Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi Temple is a famous Hindu shrine situated at Ayyavadi in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, India. Ayyavad is situated at a mere distance of 500 meters from the popular Uppiliappan temple. So Maha Prathyangara Devi temple is dedicated to the goddess Pratyangira, an incarnation of goddess Kali. The temple is believed to be more than a 1000 years old. The temple is also associated with the epic Mahabharata.
About The Temple
The temple is moderate in size, having just one main praharam. The entrance is regulated through a metal shed with railings to control the crowds during festival days. The shed like structure leads one into the temple’s main praharam.
The temple is one among the revered Shiva kshetras which finds praise in Thevaram. The most popular shivite saint and Nayanmsr Sri Gnana Sambandar had sung hymns in praise of this Lord. The chief deity of the temple is Lord Agastheeshwarar who’s sanctum faces the east. The sanctum of Goddess Dharma Samvardhini Ambal faces the direction south. The Banyan tree is the holy tree of this shrine. The temple’s Vimana follows the North Indian temple design. The shrine of Mother Pratyangaradevi, is found facing the north.
About The Deity
Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi is one of the powerful forms of Goddess Shakthi. There is a separate Gayathri Mantra dedicated to Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi. Prathyankira Devi and her moola manthra are believed to have been discovered by two holy rishis named Angiras and Prathyankiras during the ancient times. Hence the name of the goddess was derived from the names of these two rishis, in their honour. The goddess also goes by the name Devi Aparajita.
Atharvana vedha describes this goddess Prathyangara as the supreme goddess in the universe. This is the only temple to find mention in the ancient Vedhas and Agamas. In most Prathyangar Devi temples, the goddess usually appears as a Simhavahini (seated on a lion). This temple is an exception where Prathyangara devi is seen sitting on a Ratha(chariot), pulled by four Simhas (lions) alongside Lakshmi and Saraswathi on either sides. Devi - Simha Mughi (Face of lion) have 18 hands armored with weapons to destroy the evil. She is also seen wearing the terrific Mundamaalai (the garland of human skulls).
The Devi is believed to have fought the migty Narasimha (an incarnation of lord Sri Vishnu) and destroyed him, after which the Devi is believed to have been "Ugra Prathyangira" (fierce goddess). The Devas and rishis are said to have prayed and performed various sacred rituals for calming the fierce devi. Thus she got to be named a "Shri Maha Prathyangira".
Legend and Stories
Pratyangaradevi blessing Lord Rama
The Ramayana is one of the most renowned epic in this world, which is associated with this temple. The demon king Ravana is said to have lost all his sons in the war against Lord Sri Rama, except Indrajit. Prince Indrajit was a skilled warrior whose dexterity was proved even against Indira. Indrajit started performing the Nikumbala Yagna in order to defeat Rama, which would ensure the victory for his wicked father Ravana.
It was a custom in those days for kings to create cremation grounds on all the eight directions and conduct the Nikumbala Yagna to invoke the powerfu Pratyangaradevi, who would facilitate victory in the war. Prathyangara Devi is also known as Atharvana Kali. If Indarjit is left to successfully complete his yagna, he would then become unconquerable, even for Lord Sri Rama. Learning of his cunning plans, Lord Sri Rama too performed special pujas to please this Devi.
Mother Pratyangaradevi who was very well aware of motives of both the sides. She did not wish to help Indrajit as his purpose was wicked and unjust. Hence, she showered her blessing on Lord Rama, which helped him to secure victory in the war against Ravana and rescue Mother Sita from his evil clutches. However, as Indrajit was also her devotee, she blessed him to find mentioned at the great epic of Ramayana.
Pratyangaradevi accompanying Shiva to subsidize Narasimha
Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Narasimha to destroy the demon king Hiranyakasipu. Having furiously killed the evil king, Narasimha was not able to cool down even after that. With such ferociousness, Narasimha couldn’t make out between good and bad people. In the process, he began worrying everyone. None had the might and courage to control him. So everyone started praying Lord Shiva seeking a way to save them.
Lord Shiva who was moved by their devotion decided to come to their rescue. So he is said to have taken a new and more powerful avathar as Lord Sarabeswarar. Lord Sarabeshwarar is found with lion’s face and eagle’s wings. Goddess Shakthi accompanied the Lord in the form of Sri Mahaprathyangira Devi, who sat on one of the wings of Sri Sarabeswarar. Sarabeswarar swt out to subside Lord Narasimha’s anger and is believed to have brought back peace and harmony. This is the reason why both Sri Mahaprathyangira Devi and Sri Sarabeswarar are considered powerful than any other deity.
Panchpandavas conducting Nikumbala Yagam
During the time of Mahabharata, the Pandavas are said to have performed the Nikumbala Yagam at this location, in order to redeem their kingdom. Since Pandavas were five in number and together performed the pooja at this place, this place got the name “Aivar Paadi” (Five Praised) in Tamil. This name later colloquially got to be called the Ayyavadi. The Pandavas were also believed to have planted a banyan tree here which is even now worshipped as the Temple's "Sthala Viruksham". This baby an tree is unique with five different leaves, a phenomenon that is seen only in this temple.
All the new moon day, Tuesdays and Fridays are considered auspicious in this temple.
The place itself is considered holy and called 'yagna Bhoomi'. (Place where yagna / homam is performed). Every New Moon day, “Nikumbala Yagam” is conducted from 8 am to 2 pm. During the yagna, around 30 Kilograms of red chili is put into the sacred fire. Despite that, there is no pungent or spicy smoke or smell emanating from the fire. This shows the divinoty and hotlines of this temple and the deity. Deities like Vinayaka, Subramanya, and Thriyambaga Rudra, Narasimha, Lakshmi, Navagrahas, Varahi, Bairavar, Sarabar, Choolini Durga and Maha Prathyangira are offered with 108 varieties of herbals, varieties of fruits and silk Sarees. About 15 Sivachariyars perform the yagna here, after which Anna dhanam is offered to all the devotees.
Devotees participate in the Nikumbala yagna in large numbers, to regain theor lost position, eradication of enemy threats, relief from debt, promotion in jobs, employment opportunities, wedding boon and progress in business. Those afflicted with Shani doshas, also take part in the yagna to find relief.
One incredible fact about this temple is that the sacred banyan tree here is said to have leaves of other trees such as Bodhi, Mango, Ichi and Purasu. Despite the use of huge quantity of chillies for the holy Nikumbala yagna, the pungent and spicy smoke emanating from the yagna fire is not known to harm the devotees witnessing the event.
Worshipping Sri Maha Prathyangira Devi facilitates the eradication of all evil forces and underlying problems from a person’s life. The Devi also blesses her devotees with a happy and prosperous life by resolving various problems such as the fears of business failures, delayed marriage, debts, fear of enemies, disease, accidents, promotion in jobs, employment opportunities, Sani dosha, witchcraft, etc.
How To Reach
The nearest airport is the Tiruchirapalli airport, about 99 Km away.
The temple is approximately 5.6 Km from the Kumbakonam railway station, which is the closest.
Frequent buses are available directly from the Kumbakonam to Ayyavadi, where the temple is situated.
Sri Pratyangaradevi Temple,
Ayyavadi, Near Thirunageswram,
Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu, India,
Pincode – 612204.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- To regain lost status
- To be free of the fear of enemies
- debt burdens
- To be relieved from sorcery
- Evil eye removal
- deep injury
Sarva Mangala Maangalye Sive Sarvaardha Saadhike, Saranye Tryambake Gauri Naarayani Namosthuthe
Meaning -We offer you our salutations, Oh auspicious Naraayani, who is the good of all good, who can achieve everything and can offer refuge, Oh three-eyed Gowri.
Saranaangatha Dheenaartha Parithraana Paraayane Sarvasyaarthi Hare Devi Naaraayani Namosthuthe
Meaning -We offer salutations to you, Oh Narayani, who has the infinite power of creating, preserving and destroying. You are the basis and epitome of the 3 gunas.
Sarvaroope Sarvese Sarvasakthi Samanvithe, Bhayebhyastrahi No Devi Durge Devi Namosthuthe
Meaning -I offer my salutations to you mother Durga, who is present in all beings and has all power, save us from all our wrongdoings O mother of the universe.
Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Shakthi Roopena Samsthita Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha
Meaning -Salutations to the Goddess who resides as Shakti in all beings.
The temple is open from 06:00 am to 11:00 am and from 04:00 pm to 08:00 pm.