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Crowning glory for the Tiruvallur deity

Lord Veeraraghava with His Consorts...

SCRIPTURES REFER to Lord Narayana as ``Alankarapriya'' — one who loves ornaments, dresses and other finer things and Lord Siva as ``Abishekapriya'' -- one who likes the sacred bath. The deities in the temples of the Tamil land have always been adorned with jewels, presented in those days by kings and rulers, and by lesser mortals in recent times. The idol of Lord Veeraraghava at Thiruvallur, 44 km west of Chennai, is to be decorated with ``Pandyan Kondai,'' a massive head dress of gold studded with pearls, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and other gems. It is a replica of the jewel said to have been dedicated to deities by the Pandya rulers.

The ``Pandyan Kondai,'' consists of gems with a total weight of 815 carat. The total number of stones in the crown is 3,015, of which 1,175 are diamond (weight 127 ct) 1,725 are ruby (weight 614 ct) and 115 are emerald (weight 74 ct). The precious stones have been embedded in the 24-carat gold crown weighing 2.6 kg.

According to Mr. K. G. Krishnan, secretary of the Pandyan Kondai Kainkarya Committee, the panel was constituted three years ago and it took them one year to collect funds. Then they started procuring gems from various sources and the work was completed this year.

The VBC Jewellery at T. Nagar, Chennai, has made the crest jewel engaging three persons for one year without expecting any profit as it was for a divine purpose. Similar Kondais adorn the idols of Azhagiamanavalan at Srirangam, and Malaiyappa Swami (Utsavar) at Tirupati. It is said that the idol of Devaperumal (Lord Varadaraja) at Kanchipuram also is adorned with similar crown though it is not studded with as many precious stones as that of Lord Veeraraghava.

The crown that will adorn the Lord of Thriuvallur.

The Pandyan Kondai is also known as ``Salihothra Mahirishi Kondai" named after a sage, to fulfil whose wish the Lord took the lying posture in this holy place. ``Thirumalir-unjolaimalai Sthala Purana,'' a history of the Kallazhagar Temple near Madurai, published over 60 years ago, says that a Pandyan Kondai was presented for Lord Kallazhagar about 1,000 years ago by the Pandyan monarch.

The ``Pandyan Kondai'' for Lord Veeraraghava, which was on display at various places in Chennai, will be presented to the deity at Thiruvallur at 2 p.m. on Sunday (April 7) by Sri Narayana Yatheerndra Mahadesikan, Jeeyar Swami of the Ahobila Math. The crown will be taken around in a palanquin at 10 a.m. After presenting the crown, the Jeeyar Swami will recite the ``Kshethra Puranam'' or the legend about Thiruvallur. He will be taken in a procession in a palanquin at 4 p. m. The Lord and His consorts will be taken in procession at 6 p.m.


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