Puducherry

Underground chamber found at Thirukameswarar Kokilambigai temple

An inside view of the underground chamber at Villianur Thirukameeswarar Kokilambigai Temple in Puducherry.-Photo: S.S. Kumar  

A group of workers who were engaged in structural renovation work at Sri Thirukameswarar Kokilambigai temple at Villianur near here have stumbled upon an underground chamber close to the shrine of the presiding deity Somaskandar.

K. Munusami, a contractor supervising the renovation works said, “Workers were engaged in replacing the stone slabs on the floor when a portion of the slabs caved in. They peeped inside and stumbled upon an underground chamber with steps leading into it. The workers immediately informed the Executive Officer N. Manogarane and Temple Renovation Committee president Bhoopathi about the chamber.”



Unearthed

The temple authorities immediately rushed to the spot and the underground chamber was unearthed in the presence of officials of the Revenue department and Fire and Rescue Services personnel.

Mr. Manogarane told The Hindu , “The underground chamber was found on the southwest of the temple during the renovation works underway at Rs.11.55 crore. The old stone slabs on the floor are being replaced at Rs.55 lakh. The underground chamber measures 3.4 metres in length and width of 2 metres and is at a depth of 1.7 metres from the floor. No valuables were found inside and the chamber was sealed by walls from all sides.”

Officials from the Revenue department also entered the chamber and inspected the site.

N. Venkatesan, an epigraphist said the temple belonged to the 12th century and is one of the famous shrines in Puducherry. There are a number of inscriptions in the temple dating back to the Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagar period.

The chamber could have been used for preserving valuables and other precious idols of the temple particularly to protect them against outsiders during invasion. Such chambers are seen in many temples.

The existence of such underground chamber could be known only to the person who built the structure, he said. The temple authorities have scheduled to conduct consecration of the temple in January next year.

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Printable version | Nov 21, 2020 7:18:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/underground-chamber-found-at-thirukameswarar-kokilambigai-temple/article7480052.ece

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