Auvudaiyar temple is very different from other temples.There is no idols for God Shiva as well as for Goddess .In shiva sanctum sanctorum, square type Auvudaiyar is there.No bana linga.Three lamps are lit behind Moolasthana .A white , red & green lamps.white representing Sun, green as Moon & Red as Agni(fire).Goddess Parvathi is called "Yogambal".She ,after attending his father Dakshan's yagna jumps into the yagna fire .She is also formless, comes here & doing penance to reunite with God Shiva.Her Sannidhi is always kept closed.Devotees can see her feet (திருவடி) through a mirror kept inside.During festival time, only the idol of Manickavasakar is mounted on a bull(ரிஷப வாஹனம்) & taken in a procession. As both this saint & Shiva are one, here for Aani thirumanjanam, & Margazhi thiruvathirai festivals only Manickavasakar is decorated & taken around.The sculptural works are excellent & the "kodungai" sculptural work in the prakara are exemplary & when the temple sculptors sign for new temples , they sign as except Avudaiyar temple kodungai.There is a scene of God Shiva & Goddess Parvathi presenting Arjuna with Pasupatha Asthra ,they take the form of a hunter & his wife.Goddess wearing bangles,with a hand bag & hunter's wife's ear rings are excellent work.In the Panchatchara mandapa, five letters of the manthra are represented in the roof. Boiled rice in steaming condition with bitter guard is poured over the Avudaiyar . Students studying under God Shiva, used to bring boiled rice & vegetables for their Guru. So God Shiva is offered this type of food.A vessel is kept in an inverted position above the Avudaiyar , the vessel representing our human body & God as Atma dwelling inside ,protecting us. As the steam from the boiled rice , representing God in formless form.The three type of manifestation of God, as formless, form & Aruvuruvam(அருவுருவம்) are represented here .As god is protecting us in the form of "Atma", he is called "Atmanathar".For the form he is coming as Manickavasakar as Shiva & him are same.For the Aruvuruvam, moolasthanam & Sthala virutcha - the holy tree in the temple is represented.During Karthigai Somavaram holy water in 108 conches, pooja & abishegam is offered to the holy tree , under which Shiva taught Manickavasakar.Shiva came as a commander riding a horse is shown in an excellent sculptural work.He is wearing a turban & horse riding soldier's uniform with a big moustache in his face & a whip in his hand .This is called "kudhirai samy"(குதிரைச்சாமி ).Some foxes are also carved under his horse.Later Manickavasakar composes "Thiruvasakam" a priceless holy hymn about God Shiva.He is said to have entered Lord Nataraja's chamber at Chidambaram in a divine light form & merges with God Shiva.Vallalar Ramalinga Adigalar adopts Sri .Manickavasakar as his Guru & has deeply studied & experienced God Shiva's presence in all songs of Thiruvasakam.Thiruvarutpa, composed by Vallalar is said to be reverse of Thiruvasakam. Vallalar also found God in Divine light form.His first Guru Thirugnanasambandar also finally merges in the Divine light . Sri.G.U.Pope who came to India to spread Christianity through Church of South India mission, learnt Tamil to move with Tamil people at Tirunelveli in Tamilnadu. After learning Tamil , he studies Thiruvasakam & very much impressed by Thiruvaskam & some of his colleagues complained to the European church that Mr.Pope has become a Hindu.Then they send another person to verify the truth.He also studied Tamil & Thiruvasakam.Later he sent a message to his missionary that Mr.Pope was a true christian & even after studying Thiruvasakam it is a great thing to remain as a christian.Photo below :Manickavasakar 's idol & Musical pillars in the temple.Photo courtesy:Dina malar magazine with thanks.
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