A picture of neglect
The ancient Adi Narayana Temple at Kurumbur, in Tuticorin district, is in a dilapidated state and is in urgent need of repair, writes T. A. SRINIVASAN.
The Moolavarand Utsavar Idols at the Kurumburtemple... a feast for the devotee's eyes.
A CLUSTER of holy places, in and around Azhwar thirunagari, the birthplace of Nammazhwar, the greatest of all Vaishnavite saints, in Tuticorin district, has been hailed as Nava Tirupatis. Apart from these places, there are many temples in the area, which are equally revered. But all of them, due to long years of neglect, are in bad condition.
Thanks to Mr.Venu Srinivasan of the TVS Group of Companies, the Nava Tirupatis have been restored to their past glory as one by one, they were renovated and consecrated. But an equally important place, which has got great archaeological value, is the Adhi Narayana Perumal Temple at Kurumbur, in Tiruchendur taluk of Tuticorin district, which is almost in ruins and needs urgent repair.
Built during the reign of Sundara Chozha Pandya, it is considered the Dasama Tirupathi or the tenth holy place, as it is situated very close to the Nava Tirupatis, on the Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur road. Its original name, according to the 12th century inscriptions found in the temple, is Kurumbil and Kurumbilana Rajendra Srinallur. The Lord, according to them, was known as Sundara Chozha Pandya Vinnagar Emperuman, though He is now called Adi Narayana Perumal.
The Chozhas brought the Pandya country under their rule during the reign of Rajendra Chozha I and he installed his second son, Sundara Chozha, as the king of the Pandya country after adding the suffix Pandya to his name. He ruled the country from 1022 A.D. to 1054 A.D. During his reign he built many temples and the Kurumbur temple, one among them, got the name of Sundara Chozha Pandya Vinnagar. The Lord was known by this name till the rule of Jadavarman Sri Vallaba Pandya. Maravarman Sundara Pandya, who conquered the Chozhas and ruled the Pandya country from 1216 to 1241 A.D., changed the name of the Lord in the temple as Sundara Pandya Vinnagar Azhwar. The Lord was known by the same name during the rule of Veera Pandya, who succeeded him.
The inscription found on the walls around the sanctum sanctorum clearly speaks about Rajendra Chozha I building a new palace in Madurai in 1022 A.D. along with the temple at Kurumbur after installing his son as the Chozha Pandya. Apart from this there are eight other inscriptions belonging to the period of Jadavarman Chozha Pandya (1063-70 A.D.), two scriptures of Kulothunga I (1070 to 1120 A.D.), two of Jadavarman Srivallaban (1101-1124 A.D.), one each of Jadavarman Kulasekara Devan (1190 to 1221 A.D.), Maravarman Sundara Pandya (1216-41 A.D.) and Jadavarman Veera Pandya (1253-83 A.D.), and all of them speak about various grants made to the temple (like sheep and land) for conducting various rituals.
Facing east, the temple consists of ardha mandapam, mahamandapam and 24-pillared mukamandapam. The Moolavar, Sri Adhi Narayana Perumal in sitting posture, has on either side Sridevi and Bhoodevi. The Utsava idols of the Lord and His Consorts along with Nardhana Krishna and Sri Chakrathazhwar are also found inside the sanctum sanctorum.
The Sanctum sanctorum of the Adi Narayana Temple standing uncared for with overgrown planys covering it.
The original Moolavar idols were damaged by culprits who pulled them down to find out whether gold and precious stones were buried under them when a spate of temple burglaries took place in the 1990s in the southern districts. The idols of Garudazhwar and Srinivasa Perumal were also found pulled down and as a result the crown of the Moolavar idol was broken. The temple's Utsava idols were stolen earlier in 1974, but were recovered later.
But new idols of the Moolavar and His Consorts were sculpted at Myladi, near Kurumbur, thanks to the efforts of Arumuga Nadar, a rice mill owner, and the temple was consecrated on a small scale on January 28, 1993. Since then one-time puja is being conducted with the government grant as the temple is under the control of the HR and CE Department. Festivals like Sri Jayanthi, Karthigai Deepam, Vaikunda Ekadasi, Jyestabishekam and Garuda Sevai on the fourth Saturday of the Purattasi month are conducted with the help of public donations. Encroachers who had occupied the open space in the front portion of the temple have been removed by the temple authorities with police help.
The mahamandapam is in a highly dilapidated condition and may fall at any time. The sanctum sanctorum and the vimanam over it are also in a highly neglected state and need urgent repair.
It is a pity that such an archaeologically important temple, built during the reign of Chozha Pandyas and later looked after by the Pandyas, is allowed to be in ruins.
It has been estimated that the renovation works may cost Rs.10 lakhs. Donations may be sent to the secretary and treasurer, Arulmigu Adi Narayana Perumal Thirukoil, Kurumbur-628207, Tuticorin district.
Send this article to Friends by