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Feeding people was his mission

Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple at Ariyathidal, Kumbakonam

Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar temple at Ariyathidal, Kumbakonam  

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The temple worshipped by Annadana Sivan and the Math in which he lived are coming up for consecration

Sri Meenakshi Amman sameda Sri Sundareswarar temple, located on Annadana Sivan Kovil Street, Ariyathidal, Annalagraharam, in Kumbakonam is getting ready for consecration on September 16. Behind the temple is the story of a remarkable man, called Annadana Sivan, who dedicated his life to feeding lakhs of people and left his assets for the cause after his passing. Ramaswamy got the sobriquet, Annadana Sivan, from Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, 68th head of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam. Ramaswamy, who hailed from Thepperumanallur, had associated himself with Thanjavur Srinivasa Iyer, who arranged annadanam at various temple festivals and continued the good work after Srinivasa Iyer’s demise.

Ramaswamy became closely associated with the Sri Kanchi Math, whose headquarters at that time was Kumbakonam, and organised Annadanam on a massive scale for lakhs of pilgrims during the Mahamakham festival in 1909. The magnitude of the food offering and the quality of the sumptuous fare are part of Thanjavur lore. Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, who was the head of the Pitam, was so moved by Ramaswamy’s dedication to this cause that he called him Annadana Sivan, a name that came to stay.

Sivan operated from an asram in Ariyathidal, on the banks of Arasalaru. He worshipped the deities of Meenakshi and Chokkanathar. Both were Swayambhu and Sivan enshrined them in a temple.

It is said that Sivan had a vision of the divine couple. It is believed that prayers to the deities bring remedy for stomach ailments. The temple also has shrines for Sri Venkatachalapathy and Padmavathy Thayar. Although the deities continued to be worshipped, the temple fell into disrepair. The Math is the abode of Rudrakali Amman, who is said to offer solace from ailments caused by heat.

Reviving the asram

After Sivan’s passing in 1936, his Asram was maintained by Sri Sadananda Swamigal, a devotee of Ramana Maharishi. After he passed away, the premises gradually lost its glory and became dilapidated. Under the direction of Mahalakshmi Subramaniam, the villagers, Sri Annadana Sivan and Rudrakaliamman Trust and philanthropists joined to restore both the temple and Sivan’s Matam. Work has been progressing for a year now, depending on the availability of funds. It has been decided to consecrate the temple and the Math on September 16.

The consecration rituals will begin on September 13, Friday. Mahakumbabhishekam will take place on September 16 — for Meenakshi-Chokkanathar (10.15 a.m. onwards), Rudrakali Amman (9-9.30 a.m. onwards) and Sri Venkatachalapathy (7 a.m.)

Contact: Sri Annadana Sivan and Rudrakaliamman Trust, 875, Sivankoil Street, Annalagraham, Ariyathidal, Kumbakonam, 612401. Phone: 9840053289 and 9003728652. Email: ariyathital_annadhansivan @yahoo.com. For contributions: Annathana Sivankovil and Ruthramaga Kaliyaman Trust. City Union bank, Annal Agraharam Branch. Account Number: 500101011084163. IFSC: CIUB0000408 MICR: 612054017.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 9:13:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/temple-worshipped-by-annadana-sivan/article29340989.ece

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