Today is Guru Purnima (July 13th, 2022), the full moon that occurs in the Hindu month of ‘Ashada’. ‘Gu’ means darkness and ‘ru’ means one who removes the darkness; hence a Guru is a soul that helps in leading from darkness to light and I bow to all who have helped me do so. India has been the birthplace to so many enlightened souls and on this blog, it has been my endevour to bring their teachings and glorious life in focus. So, this article is aptly about various enlightened souls.
Last Saturday, I made an impromptu visit to Thondanur or Tonnur Kere, where Guru Ramanujacharya lived and propagated the tenets of Sri Vaishnavism. I have already written earlier and you can find it here.
En route is the small town called Mallur also known as Dodda Mallur, which is well known for the ‘Aprameya Swamy’ temple. Due to paucity of time during the last visits, we had missed stopping by at this temple, so it was wonderful that we made it happen and visited this temple that has so much spiritual history associated with it.
We left Whitefield at 5.30 am and after picking up some friends on the way and a breakfast at the Adyar Anand Bhavan near Channapatna, we arrived at Dodda Malur at around 8.15 am. As we were parking the car, the saint Puranadaradasa’s kriti (hymn/ composition) in Kannada to the Lord, kept playing in my head. “Jagadodharana…aadisidalu Yashoda”, was composed by Purandaradasa at the Aprameya Swamy temple. The song says that Mother Yashoda played with the baby who was born to lead humanity to salvation. You can listen to the wonderful composition by the extremely talented Rahul Vellal here.
Aprameya means one who has immeasurable qualities- that only Lord Vishnu can have.
History: The town of Mallur is located on the River Kanva named after the Rishi Kanva and is adjacent to Channapatna which is well known for its wooden toys and is this traditional craft is protected as a geographical indication (GI) under the World Trade Organization, administered by the Government of Karnataka. Just outside the temple, are vendors selling these toys and I noticed an ‘Iyengar’ condiments shop selling the typical goodies.
The river bed constitutes the major portion of this village, hence this place is called Maraloor (a city that is built on sand) that is now called Mallur for ease. Legend says Lord Aprameya Swamy’s temple has been built on this sand without any foundation. Yet it stands there majestically. Another legend says that the town’s name was derived from the word Molacha Ooru (the place where the limbs grew). The story says that a local ruler’s limbs were chopped by enemies and thrown into the river. The ruler prayed at the temple and the benevolent Lord Aprameya gave back his limbs.
History books are filled with the exploits of Raja Raja Chola (985-1014 AD). The thirty years of his rule constitute the formative period in the history of Chola governance. Portions of the Mysore territory became part of the Chola territory. The year 1004 AD can be taken as a landmark in his conquest of the Mysore territory when the Cholas captured Talkad and overthrew the Ganga dynasty. In 1006 AD, the fiercest battle was fought between the Hoysalas and Cholas at Kaliyur, on the south bank of River Kaveri, opposite the town of Talakad. The great hero on the side of the Cholas was Aprameya, who was a general, minister and governor.
The Aprameya Swamy temple was built by the Chola Rajendra Simha and the name given to the Lord in honour of the General Aprameya.
Temple Deities: The presiding deity of the temple is Sri Aprameya Swamy. The idol or vigraham of Aprameya Swamy is made of the Saligrama stone. The Lord stands erect with the Shanka (conch) – Chakra (discus) in the upper two hands and Padma (lotus) – Gadha (mace) in the lower hands. It is believed that Sri Rama had stayed and worshipped the Lord here for many years and hence Sri Aprameya Swamy is also called Sri Ramaprameya Swamy. To the right of the sanctum sanctorum is a smaller shrine dedicated to Aravindavalli (Mahalakshmi), the consort of Aprameya Swamy.
But there are many devotees, who come to the temple to seek the blessings of the ‘Ambegallu Navneetha Krishna’ (The crawling baby Krishna with a ball of butter in hand). It is a rare shrine where Lord Krishna is in this form and is placed on a Garuda Peetha. This idol is supposed to have been installed by Rishi Vyasaraja or Vyasathirtha, who followed the Dvaita philosophy of Madhvacharya, who composed the classical song ‘Krishna Nee Begane Baro’. It is believed that childless couples are blessed with a progeny, if they worship this diety with sincerity.
The interiors of the temples also have shrines for the various azhwars (Vaishnava saints) and a huge Garuda and Hanuman figure, which is used during special processions. On the day, that I visited a neighbouring dance school had come for a photoshoot inside the temples. Happy with the wonderful darshan, we were on our way to Tonnur kere.
Sri Aprameya Swamy temple, Dodda Mallur, Channapattana taluk, Ramanagara district, Karnataka
Main deities – Sri Aprameya Swamy (Ramaprameya) and Navaneetha Krishna
Period – 11th century
Built by – Chola King Rajendra Simha
Style – Dravidian
TIMINGS: Open from 7.30 am to 12.30 pm; 4.00 pm to 8.20 pm ( Sundays open upto 01.30 pm). LUNCH PRASADAM : is served at 12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays in the temple complex
July 13th, 2022.
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