Old structures and their stories give an interesting historic insight

T he remains of ancient structures in any place help understanding the past in a more inclusive way. Surely, every stone and structure records a slice of history and has a story to narrate.

Usually, amidst a galaxy of historical monuments and sacred shrines, few structures, though they stand out, are less known. One such structure is the lamp post at Tiruvadavur, 25 kilometres north east of Madurai.

Tiruvadavur as such brings in names of two great poets – Sangam poet Kapilar and the Saiva Saint Manikkavasakar (9th century A.D), who figure in four ‘lials' in Thriuvilayadal Puranam.

According to archaeological sources, the village Thiruvadavur existed even during 2nd century B.C. The Brahmi inscriptions found at Ova Malai near the village, dating back to that time, stand a testimony to it.

Early Pandya period

The temple ‘Thiruvadavur Udayar Thirumarai Nayanar Temple might have had its origin in early Pandya period though it has lot of inscriptions belonging to later Pandya period indicating its development in the period. Similarly, the Thiruvadavur lake has a unique structure called ‘Purusha Mirugam' which is a combination of human and lion. The upper part of the structure resemble the human while the lower part the lion.

Lamp post

Amidst these grand structures and ancient history of Thiruvadavur, the 20th Century lamp post is literally left unnoticed. The street just before the temple has the post that tells the tales of the past, especially the British rule in India. The post which is three-and-a half feet high and one-and-a half feet wide has the details of the coronation of the George V King Emperor of British rule in India. Unlike all the inscriptions found in abundance in Brahmi inscription and Tamil, this lamp post inscription is in English. The lamp post has the following words: “The Indian coronation lamp, Thiruvathur, of their majesties George V King Emperor and Mary Queen Empress at Delhi 12 Dec. 1911.”

Archaeological sources say that lamp posts were erected in various parts of the country to commemorate the coronation of King George V. Similar structures are found in important cities of Southern Tamil Nadu including Thenkarai near Sholavandan, Srivilliputhur and Vilupanur.

King George V along with Queen Mary visited India in 1911 and a grand function to commemorate his Coronation was held in Delhi on December 12, 1911.