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.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Forgotten Marvels

   It is sad to note that only few of us bother about the depleting Treasures of the past. It happens as the loss is not considered seriously. Even responsible people do not wish to come forward to render help even  at the eleventh hour. Many of us seem to believe that the moment the issue is shared through press or Internet, their job is over. We need people who followup and fight till the end. Everybody knows that it is a mammoth task and a  hardnut to crack with obstacles all the way. It is also well known that the neglected monuments loose their territory in the absence of a boundary wall. Some of us are merely interested to take pictures of the ruin and publish them in their books or save them in their picture gallery. It is high time to ask ourselves what little step we have taken to restore the dilapidated Temples. Do we wish to remain as spectators and reportors without initiating whatever step we can? Are we interested in gaining popularity when we are called "Best Blog writer" or "Best Jounalist"? Does it not show that we confine with a suitable platform on self interet? Do we drive the point beyond getting sympathy from the viewers? Which religious Magazine /Newspaper has initiated a corpus Fund and invited contributions for the purpose of rebuilding the neglected Temples?

           The erlstwhile Thanjavur Dt has scores of neglected shrines which need immediate attention. The Government and the Philanthropists should focus their attention more on this area. My recent visit to this region gave shock waves to the already disturbed mind. The two shrines at Thirumangalam and P(o)undareekapuram are crying for instant support and any further delay will present a huge heap of stones at these marvellous sites.

             Thirumangalam is around 12 km from Mayiladuthurai which can be reached by buses  that ply via Kali. One can also take the road from Kuttalam that passes through Thirumananjeri, the distance being 6 km.  The Sthalapuranam of this place has a connection with that of Thirumananjeri. The celestial Wedding held at Thirumananjeri was attended by Sage Vasishta with his wife Arunthathi.The images of this couple can be found inside this couple. The Divine couple gave dharshan to the devotees on earth. Shiva with His consort Parvathi, gives dharshan at the front Mandapam by sliding on His Bull. Moolavar is known as Bhoolokanatha and His consort Bhooloka Nayaki,who occupied a separate sannadhi in the next Prakara is now shifted to the Sannadhi meant for Nataraja . Nevertheless this Sannadhi is also facing ruin. The original Ambal Sannadhi is covered with thick growth of trees around it and the surroundings are also encroached due to the absence of a boundary wall.  The pillairs in the front Mandapam are richly carved with beautiful sculptures.

             Both Ganapathi and Subramanya are seen at the entrance of Mahamandapam. Lord Subramanya is seated on a peacock with a japa mala in his hand. Idols of Mahavishnu, Lakshmi,Saraswathi (who attended the Wedding) are also seen here. The unusual dharshan of KalasamharaMurthi with Ambal,facing south, is a treat to the devotees. Many people come here on their 60th/70th birth days to conduct the religious function at this Holy place.

             The outer prakara presents negligence of the first order. Devakoshtas are empty except the one meant for Goddess Durga. All these brackets are exceptionally carved and the one at Dhakshinamurthi sannadhi is outstanding. "Kodungai"(sunshade) has fallen at many places. Stones with inscriptions are either misplaced or used as stepping stones. The grand Vimanam of the Moolavar is extensively damaged due to the deep rooted trees. There is no point in cutting the branches as new branches will emerge at the outset of next monsoon. Rebuilding the entire structure by carefully marking stone by stone and then restoring in the same place appears to be the only option although the labour cost involved will be very high.

                 "Thirimaaligaipathi" in the outer prakaram is open to sky. It has few sculptures along with some Shiva Lingams. Ganapathi shrine is untraceable like that of GajaLakshmi. Both Subramanya and Chandikeswara sannadhi are in pathetic state as thick roots of trees have uprooted the structures at many places. In the absence of a shrine in the outer prakaram, Kannimoola Ganapathi's idol is kept in the front Mandapam, waiting for good things to happen. God willing, this forgotten Temple should be in the priority list of all those who really wish to participate in this kind of activity.

                Soundaranayaki sametha Somanatha Swami Temple at P(o)undareekapuram has become a victim in the handa of vandals. This is located between Thiruvidaimarudur and Thandanthottam. Main entrance and boundary walls have vanished and urchins have taken advantage of the same to destroy most of the beautifully carved sculptures on the walls of the Prakaram. These mutilated figures bring tears to the onlookers leaving us to think how soon the remaining sculptures and the decayed Temple can be saved.

                 Nandi Mandapam faces the Sanctum and the sculpture of a sage {Pundareeka Maharishi? -- after whom the place attained the name?} is on the right. The Rishi is seen crosslegged and his left palm is clearly viscible. Vandalism starts from here as his left hand is broken. Another sculpture of Soola Devar with a crecent is kept near him.

                 Adhikara Nandikeswara with folded hands is on the left. He carries stag and "Parasu" in his hands . He has a sword kept across his chest and wears a ring on the left ear to mark the ardhanari amsam. A nicely carved crown adorns his head. The hands of the Dwarapalas are also damaged.

                  The idol of cross legged Shiva with Nandi is absorbing. He has japa mala and fire in His hind arms and the front left arm is broken.His jatabaaram (Locks) is intrinsically carved. The kodungai{sunshade}above Him is partly collapsed and dangerously hanging. Other bracket figures include Ardhanari, Bhikshadana and Lingothbava. Ganga visarjamoorthi is a must watch for the visitors.

                    Hands are broken in the idol of Chadesanugrahamurthi. The Lord is found tying His garland over the head of Chandeesa,who sits below Him with folded hands. Devotees and Art lovers will definitely curse those vandals who have committed the sin.

                   Sometime back Thiruvadikudil swamiji of Kumbakonam had taken up the task of clearing the weeds and cleaning of the Temple premises. But the vimanams of all shrines are encircled with vegetation once again.

                   The executive officer of the Temple was contacted immediately for seeking assistance from the Government. He has promised to get all possible help from HR &CE once the renovation is started . Heritage lovers should swing into action instead of posting articles and keeping the fingers crossed. An article had appeared in the Heritage section of a leading Newspaper in 2005 itself but the attempt could not create the desired result. Not a stone has been moved since then! On the other hand, many stones are pushed down by the wild growth of trees. The heart breaking scene continues to prevail.