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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Swamy Temple

Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Swamy Temple

Udayanapuram enshrining Subramanya is located near Vaikom and is closely associated with the Vaikom Mahadevar temple and the Kumaranallur Bhagawati temple। It is believed that worship at the famed Vaikom Mahadevar temple is complete only after a visit to Udayanapuram. Udayanapuram is also closely tied to the grand Ashtami celebration at the Vaikom temple.

The temple has the excellence of architecture in structure and is supported with beautiful legends। Marvellous carvings and mural paintings can be found in the inner walls of Udayanapuram Temple।It has a thick compound wall reminiscent of Vaikom Mahadeva Temple and in terms of structure it does resemble the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple। The karpagriha, the sanctum sanctorum is a double storied square structure with a four feet tall idol of Lord Subrahmanya Swamy facing the east। He is surrounded by sculptures of elephants, carved out of wood and Elephant yaalis supporting the superstructure. The spacious namaskara mandapa is carved out of stone, with stone pillars with carvings of Sri Krishna Leela. The mandapam, balikalpura and srikoil are adomed with beautiful carvings and paintings. It signifies the periodicity of the temple. One can observe the entire story of the Ramayana which has been graphically delineated on its four beams which are a connoisseurs delight.

Legend has it that the Bhagawati temple at Kumaranallur nearby was originally intended for Subramanya and that this temple was intended originally for Bhagawati and was known as Udayanayakeepuram। It is believed that Bhagawati occupied the temple intended for Kumaran, and hence her temple town took on the name Kumaran-alla-ooru (not for Kumaran). In conjunction with this legend, Bhagawati Sevai is conducted at the Subramanya temple at Udayanapuram.

Thai Poosam in the month of Capricorn, is celebrated in great splendour here, when hundreds of Kaavadis line up here in procession. These Kaavadis make their way to Vaikom first and then find their way to Udayanapuram.

The most interesting of festivals here is the Vaikkattu Ashtami, the 12th day of the annual festival in the month of Scorpio। This day witnesses a spectacular victory procession of Subramanya from Udayanapuram to Vaikom, symbolizing Kartikeya's victory over the demons, and his greeting Shiva at Vaikom on the occasion. Also accompanying this procession are deities from several other neighboring temples. This three hour long procession with the accompaniment of music and elephants reaches the Vaikom temple, where an image of Shiva on a beautifully decorated elephant greets the procession. This meeting is followed by a farewell, and Subramanya is taken back in procession to Udayanapuram. Interestingly, no food offerings are made at the Vaikom temple sanctum during this festival, as it is believed that Shiva himself fasts, for his son's success in the battle against the demons, while thousands are fed within the temple precincts.

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