Tharangambadi is referred in Thevaram as Alapur. Although Padhigams exclusively on this place are not available, Appar and Sundarar have mentioned about this place. Hence Tharangambadi is regarded as a "Thevara Vaipputh Thalam". Among the Temples, located on the sea coast like the one at Mahabalipuram, Tharangambadi is known for the Historic Temple facing the erosion of sea. Sea waves have uprooted the front portion of the Temple. It is not uncommon that the sea enters into the Temple during monsoon when the sea turns rough. As of now we see the only remaining part of the shore temple which is the main sanctum. Some attempts have been taken to prevent further damage by dumping granite stones in front of the temple. But people were simply watching the ruin helplessly all these years although some voices were raised to save the Chola Temple.
Tharangambadi is situated 15 km north of Karaikal. It was a Danish colony from 1620 to 1845 A fort built by a Danish captain was the residence and headquarters of Governor and other officials for abour 150 years.It now houses a Museum containing a collection of artifacts of the colonial era. A printing press was established in1712 which published 300 books in Tamil.The British took control of this place in1801 and it was sold to them in 1845.Very little information is available on the maintenance of the Historic Temple on the shore during this period.
People extract salt from seawater by using the backwaters of the sea. "alam" in tamil means a place where salt is extracted from sea water. Hence the Historic name, "Alapur". "Tharangam" in Tamil refers to waves. Sri Masilamaniswara Temple at Tharangambadi carries inscriptions of Chola Period wherein the place is called as Kulasekaran Pattinam and the Lord is addressed as "Kulasekaran pattinaththu Udayar"It was during Achuthappa Naicker's rule in 13th century, the Temple was renovated. Masilamaniswara is the main deity in the Sanctum, the extension of which are ardha mandapam and Mahamandapam. The Goddess is known as Dharma samvardhani. There was a proposal to shift the Temple away from the sea but it did not materialise. Now we find entirely a new Temple on the sands behind the old structure. Since the construction is almost over, the consecration is planned to take place sometime next month after shifting the deities from the dilapidated Temple to the new one. It could have been better had they shifted the old Temple in full by numbering the stones to the new site instead of abandoning the structure of Historic importance. By doing so, the Chola monument could have been restored. It is not known why the Heritage lovers who offered "Technical assistance" to this Temple remained silent. Getting things happen in the proper way is therefore important than just protesting and writing blogs."Never give up" attitude is missing which alone is the need of the hour. There is an undeclared writing on the wall that the old structure is abandoned which is due to the absence of Joint Protest from different quarters.
The new structure on sands is brightly painted and awaits the entry of respective deities from old Temple. Only the construction workers were available at the site and more information could not be gathered. At the moment , school children on excursion visit both old and new Temples and spend some time on the shore looking at the turbulent and unrestrained sea dashing against the shore.