Shiva Krupa

Temples of India signify the very root of Hinduism and its culture. To be worth of the trust reposed by our ancestors, it becomes our primary responsibility to sustain our heritage for generations to come.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Neglected Mandapams

It is a well known fact that ancient Vasantha Mandapams and "Chariot mandapams" of Temples are given least priority when the renovation work is undertaken. This is true with almost all village Temples depending upon the extent of dilapidation towards which the entire resources are utilised. Finally the organisers are left with nothing and the focus on dilapidated Mandapams is given up. Even the Heritage groups are interested in renovating the Mandapams located in well known pilgrim centres as fund raising becomes easy and gaining popularity is equally simple. It is unfortunate that neither the Govt nor the philanthropists take care of the Mandapamsof village Temples in order to restore them. There should not be any valid reason (other than difficulty in raising funds) why these Heritage structures are abandoned.

While visiting the neibourhood of Thiruvarur, the ignored mandapam in front of Nellivaneswara Swami Temple at Thirunellikkaval caught our attention. It has received severe damages with deep rooted trees all over the tall structure. Yet it is not too late. It should also be acknowledged that the Temple has been renovated well and poojas are carried out in organised manner. Had they stretched a little more by including the Mandapam as well in the budget, they could have successfully restored it.

Another striking point is that Temple chariots are allowed to whither in rain and sun. The precious artwork is left uncared and remain under the sky without any protection. Chariot Mandapams with steps on the side were constructed to make it easy for the decorated idols to reach the top and get shifted into the chariot during the festival. In the absence of proper maintenance, trees start growing from the seeds left over the structure by the birds. Big cracks are developed as the roots penetrate deep into the Mandapam. Unless the Chariot festival is restarted, there is no scope for restoring them. Apart from the ruined vasantha Mandapam, the Chariot Mandapam at the road corner in Thirunellikkaval is engulfed with trees.

The neglected Mandapam outside Karaveeranatha swami Temple near Thiruvarur is also in a ruined state. A part of the structure is already gone and the firmly rooted trees threaten the left out portion that hangs dangerously. In a pillar , bricks are so beautifully arranged to portray a sculpture as if made in granite. We thanklessly ignore the treasures left by our ancestors . It is a shame to insult our great artisans who took enormous pain to build the mandapams with skill.    

It is always easy to point out the ruins, take some photographs and write blogs on them. But the need of the hour is to create awareness among the locals by renovating the "Vasantha Mandapams" and "Chariot Mandapams". In our quest to involve ourselves in this activity, we undertook the renovation of a "Vasantha Mandapam" at Gangajadeswara Swami Temple in Govandha Puthur,Ariyalur District. It was the only structure left unattended during the recent Renovation of the shrine. The renovation committee , however, has done a marvellous job in restoring the Temple to its original glory. Since we felt that the left out Vasantha Mandapam had to be preserved to prevent further damage,members of our Sabha ( Thiruvathirayan Thiruvarut Sabha) took interest and renovated it recently. Repairing the floor and some finishing touches alone remain to be completed.

Lot more has to be done in this front and participation from all quarters at warfooting is essential to save the structures as one can not even think of building new mandapams at huge cost.