What is now the Rajarajeshwari Temple on the Girivalam pathway has been located at the same quarter acre site in some form or another for the last 100 years. The family which maintains the Trust of this independent Temple is that of A.Valagurumudaliar Annaporni, and is currently comprised of seven brothers and two sisters, all of whom are actively involved in the running and maintenance and continual development of this beautiful shakti Temple.

The family hails from a merchant tradition, and are Mudaliars, a sect famous for their support of Temples and Religious endeavours in many areas throughout Tamil Nadu besides Tiruvannamalai, including Chingleput, Tiruvukoil and Vellore Districts. Other notable Mudaliars supported Temples in the township of Tiruvannamalai include the Kali Ma Temple on Chengam Road, Mariyamman Temple on Manullarpet Road and the Pachaiamman Temple located at the Southeast side of Tiruvannamalai.

Of the seven brothers of the Valagurumudaliar Annaporni family, Arul Arasu, who trained as an engineer, is currently the priest and manager of Rajarajeshwari Temple. The small shrine room of the current Rajarajeshwari Temple used to be the original Temple. However over the years the Temple has grown and expanded around the shrine room and now includes many other features.




Rajarajeshwari is held as the first God of the Devi Mahatmyam, in which all others Gods are centred. Temples dedicated to this aspect of the Goddess are particularly associated with South India with the biggest and most famous Temple located at Tanjore (the city of Temple artisans; sculptors and painters). The Rajarajeshwari Temple at Tiruvannamalai is most remarkable for the presence of a Koorm Pristhiya (Kurma Meru Yantra) in the Temple’s Shrine Room, for the recently installed murtis of the Dasa Mahavidyas and also for the Temple’s location at Parvati Hill.


Parvati Hill




There is a blind spot on the fourteen kilometre girivalam road that starts around the Palani Andar Shrine and ends at the Surya Lingam, from which it’s impossible to see the Deepam on top of Arunachala during Karttika festival. This stretch of roadway of approximately half a kilometre is the only part of the fourteen kilometre girivalam pathway from which the view of the top of Arunachala is obscured. For this reason local folklore has it that Parvati Hill (at the foot of which is situated the Rajarajeshwari Temple) is particularly associated with the Shakti (Parvati) aspect of Ardhanarishvara.


Koorm Pristhiya (Kurma Meru Yantra)

There are three kinds of Sri Yantra, Bhuprastha, Kurma Prastha and Meru Prastha. A plain Sri Yantra is called Bhuprishtha (back of the Earth), one which is raised on a tortoise back is called Kachchhap Prishtha and that which is raised fully like the Sumeru Mountain is called Meru Prishthha (like a Mountain).

The 3-Dimensional Meru Sri Yantra is a multi-Pyramid Cosmic Grid signifying unlimited abundance and positive powers. In the cosmos there are three states; Creation, Establishment and Destruction and these are represented by the three circles in the Sri Yantra which in itself is the symbol of the Universe or Cosmos.

Sri Yantra is the worshipping place of the form of the Mahatripura Sundari (Rajarajeshwari). It is Her divine abode. All Gods and Goddesses are worshipped in it and all other religious adorations are done there as it includes all conducts, learning and elements.



Koorm Pristhiya (Meru) Sri Yantra is one of the oldest, rarest and most precious Yantras and believed to have been created by Adi Guru Dattatreya for the welfare of the world. The name, Kachchhap Prishtha, which means, “mounted at the back of tortoise upwards” is also significant because in Hindu mythology, it is believed that the tortoise lifted the weight of the earth on its back. The tortoise is particularly relevant as it’s a very powerful, protected being that can live in either water or land. It is also non-violent and Nature has provided it with a strong cover or jacket to protect it from danger.

The Sri Yantra designed over the back of the tortoise has eight petals as in the case of the original Sri Yantra where the Lotus flower (Kamala) has eight groups with sixty four Lotus dal. The reason the lotus flower was chosen for the base of the Yantra is that the lotus is the only holy flower believed to have originated from the navel (Nabhi) of Lord Vishnu.

The Sri Yantra designed on the mount over the back of a tortoise looks similar to the dome of a temple which is slightly mounted. It also depicts one of the fundamental of Vastu Kala which says that any residential house, palace or temple must be mounted at the centre to the top, so that the person residing in it should get more energy radiation and solar reflections from the Universe in order to ensure a life of abundance.

This particular Meru inside the shrine of the Rajarajeshwari Temple on the Arunachala girivalam pathway has an fascinating recent anecdote. In 2000 Swami Nithyananada performed a homam (puja) at Rajarajeshwari Kovil (on behalf of the Temple) for the purpose of expediting the successful completion of ongoing Temple development. In lieu of financial payment for the puja, the Temple presented the then existing Sri Meru Yantra to Swami Nithyananda and replaced it with a new Sri Meru Yantra for the Rajarajeshwari shrine room. Thus the current Sri Meru Yantra at the Temple only dates from the year 2000.


Dasa Mahavidyas
In addition to the peculiar facts of the Temple's location and the Sri Meru Yantra, Rajarajeshwari Temple is also unique (at Arunachala) because of the presence of statue representations of the Dasa Mahavidyas in the Temple's Shrine room.

The feminine aspect of the Divine represents knowledge (wisdom) and also what is hidden, secret, subtle and sensitive, what has to be searched out and discovered. The Goddess who represents both the teaching and its comprehension, is thus the inner guiding power. She represents creation on all levels, expressed through her Ten Wisdom Forms (Dasa Mahavidyas) and their different functions.

"The Ten Forms of the Goddess function not merely to teach us superficially or intellectually but to challenge us to look deeper. As great cosmic forces their energies can be difficult to bear and their extremes of appearance and expression may jolt us. Their forms are often disturbing, and they are not meant to be merely pleasant. They are meant, like mysteries, to entrance or shock the mind into awakening. They are not meant to merely console or inspire but to promote within us the deepest search. Their forms are ambiguous, contradictory and paradoxical. They are provocative energies designed to take hold of our minds and through their enigmatic nature neutralize the thought process which keeps us in bondage."
[by David Frawley]


The Dasa Mahavidyas - The Ten Wisdom Goddesses

Kali

Kali: The Goddess of Yogic Transformation. She is thought to be the most mysterious and difficult to understand of the Goddesses. She is dark, destructive, terrible in form, and unpredictable and is allied with the forces of death. She appears alien to ordinary esthetic interpretations of beauty.


Tara

Tara: The Saving Word. Tara is not only an important Hindu Goddess, she is also the most important of the Buddhist Goddesses. The word Tara, means the deliverer or saviour and this Goddess is called upon in emergencies or at crossroads where we require guidance.


Tripurasundari

Tripurasundari: The Beauty of Pure Perception. Sundari literally means beauty. To worship this Goddess is to follow the path of beauty and delight through the world of nature into the Absolute.


Bhuvaneshwari

Bhuvaneshwari: The Queen of the Universe. Bhuvaneshwari means the Queen or ruler of the Universe. She is the Divine Mother as the Queen of all the worlds. All the Universe is her body and all beings are ornaments on her infinite being. She carries all the worlds as a flowering of her own Self-nature. She is thus related to Sundari and to Rajarajeshwari, the supreme Lady of the Universe.


Bala Bhairavi

Bhairavi: The Warrior Goddess. "Bhairavi specifically means "terrifying" and is the powerful, awesome, or energetic form of the Goddess. She represents transforming heat or radiance, Tejas, which is the primal power or Divine energy. This we experience as a frightening thing because it burns away and destroys all the limitations and illusions of egocentric existence." [David Frawley]


Chhinnamasta

Chhinnamasta: The Consciousness Beyond the Mind. The name Chhinnamasta, literally means "a severed head" - is the most frightening form of the Goddess. She has cut off her own head and, holding it in her right hand, with it drinks the blood flowing from her own severed neck. Yet her face is not frightening but happy, even blissful. What she presents is the joy of transcending the body, not the pain of losing it. She is also the most energetic form of the Goddess and shows the power of transformation in action.


Dhumavati

Dhumavati: The Grandmother Spirit. Dhumavati is the eldest among the Goddesses, the Grandmother Spirit. She stands behind the other Goddesses as their ancestral guide. As the Grandmother Spirit she is the great teacher who bestows the ultimate lessons of birth and death. She is the knowledge that comes through experience.


Bagalamukhi

Bagalamukhi: The Hypnotic Power of the Goddess. Bagalamukhi is the Goddess of speech, and as such is related to Tara and regarded as a form of her. When sound becomes manifest as light, Tara, becomes Bagala. "When the brilliant light of speech comes forth, then Tara gains the effulgence of Bagala and causes all things to become still. Bagala is thus the stunning radiance that comes forth from the Divine Word and puts the human or egoistic word to rest." [David Frawley]


Matangi

Matangi: The Utterance of the Divine Word. Mata literally means "a thought" or "an opinion". Matangi is thus the Goddess power which has entered into thought or the mind. She is the word as the embodiment of thought. She bestows knowledge, talent and expertise.



Kamalatmika

Kamalatmika: The Lotus Goddess of Delight. Kamalatmika is one whose nature is of the lotus. The lotus Goddess is Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe. Kamala is Lakshmi among the Ten Wisdom Goddesses (Dasa Mahavidyas) and is the goddess of wealth, beauty, fertility, love and devotion.