Grace of Meenakshi
The Vadakarai Siva temple where renovation is progressing at a slow pace.
ABOUT TEN kilometres from Tiruvarur is a village on the banks of the Pandavayaru that houses the Meenakshi Samedha Chokkanathar temple. The temple is in a dilapidated state and the place is called Vadakarai or Nambipadi. Nambi refers to Saiva saint Sundaramurthy Nayanmar, who on his journey to Thirunattiyankudy, had visited this temple. The Pillaiyar is believed to have shown the direction to Sundarar enshrined in a small temple called Kaikattiya Pillaiyar temple at the entrance of this village.
The panchaloha utsava murthy idols of Natarajar, Sivakami Ambal, Vinayakar, Murugan with Valli and Deivanai, Somaskandar and Manickavachagar have been kept at the Tiruvarur temple for safety reasons. The sthalavruksham of this temple is Elanthai tree and the holy tank is called Mangala theertham. This temple was once surrounded by Iluppai trees and the oil extracted from its seeds was used to light the lamps of the temple. Now, only four huge trees are found and most of the temple lands have been encroached upon. The Pandavas are believed to have strolled on the banks of the Pandavayaru, when in exile.
The Meenakshi idol here has been carved by the same sculptor who had sculpted the statue of Meenakshi at Madurai temple. While carving, the sculptor had decided to abandon the statue for a blemish made in the left hand of the idol. The Goddess is said to have appeared and asked whether he would abandon a child born with a handicap. Therefore, the sculptor and the villagers decided to consecrate the same idol at the temple, which stands in a separate shrine to the left of Siva's. She is believed to be a powerful deity who instantly grants the wishes of the devotees.
In the prakaram, there are separate shrines for Vinayaka, Dakshinamurthy, Kasi Viswanathar and Murugan. The pujas conducted are of Omkara style, conducted twice a day, starting from Vinayakar and ending with the main deity, Siva. Devotees throng the temple on the occasion of Tiruvadirai, Pradosham and Sivaratri.
The Government has granted aid under the Orukala Puja scheme and some of the villagers also offer financial aid. There is no income from the meagre lands owned by the temple. In spite of the fact that he has not been paid salary for ten years, priest Dhandapani would not leave the place for the bond he has developed with the deity is so strong.
The Kumbabhishekam was last performed in 1957. A committee has been formed by the villagers which plans to renovate the temple and consecrate the temple. Work is in progress but has been slowed down due to paucity of funds. Contributions are invited for renovation which may be sent to M. Chidambaram, Vadakarai, via Tiruvarur district (Ph: 04366 250480).
Send this article to Friends by
Chennai and Tamil Nadu