In Thuvariman, villagers have united to revive heritage
The many ancient temples, mandapams and forts along the Vaigai River remind us of a glorious past. Most are dilapidated or in ruins, but one temple has regained its old splendour.
Sri Arulmigu Eswara Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Thuvariman village was renovated by efforts from many quarters. S. Venkataraman, a native of the village, actively pooled resources from like-minded people. Industrialist Karumuttu T. Kannan extended financial help. And three years of hard work from the villagers made it happen.
“We retained the original stones for basement, four pillars to adorn the main mandap and the Linga,” said Mr. Venkataraman. They also shifted the temple further inside the village and away from the main road.
The villagers retained the original Linga but commissioned new sculptures of Goddess Meenakshi, Ganapathi, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingothbhavar, Brahma, Vishnu, Chakkarathalwar and Chandikeswarar.
Later Pandya period
According to retired Archaeological Officer C. Shanthalingam, the old temple belonged to the Later Pandya period dated 12th-13th century CE. It had a rectangular sanctum sanctorum, an arthamandapam and mahamandapam. Only the base, wall and roof of the vimana survived. The upper segments might have been constructed with brick and mortar and damaged completely.
The settlement in Thuvariman village, he suggested, might have existed even 4000 years ago. Microlithic tools, including blades and arrowheads, dating from 2000 BCE were unearthed here.
According to Thiruvilayadalpurana, when a famine hit the kingdoms of Chera, Chola and Pandya, the kings asked Lord Varuna (God of Rain) for his blessing. Varuna blessed only the Chola and Chera regions, neglecting the Pandyas. The angered Pandya King Ukkirapandian waged a war against the rain god. In the battle, the king's chakra chopped off Varuna's hair, which fell at Thuvariman. A Shiva temple was built there.
The village is also blessed by Sri Rengaraja Perumal along with his consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi. Though the date of that temple could not be gauged archaeologically, villagers believe it to be 600 years old. It is said that a group of people migrated from northern India to escape famine and settled down at Thuvariman. They then prayed to Lord Vishnu that they should not witness famine again in their lifetime. The god appeared in the dream of a villager and ordered them to build the temple.
The Thuvariman temple lies between Vaigai and its tributary Kiruthumal, as if the lord wears a garland around his neck, said Mr. Venkataraman.
S. Subbiah, former president of the village, says that, according to their ancestors, seven springs from the Nagamalai and nearby hills and excess water from Thuvariman's tank and Vaigai water are pooled at Thuvariman and then flow through Ponmeni, Ellis Nagar, Thideer Nagar, Subramaniapuram, Mahalipatti, Keeraithurai, and Samanathan before reaching Ramnad district. According to the Vishnupurana, King Satyaviradhan, performing his puja in the river, found a fish and agreed to nurture it. He accommodated it first in a vessel, then in a huge pot, pond, lake, river and sea. As the fish grew bigger and bigger, the king realized it was Lord Vishnu.
This was believed to be Matsya Avatar, one of the ten avatars of Vishnu. From then on, fish have adorned the flag of Pandya kings.