Garbaratchambigai Temple, Thirukarukavur
Garbaratchambigai Temple is an famous ancient temple situated at Thirukarugavur in Tanjore district of Tamil nadu. Goddess Garbharakshambika is one of the most popular form of shakti in Tamil nadu. The temple is noted for the belief that childless couples who worship here with devotion and faith. Goddess Shri Garbarakshambigai Amman here cures infertility related problems to women. Goddess blesses them to conceive and also helps them for safe and trouble free delivery. The Shri Garbharakshambigai Sameta temple is spread over a wide expanse with huge towering Gopurams and a beautiful water tank in front of it. The main sanctum of this temple has the Shiva lingam and Goddess Garbharakshambika is situated to the left of the Shiva temple. It is believed that the Nandi at this temple is in Swayambhu vigraham (Self manifested).
The shrine of Goddess Garbarakshambigai is situated to the left of the Shiva temple. A shrine dedicated to Lord Subramanya is also seen here. Garba means Pregnancy, Raksha means ‘To protect’ and Ambigai is one of the names of Parvati devi. Mullaivananathar here is prayed to overcome skin diseases. And the abhishekam for the Lord is with Punugu only done on Shukla Paksha (Valarpirai) Pradosham.
History and Legend of Garbaratchambigai Temple
- Two Rishies Gowthama and Gargeya did penance in this garden of mullai flowers. Sage Nithuvar was living here with his wife Vedhika. One day when Sage Nithuvar was away, sage Urdhvapada visited the mullai garden. Vedhika was tired and sleeping deeply without showing hospitality to the sage.
- She was having pains due to pregnancy but Urdhvapada unaware of her difficulties got angry. He thought that she didn’t bother to wake up and felt she could be sleeping purposely. He decided to curse her .The curse made her get diseased and it also hurted the child in her womb.
- The curse made her to have worst pain and she thought she would be losing the child and foetus may not survive. In worst pain of her life and deeply hurted that her own child is being gradually destroyed and prayed to Goddess Parvathi to help her.
- Goddess Parvati took the avatar of Garbarakshambigai and appeared before Vedhika. And protected her child in the womb by holding it in a “kalasam ” – divine pot. The goddess helped the child grow in the divine pot until it grew as full fledged child.
- When Vedhika cried as she was not able to feed the baby with her milk. A sacred cow came in front of the temple and made a lake of sacred milk. Vedhika prayed to Goddess Garbarakshambigai to remain in the temple forever and bless all women with their difficulties.
Significance of the Garbaratchambigai Temple
- The Shiva Lingam found in the main sanctum of this temple is a Swayambu Lingam, made up of ant hill mud. Therefore no water abhishekam is done for this idol. But, the Lingam is only pasted with Punugu.. It is believed that people who are affected with incurable diseases can offer “Punugu Chattam.”
- Goddess Garbarakshambigai is the goddess of mercy to bless women with gift of childbirth and safe pregnancy.They give castor oil in small bottle which can be applied to pregnant women and for women seeking child birth.They give ghee prasad which has to be taken internally for next few days.
- Goddess Garbarakshambika in Garbarakshambigai Temple is the supreme personality of Motherhood and the sanctum sanctorum. Her beautiful idol , which is about 7 feet tall and decked in beautiful kanjeevaram sarees and exquisite jewellery.
- She is adorned with fragrant, colourful flowers which are offered in abundance .The Goddess has the most radiant smile on her face depicting positivity and a ray of hope. For the thousands who throng to her abode she is not just an idol but a ray of hope.
Garbaratchambigai Temple Temple Timings
Garbaratchambigai Temple remains open from 5:30 AM to 12:30 AM in the morning and 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM in the evening. The abhishekam is performed from Monday to Thursday from 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM.
During Friday and Saturday abhishekam is performed at 8:00 AM only. No abhishekam is performed during festivals and Sunday due to large number of devotees visiting the temple.
Festivals celebrated at the Garbaratchambigai Temple
Vaikasi Brahmotsavams: Vaikasi Brahmotsavam commenced in a grand manner at this temple. Amid Vedic chants and recitals of verses from scriptures, the priests perform the rituals in the temple. There are processions that are conducted and large number of people participate in the processions.
Navarathiri: Navarathri is celebrated for 10 days in the month Purattasi. Every year the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctions have been chosen as the sacred opportunities for the worship of the divine power. The most important Navratri in a year is the Sharadiya Navratra which begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashvin or Ashwayuja (September-October) as per traditional Hindu calendar. Number of devotees visit the temple during this period of time.
Margazhi utsavam: Margazhi is the one of the most significant month among twelve tamil months. Margazhi festival is celebrated at all temples in Tamilnadu and India. Mainly this festival is celebrated in all Vishnu temples and Shiva temples.The another importance of this margazhi is that the Tamil Holy Scriptures “Thiruppavai” and “Thiruvempavai” are read during this month.In this month, there are many programmes for SriVaishnavas in particular. On all the thirty days of this month, Tirupavai Pasurams will be rendered in the early morning in all temples and houses.
Panguni Uthiram: Panguni Uthiram is a day of importance to Hindus especially those who belong to Tamil nadu. It falls on the day the moon transits in the asterism of Uttara-phalguni. The day connotes the wedding of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, Lord Muruga and Devasena and other celestial couples. According to Ramayana, it is on this day that Sita married Rama. Also, this is said to be the birthday of Lord Ayyappa. It is also believed that on this day, Goddess Mahalakshmi came to life on Earth from the ocean of milk which was churned by the Devas and the Demons. Panguni Uthiram is the day to eliminate doshas in nuptial life. If the marriage was not conducted on auspicious time and if there are any doshas.
Thirukkarthigai: Tamil Nadu celebrates Karthigai Deepam as the traditional festival. This festival of lights involves lighting lights almost anywhere to put an end to darkness. The festival starts at around 4:00 AM in the early hours and the Bharani Deepam is lit at the temple. In the evening the Mahadeepam is lit on the top of the hill at around 6:00 PM. People believe that the huge light lit during 5:00 will make people close with Lord Shiva on Karthigai Deepam. Lord Shiva will shed all his blessings during this special time of the year.
Poojas and Rituals at Garbaratchambigai Temple
- Women who come here to pray for pregnancy and childbirth just offer flowers and do archana for goddess.The women in pooja shop requests them to first show their offerings of flowers,lamps etc. to lord mullai vana nadhar here and then enter the garbarakshambigai sannidhi.
- Virgins whose marriages are delayed for long periods and married women who have no issue for a long time should come to this Garbaratchambigai Temple in person. They should wash the steps with a little ghee draw ‘ Kolam and perform Archana to the Goddess.
- The childless couples offer ghee, which will be placed at the feet of the Goddess Garbarakshambigai and given to them. They should consume a little of the ghee at night daily for about 48 days and the woman will conceive.
- The women who are expecting deliveries should offer castor oil, which will be placed at the feet of Sri Karparakshambigai, and offered to them. During labor pains, this oil should be rubbed on their abdomen and this is believed to remove all complications of deliveries.
- Kattalai Archanai is done on the particular date of the stars and the prasadams are sent on the monthly basis. Pregnant women consume it during their pregnancy period. It is one type of archanai which is done.
- Women light up eleven lamps and pray for the safe delivery. On performing the Garbarakshambigai Homa, childless couples attain parenthood and pregnant women undergo safe delivery. The Homa heals many complications and issues related to fertilities and pregnancies. The impediments in the process of getting pregnant are smoothened with the beam of positive energy from this goddess.
- There is also a tradition of placing the child in one plate of weighing plate and balancing it with other goods like the food grains, ghee, oil, fruits, currency coins, gold, silver etc. and this is known as Thulabaram. Earboring and Tonsure prayers can also be performed in Garbaratchambigai Temple. One just have to call them in order to make the necessary arrangements.
How to reach the Garbaratchambigai Temple
By Air: The nearest airport is in Trichy. There are various auto rickshaws and share autos are available to reach the temple.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is the Papanasam railway station. The railway station is situated adjacent to bus stand. Thirukarugavur is situated 6 kms south of Papanasam and the railway station is about 3 kms from the place.
By Road: Thirukarukavur is situated in Thanjavur-Kumbakonam main road. Several buses ply between Papanasam and Saliyamangalam at 30 minutes interval.Papanasam is 25 kms from Thanjavur and then to Thirukarukavur 6 kms from Papanasam.
Where to stay
There are no rest houses from Garbaratchambigai Temple administration. Garbarakshambigai Amman Seva maiam is a rest house maintained by Thirumathi.Dr.Jayam Kannan.
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Where to eat
Offering food to the devotees is more than attaining heaven. So there is a Annadanam Samam Danam and there is a free mid-day meal to more than 100 devotees daily. More than 5 lakhs people have been offered Annadhanam in this temple.
Brihadeeswarar Temple: Thanjavur Brihadeeswara temple is one of the most ancient temple, situated in the city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India. Thanjavur named after the legendary asura “Tanjan”, is one of the ancient temples in India. The temple is most famous due to its uniqueness as among the greatest glories of the Indian architecture. The complex that houses the main sanctum is known as the ‘Periya Kovil’. Thanjavur had the distinction of being specifically constructed as a religious city with the temple centermost.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram: The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. The temple is renowned for having the biggest Shivalingam, with a 4 meter Lingam in South India. The majestic entrance of the sanctum is adorned by the beautiful image of Goddess Saraswathi. The temple has 9 storeyed Vimana with a height of 185 feet. Vimanam has intricate carvings reflecting the Chola style on it.
Darasuram Temple: Darasuram is 4 Kms from Kumbakonam. This temple built by Raja Raja Chola dedicated to Lord Siva, is either called as Drasuram temple or Airavateswara Temple. This is well preserved temple of the 12th century Chola Kingdom. The ceiling of the temple has exquisite carvings. Minute work on the pillars fills the mind with awe and fascination. The main mandapam of this temple is in the form of a chariot drawn by horses. The steps are stones, which give different musical sounds when tapped. All the seven swaras can be had at different points.
Tirumanancheri Temple: This temple is quite famous among the devotees from the Hindu community who wish to find suitable life partners for marriage or in order to overcome. All times are considered auspicious since Lord Shiva and Parvathy are in a bliss here always.The temple is crowded at all times of the year, showing the importance of marriage in our community. One is supposed to offer special prayers to the lord. The shrine of Thirumananjeri is closely associated with legends that tell the story of Shiva’s marriage to Parvati.