It was a historic event when on March 16, 1981, a large gathering of devotees brought the five-feet Lingam, the presiding deity of Sri Jalakanteswarar temple, in a lorry from the Jalakanda Vinayakar temple in Sathuvachari, near Vellore.
The deity was kept there safely and worshipped for several centuries, and re-installed in its original sanctum sanctorum in the temple inside the fort in Vellore.
After the idol of the presiding deity was removed from the sanctum sanctorum in an act of vandalism, worship ceased, till it was revived on March 16, 1981.The Jalakanteswarar Temple, as the fort itself, was erected around or before 1566 A.D. during the time of Veluri Bommi Nripati, also known as Chinnabommi Nayak, son of Virappa Nayak.
The temple, which had been built in the late Vijayanagar style, comprises the main shrine, the closed ambulatory passage around, and the integral Maha Mandapa, with a northward projecting sub-shrine, seemingly for Nataraja, containing also a subterranean chamber below.
The beautiful sculptures on the temple's outer prakara, the kalyana mandapam and the gopuram reflect the Vijayanagar architectural style, lending credence to the theory that these could have been added during the reign of Sadasiva Deva Maharaya.
The kalyana mandapam, which contained a 20-pillared maha mandapam and a 15-pillared mukha mandapam was dismantled and reconstructed. While the ASI looks after the maintenance of the temple, the religious affairs are managed by the Sri Jalakanteswarar Dharma Sthabanam, a body of devotees, headed by Sri Sachidananda Swamigal, Head of the Kamalakkanni Devasthanam, Kalavai.
The Hindu Munnani is organising the silver jubilee celebrations of the event on March 16 at the Fort grounds. The celebrations include the sculpting of a 25-ft Sivalingam and a maha yagam.
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