Brahmotsavam and Pavitrotsavam will be revived at the Kurugai Kaavalappan temple, which sports a new look post renovation.

Almost four decades after the previous samprokshanam (1976), the 11th Century AD Kurugai Kavalappan temple, near Gangai Konda Cholapuram, has seen a dramatic change. Rich in legend that dates back to Alavanthar, the huge temple was in a dilapidated condition earlier. (The write-up about the renovation initiatives appeared in these columns in July last).

Thanks to the tireless efforts led by K. Santhanam of Sundaravalli Religious and Charitable Trust, the temple has regained much of its lost glory. His fore fathers had been taking care of the temple since the early 19th century. Till the late 1960s, Veera Narayana Perumal used to be taken on a 10 kilometre procession to Kanjankollai Village near Anaikarai on the banks of Vadavar and Rajan Canal on the occasion of Maasi Magam. Following this procession, the Theertavari utsavam would take place in the Coloroon. But this came to a halt in 1967.

With the renovation initiatives over the past 12 months undertaken at a cost Rs.4 Crores, the temple now wears a completely fresh look. The five-tier rajagopuram at the eastern entrance with new huge teak wooden door provides a majestic welcome to the devotees. Towards the right of the rajagopuram, on the northern side, is the big sacred tank that has been completely spruced up. A dry tank same time last year has now been replaced with the one brimming with water with walls and steps on all four sides.

The maha mandapam that had been structurally weak has been fully reconstructed. Andal sannidhi, which had collapsed, was rebuilt from scratch. A kalyana mandapam that can house 150-200 people has been constructed on the Southern side of the temple complex.

Legendary Tale

As one enters the newly renovated sannidhi dedicated to Kurugai Kaavalappan, who is seen flanked by Alavanthar, Manakkal Nambi and Nadamuni, one is reminded of the legendary tale of Alavanthar missing his appointment with Kurugai Kaavalappan for the initiation into the Yoga Rahasya (the treatise that was only with Nadamuni and Kurugai Kaavalappan).

Kurugai Kaavalappan had asked Alavanthar to revisit this place on the full moon Poosam day in the month of Thai for initiation into the Yoga Rahasya as that was the day the former was to attain moksham. Lost in thoughts of Lord Ananthapadmanabhaswamy at Anantha Pura Nagar (Thiruvananthapuram), Alavanthar remembered his scheduled meeting with Kurugai Kaavalappan only on the scheduled day but it was too late for him to return. With Alavanthar not being able to make it here, it turned out to be a significant ‘non-event’ in the history of Vaishnava Sampradaya as Yoga Rahasya was lost to the future generations and went into oblivion.

As Kurugai Kaavalappan was the only disciple to be initiated with Yoga Rahasya by Nadamuni and was seen here at this place in a Yogic State, both the village and the temple came to be named after him as Kurugai Kaavalappan Koil.

Festivals

The five-day Brahmotsavam that was once celebrated in a grand manner at this temple is being revived and will take place later this Vaikasi month (in the second week of June). Garuda Sevai of Veera Narayana Perumal will form part of the Brahmotsavam. The third day Pavitrotsavam to take place in the month of Aippasi, is also being revived.

How to reach: Kurugai Kaavalappan temple is one kilometre North West of Gangai Konda Chola Puram. Buses are available every 10 minutes from Kumbakonam and Jayamkondan. Autos from Gangai Konda Chola Puram Cross Road (Kumbakonam-Chennai NH) will charge Rs.40. By train, one can get down at Kumbakonam and take a bus to Gangai Konda Chola Puram. Also, one can get down at Vriddachalam Station and reach the temple via Jayamkondan.

Highlights of Renovation

Brahmotsavam and Pavitrotsavam revived

Temple Tank spruced up

New Vimanam for all Sannidhis, Silver Kavacham for the Lord

New Swarga Vaasal

Maha Mandapam, Andal Sannidhi and Madapalli reconstructed

Next Steps

Residential Quarters being built for Bhattars and temple staff

A Vedic School is being launched near the temple complex

Huge walls in the Outer Prakara will be reconstructed over the next 6-12months

Quick Facts

Moolavar: 11 feet Veera Narayana Perumal in an East Facing Standing Posture

Thaayar : Maragada Valli Thaayar ( Separate Sannidhi)

Utsavar : Dwarakanath

Time : 7am-11am and 5pm-730pm

Contact : Seshadri Bhattar / Rangaraja Bhattar @ 90252 46545/94443 93244

The Divyaprabandham

About 15 kilometre east of Kurugai is Kattu Mannar Koil, the Avatara sthalam of Nadamuni and his grandson Alavanthar. Veera Narayana Perumal of Kattu Mannar Koil was the one who asked Nadamuni to collect and propagate the sacred verses of the Azhwars. One day, while performing his daily puja, Nadamuni heard chants of the ‘Aaraavamudhey’ song (Nammazhwar’s Tiruvoimozhi verse praising the Lord of Kumbakonam).The devotees ended with the words ‘these 10 out of the 1000.’ Nadamuni asked them to sing the rest of the 990 verses. However, they knew only these 10 songs. Seeking those verses, Nadamuni went to Kumbakonam, where Lord Aaravamudhan directed him to Thiru Kurugur. Unable to get his answers at Kurugur, he went to Thiru Kolur where he got initiated with Madura Kavi Azhwar’s Kanninin Siruthambinaal. He came back to Thiru Kurugur and recited these verses 12,000 times, on completion of which Nammazhwar shared with him the entire 4000 songs – which is the Nalayira Divya Prabandham.

Veera Narayana Perumal called Nadamuni back to Kattu Mannar Koil where the Vaishnavite Saint chanted and shared the Nalayira Divya Prabandham. He also initiated the Vaishnava Sampradayam from here including the Yoga Rahasya to his disciple Kurugai Kavalappan. But with his grandson Alavanthar missing the appointment with Kurugai Kavalappan, the Yoga Rahasya could not be passed on to future generations.