Someone rightly said that Culture was deep seated and civilisation was only skin deep. By saying Culture , we mean tradition, customs, beliefs, and character. The Vedic Culture was evolved further by spiritual leaders who traveled by foot across the length and breadth of the country many times . Though the country was ruled by independent kings in different parts of the nation, they were united by a common bond of culture and religion. The saints who were the torch bearers of Vedic culture were respected everywhere by the ruling dynasties. Although the post vedic age witnessed a rebellion against the old at the advent of Jainism and Budhism , it only resulted in the affirmation of the core vedic values through Puranas, Agamas and Dhamashastras.
Even though the emperors fought with each other, they never damaged the temples of the conquered territory. It was only when foreigners invaded the nation, many Heritage sites were damaged. Ruins of the Temples at places like Hampi stand as testimony to the damage caused by the invaders. Over the past five decades, dramatic things have happened which made people to wander from place to place. It made a big dent in our Heritage and cultural values. Dilapidation followed soon as there were no caretakers. Most of them stand as symbols of neglect.
The Cauvery delta, once considered as the rice bowl of south is slowly getting converted into a concrete jungle. Nobody seems to shed tears at the sorry state of affairs prevailing over there. People lose faith in agriculture as there is practically no water in Cauvery. Even the dry beds are not spared. Sand mining activity at various places poses great threat to the river system. It is under this context, dilapidated Temples wait for philanthropists to renovate them.
Many people are busy in collecting data, writing stories and looking at inscriptions but very few of them take steps to rebuild the literally lost Temples. Unless field work is given priority, no amount of fact finding work will be useful. Writing blogs and publishing pictures of the Temples can only draw sympathy but very rarely inspire to contribute and do some field activity.
It is a known fact that Temples cannot be renovated overnight. But there cannot be a second opinion that spade work for the activity need not wait for years. We need to ask ourselves whether we have played a role, however small it may be to start the work. We may visit numerous Temples and write about them ; have the Temples benefited out of our visits?
The first part of our post on the dilapidated Temples near Aduthurai was published last year in this blog. This part continues to focus on the neglected Temples of this region.
|Maha Mandapam - Sivapurani|
Sri Aadhitheswara Swami Temple was in bad shape and our efforts to renovate the Temple paid dividends. The Main Sanctum was renovated and the “Parivaara Sannadhis” were built with the help of donors. As the old shrine of Gnanambikai was totally lost, Ardhra Foundation involved itself in building a new shrine for the Goddess inside the Temple complex with the help of philanthropists. The work was completed and the consecration will take place on 9th April.
Sri Agastheeswara Temple at Karuppur is yet another example for total neglect over many decades. After inspiring the locals to clean the premises and renovate Nandhi Mandapam and Chandikeswara shrine , the Foundation will take up the renovation and rebuilding work of Swami & Ambal Sannadhis.
The historic Temple at Keezha Korkai near Patteeswaram off Kumbakonam was once covered with wild growth of trees which penetrated through granite walls and vimanams. The renovation committee tried hard and found donors for renovating the shrine without altering the original glory. They numbered each stone of the stone and the Mahamandapam and dismantled the structure. The stones were replaced in their original places with the help of cranes after completely removing the giant roots of the plants. Since the sannadhis of Ganapathi and Subramanya were lost long back, the idols were kept in the Mahamandapam. A local person has come forward to construct a new shrine for Ganesa and AF has accepted to build a new sannadhi for Subramanya. The work is likely to be completed by March.
It was shocking to see more dilapidated Temples near Aduthurai. The first one we visited was at Manalur where the Temples of Shiva and Vishnu face each other. The front Mandapam is in very bad shape. It is dangerously hanging as the roots of big trees try to uproot it at any time. Swami sannadhi faces west and that of Ambal looks towards South. The condition is so bad and renovation work, if started now can save the Temple from extinction.
The very first sight at Sri Manikeswara Swami Temple at Sivapurani (Probably named after the Goddess Sivapoorani who is also called as Maragathambikai), a village near Thirulokki, off Thirupanandal was horrible. As there was no compound wall in the front, some anti- social persons have illegally dug sand around Nandhi Mandapam , as a result of which the Mandapam is precariously hanging with the help of some bricks.
The Sanctum of Swami and Ambal are also breached near the bottom. Tall trees pierce through the strong walls and the Mahamandapam is open to sky at one place. The roof of ardhamandapam has fallen down. Some idols have been defaced by vandals. Some locals are still anxious to see their Temple back. It needs well -wishers not just to pay sympathy but to contribute their might. Our Foundation is working to arrive at the final cost of the restoration work to decide how best we can join in this noble cause. We sincerely request devotees to see the Temples like this and help whatever is possible. It is our hope that this appeal will reach the bottom of the hearts of all those who have faith in our cultural Heritage.