Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Thiru Kannangudi Dilapidated State

Broken Walls, Falling Azhvaar idols, Shattered Vimana and Rats inside the Madapalli symbolize the current state of the temple

It is an ancient Divya Desam near Nagapattinam where interesting events marked Saint Poet Thirumangai Azhvaar’s stay. The Damodara Narayana Perumal Divya Desam in Thiru Kannangudi is part of the Pancha Krishna Kshetram and is seen as a South equivalent of the Pancha Dwaraka of the North.

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar's description of Thiru Kannangudi                                                               
The Lord of Thiru Kannangudi has been praised in each of the verses by Thiru Mangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thirumozhi as one who is seen in a grand standing posture. Also, from these verses, one gets to know the prosperity of this place in centuries gone by. Thiru Mangai Azhvaar describes Thiru Kannangudi as a place with huge mansions with walls that were so igh that they seemed to touch the moon. He praises the temple as being surrounded with ripe paddy fields, water tanks that were filled with different kinds of lilies, lotuses and many varieties of flowers and lush orchards that produced fruits such as bananas, jack fruits and mangoes among others. He also describes the place as being home to peacocks that flocked in big numbers and danced around the Lord.

Interesting Events
On his way back from Nagapattinam, a tired Thirumangai Azhvaar, who was carrying back gold to Srirangam, lay under a Tamarind tree at Thiru Kannangudi. Placing the gold in the pit there, Thirumangai Azhvaar asked the tree to wake him up if someone came there. The next morning when the owner of the plot arrived to resume work, the tamarind tree dropped all its leaves on Thirumangai Azhvaar to wake him up prompting Thirumangai to praise it as the ‘sleepless tree’.

When the two argued about the ownership of a land, Thirumangai Azhvaar defended himself in the local court saying his papers were in Srirangam and that he would leave in a day or two to get his papers. To this day, disputes in Thiru Kannangudi are believed to be unduly delayed and don’t find a quick solution.

Later when a thirsty Thirumangai Azhvaar walked up to the ladies near the well to ask for water, they refused as they were worried that he would get into a fight over the ownership of the well.  An angry Thiru Mangai Azhvaar pronounced a curse that the water would not fill up in the well. To this day, wells in Thiru Kannangudi are seen dried up. Even when it fills up, it tastes salty.

The Name Kannan Gudi
Pleased with Sage Vashista’s penance, Lord Krishna appeared before the sage in the form of a kid. While the Sage was immersed in thoughts of the Lord, Kannan picked up the butter kept in pooja, swallowed it in one go and gave Vashishta the run. With Vashishta giving him a chase, young Kannan ran fast until he came upon the rishis undergoing penance here. Explaining his hurry, Kannan wanted them to ask for one wish. By this time, Vashishta too had caught up with the Lord and realizing his true avatara, the sage fell at his feet and invoked his blessings to provide darshan in a standing posture at this place. Hence this place came to be called ‘Kannan Gudi’.

Garuda’s Unique Posture                                                                                                               
Unlike in other Divya Desams where Garuda is seen with folded hands, he is seen here with his hands across his chest.
Another unique feature at this temple is the similarity of the face of the Moolavar and Utsavar idols of Goddess, not seen in any other Divya Desam.

Pitiable state of the temple
The renovation activity of such a historic temple has been stalled for almost three years now. HR & CE had earlier sanctioned Rs. 50 Lakhs for the renovation. Private participants / devotees who had expressed interest and come forward to take up the renovation efforts have now stepped back as a result of the callous attitude of the Government officials.

Festivals including the 10 day Brahmotsavam in Chitrai, 10 day Maasi Maagam Utsavam, when the Lord goes on a long procession to the Sea and the Ramanuja Utsavam have been stopped pending the renovation.

The Perumal Vimana with beautiful sculptures is now in a dilapidated state with few of the exquisite sculptures falling off. 

The scenario at the Azhvaar Sannidhi is deplorable with the idols of the Muthal Azhvaars coming off the ground. Similar is the fate of Thiru Mazhisai Azhvaar and Nam Azhvaar. There are cracks on the walls of the Manavala Mamunigal Sannidhi and this could fall off anytime soon.

Huge Pile of Mud in front of Ramanuja Sannidhi
Similar is the state of Ramanuja’s Sannidhi where a 10 day Avathara Utsavam used to take place. Huge mound of mud has been lying in front of the sannidhi for many months now but there is no inkling of the resumption of the renovation activity.

There is also a plan to build a compound wall around the huge sacred Tank west of the temple. Measurements have been taken recently and one hopes that work will start soon.
Rats inside the Madapalli
The sacred kitchen (Thiru Madapalli) is probably the worst hit. With the flooring caving in, it is shocking to see a big pit made by huge rats. These are seen running around all over the kitchen. Smaller rats have made this their ‘residence’ and are seen in large numbers, such is the state of the area where sacred food is made for the Lord every day.

Velukudi Krishnan’s Kinchitkaram Trust is taking care of the Nandavanam. However, there are challenges relating to that as well with the entry of goats causing damage to the garden.

There are private donars ready to support the renovation in full but they have been put off by the delay caused by the HR & CE officials.With the effort of the priest, a new silver coated Simhasana for the utsava deities has been organized, one that looks grand but that is the only Silver Lining.

Like the Pancha Dwaraka in the North, Thiru Kannangudi is one of the Pancha Krishna Kshetrams in the South. Such a historic temple is now in shambles and one hopes that the Government will release the requisite funds for the renovation exercise that has been long due. Also, it is hoped that they will take the support of like minded devotees and donars to complete the renovation that was kicked off three years ago.

 The temple is open between 730am-12noon and 5pm–8pm. Contact: 99431 38591/94435 25907

How to reach Thiru Kannangudi
Thiru Kannangudi is about 10kms from Nagapattinam and just over 15kms from Thiruvarur. Buses ply every five minutes between Nagai and Thiruvarur bus. One can get down at Azhiyur, about 8 kms from Nagai. From there, auto will cost Rs. 30 to the temple.

When here, also visit Sundararaja Perumal Divya Desam in Thiru Nagai (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2007/08/108-divya-desam-thiru-nagai.html)

1 comment:

Sudha said...

Mangalam to the Lord of Thirukkannangudi! Mangalam to the Goddess of Thirukkannangudi! Mangalam to all Azhwars and Acharyas who reside at Thirukkannangudi Temple offering Their heartfelt Mangalashasanams to the Lord of Sri! This situation has to change. It will change. Let us pray.