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, September 18, 2016

Devastated Temples

Maringoor Ramalingeswara Temple
Inscriptions on the walls of  temples speak volumes of the History of the land, temple arts and culture. The emperors thought that it was essential to document everything they wanted to convey to the generations that would follow. A Chola inscription describes the effort taken by the Queen Sembian Madevi in copying and re-inscribing the inscriptions of the former Chola Emperors on the granite walls of a newly renovated temple  when she undertook the work by replacing the brick walls. It is painful to see that the present generation ignores the rich Heritage gifted by our ancestors and allows the temples that carry the inscriptions to ruin. The efforts taken by the Government fail to meet the urgent attention required by dilapidated temples at various places.

The land that lies between Thondai Nadu and Chola Nadu was called Nadunadu and the same is now known to contain districts of Villupuram and South Arcot. Villupuram district alone has over 1400 villages. Archaeological Survey of India has documented inscriptions of this region mostly during the British rule.

The temples close to the river "Then Pennai" had to face the brunt from flood waters which was the primary cause of destruction. When we look at the three temples at Sitringoor, Peringur and Maringoor , the flood water has not spared the temple at Sitringoor  in 1975, 1983 and 1993, although the river is 4 km away from the shrine. Perangoor was situated on the northern side of  "Then Pennai " but the river had changed its course sometime after 1200 A.D. Now it is on the southern side of the river. Marangiyoor is located between the two rivers, Malattaaru and "Then Pennai" and one can easily imagine how the temple had suffered during floods.

Sitringoor is now known as Siththalinga Madam .  Thiruvennainalloor, where Sundarar sang his first Thevaram Hymn is on the east of Sitringoor.  Inscriptions that belong to the period of Raja Magendran, Rajathi Rajan II, Kulothunga I, II and III, Paranthaga I , Rajaraja I , II and III, Vikrama Chola Sundarapandya, Veera Pandya and KrishnadevaRaya  are found in this temple.
Peringoor ( Now called as Perangiyoor) is on the southern banks of the river Pennai. It is located 10 km south of Villupuram. The inscription of Rajendra Chola I descibes the location as " Rajendra Chola Valanaattu Thirumunaippaadi naattu, Perangiyoor " . Thirumoolasthaaneswara temple at Peringoor under the care of many rulers of Chola Kingdom.

On the banks of ever threatening Pennai river
Maringoor is badly affected by the repeated entry of flood waters as the temple is very close to the river bed. Marngiyoor,as it is called now,can be reached via Kalpattu. The Heritage of this places is said to belong to the Sangam age. The Pallava Temple is no longer there. But we still find sculptures of Pallava period. Special mention has to be made about the Jyeshta Devi image found here. Legend says that Rama who was on his way to Lanka came here and the Lord Shiva of this place was thus known as Rama Lingeswara.

During Chola Dynasty, this area was known as Rajandra Singa Nallur. 27 inscriptions were recorded from this Temple in 1936. The inscriptions give details of the gifts made by emperors and individuals to this temple at different periods. We also come to know about Malayamans who ruled this area under Paranthaka Chola I   and others. Vikrama Chola vana kularaya who ruled Marangiyoor had gifted lands  for the maintenance of the temple. Pennai river was not flowing close to the temple at that time,as seen now. The river, which flowed close to Thiruvennainallur had changed its course after few centuries and destroyed Marangiyoor temple.  

Efforts are being made to restore the Temple at its original place. The villagers are very much interested to make this happen at the earliest. However, this project seems to be beyond their reach as it involves realigning the original stones at the respective places without causing damage to inscriptions. A protective wall has to be built around the shrine to prevent damage from floods. As the work is on, Murthis are worshipped inside the   balalayam.

Further details can be had from Mr K. Sankaranarayanan ,Mobile: 9159428289 & 9840425253. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Burning the lamps with Water !!

Thiruvarur Temple with Kamalalayam tank 
Thiruvarur is one of the oldest and Holiest shrines of Tamilnadu. Appar's Thevaram supports this view. Vanmeeka natha of Thiruvarur Temple is praised in all the Saivaite Thirumurais. It has been the abode of some Nayanmars like Sundarar, Viranmindar,Naminandi and Dhadiyadigal. According to Appar's Thiruvadhirai Padhigam, devotees from different parts of the land used to assemble for the festival. The Chariot, usually called as "Aazhi Ther " is mentioned in ancient literature.

Thiru neiper Temple
It was Naminandhi Adigal, a brahmin devotee hailed from Thiruneiper , some 10 KM from Thiruvarur ( on the  way to Thiruthuraipoondi) performed a miracle with the Divine Grace of Lord Shiva. He used to walk all the way from his place everyday to reach Thiruvarur temple for serving  The Almighty. He wanted to light ghee lamps at Achaleswara Shrine , located inside the Temple. As he required more ghee for the purpose, he went outside and approached some houses which were close to the Temple. Without knowing that  those houses belonged to Jains, he made the request to them. They laughed at him and refused to give ghee to light the lamps. They even insulted him to go back and  light the lamps by using water drawn from the Temple Tank. Highly wounded by their words, Naminandhi Adigal went back to the Temple and prayed at the feet of The Lord. At that time he heard The Divine Voice asking him to bring water from the tank and light the lamps.

Nayanar lighting lamps before Thyagaraja- A painting at Thiruneiper  
 He obeyed the Lord's advice and brought water from the tank and lighted numerous lamps. It was indeed a miracle that all lamps burned throughout the night to the surprise of everybody. He continued to serve The Lord by shifting his residence from Thiruneiper to Thiruvarur. The Lord even made him realise all people of Thiruvarur are Shiva ganas. The Nayanar's remarkable service is praised by Appar in his Thevaram Hymns.

The damaged portion of the front Mandapam-Thiruneiper
The birthplace of such a great Nayanar at Thiruneiper has an old Shiva Temple. Left uncared for several decades, devotees from outside have  built a small shrine close to the road by facing the main Temple. It was consecrated recently. Efforts are being made to renovate the main Temple  The front mandapam is in a bad shape . It carries some paintings pertaining to the life of Naminandhi Adigal Nayanar. We may lose these paintings if the mandapam is allowed to collapse.

Renovation under progress_Thiruneiper 
The moola murthi of the Nayanar in standing posture with folded hands is seen facing the Sanctum. Plans are there to build a small shrine for him in the outer prakaram. It looks that the whole work will get completed by the end of the year. For more details the archaka may be contacted at 9444812040

It will be a great service if such dilapidated temples are brought back to their original glory. It will also help the archakas of rural temples who struggle to meet their basic needs.