Temple where Sama Veda was interpreted
Dearth of funds has not deterred devotees from taking up the renovation of this ancient Siva temple off the Tiruchi-Lalgudi highway. Consecration is a few months away.
The Rajagopuram being renovated.
FROM TIMES of yore, temples in Tamil Nadu have been epicentres of culture and learning. Venerated for their antiquity and renown, these temples were hallowed by the visitations of saints and seers. One such temple is the famous Samaveediswarar temple located in Thirumangalam, a village three kilometres north of the Tiruchi-Lalgudi highway. According to tradition and belief, Saint Saimuni classified and interpreted Sama Veda in the precincts of this temple. It is also known by various other names such as Parasuramiswaram (as found in the temple inscription) because Parasurama attained liberation from his sins after worshipping in this temple. The supreme consort of Samavediswara is Lokanayaki. The village attained its name, Thirumangalam, because Lakshmi worships Siva here.
The sthalavriksha of the temple is the jack tree. The temple is situated in sylvan surroundings with brooks and rivulets adjoining it. The temple faces east and there are three prakaras around the temple. The shrines of Vinayaka, Subramania and Gajalakshmi are in the first prakara and the vasantha mandapam and vahana mandapam in the second. The sanctum sanctorum is supported by four pillars and the temple measures 260'x140.'
In recent times, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the temple. Even daily pujas, held four times a day, are conducted with the slender resources available. The main reason for the enormous strain felt in conducting the nithyapuja is the non-receipt of even the legitimate produce from the temple lands, which is no less than 200 acres. The temple comes under the administration of the Hindu Religious Endowment Board.
The wooden car is also being repaired.
Many hymns have been sung in praise of the Lord of the temple by saivite Tamil saint-poets like Thirunavukkarasar and Sekkizhar. Thirumangalam was the place of birth of Anaya Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars, and Gnananda Swamigal, fifth Acharya of the Kanchi Math. Anaya Nayanar was born in the Yadava community. He was entrusted with the job of looking after and rearing of the herds of cattle that belonged to the temple. Legend goes that through his divine music on flute he cast a spell, as it were, on all sentient beings. With the grace of Lord Siva he was elevated to the rank of a Nayanar.
All gopurams of the temple have to be cleansed and painted. The floor has to be laid. The walls of the prakaram have to be repaired and rebuilt wherever necessary.
The vimanams too have to be spruced up and painted. The last kumbabhishekam was performed way back in 1961. Plans are under way to perform the next kumbabhishekam in July 2003. The residents of Thirumangalam are determined to restore the ancient temple to its pristine glory. Those who wish to participate in the holy task may contact: R. Chandrasekar, 37/2, Third Main Road, Gandhinagar, Adyar, Chennai-600020. (Ph: 24416336) and Kittu Josyar, Thirumangalam, Lalgudi-621703. (Ph: 2541020).
R. CHANDRASEKAR and
M. S. NAGARAJAN
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