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, November 27, 2014

Calling Philanthropists

The purpose of writing blogs on Dilapidated Temples is to inspire the people and focus their attention towards early rebuilding of the Heritage structures. Most of us know very well that these posts carry serious message of concern on the utter neglect shown and the failure to preserve the ancient structures. It is therefore sincerely hoped to find philanthropists who can help preserve the historic Temples. At the same time an equal amount of involvement is expected from the locals who can maintain the Temples after restoration.

If we  take a semicircular tour from Thiruvidaimarudur to Aduthurai, we come across many Temples which cry for immediate attention in  small villages en route. To start the tour, a 3 km drive towards north of Thiruvidaimarudur takes us to a place called Thirukkudiththittai also known as Thirukuzhithattai where we find the Temple of Chola period. Sri Vedhanayaki Sametha Sri Vedhapureeswara swami Temple , not a very big Temple though, was in ruins sometime back. The villagers began the restoration work and removed the wild growth from all vimanams. During this process, they had to dismantle the structure and reassemble it stone by stone by carefully numbering them.

The Temple carries Chola inscriptions on the walls and it is believed to be of Raja Raja's period. On the outer walls we notice devakoshtams for Ganapathi, Dhakshinamurthi, Mahavishnu, Brahma and Durga. The Mahamandapam is common for both Swami and Ambal Sannadhis.

A broken idol of Sage Agasthya is found in the Mahamandapam. Sun's rays fall on the Main Deity in the Tamil month of Chithirai ( from 3rd -13th) and again in the month of Avani (from 1st to 10th). at 6 o'clock in the morning.

A sculpture showing  Shiva Linga worship of a devotee (a King ?) with his family is seen on the outer wall. It is possible that he is closely associated with the Temple.

It is pretty hard to find the Temple tank though it is right behind the sanctum. It is due to the presence of thick growth of plants surrounding the water body. The villagers are taking steps to remove the plants and make the area usable.

Since the painting of the structure is the only major work pending as of now, one can expect that the Temple will be consecrated in the next couple of months.The villagers expect help from outside the village to meet the Kumbabhishekam expenses.

We need to return to Thiruvidaimarudur to proceed towards South wherein we find row of Temples in seven places which were sponsored by Kings and Philanthropists . These endowments were called "Kattalais" and the places themselves were called as "Mudhal Kattalai, Irandaam Kattalai"and so on. They extend upto Eravancheri and Thiruveezhimizhalai.

Of the seven places, only few are in good condition. Others are either dilapidated or partly renovated. The Temples of those places which are under the grip of other religions are worst affected as there are nobody to take care of them.

A visit to "Mudhal Kattalai"makes us painful. As the Ambal Sannadhi is not there, it is being built . Foundation work is over and it has come upto the ground level. The compound wall is yet to be built. The idols are kept inside the thatched shed and the Puja is held there. The villagers pray for early completion of work and leave it to God Himself.

"Irandaam Kattalai " must be hardly 2 km from Mudhal kattalai. Big cracks are found on the walls of the Temple here. The Temple Sri Kamakshi Sametha Sri Kailasa natha swami Temple of Irandaam Kattalai was under the maintainence of Agraharam which was located close to the shrine. As the migration of people from this village started, the downslide started for the Temple for want of caretakers. Had those migrated persons continue to contribute for the maintainance of the Temple, such damage might have been prevented. May good sense prevail atleast from now onwards, so that the natives of the place visit their ancestral village and take care of the Temple.

Aaraam Kattalai is now known as Ammankudi, a famous shrine for Goddess Durga. Kailasanatha Swami Temple of Ammankudi is maintained well as people come here in good numbers.  
All these Temples have agricultural lands gifted by Emperors and well wishers. Though they come under HR&CE department of the Government no effort has been made to renovate them. Those who are still living in these villages are helpless and remain as mere witnesses. But they are ready to contribute whatever they can. Hence the arrival of Philanthropists to these Temples becomes the need of the hour. It becomes the way of the world to see that some Philanthropists are busy in building Temples abroad and being appreciated by one and all. Gone are the days  when special focus was given to rural Temples sung in Thevaram Hymns. It is not known why their successors fail to continue the great job done by their ancestors.

We once again appeal to the natives of the respective villages to compensate the loss caused due to their migration. It is meaningless to build a new Temple in the colonies where they reside in urban areas and ignore the place where they were brought up. Let them remember that these old Temples carry forward the power generated due to worship made in many centuries. Let them also remember that many of these shrines were built by great souls who never expected anything in return. The Temples do carry forward their glory through Sthala Puranams, the age old Sthala Vrikshams and the Holy Tanks apart from the deities  which are housed. This aspect is totally absent in Modern Temples. Despite these missing factors, people stand in long queues , buy special dharshan tickets ,purchase "Prasadams "from stalls and offer generously in the Hundis. It becomes our moral responsibility to appeal to the Philanthropists to come forward in rebuilding the old Temples of the land. We as ordinary citizens can also contribute to the Holy cause by offering atleast 2% of our income and support the affordable persons who may contribute liberally.