History & Culture

For the welfare of state

Kalikambal Temple at George Town. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao  

Sri Kalikambal-Kamadeswarar temple, George Town, Chennai, wears a festive look. In fact the entire length of Thambu Chetty Street where the famous temple nestles has been decorated. The spirit reflects in the way the members of Sivacharya Trust and others have involved themselves in the consecration of the temple.

As the first phase, consecration of Kamadeswarar and parivara deities took place yesterday. The event was witnessed by hundreds of devotees. Mahakumbabishekam of Sri Kalikambal and the Rajagopuram will take place on January 23, 9-9.45 a.m.

Reverberating with chants

With the temple reverberating with the chant of mantras, Sri Shanmuga Sivachariar, son of the late Sambamurthi Sivacharyar, much revered upasaka of Kalikambal, speaks with great enthusiasm about the temple, the deity and the event of consecration.

“Kumbabishekam is happening after 12 years and the Trust is looking into all the finer details,” says Sri Shanmuga Sivachariyar, whose brother Sri Kalidas Sivachariyar, is personally supervising the yagasala procedures and renovation work.

Daily rituals are conducted with precision, according to Agama sastra, each ingredient for the yagasala procured to the correct measure. “Potency is vital here. So we have adhered to the Agama. From Grama puja to the final consecration, every minor detail is taken care of.”

The priest, a Sanskrit scholar who has specialised in Hindu rituals, explains the significance of kumbabishekam. “It is not just the pouring of sacred water on the kalasam that you see on the main tower. Kumbakam means retaining. The omnipresent power of Parasakti converges here. The incessant chant of mantras enhances the power that is rejuvenated every 12 years.

“The precincts of the temple are filled with the presence of the deity with the Rajagopuram as Her feet. The deity faces west, which is a special aspect. So is the Bijakshara Mahameru in garba griha.” A vimanam constructed in front of Ambal’s shrine, the west-entrance, was consecrated two years ago.

Water from sacred rivers

As many as 1,200 litres of Ganga water has been procured from Varanasi for the occasion. The waters of other sacred rivers are also added. “Siva’s breath is the Vedas and ritviks have come from across the State and beyond to participate in the chanting,” observes Sri Shanmuga Sivacharyar, who is constantly travelling abroad to give lectures on Sanatana dharma.

Everything is done with the welfare of the people and nation in focus. The gramasantihomam is nothing but prayer for the good health and safety of the people, protection for the country from enemies, epidemic, famine and so on. The Trust wants everyone to visit the temple and benefit from the vibration. Is the temple being expanded? “It is being refurbished. The tiles in Ambal’s sanctum sanctorum have been replaced with traditional stone, which has a special power and most appropriate for places of worship.” The shrines and surroundings gleam with brass plates.

The Sivacharyar makes special mention of Mritsangrahanam, puja done to collect soil from the earth that is used to grow sprouts (paaligai). The germination and sprouting symbolises fertility and prosperity. “We cut open the earth to collect the soil and this act is done amidst the chanting of mantras. Sacred water is poured to heal the wound caused. Imagine the pain we are causing by digging the earth and plundering soil,” says Sri Shanmuga Sivachariar with feeling.

Temples have been repositories of art and culture. Dance and music have been part of the ethos. The Trust has organised cultural programmes in the evening during the festival period. Contact temple at 25229624 and 9840099954.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 4:23:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/for-the-welfare-of-state/article4316003.ece

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