A grateful Serfoji showered huge grants.

A 300-year-old Siva temple awaits consecration, with renovation taken up two years ago. Sri Rajarajeswar temple was constructed by a Serfoji King of Thanjavur. Each temple in Tamil Nadu has an interesting story in the background and this shrine is no exception.

Mighty as he was, the king was troubled by enemies and spent his time, energy and resources tackling them. A devout soul, the ruler yearned for peace so that he could turn his attention to religious endeavours. Trusted Minister Lakshman Pandit came up with the suggestion of building a temple for Siva on the banks of the Cauvery. The king agreed and asked the Minister to do the needful.

The Minister set off in search of an ideal spot and stopped when he found one – five km from Dharmapuri. It was serene and green surrounded by Marudu trees. Lakshman Pandit also got some auspicious signs and guided by intuition decided to start work on the temple there. Agama scholars from the Thanjavur Marathi Brahmin community were brought and settled with their families. Veda experts from Thanjavur and its neighbourhood came and soon Marudur became a village bustling with activity.

Even as the temple for Rajarajeswar (consort Devanayaki) took shape, the king found things improving on the administration front. Enemies retreated allowing Serfoji to rule in peace. Consecration took place and he generously showered grants on the temple. The king entrusted the upkeep of the temple to the Sivacharyas, who had done the pujas with great religious fervour. Even today the temple is maintained by a descendant.

Migration of the local population and absence of regular monitoring have robbed the temple of its sheen. It was taken up for renovation in a dilapidated condition. The west-facing temple has no rajagopuram but is quite big with shrines for various deities, the Sun and the Moon. Offering prayers at this temple in the 1950s, Paramcharya pointed to the single oomathampoo in the locks of the Nataraja utsava idol and said it was rare. Tiruvadira is the only occasion when spotlight falls on this deity. A rundown Brindavan and neglected tank complete the picture.

Situated about 9 km from Mayiladuturai, Marudur is well-connected by bus service. For details get in touch with Anandathandavapuram V. Swaminathan at 04364-225732.