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Ancient shrine under repair

The Mangalambikai Sametha Kailasanatha temple, at Vaigalathur where renovation is in progress ... in the foreground is the pond which is always full.

IN VAIGALATHUR, a village on the northern bank of River Vennaru near Needamangalam in Tiruvarur district is an ancient temple for Mangalambikai Sametha Kailasanathar, built by the Cholas.

It is a miniature of the Thanjavur Brihadiswarar temple and has the main sanctum at least six feet above the ground level.

The temple, which has shrines for Ganapathy, Subramania Swamy with His consorts, Dakshinamurthi, Chandikeswara and Nandi, is in ruins and is being renovated.

Records with the Archaeological Survey of India have it that the temple belongs to the period of Rajendra Chola (BC 1012-1034), who created Gangai Konda Chozhapuram and was the son of Raja Raja Chola.

Vaigalathur belongs to the cluster of 51 villages in and around Needamangalam, which King Rajendra Chola united to form Tribhuvana Devi Chathurvedimangalam.

He donated these hamlets to 1080 brahmins in 1019 A.D. Some of them were called Kalathur Brahmins.

The descendants of these residents, scattered across the globe, have now undertaken the renovation of this ancient temple with the blessings of Sri Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam.

The main deities have been moved to Balalayam. Work on the Ganapathy and Subramania shrines has been completed with donations from the devotees. Now work on the sanctum sanctorum of Mangalambika and Kailasanathar and the Mahamantapam has been started.

Efforts will be made to retain the architectural beauty of the temple. Renovation will include the compound wall and the surrounding walls and steps of the tank, which was filled with water even when the district was in the grip of severe drought.

Puja is performed once in the day at the temple, which was once famous for its Annabhishekam and Navarathri festivals. The residents have managed to keep the tradition of Ayyanar festival alive and point out that the Gramadevata Vaiyam Pidari Amma needs attention.

They believe once the temple is restored to its pristine glory, the Goddess as Her name suggests, will bestow prosperity on the village and its neighbourhood.

Under the guidance of the HR and CE, work is on in full swing and those who wish to contribute to the task may send crossed DD/Cheque drawn in favour of Sri Kailasanathar Charitable Trust, payable at Chennai to Sri Thyagi Krishnamoorthy, Treasurer, Sri Kailasanathar Charitable Trust, No.10, Gandhi Illam, Saraswathipuram, Chromepet, Chennai - 600 044 (Ph: 22212706).

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