Guruji chose Dakshina Halasyam [Thennangur village] as the abode for spreading the knowledge of Sanathana Dharma through the medium of Namasankeerthanam and at the same time imparting education on ancient texts, such as vedas, puranas etc. There is a saying in Tamil ‘kovil illatha ooril kudiyirukkathe’ i.e. ‘one should not live in a place where there is no temple'. Sri Guruji, in order to blend the styles of North and South in Architecture has built a temple for Pandurangan and Rukmayee (Rukmini) in the style and form a Puri Jagannath temple with front Gopurams on Pallava style of Architecture. "Dakshina Halasyam" has a divine tale behind it. It is the place where Goddess Meenakshi was found as a small child by the Pandyan king. Hence it is called 'Dakshina Halasyam'. The temple with the main deities in the Garbagraham has the Pancholoka Dwara Palaks at the entrance. The temple was constructed by Sri Muthiah Sthapathi, a pioneer in temple Architecture.

Uniqueness / Specialty of the temple

The uniqueness of this temple is reflected in the following.

The Garba-Griha, Gopuram (sanctum-sanctorum) on the model of puri jagannath; the Chola type of Rajagopuram in its artistry and the presiding deities from Maharashtra. The tiny idols of Panduranga-Rukmayee manifested to a big-size (viswarupam). The specialty of the temple being the daily alankarams and Panduranga-Rukmayee appears in different adornments every day. On Saturdays, they are dressed up like Tirupathi Venkatesa Perumal, on Thursdays it is Nijapadha Dharisanam, on Fridays it is Velli Kavasa Alangaram, on Sundays it is Rajagopalan alankaram with a Rajasthan type of turban and on other days they are in their own attire.

Another specialty of this temple is the divine marriage i.e. Nitya Kalyana Utsavam is being performed daily between10 to 12 on the weekdays and between 2 to 4 on Sundays. This temple has an unique Art decoration, first of its kind in India, where mural forms are embedded on the walls and ceiling of Ardha Mantapam and Maha Mantapam specially conceived and erected by Sri Natanam, the renowned Mural Architect. A huge Namasankeerthanam Hall with all the Baghavatha Saints with their images have been decorated beautifully and it is unique. It carries the message of Sage 'Suka' in its physical form. An auditorium to accommodate more than 1000 persons with a huge stage and attendant implements in completed to conduct external events, discourses and other like gatherings.

Sri Gnanananda Giri Peetam

Guruji Haridas Giri to spread the cult of Nama Sankirthanam established the Gnanananda Giri Peetam in the name of his Guru. The peetam opposite to the temple complex hosts the deities of Maha Shodasi and Sathgurunathar. In addition to the Pandurangan temple complex, there are temples dedicated to Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Sri Lakshmi Narayanan. The Peetam also has the Annadhana Mandapam, Nama Sankirthana Mandapam, Veda Patasala, Gosala, Home for the aged all at Tennangur. The Namasankirthana mission started by Guruji is now being carried forward by his close disciple Sri Namananda Giri Swamigal.

This complex is an abode for spiritual upliftment to the entire humanity.

A mere glance at the colossal way Sri Guruji has set His Mission for the sake of humanity resounds the words of Guru Maharaj.

Please don’t miss to visit this Unique temple and seek the blessings of Rukmini and Panduranga who are ever standing on the bricks awaiting our visit!


Raghumayi sametha Pandurangan Temple at Thennangur –
Temples of Thennangur -
Swami Haridhos –
Life history of swamiji coming to life -
Pandurangan Temple, Tennangur –
About Great Masters –
Thennangur – Wikipedia

“Eppo Varuvaro” – Book on Panduranga Rukmayee Temple – Published by Ananda Vikadan

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