Known as Kudanthai Keezh Kottam — the temple on the eastern side of Kumbakonam — the Nageswaran temple comprises the finest elements of Pallava and Chola architecture. It is one of the temples being renovated ahead of Mahamaham festival.
“Historically, it is an important and beautiful temple as it represents the transition between Pallava and Chola period. There are hundreds of inscriptions, particularly belonging to early Chola period,” said R. Nagaswamy, former director of Department of Archaeology .
The entire Ramayana had been depicted on the athirstanam (the base) of the temple. “There is continuity in the depiction. Every inch is beautiful and the sculptures are known for perfect lining, bhava and craftsmanship,” said Mr Nagaswamy, who is also the author of the book Masterpieces of Chola Art.
Thirunavukkarasar, one of the Saivite sanits, calls the presiding deity as Kudanthai Keezh Kottanthen Koothanarey (the dancing deity of Kudanthai Keezh Kottam) .
Mr. Nagaswamy said extraordinary care was required when renovating the temple, pointing out that even inadvertent handling could lead to irreparable damage. Renovation includes removal of paint and oil deposited on the pillars, sculptors and other parts of the temple.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department officials said they were only doing chemical washing and even water gun is being used with utmost care.
The Nataraja shrine in the temple is in the form of chariot and the horses and the wheels are of remarkable workmanship.