Faith

Restoration with missionary zeal

Temples old and dilapidated are her destinations. She makes sure that at least one puja takes place in a day. Mahalakshmi Subramaniam, founder of Sri Mahalakshmi Charitable Trust, had spoken to this supplement (2009) about her divine service and what brought her into it. A decade later, what is the situation?

The lady, who has become synonymous with Tiruppani, says: “It was Mahaperiyava’s command that I should start working in this field. ‘Don’t build new temples. Maintain old ones, resurrect those in ruins and make sure a lamp is lit and pujas take place at least once in a day’ — Periyava often said this and I have followed it as far as possible, since 2007. Over 150 temples — both Siva and Vishnu — have been restored with the blessings and guidance of the Acharyas of Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam. The HR and CE department of the State Government also has been supportive.”

The couple — V.C. Subramaniam pitches in with much needed support — have little time for anything else in their crowded calendar. The Trust supports social causes too.

There sure would be many memorable moments in this marathon journey. “Every tiruppani brings its own challenges,” says the veteran, who involves the local residents (mostly villagers), in this task. Once the temple is restored and consecration takes place, it becomes the responsibility of the community. They do it with dedication. “The initial years were tough. Finding donors and overcoming administration hiccups are still difficult. But God’s grace and Gurus’ blessings have brought us this far. There are interesting stories connected to these seemingly modest village shrines. Each is a hidden treasure and opens your eyes to our heritage.

“It was a rare privilege that we got the opportunity to do the Tiruppani for Jambukeswarar-Akhilandeswari temple, Tiruvanaikkaval. It was a difficult task, fraught with problems and stretched over three years. But it gave such fulfilment when the Kumbabhishekam took place in the presence of Sri Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal in December last. Restoration of Aiyarappar temple, Tiruvaiyaru, was another project done under the guidance of the Dharmapuram Adheenam,” elaborates the veteran. She also mentions the two Pushkarams — Cauvery and the Tamiraparani — and the Mahodaya Punyakala event at Vedaranyam as significant milestones. The consecration of the Vedaranyam temple, was done after a long gap under her supervision. The restoration of Tirumeeyachur Lalithambika temple, with the guidance of the Velakurichi Adheenam, and Tirukkodikkaval temple figure in her long list. So what are the Siva temples under renovation now?

Mahalakshmi Subramaniam can be reached at 9840053289 (also whatsapp). Email: vcsmani@yahoo.comA quick look at the work in progress at some of the sites on the eve of Mahasivaratri.

Udaiyarpalayam - but for the help of this zamin, the idols of Kamakshi, Varadar and Natarajar of Chidambaram would have been lost to the world. Payaranaeeswarar temple here was maintained by the zamindars, who are devotees of the Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam and have hosted them. They offered worship here. Completely in ruins, restoration will begin soon.

Ariyathidal - Meenakshi-Chokkesar - Known for feeding lakhs of people during festivals in Kumbakonam, especially during Mahamaham, Ramaswamy earned the name Annadana Sivan. He renovated the temple of Meenakshi-Chokkesar at Ariyathidal. A Matam was established in his memory. Both being restored.

Magizhmalai - Annapoorani sameda Chandramouleeswarar- This is where Siva is said to have fixed the third day crescent moon (Moonram Pirai) on his head. Agastiyar is said to have witnessed this and performed puja. Celebrated as the Earth’s Chandramedu. The temple is at an elevated level. Has several other specialities: Sri Krishna adorned the star Abhijit on his head, Oothukkadu Venkatakavi had his first darshan of Krishna here, Ambigai appeared as Annapoorani and did Annadanam (the idol is a beauty with powerful eyes), the moon on Poornima night is said to halt here for second to worship Siva and the last kumbabishekam that Mahaperiyava performed. Consecration on March 17.

Sirukattur - Dharmapura Adheenam’s birth place - Vaidyanathaswamy-Thaiyalnayaki. This temple is referred to as Adi Vaidyanatha temple and restoration of Vaitheeswaran Temple can start only after attending to the repairs of this temple. Kumbabhishekam on July 10.

Chembiam Vellore (near Tiruturaipoondi) - The Mangalambigai-Kalahastiswarar temple was one of the many that Sembian Madevi built in Chola Nadu. The lingam can be seen between the trunks of two massive peepal trees.

Other temples, where work is on are: Kudiperumbur — Kumareswarar-Tripurambika, Agathiswarar-Akhilandeswari temple at Thuravur, Kodavasal, Sri Kalyanasundari samedha Kailasanathar, Nagangudi, and Sri Kamakshi-Ekambareswarar temple, Kandiyur

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 1:25:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/restoration-with-missionary-zeal/article26396697.ece

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