Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pazhuvur and Govandhaputhur

"Pazhuvettarayars" were ruling Pazhuvur region under the control of Chola Empire. It is on Tiruchi- Ariyalur highway and has three Shiva temples of that period. For easy identification, Pazhuvur is divided into three parts namely, "Keezha pazhuvur" (on the east) , "Mela Pazhuvur" (on the west) and Keezhayur.All the three temples are said to have been worshipped by Sage Jamadagni and his illustrious son, Parasurama. Keezha pazhuvur Alanduraiyappar temple is sung by Thirugnana Sambandar in his Thevaram Hymns. It is mentioned in the Hymn that the temple rituals were conducted by Keralites who settled down there. The legend says that Parasurama himself brought them from Kerala to conduct Pooja at this temple. Some scholars are of the view that Pazhuvettarayars might have brought them as they belonged to the land of Parasurama. This shrine was rebuilt in granite during the reign of Paranthaka Chola-I . It contains inscriptions of the Emperor describing his victory over Pandyas at Vellore. Another inscription of Parakesarivarman says that the temple was reconstructed by Pazhuvettarayan Maravan Kandan This east facing temple has 14 feet square type sanctum. over which the round shaped dome is seen. Devakoshtas include Ganapathi and Dakshinamurthi on the south and Lingodhbava on west , Brahma and Durga on North Prakara. The Mukha mandapa has Kala samhara, Ardhanari, Kalyana sundara, Gangalamurthi,and Bhairava .

Melapazhuvur is about 1.5 km from Keeazhayur and located close to the Main road. Both Melapazhuvur and Keezhayur were collectively called as "Perum Pazhuvur" during Chola Period. Sundareswara Temple at melapazhuvur belongs to the period of Parakesari varman. The Lord of this temple was called "Pagaividai Eechwara grahaththu Mahadevar" in one of the inscriptions. The inscriptions of Raja Raja and Kuloththunga refer the Lord as " Thiruththotramudaya Mahadevar" Probably this name has been translated later into Sanskrit as Sundareswarar. According to the legend, Jamadagni Rishi, father of Parasurama worshipped here and we still find the sage's statue in the Prakara, facing west. There are inscriptions which say that one Pazhuvettarayan kandan maravan had renovated this temple. Another important inscription says that the temple which was built by using bricks had to rebuilt as it was facing ruin. It was rebuilt by Ilangesan during the period of kulothunga Chola and renamed it as Kulothunga Choleeswaram. High statues of dwara palas welcome us at the Raja gopuram entrance . Nandi Mandapam has a beautifully carved Nandi and the Prakara has equally well carved Subramanya, Chandikeswara and Gajalakshmi. The temple needs urgent renovation in order to prevent further damage due to negligence.

Avani Gandarva Eechwara Gruham in Keezhayur is known for Chola masterpieces and is under the control of ASI. One must be lucky to see the gates open as our attempts go in vain on many occasions. There are two west facing shrines inside the compound. They are called as "Agastheeswaram" and "Choleeswaram" Both these temples belong to the period of Adhitha Chola I ( 884 A.D) and are considered as outstanding examples for the construction of vimanam.

Govandhaputhur is located around 25 km from Ariyalur and the temple of Gangajadeswarar presents a new look due to the extensive renovation work undertaken by Thayumanavar Manram, Thiruchirappalli. The once dilapidated temple has been put back to its original glory by the untiring efforts of the Manram and other philanthropists. A similar effort has to be taken for the temple at Vikramangalam which is 4 km away from this place. As the presiding deity is worshipped by Kamadhenu, the place is named as Go vandhaputhur.

River Kollidam flows nearby and one can reach Vijayamangai , sung in Thevaram by crossing the river. Appar has praised Govandhaputhur in his verses on Vijayamangai. Statues which are said to be those of Rajaraja Chola ,his queen and Karikaal Chola are seen in the Prakaram. Durga Devi with prayoga Chakram on Her right hand and the smile on Nataraja's face are not to be missed by the visitors. A damaged statue of Jyeshta Devi is found inside the compound of the nearby school. It is not known why the renovation committee has left the Mandap on the right of Ambal sannadhi untouched . The locals expressed the desire to renovate it as it would involve a low budget. Our Sabha has accepted in principle to renovate it after obtaining the necessary formalities.