Monday, September 21, 2009

Cholapuram Temples - An urgent call

Sri Bhairaveeswara Swami Temple, Cholapuram

After my visit to Du(R)gachi,I went to Cholapuram,about 8km from Kumbakonam on the way to Thiruppanandal.Sri Lakshminarayan took me in his vehicle to show me three ancient Shiva temples of Chola period.We went straight to Sri Kailasanatha temple which is under renovation.Then we went to Sri Bhairaveeswaram,a marvellous Chola structure under ruin. Renovation work is under way but too slow.No work was in progress when we visited the shrine.We could see the sanctum through the gate.The dwarabalakas at the entrance are huge and stunning. We walked around the temple only to find some defaced idols surrounded by bushes.The sculptures on the walls of the sanctum are remarkable.The brackets were adorned by the idols of Ganapathi,Nataraja,Bhikshadana and Subramanya.A Shivalingam is seen among the bushes at the corner of the inner praakaram.Unfortunately we could not see any responsible person over there to know the progress of the work.

Our next visit was to another dilapidated temple in the same village.People call it as Kasi Viswanatha Temple.Many idols including the Moolavar are damaged and that of Parvathi is missing.The vimanams are literally taken over by deep rooted trees and pose danger to the structure.The ardha mandapam had already collapsed and open to sky.The domes are badly damaged at many places.Chandikeswara shrine is so pathetic that the idol is trapped inside in a tilted position.Unless the structure is carefully dismantled, it will be really difficult to save the idol trapped inside.Idols of Ganapathi and Dhakshinamurthi are saved by locals and kept in front of the sanctum.
The local people are willing to start regular poojas in the temple and looking for suitable aid from outside.At present they adorn the Moola Linga with flowers and clothes. Since it was Pradosham on that day,I volunteered to do pooja on my own for which the locals agreed and assisted happily.The pooja went for about 30 minutes and I could notice satisfaction and smile in their faces.
Now it becomes important to clean the bushes and take out Chandikeswara from the ruins. A renovation committee has to be formed with the help of the locals and officials and then look for donors to carry out the restructuring work.An idol of Ambal need be carved and installed after renovating Her shrine.
Another visit is therefore necessary to initiate the work and I am planning to take up the same with the help of Sri Lakshminarayanan and other well wishers.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


The blog,"SivaSankara Vijayam" aims to bring to limelight the less known temples and their importance. Most of these temples are facing issues of various types and cry for attention.Naturally the worst affected are those who perform poojas without being rewarded by either the authorities or the locals to keep life going. In fact they conduct poojas where their life itself is under constant risk from poisonous snakes which live inside the sanctum.As nobody seems to have bothered about them or the condition of the temple, one can guess easily what would happen in the future if the neglect continues.This is the reason why we wanted to focus on the condition of these neglected temples and the plight of the archakars.

In the event of successful  copmpletion of renovation of a neglected temple,the same will be described in our other blog, with photographs taken before and after renovation.

In this issue we wish to bring to the attention of our readers,the pathetic condition of a Shiva temple at Du(R)ga(T)chi,which is called as Thukkachi by the locals.This place is located between Naachiyar Koil (on Kumbakonam-Thiruvarur road)and Poonthottam(on Mayiladuthurai-Thiruvarur road).

Although the distance Naachiyarkoil is only 8 km.,buses are not frequent.  From Thukkachi bus stand,we have to cross a bridge and reach the temple.Sri Lakshminarayanan of Kumbakonam took me to Thukkachi last week.It was around noon when we reached the temple.Since the gate was locked,we went straight to the archakar's house. As MrLakshminarayanan had already met him,he introduced me to the priest.Then we proceeded towards the temple.



The name of the place got derived from Goddess Durga. As she is the protector and ruler of this place, it is known as Durga Aatchi (ruled by Durga).Sri Durga sahasranamam hails Her as "Graama Devatha"and "Grahagraamapi rakshini" This magnificent temple belongs to Vikrama Chola's period(1117-1135 A.D.)There is a separate shrine for Goddess Durga.What we see today is a dilapidated structure overwhich plenty of plants have grown. The damaged idol of Durga has been shifted and kept separately.The exclusive shrine for Durga faces South which is rare.If attempts are not initiated,the whole shrine may collapse sooner or later. Since the Sthala Purana is not available,more about Durga Devi and Her separate shrine are yet to be known. A new idol of Durga Devi needs to be installed in Her shrine after renovation.

The Main deity of this Temple is Sri Aabathsahayeswara and His consort is Sri Soundaranayaki.This place was once called "Paadhiri Vanam"as it had many "paadhiri trees.Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi were worshipped by many Rishis here under the Paadhiri Tree. One such tree under which Shivalinga & Parvathi are installed can be seen in the Praakara.Locals conduct poojas here once their desires are fulfilled.

Vikrama Chola got rid of ven kushtam after worshipping the deity for 48 days.Since the Lord has helped/blessed the king in this way,He was called Aabathsahayeshwara.Then the King constructed the temple with seven Praakarams with granite stones.Only 3 Gopurams are seen of which two have damaged extensively.Deep rooted trees pose danger to the remaining structures.

There is a shrine for Sri Chamundeswari in the praakaram facing south and worshipped on all important dates. She (has jwala kesam) is well decorated.She answers the prayers in the absence of Durga Devi. Special poojas are conducted during Rahu Kalas and on Fridays to cross all obstacles in this birth.

Another south facing shrine is meant for Sri Sarabeswarar.This deity is considered as old as the one in Thirubuvanam.Poojas are conducted to Him on Sundays during Rahukalam to get rid of diseases,enmity etc. "Naarasimhanga lolupayai""Nrusimha sarma vasanayai""Narasimhaanga raktha paana samuthsukayai""Sarabayai"are the names found in praise of Durga in Sri Durga sahasranamam.Narasimhamurhi with folded hands can be seen at the feet of Sarabeswara.

Pradosham,Karthigai Somavaram and Mahasivarathri are celebrated for Aabathsahaya,Navarathri for Ambal and Panguni Uthiram for Subramanya.
There are two Bhairavars(Maha Bhairavar & Kaala Bhairavar) in this temple.People conduct Parihaara pujas here to free themselves from the bad effects of Sani.As there is no Navagraha peeta for the people of this village only few grahaas are installed,that too facing the same direction.

The sculptures in this temple are masterpieces of Chola art.Hence it is our primary duty to save the temple from extinction.HR&CE which manages the temple has to take immediate steps as pillars have fallen at many places

The roof may collapse at any time.It is our earnest appeal to all devotees to help whatever they can.Please remember that we may loose more treasures once the monsoon starts in october.

The attached photos will bring tears in the eyes as no answer has been found so far..