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.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dilapidated Temples near Nannilam

Most of the villages in Chola Kingdom had Shiva Temples. The Emperors had shown keen interest in preserving them . Their efforts to bring granite stones from far away places is commendable. More interesting aspect is the usage of these granite slabs when there was no devices to cut /grind or lift the stones. By creating endowments to maintain the Temples, the Kings themselves set examples to the future generations the need to preserve our Heritage. Is it not betrayal of trust when many Temples are left uncared ? As expressed through many blogs, it is worth reiterating the urgent need to renovate and restore the dilapidated temples rather than publishing photos, collecting database/directory  etc. That does n't mean that these activities are not important. The all the more important job in front of us is to take up field work.
The recent visit to two villages near Nannilam had revealed how badly the Heritage structures are neglected both by Govt and people. Of course ,the names of these places are unheard for many. The first one was at Enangudi. It was an wonderful opportunity to visit Adhalaiyur on the way. Since most natives of the village have migrated to other places, their houses were bought by  the other religious community. When the Hindus have become minority, it was still more difficult to renovate the Temple. The untiring efforts of some people of this place in getting support from outside must be appreciated. Finally the Temple at Aadhalaiyur was consecrated in June 2013.

Located some 2 km from the Nannilam- Nagapattinam  main road, Anandhanayaki sametha Bheemeswara Swami Temple can best be accessed from Sannanallur( 4 km). The Swambu Lingam is said to have been worshipped by Bhima, the Pandava. Hence the Deity is called Bhimeswara, though it may also be assumed that the name Bhima is mentioned in Sri Rudram ( " Namo Bhimaa ya cha.." ) , hence the name. Ganapathi at the entrance is big and rightly named as Sundhara Ganapathi ( Azhagu Vinayakar).

When enquired about the nearby Shiva Temples of the region, we were  blessed to know about a less known Temple at Enangudi. A 15 min drive from Aadhalayur took us to Enangudi where the Temple was found at the end of the village. Only paddy fields were seen in front of the temple although there is a road right upto the Temple. When asked about the reason why the place was called Enangudi, the locals said that it was otherwise known as Gnanmkudi and it attained the present name later. I was not convinced as the tamil word " √čnam"meant  pig and there could be some relation between Varahavathar of Mahavishnu. Upon reaching the Temple I was in tears when I saw the Murthi of Varahar in the Mahamandapam.

The Moolavar, Aalandhuaiyaar could have been called as Varageswarar and the name got changed later. At the same time, there was no banyan tree to justify the name of the Deity as Aalandhuraiyar. The sthala Vruksham is said to be " Maghizha maram"   which is seen near Navagrahas which are unusually facing the same direction. But an old tree of Vilvam is seen opposite to Dhakshinamurthi on the Prakaram which could be the Holy Tree of this temple.

Renovation of Swami Vimanam and those of Ganapathi and Vishnu were on the way and it appeared as if it would take a long time to complete it. Strangely the Vishnu shrine accommodates Panduranga with His consort. It will be apt if Panduranga Bhakthas take up the renovation of this sannadhi.

The locals were informed that we would consider renovating the shrines of Ambal, Subramanya, Gajalakshmi and Chandikeswara so that the only left over job will be to repair the compound wall which has developed cracks at some places. The roof of the Mahamandapam is damaged badly due to the deeply rooted trees. It was told clearly that the jobs in progress must be completed by April to enable us to do our part.

As originally planned, we proceeded to Kottur , about 3 km from Enangudi. It was a heart- breaking  scene to watch the dilapidated Temple of Munkudumi eesar ( The Shiva Lingam has "Munkudumi "on top as practised by Chidambaram Dhikshidars.) The Mahamandapams of both Swami and Ambal are in ruins. In the absence of compound wall, the Devakoshta murthis are either mutilated or stolen. Even the Ambal (Moolavar) is not spared).Anti socials have used the prakaram and liquor bottles are found scattered there. Though the locals are keen to start the renovation work, nothing has materialised so far. Since the Temple belongs to Chola period, people  took notes of the inscriptions but never turned back.

Look at the exquisite sculpture of Ambal made of terracotta. The multi folded dress and Her jatabharam(hair style) are extremely beautiful. Can we afford to lose such outstanding contributions of our ancestors? We took it seriously at the back of our mind that something should be done urgently to save the temple from extinction.

An appeal through this column is not just to bring sympathy but an emergency call. If 100 persons in a village can contribute Rs 100 for ten years in an RD account maintained for the Temple of their village, the proceeds of this account will be more than Rs 12 Lakhs. Can't each village do the renovation work from this account and maintain the Temple in good condition?  It looks simple! Where are the takers?