Cracks in the Rajagopuram unaddressed
Renovation efforts at the HR & CE controlled ancient Bhoo Varaha Swamy temple in Srimushnum has gone off track in recent months. The temple, which is one of the 8 Swayambu Kshetrams – a list that includes Srirangam, Tirupathi and Vanamaamalai - in its current form and structure is believed to have been constructed by four Nayak kings- Achuthappa, Ananthappa, Govindappa and Kondappa Nayak.
Sources say that while HR &CE had sanctioned a large amount for the complete renovation including undertaking repair works, painting the temple and giving the mandapas a new look. However, devotees are worried that the critical ‘health of the Raja Gopuram’ related issues are being completely ignored in the renovation process. There is a fear that a ‘Kalahasthi’ kind of episode may be repeated here.
In fact, the top Tier of the Raja Gopuram has developed cracks and debris has been falling onto the Tier beneath. It is likely that the Raja Gopuram could be fully damaged in a matter of time if this issue is not taken care of. And yet, it looks like this serious issue has been given a quiet pass.
From the looks of it, the renovation seems to be more like a painting initiative rather than carrying out the major repair works and safeguarding a historical temple. Each of the top tiers of the Gopuram requires immediate attention but as seen from the photograph, the Raja Gopuram has already been painted and given a new look on the outside while the inside of the Gopuram has critical repair work to be undertaken.
In addition to the inactivity on the inside of the Rajagopuram, some of the idols/sculptures that have developed cracks have also been painted and given a new look without repairing the cracks (see photograph).
It is also learnt that the date for the Samprokshanam is being finalised and it could possibly be as early as February of next year.
It would be appropriate if an expert committee of Vaishnavites with experience in temple renovation activity is immediately appointed so they can take stock of the situation and recommend corrective action.
It is hoped that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister will take immediate notice of this misdirected renovation initiative at the temple and direct the authorities to take steps to safeguard the Raja Gopuram well ahead of the Samprokshanam. It would also be appropriate to not hurry the Samprokshanam and to postpone it to a future date after the entire repair works is completed.
Legend has it that Lord Vishnu created the Pushkarani with the sweat emanating from his body after his battle with Hiranyaksha. On his death bed, Hiranyaksha asked as his final wish the Lord to turn towards his direction. Hence Bhoo Varaha’s face is seen turned towards South in the direction of the asura, while the body bearing a human shape is facing West in the direction of the devotees. The Lord here is in the form of a small idol signifying the Varaha Avatar.
This is a Prarthana Sthalam for childless couples. Ladies, who bathe in the sacred temple tank and recite the Varaha Kavacham are said to be blessed with children. This is also a Prarthana Sthalam for unmarried people who on offering their prayers at the Saptha Kannigal Sannidhi are said to find their spouse immediately. Belief is also that Lord Bhoo Varaha helps devotees in the purchase of house and car.
(Part of this story featured in The Hindu Friday Review on Friday 29 Nov)