Gudiyatham is a municipal town situated in Vellore District (North Arcot Dt), 32 kms from Vellore. One has to take the Bangalore Highway from Vellore and turn right at Pallikonda and go about 12 kms to reach Gudiyatham. Gudiyatham has about 500 villages surrounding it.
The name of the town Gudiyatham has arrived from the word ‘Kudiyetram’ (குடியேற்றம்) which in Thamizh means ‘surging population’. It is said that, Kulothunga Chozha cleared some forest, made people settle here and named the place as ‘Kudiyetra Nallur’ (குடியேற்ற நல்லூர்), which is believed to be the ancient name of this town. This place also was called as ‘Jayamkonda Chathurvedi Mangalam, as the king Kulothunga Chozhan donated this place after his victory over parts of Thondai Mandalam regions. Even today, the majority population of this town belongs to a community called ‘Sengunthar’ who were integral part of Chola army.
Even today, there is an ancient Shiva Temple by name ‘Karuppuleeswarar Temple’ which was built by Chozha Kings and the place in which the temple is located is called as ‘Nellorepet’ (நல்லூர்பேட்டை). Ancient inscriptions about this town belong to 1705 AD during Kulothungan’s 1st dynasty and few Vijayanagara kings at later stages.
The town is also popular with many other credits to itself. The Republic of India’s first National Flag was woven here by the weavers of this town, which was hoisted at the Red Fort in New Delhi. Also, the shape of Thiruvalluvar (by statue) was given by this people. Kamarajar won the elections from this constituency, when he became the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu.
Gudiyatham is very popular for the temple it has for Sri Gangai Amman. Sri Gangai Amman temple is located at the heart of this town on the northern bank of the holy river Koundinya Mahanadhi. This river is believed to be the Ganges itself which came down to earth with the prayers of a Saint by name Koundinya Maharishi, who was a disciple of Sage Vasishtar. The legend has it that the Koundinya Rishi, to free himself from his sins came to this place, prayed Lord and brought the Ganges to flow through this place and worshipped Lord Shiva in this village (called Karuppuleeswarar).
Sri Gangai Amman temple is connected with the legend of Padavedu Sri Renukambal temple. According to the legend, Sage Jamadhagni was performing Thapas in the forest. His wife Renukadevi, who was a Pathivritha, used to go to the nearby river, make a pot instantly out of the sand in the banks and fetch water for the Rishi’s daily pooja. Such were her powers.
Once when Renukadevi went to the river and when she was about to fill the water, she happened to see in the water, a reflected image of a handsome Gandharva, flying on top. He was too handsome, which made Sri Renukadevi’s thought stumble a moment. With this, her sanctity of being a Pathivritha was spoiled and the sand pot broke into pieces. She tried again and again to make another pot to fetch water, but failed.
Knowing this, Sage Jamadagni got furious with her and called his son Sage Parasurama and ordered him to chop off her head. Rishi Parasurama, who is an ardent disciple and obedient son of Jamadhagni, obeyed his order and went chasing his mother with his weapon. Renukadevi, frightened of being killed by her own son, went and hid herself inside a Chandal’s house, where the Chandal’s wife came forward to rescue Renukadevi and tried to stop Sage Parasurama. Parasurama got angry with the lady and chopped off both the lady and Renukadevi’s head.
Sage Parasurama went to Sage Jamadagni and told him that he had fulfilled the wish of his father. Jamadhagni was too happy with his son and was willing to grant him a boon of his choice. Sage Parasurama humbly said that he wanted his mother up and alive again. Sage granted his wish and told him to fix the chopped head to the body of his mother to get her alive. Sage Parasurama went back to the Chandal’s house and by mistake, fixed the head of the Renukadevi on the Chandal lady’s body. Sri Renukadevi, came alive with the Chandal lady’s body and her own head.
A major festival called ‘Gangai Amman Thiruvizha’ is celebrated in this town in a grand scale every year on the first day of the Thamizh month Vaikasi, which usually falls on May 14th or 15th. Sri Renukadevi is celebrated here as Sri Gangai Amman.
A beautiful temple Chariot is made to float around the city on the previous day to the festival.
Traditionally, the head of Sri Gangai Amman is made by a washerman’s family ancestrally, is carried on their head and brought to the temple by walk for about 3 kms. Inside the temple, the Amman’s head is fixed on the body which is kept for Dharshan during the day.
This event is popularly called as Sirasu (சிரசு, means head) festival. About a million people throng the town from various parts of the country to visit this event. Amman will be a feast to watch to see her being carried on the head, which will look like as if she is floating on the huge crowd of people. Various artistes from many villages will be performing throughout her way to the temple. One can see many village art forms like Karagam (கரகம்), Silambu (சிலம்பு), Puli Vesham (புலி வேஷம்) and many other martial arts being performed all her way to the temple. This is to symbolize that the Amman is so happy that she is going to get alive with the head which is going to be fixed on her body.
Breaking of coconuts in front of the Sirasu is considered a way of worship to the Amman. We can see lakhs of coconuts broken by the devotees all through her way to the temple. The entire road stretch of the procession can be seen drenched with coconut water. Many people like rag pickers make a life out of the broken coconuts as they gather and sell them off in the market and get their fortune once a year.
Also people pray and garland the Sirasu to get their wishes fulfilled. Gangai Amman is so powerful in granting the wishes of her devotees. After this grand procession the Sirasu is taken inside the temple and fixed on the body, where Amman gives Dharshan to the devotees all through the day.
In the late evening, the head is again taken out of the body and carried in a procession, after which it gets immersed in the water and dissolved. This procession is again celebrated in a grand manner than her morning procession, as it is believed that Amman is going to her mother’s place after the festival.
Major fireworks happen for more than 3 hours which is contributed by various people from the town and neighbouring places. One can know with the first shot of the cracker, which will be heard atleast to about 3 kms radius, that the Amman procession has started.
This colorful fireworks, popularly called as Vaana Vedikkai (வாணவேடிக்கை) is a major event by itself for the town, where lakhs of people witness from anywhere in the town, right from their terraces itself.
The next day, Gangai Amman is carried in a Chariot made full of flowers called Pushpa Pallakku (புஷ்பபல்லக்கு), which is very again a feast to watch.
With this, the festival ends and the whole town awaits again for a year to watch this grand holy event. Gangai Amman festival is popular in the whole district, attracting lakhs of devotees every year. In fact, every house celebrates the event by distributing butter milk, water and ragi porridge (கூழ்) to the visiting pilgrims. One can see people from every house standing outside with something to offer to the people passing by, which are considered to be very auspicious.
The temple has a small sanctum for Sri Gangai Amman and is developed in a bigger way with many shrines around the Praahaaram.
There is a separate shrine for Sri Koundinya Maharishi and Sri Ganga Devi.
Sri Gangai Amman is believed to be blessing the native people without any scarcity of water and with good health. Like Samayapuram, one can see many people affected with small pox, staying in this temple till they get cured. The Goddess cures many such illnesses of people. People offer Salt and Pepper in the temple to get their illness cured.
Overall Sri Gangai Amman temple is an important and must visit temple in the whole of Vellore District.
Overall Sri Gangai Amman temple is an important and must visit temple in the whole of Vellore District.
Nice to see you after a long time, Saravanan.Very detailed and interesting report in time (before this year festival)ReplyDelete
I am happy anna that you are back. Continue your good work .ReplyDelete
HAPPY TOO SEE YOU Back....
All the best.
ONE SENTENCE AGAIN TO REPEAT .
GREAT GOING ONCE AGAIN SARAVANA
very many thanks for enabling us to have dharshans of temple from homeReplyDelete
I love you and hearing from you after a long time was present surprise.ReplyDelete
god is good to all of us
pls pray for me also to go out of the present situation.
It was interesting to learn about Gudiyattam snd its ancient past.ReplyDelete
Dear friend It is good to see(Gangai amman temple. I want to see the profile of our nearst place Mangadu perumal, and sivan templesReplyDelete
Welcome Back .. We were missing you !!!!ReplyDelete
Since your birth never once i would have dreamt that you would have become such a great writer. I felt so happy to see your wonderful account of Gangaiamman festival. Well done boy. Why not cover the Kaliamman temple of Kaliamman patti too.
Nice to see that you have over 93k readers from allover the world. We are proud & Hats off to you.
nice,seeing gangai amman in ur blog and i happy that seeing ur link in wikimapia of pallikonda temple too.ReplyDelete
happy ur alive in blog again after a gap
hi saravana welcome back...i felt so happy to see gangai amman festival...Thank you very much.....ReplyDelete
Good article, Thanks for gathering all these information and presenting them in a graceful way. Keep writing about more temples.
For all the devotees its very informative and a neat presentation! interesting as well as a great job being done by Saravan. Good wishes.ReplyDelete
this temple is very power full god in gudiyattam.ReplyDelete
am very proud 2 show dis 1 2 all my frends...thanks 4 uploaded person.ReplyDelete
OHM SAKTHI PARASAKTHI!!!
Thank You Sir for giving us such a beautiful aritcal of my native, when i was reading this artical i was feeling that i have not missed out gangai Amman thiruvzha. Past three yrs i have missed this thiruvzha.ReplyDelete
Thanks to Mr. Saravanan. I left my native Gudiyatham since 1996 and since that till date I did not have an opportunity to attend this festival as I am working outside India. By reading this article, I felt as if I am attending this festival. I pray not to miss this events in future. (firstname.lastname@example.org)ReplyDelete
GOD IS GREATReplyDelete
hi mr, saravana. my native place is gudiyatham.this artical is very nice...@ReplyDelete
very good brother keep it up am proud to be in gudiyathamReplyDelete
A very detailed report. Thank you. I came to know so much of information regarding Gudiyatham. I being a native of a village nearyby Gudiyatham never knew these details.
The current condition of Goundanya Mahanadhi is so poor. The entire river bed has become so polluted and a stench arises from it. Sad.
It very good article to know about details of GudiyathamReplyDelete
HANDS OFF YOUR GREAT WORK!!!!!!!!!! LAST 5 YEARS I M MISSING TO ATTEND THIS FESTIVAL STILL IS NOT HAPPENING WHILE I READ THIS VERY INTERSTED AND HAPPY TO SEE THIS PHOTOS THANKS MY FRIENDReplyDelete
Even i am from gudiyattamm only. I came to know a lot after reading this blog. May i know were are you from gudiyattam. email@example.com, this is my mail id. I ll be waiting for ur mail and want to know more about u.ReplyDelete
Thanks Mr.Saravanan,Am Very Happy to see our most famous festival of Gudiyattm,I dont miss our festival every year even i stay in singapore,Because my Native is gudiyattam also, Great job,ReplyDelete
Even I ail from Gudiyatham and i did my schooling at Gudiyatham. Past few years, I am unable to attend this festival. The entire town will be in festival mood at this time especially the day we have chariot and Sirasu. I am wondering why there was no high raised tower (Gopuram) for this temple.ReplyDelete
Great work Saravan , can I ask you if you are the same Saravan who studied at Krishnaswamy Matriculation school , Nungampakkm Chennai in 1985/86. ?ReplyDelete
It very interesting to now about Gudiyattam histry it.............too.............. nice Thank to SaravananReplyDelete
thak you ,,,thank you for this message of my native ,IN my "gangai amma" motherReplyDelete
HI EVERY GUDIYATTAM GUYS,GENUS, GIRLS,AND EVERY ONE SEE THIS GREAT COLLECTION OF OUR NATIVE "GUDIYATTAM GANGAI AMMA " FESTIVEL COLLCTIONSReplyDelete
Dear saravanan, u did a great job and i am glad that my kuladeivam is portrayed beautifully. goddess gangaiamman bless u always with happiness and prosperityReplyDelete
a very good collection of gudiyatham gangai amman thiruviza m karunakaranReplyDelete
Nice to read about Gangai amman and know our heritage. I heard there are a lot of people who say kuri in Gudiyattam. Is it true? How accurate are these people?ReplyDelete
Hi, saravanan...I feel very happy to see our gudiyatham town festival in your blog contains images (after settled on other state)...Thanks a lot...ReplyDelete
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wow1 Its very interesting and very good info to all. I had never seen such a blog like with this great post.Delete
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I am very happy to see the gangi amman temple in gudiyatham thanks for sharing it anna :)ReplyDelete
I AM GUDIYATTAM GOPALAPURAM SRI GANGAI AMMAN TEMPEL AREA PERSON THIS YEAR FESTIVEL VERY GRAND AND POPULARLY AND 10LAK ABOVE CAME THIS FESTIVEL. BY GOPALAPURAM SRINIVASANReplyDelete
This temple is very power full god in gudiyattamReplyDelete
AND VERY HELP GOD
Thank you for this information. Though I belong to Gudiyattam and enjoyin the thiruvizha in my childhood only now I come to know the details of the festival. Thank you and keep it up.ReplyDelete
I am proud to be a gudiyattam person.. It is wonderful place and all people friendly people.. Where ever you go finally we wanna reach gudiyattam.. Gudiyattam always rocks..ReplyDelete
Hiiiiiii sir am proud to see the gudiyattam festival because my fathers native is gudiyattam really good wonderful keep it up am from bangalore Vicky Health minister PAReplyDelete
Very good blog, I was just googleing about Gangai Amman Festival as i couldnt make it up to go to Gudiyatham, Though all my family members went today from Bangalore for the festival. Everybody will have a nice time, but I missed it
I really thank u very much for written this article.You didn't miss even a single point about my Gudiyatham Gangai Amman Festival Story.My home town is Gudiyatham and am working in Bangalore from the past 5.5 Years.From my childhood till now i didn't miss this festival.Today evening am going to gudiyatham for this thiruvizha only.
All of you, My native is gudiyatham Very very merciful goddess I am really proud of my native. Totally, around two crores peoples got a powerful dharshan on 15th May 2013
HI Mr.SARAVANAN AM VERY HAPPY TO SEE THE GANGAI AMMAN TEMPLE AND AM SEEING FIST TIME THIS GUDIYATTAM FESTIVAL, AM FROM MADANUR BUT NOW IN BANGALOREReplyDelete
I think you are not familiar with history. Pls verify the year that you have mentioned as kulothungan's rule.
//Ancient inscriptions about this town belong to 1705 AD during Kulothungan’s 1st dynasty and few Vijayanagara kings at later stages.//
to my knowledge, there is no chola king after 13th century. Atleast not during british rule which started after 1600 AD.
To Mr.Anonymous Friday, June 21, 2013 4:48:00 PMReplyDelete
Yes. I may not know the history as clear as you. My apologies if there are mistakes.
I belong to this town only, where I was born and brought up and studied too.
But I took the reference for the same from various sources including
I looked at the reference, it was written by one of the citizen of your town. He has mentioned that he took the reference from "Nandi Veeda inscription" in Kappuleeswarar temple. Pls verify that and edit your post, if i am right.
i am really thank fdReplyDelete
i am really thanku fdReplyDelete
v v v v v tksReplyDelete
v v tksReplyDelete