I checked in at a hotel near the Kumbakonam bus stand. There're quite a number of hotels around, so one should find no issues to check in.
There are many buses plying to Mannargudi from Kumbakonam, which travels via Alangudi. I had the plans of boarding such buses, but unfortunately on 23rd April, there was a complete strike in TN , and I found no buses plying anywhere. The bus stand wore a deserted look.
I was never loosing hope, I was determined to visit Alangudi, come what may. Afterall I came all the way from Bangalore to visit the Lord Guru temple, especially on Thursday.
I enquired a couple of taxi's which were quoting astronomical fare for the very reason that the buses were not on the roads. Taxi was the only option left to me, and I was however glad that there was something to take me to Alangudi. I negogiated the fare that was quite acceptable for me, though costlier.
I finally reached Alangudi at 09:30 hrs. I told the driver of the cab to wait for a couple of hours, since I wanted to spend some time in the temple.
About the Temple:
Lord Guru Bhagavan or Lord Dakshinamurthy is one of the "Navagrahas" and is referred to the planet Jupiter, and Alangudi is the "Guru Stalam" dedicated to the planet Jupiter. Thursday is an auspisious day for Lord Guru Bhagavan.
The temple here is known as the "Arulmigu Abathsagayeswarar temple" where the main deity is Lord Shiva.
The presiding diety's are,
Lord Ganesha/Vinayagar known here as "Sri Kalangamar Katha Vinayagar".
Lord Shiva (Shiva is in the form of a lingam and known as "Sri Abathsagayeshwarar"). The lingam is the 'Suyambu' Lingam.
Lord Dakshina Murthy also known as "Sri Guru Bhagavan" or "Brahaspati".Lord Guru Bhagavan
Goddess "Sri Elavarkuzhali Ammai" (Umayammai).
There are also diety's of Lord Murugan (Subramanyam) with his consorts; and Goddess Lakshmi.
History of the Temple:
Legend has it that Alangudi is the place where Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison as emitted during the churning of the 'paarkadal' (Sea of milk). Hence the place is known as Alangudi, which literally mean ‘the place where Lord Shiva consumed the deadly poison’.
The Devas, when churning the paarkadal for nectar, were hindered by the poisonous fumes from the snake Vasuki and prayed to Lord Siva for deliverance.
Lord Siva consumed the deadly poison (Ala Visham) , thus giving rise to the name Alangudi to this sthalam and the Lord was known as "Aabathsagayeshwarar" (One who defends from the danger).
Devas also had a horrid time by Gajamuha suran and Lord Ganesha subdued Gajamuhasuran, and hence Lord Ganesha is worshipped in this sthalam as 'Kalangaamal kaatha Vinayagar'.
Goddess Parvati undertook severe penance to marry Lord Siva and then married Lord Siva and hence this place is also hailed as Thirumana Mangalam.
Lord Siva as a ferryman (boatman) helped Sundaramurthy Swamigal to cross the river Vettaru, a branch of river cauvery, 3 km away from Alangudi, which was in spate, to reach this place. The boat capsized hitting a rock, on the way. Lord Siva seated on his Rishaba Vahana helped him reach the sthala safely. Sundarar received his Gnana upadesam after his darshanam of Dakshinamurthy at this sthalam.
This sthalam is the Parivara sthalam for Madhyarjuna Mahalinga Peruman. This is the fourth amongst the Panchavarunya Sthalas. Vishwamithrar, Thirumal, Brahma, Lakshmi, Garuda, Ashta Thikku Balagas, Ayyanar, Veera Badrar, Mukunda Chakravarthy, Suvasanan, Sundarar have worshipped at this sthala.
Thiru Gnanasambandar has sung in praise of the Lord here and is the 98th temple among the 127 temples located on the southern bank of Cauvery. It is one among the 274 "Padal Petra Sthalams" in Chola Dynasty.
Conversation between God and I:
Since it was Thursday, and Thursday being a auspisious day for the Lord Guru Bhagavan, I expected a large number of crowd in the temple, but fortunately the crowd was less, perhaps due to the strike. This proved me luckier to have a good view of the lord, peacfully!
There is also a ritual of liting the ghee lamps, one for the lord "Vinayagar" and 24 for the lord "Dakshinamurthy" which needs to be lit by the devotees. I brought it and lit all the ghee lamps which can be obtained at the temple premises by paying Rs 25.
I spent nearly 2 hours inside the temple, visiting all the shrines, and sitting in front of Lord Dakshinamurthy in deep prayers. This gave me utmost peace and bliss. The vibration and energy that I found inside the temple was magnificient.
It was time for me to leave, as the cab was waiting for me and I had to return. I'd to come out of the temple, though it was difficult leaving the temple.
The journey back:
The driver picked me up and dropped me back in the hotel room in Kumbakonam. I stayed in the hotel and rested for a while. I didn't go out anywhere as all the shops were closed due to the strike. By 6pm , the shops resumed their business and I checked out of the hotel at 18:30 hrs. My return journey to Bangalore was confirmed for 20:00 hrs. I had a very good evening snacks and reached the bus stand. The bus was readily parked in there. By 20:00 hrs the bus started to leave Kumbakonam and I reached bangalore the next morning at 06:30 hrs.
It was truly a marvellous trip overall which is unforgettable. I was highly energetic and blissful by this visit. Looking forward to have more such kind of a visit.
How to reach there:
Alangudi is a small town in the Cauvery delta region, situated in the Tiruvarur district of TN, around 17 km south of Kumbakonam, enroute to Mannargudi, and 7 km north of Needamangalam. Kumbakonam is nearest major town to reach Alangudi.
By Road - There are many buses plying from Kumbakonam to Mannargudi which stops at Alangudi. There are also plenty of taxi's available from Kumbakonam which can be hired for half a day.
By Rail - Needamangalam Railway Station, on the Thanjavur - Thiruvarur rail route, is the nearest railhead, which is 7 km from Alangudi. Other than that Kumbakonam is another major railway station. One has to however reach Alangudi by road from either Needamangalam or Kumbakonam.
Reaching Kumbakonam - Kumbakonam is well connected by rail and road from Chennai and Bangalore, and all the major cities in TN.
I've taken enormous effort to provide an accurate information. All the verses are my own, except for the "History of the Temple" which I found from various website after google search.
Please let me know your feedback.