FRIDAY REVIEW

Excellent examples of Chola architecture

The vimanam of the temple with sculptures of Brahma, Vishnu, Dakshinamurthy and Ashtadik devas.

The vimanam of the temple with sculptures of Brahma, Vishnu, Dakshinamurthy and Ashtadik devas.  

THE TIRUPPALTHURAI Mahadeva temple 14 km. from Tiruchi, on the Srirangam-Grand Anicut road, belongs to the 9th century. The temple is unique in that statues of Siva, Dakshinamurthi, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma adorn the four sides of the main vimanam of the temple interspersed by the Ashtadik devas, Nrithi, Agni, Varuna, Vaayu, Kubera, Indra and Eesanan. And as was the custom those days, a three feet tall granite statue of Sankara Narayana adorns the koshta, on the southern wall of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Brahma. There are eight miniature figures (bas relief) just below the main koshtas of the sanctum sanctorum depicting, Gajasamharamurthi, Bikshandar, Veenadharamurthi, and others. The Rajasabha just outside the sanctum sanctorum is guarded by two brilliantly carved Dwarapalakas. The pillars of the Raja Sabha are beautifully adorned with sculptures.

The Nithyakalyani Amman Shrine abutting the Maha mandapam is a brilliant piece of granite architecture and the Goddess is seen sporting Nilothpalam and Lotus in her hands.

The temple has been immortalised by Gnanasambandar in his hymns. There are also shrines of Lord Ganesha, Subramania and Gajalakshmi, besides the Navagrahas.

According to Dr. K. Kalaikkovan, director, Rajamanickanar Centre for Historical studies, Tiruchi, an inscription suggests that the temple was renovated long ago. It is said that there were two inscriptions of Parantaka engraved on the steps of the central shrine and that the village assembly (gramsabha) of Uthamaseeli ordered them to be re-engraved on the walls of the temple. The inscriptions re-engraved on the walls of the temple still exist.

According to S. Vamadeva Sivachariar of the temple, the walls and some portions of the temples were damaged by floodwaters in the Coleroon in 1924. In 1956 the temple was renovated and Kumbabhishekam performed. A large number of devotees visit the temple during Pradosham festival.

On the third day of the Tamil month of Purattasi and Panguni the rays of the rising sun used to fall on the Adimuleswarar Lingam in the sanctum sanctorum.

But in recent years the coconut grove and other trees on the eastern side of the temple, block the sun's rays. Vamadeva Sivachariar says that the 1924 floods had badly damaged the Sri Anandavalli Kailasanatha temple in Uthamaseeli village, about one km. east of Tiruppalturai.

The renovation of the Anandavalli temple has been completed. Contributions from devotees would help expedite the renovation of the Sri Kailasanatha temple.

V. GANAPATHY

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