Sanjeevi Rayar templeDuring 1585-1614 AD, Nettoor Lakshmi Kumara Thathacharyar was a minister of Sri Venkatapathi Maharaj, who was ruling the kingdom of Vijayanagar, then. There is a saying in tamil that even a king will become insolvent after getting his five daughters married. But Sri Nettoor Thathacharyar was instrumental in getting One crore i.e., One hundred Laksha(One laksha is one hundred thousand) marriages performed. Since he had the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi Devi, the goddess of wealth, it was possible for him to conduct that many marriages. This is why he was popularly known as Nettoor Koti Kanyadhana Lakshmi Kumara Thathacharyar. He was considered son of Goddess Lakshmi Devi and was also called Lakshmi Kumara. He had established so many temples and hence he was also known as Ubaya Vedanthaachar.
Sri Thathacharyar hailed from an illustrious family and is a descendant of Tirumalai Periyanambi. It is believed that one of his ancestors left his hometown Nettoor to Aanaikunthi(Anakot), the capital of the Emperor or Vijayanagar then, to be felicitated by King Veerupaksha, the king of Vijayanagara. On reaching that place, he visited the palace and expressed his willingness to offer discourses on Maha Bharatha.
With the king’s consent, he gave discourses on Maha Bharatha for eighteen days. On the ultimate day, he was presented with gold coins and other gifts. The next morning, he was astonished to see that there was no palace and all the residents were missing too. He was not aware that King Veerupaksha had shifted his capital from Anaikunthi to another place in close proximity called Hampi.
By listening to the Maha Bharatha discourses, the spirits of those who lost their lives in the war that took place at Anaikunthi, had attained Moksha.
Sri Thathacharyar, a descendant of such a great scholar, had built this beautiful temple for Lord Anjaneyar near Kanchipuram. Generally, all temples of Hanumanji will have a small Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagraham) and a large hall in front of it. But this temple built by Sri Thathacharyar is distinctive in many ways. Iyankulam is the first village that one can see, at a distance of about 7-8 kms, once they cross the river Palar, on the way to Kalavai from Kanchipuram. This temple is located in Iyankulam and is visible from a distance.
Generally, the tank constructed for temples will be smaller in size. However, to the north of this temple, a vast pond has been constructed, which provides a scenic beauty of a lake. This pond measures 136 acres. This temple has been built in such a way that one gets a feel that the temple is floating in the lake, when looked at from the other side of the lake.
The water from this lake was also used for agriculture and irrigation purposes. The steps that have been put up around this lake are made of granite. Legends has that Lord Anjaneya Swamy Himself had appeared and helped in the digging of this lake, in order to complete the job on time.
This temple has been constructed on the southern bank of the lake. The Rajagopuram faces the tank and unlike other temples, to enter this temple, devotees have to walk through a large hallway. This Hallway has twenty four pillars which have statues of Lords and Acharyas that have been beautifully engraved. This Hallway also acted as a place to stay for pilgrims in those days and also to distribute Prasadams to the devotees and offer Annadhanam to the needy. The southern side of the temple also has a huge entrance where a similar hallway has been built for the pilgrims to rest.
Vijayanagar architecture is unique in a way that can be seen in this temple’s construction as well. One can find four small mandapams with the beautiful cupola over the four tall pillars made of a single stone on all the four sides of the temple which adds to the majestic view of the temple building. Once we cross the Rajagopuram, we enter into a very big hall where we can see the roof being painted and the creativity behind these paintings are exemplary. Once we cross this hallway, we can see the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Sanjeevi Rayar, the form of Lord Hanuman at this shrine. Lord Sanjeevi Rayar can be seen in Anjali Mudra. There can be seen Conch and Chakra behind the deity. Undoubtedly, all the devotees who come to his shrine with Bhakthi are graced by Lord Sanjeevi Rayar.
As stated above, Sri Thathacharyar who was considered the Son of Goddess Mahalakshmi had established the shrine of Goddess Mahalakshmi on the right side of Lord Sanjeevi Rayar’s sanctum, as well as, at the northern bank of the temple pond. Carvings on the temple walls give indications that many merchants from far off places like Sumatra, Siam had chipped in, in the maintenance of this temple.
Sita Kalyanam is an important festival celebrated in a grand manner during Sri Rama Navami. During this festival, the murti of Sri Rama and Devi Sita are brought to the chambers built in the North East and South East corners of this temple. Lord Sanjeevi Rayar will observe this Sita Kalyanam festival. Also, during Chitra Pournami, Lord Varadaraja Perumal of Kanchipuram visits this temple, as stated above.
If anyone could be a model for us when it comes to undivided focus towards God and uncompromising faith and bhakthi, it is Lord Anjaneya. He has this Bhakthi Rasa in Abundance and that is why He can be addressed Bhakthi Rasa Sagara. He is the form of Lord Shiva and had stood in times of difficulty with Sri Rama, illustrating the fact that Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are always together. One has to learn from Sri Anjaneya, the sentiment of devotion and exemplary trust and faith that he had on his Bhagawan. On getting to know about such a divine place of pilgrimage where Sri Sanjeevi rayar is ready to take away our sufferings by curing our diseases with the medicinal qualities filled in the air and in the water of this temple’s pond, it is in our hands to match the uncompromising bhakthi that Sri Anjaneyar displayed towards Sri Rama and show the same gratitude towards Sri Sanjeevi Rayar and attain a divine path in our lives.
May this Shrine take away all the sufferings of this materialistic life from us and direct us to a Saathvik way of life and the path towards Moksha.
Sri Rama Jayam!!!!! Jai Sri Anjaneya!!!!!