Delving into myths from a hoary past

From the epics to inscriptions in temples, I appear regularly in the collective memory of the region, a witness to rise of culture.

August 23, 2015 08:21 am | Updated November 16, 2021 05:07 pm IST - CHENNAI:

The temple on the banks of Cooum. Photo: Srinivasan G.S.

The temple on the banks of Cooum. Photo: Srinivasan G.S.

As a river, many have venerated me and taken care of me. In fact, I have my own purana where tales including how I came into being when Lord Shiva pressed down his bow, are recorded. The Coova Puranam is part of the Skanda Purana.

You can read about me in the Kaalika Kaandam in the Sanathkumara Samhita. And in the 17th century, my story has been translated into Tamil verse by Thuraimangalam Sri Sivaprakasa Swamigal.

The purana talks of the temples along my banks and the various deities including Kali as Tharka Maatha (Parvathy took the form of Kali after she lost to Lord Shiva in the Udhva Thandava. To pacify Her, Shiva asked her to be the deity at Cooum village), Veerabadran and Elumiyan kottur where celestial beauties Ramba, Urvashi and Menaka prayed to Lord Shiva to retain their beauty.

Apart from the temples and stories of devotees in various temples, there are also records of how various Chola Kings took good care of me. In the Cooum temple, the ThiruVirKolaNathar temple, there are inscriptions that talk of how taxes were levied in order to repair, deepen, desilt and protect me and the tank in my name. An inscription of Rajendra II, 1057 AD, speaks of the sale of land for developing a feeder canal to the tank, which had then been called Tribhuvanamadevi Pereri. It was during the time of Kulothunga-I (1112 AD) that fishing and paddy taxes were levied for the repair of the tank.

Well, I suppose I have spoken enough about my purana and the inscriptions. As a parting treat, let me tell you a tale that some believe to be true. It is said that Lord Rama’s sons Luv and Kush were born at Valmiki’s hermitage that spread from Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai to Sirvapuri in Tiruvallur district. Siruvapuri is supposed to be Siruvar Por Puri – where the duo was supposed to have fought their father.

In Koyambedu is a temple for Lord Shiva where the lingam was said to have been made by the children in repentance for waging a war against their father. The tiny lingam is called Kurungaleeswarar. It is another story that the Vaikuntavasa Perumal, the deity of the adjoining temple, appeared after that and brought together their family

Source: Padmapriya Baskaran, blogger, and Cooum temples chronicler, and Venkatesh Ramakrishnan of Cooum study group.

The photo caption has been corrected for a factual error.

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