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Place of saivite saint



Sri Thiru-Uraga perumal with Thiruvirundhavalli Thayar at the Kundrathur temple.

FOR A settlement of its size, Kundrathur (28 km from Chennai) has a cluster of seven temples. The temple for Lord Muruga is of course the most famous among them.

The settlement referred to as Kundrapuri in inscriptions was the birthplace of the famous Saivite saint Sekkizhar and has a temple dedicated to him as well as one built by him.

Our early morning travel let us visit only one of the temples dedicated to Thiruvirundhavalli Thayar and Thiru-Uraga Perumal.

The second temple on the road leading to the Murugan temple on the hill, the half completed gopuram drew our attention immediately.

We went past the gopuram, pausing to admire the fine Dasavataram panel in the ceiling inside the temple. The temple complex is a small and simple one. The main deity is seven feet tall and was well decorated. There were subsidiary shrines probably consecrated during the last renovation in the year 2000.

The remains of a pillared mandapam spoke of a grand edifice built probably during Kulotunga or Karikala Chozhan's period.



When will the incomplete gopuram get attention?

The temple was also well patronised during the reign of the Vijayanagar dynasty. An inscription records the gift of lamps by dancing girls of a nearby temple.

Additions seemed to have also been made during the Governorship of Kudal Nayanar, a vassal of the Nayaks. A very recent inscription was interesting. It recorded verses on the deity that had appeared in the dreams of a local Tamil teacher which when recited gave the area copious rain!

We were told that they were going to be recited soon in summer and hoped that the hymn would work again.

We paused for a while to admire the small but fantastically carved wooden ceiling of a small movable mandapam that was carried around during the utsavam.

Unfortunately the pillars were not there and going by the delicate carving of the birds, it must have been a beautiful sight.

PRADEEP CHAKRAVARTHY

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