Monday, March 13, 2023

Jolly Rovers Bharath Reddy 40 years First Division Title

Bharath Reddy celebrated his four decades with Jolly Rovers in style with a first division crown achieved with a match to spare
With a lot of the reputed players and those with aspirations to move up the cricketing ladder choosing to sign up with India Cements’ clubs in the first division, it was a big achievement for Bharath Reddy managed Jolly Rovers to win the Palayampatti Shield with a match to go in the new format that was introduced this season. Only recently, he had just been felicitated on completion of 40 years with Jolly Rovers and he capped off the four decades journey with yet another first division trophy.

So how did he manage to pull this off at a time when it has remained a challenge to rope in the cream of the TN players.

Just as a background, last year, Bharath had a twin blow first losing his boss of almost four decades N Sankar and then a semifinal defeat at the hands of Vijay CC in the first division. Prior to that, he had offered to let go off his cricketing engagement with the decreasing importance of first division cricket. But Sankar, just before his demise, took a promise from Bharath that he would continue this engagement as long as son Vijay wanted him to (

And so he got on to the new season with renewed vigour with the aim of adding another trophy to his belt. He had told this writer at the start of the season that the new format would lead to home teams ‘preparing’ pitches to secure outright wins (

The Players
While the longer term trend has been for players to move to India Cements’ clubs from Sanmar’s Jolly Rovers, Bharath Reddy managed to rope in three batsmen at the top of the order from India Cements. Kaushik Gandhi after spending years with India Cements has been captaining Jolly Rovers in recent times ( 

Bharath Reddy says that he was persistent for three years and secured the services of Aparjith and Indrajith and that has strengthened the batting order significantly. He himself is surprised as to how the twins accepted his invitation but their presence has been a big boost. “They have been centric to the team composition and I have built a team around those two. Of course, Kaushik Gandhi has captained the team well and contributed well with the bat.”

This section had featured a story in October last year on the transformational form of opener Sai Sudarshan and his breathtaking centuries and the partnership with his captain gave Jolly Rovers the batting boost early on in the season.

Off Spinner Jalaj Saxena had played for Kalpathies’ Young Stars. Bharath Reddy had watched him in action during the league matches here and was clear that he would make a difference in matches where crucial big wickets mattered “I could count on him to get us the key wickets against the top teams. His wickets has helped turn the course of matches.”

If he managed to have as good a top four in batting as one could have in the first division, with Jalaj he had a match winning bowler who would get you outright wins or the crucial first innings lead against stronger opposition. While Jalaj picked up crucial wickets in big matches, Mohan Prasath was the star spinner for Jolly Rovers this season picking up close to 50wickets and bowling a majority of the overs for them.

A ‘Desire to Win’ attitude has been instilled in every player and there was no better indication of this when they turned up for that match against Vijay CC last month. “The Cricketing ‘Veri’ is a standout feature of every single Jolly Rovers’ player.”
The Pitches
He has been a master at preparing pitches and strategized ahead of time on the kind of pitches he would have for his home based on the opposition. “Depending on the opposition and their right /left batting  combinations, I knew the kind of pitches that would work for our off spinner and left arm spinner.”

The Big Match of the Season
Ahead of the match against Vijay CC (India Cements) last month, Bharath Reddy was keen to go for the first innings lead but much to his surprise his captain and the top players in the team were raring to go (a bit more than usual) and they pitched with him for the outright win. “When the opposition players landed up at the ground that morning, you could see all the Ranji faces there.  There was a sudden sense of aggression to do well against that team and they gave their heart out in that match. To post an innings victory against them gave me the greatest satisfaction.”

Sai’s double hundred and Jalaj’s six wicket helped set up the first ever outright victory against Vijay CC.

The men in the background - Coaches and Support Staff
While the players and pitches have played a role in the championship win, Bharath is quick to point out the biggest differentiator and the reason why the biggest of players want to turn up for Sanmar “We have unmatched cricket infrastructure for any league club in the city. We provide two new balls every day of the year (new balls are very expensive these days!!!). The players have round the year option to play on the center wicket (when there are no first division matches).  Four of the five coaches led by Ajay Kudua have been with us for well over a decade without a break, once again unmatched elsewhere in the league. There is a continuity and the coaches understand our culture.”

The accountability model that has been in place for all the coaches and support staff is another differentiator. There is even an attendance register for them!!! 

For someone like Vimal Khumar (who is now wanted by everyone after his triple hundred and his rich vein of form in the 2nd half!!!) about whom this writer had featured a story as early as 2019(, Bharath says he has provided an exclusive coach to work on his batting and his mental strength. 

He also points to a least spoken aspect “The fitness trainer works magic. Shyam Sundar gets the injured players back on to their feet in no time and the players truly value his contribution.”

Management support
The approval process for cricketers and their requirements has been yet another big differentiator for Bharath. He says that his bosses get back to him in no time with a yes or a no. This makes it easy for him to engage with his players.

Bharath ( has won 50 titles in his four decades with Sanmar. Only a couple of weeks back he was felicitated for his 40 years of cricketing association with Jolly Rovers.  So what kept him going for another first division championship this season “For me, it’s the pride. After winning the first division title with a match to spare, I felt on top of the world. It’s like being in the 10th heaven.”

N Sankar ( was very passionate about cricket in the five and a half decades he was associated with Jolly Rovers. Over the last one year, Bharath Reddy has found Vijay (Sankar) crazier about cricket at JR than even his appa. “The corporate business has grown manifold and he is on travel all through the year but his passion for cricket has not diminished one bit from the time I first saw him closely when he managed Kohinoor all those decades ago.”

Cricketing Legacy safe and intact
Vijay is at a Board meeting on a busy Monday morning and just a few hours ahead of an overseas trip but he makes time out of the Board to share his thoughts on why Jolly Rovers continues to be a destination for the cricketers in the country “We still have old school cricketing values. We focused a lot on setting up the core values even in terms of the top players turning up for practice and playing matches. We don’t want to give those (values) up. The discipline of players in how they approach their net sessions and the matches is a differentiator. The overall cricketing environment we provide and the skills improvement opportunities is a prime reason for them to partner with us in their cricket journey.”
The top two run getters in the first division league were both from Sanmar with Sai Sudarshan ( scoring just over 1000 runs for Jolly Rovers and Vimal Khumar with close to 1000runs for Alwarpet finishing the 2nd half of the season with a bang and becoming the cynosure of all eyes. Already, there have been multiple calls from other clubs wanting the services of Vimal but Bharath is confident that both Sai and Vimal (he will graduate to Jolly Rovers from Alwarpet) will stick with them and the core of the team will continue into the new season.

For Vijay Sankar, there is a legacy of keeping the cricketing reputation intact. Anchored by Bharath Reddy, the recent crowning with the Palayampatti shield for the 22nd time is testimony to the fact that the reputation built over several decades of Jolly Rovers being the team to beat in the first division remains undiminished.

It was the first full season for Bharath Reddy without N Sankar, whose photo continues to be his display message on his whatsapp. This 17th first division title under Bharath is one dedicated to his mentor and the man who meant everything to him from the time he joined Sanmar in the early 1980s. 

He has over 50 trophies and is acknowledged by the cricket fraternity as one of the best people(player) managers. It is hoped that the new President Ashok Sigamanii ( will get talking to Bharath Reddy to see how his cricketing knowledge can be used for the betterment of TN cricket.

For the moment, it’s time for Bharath Reddy to celebrate yet another memorable season. His success story is likely to see no end in the near future.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Thiru Vellarai Pundarikaksha Perumal Kollidam

The Divine Couple make a long almost 12 hour trip to provide Serthi Sevai on a scorching Sunday at Kollidam
The unfolding of events on the Kollidam river bank North of the Ranganathaswamy temple on a hot Sunday afternoon served as an indication of what’s in store at historical Divya Desams in TN. Just over a fortnight ago, one of the chief priests at Thiru Vellarai Divya Desam told this writer that the JC had clearly mandated restriction of mandagapadis on the annual trip of Pundarikaksha Perumal and Shenbagavalli Thayar from Thiru Vellarai to Kollidam. He had also directed reaching Kollidam on time as per schedule (10am). Long time devotees who waited at the Kollidam banks on Sunday morning narrated stories from the century gone by of Thiruvellarai Perumal reaching here by 8am.

A night long trip from Vellarai
It is past 5am and the Sri Patham personnel have already had a long night on the Thuraiyur highway but the procession had only reached the outskirts of Manachanallur. Over the next couple of hours, the mandagapadi in Manachanallur is mind boggling with stops at several of the rice mills. Devotees presented fruits and flower garlands at every stop. As is the case in remote locations, food was distributed in large quantities to devotees at each of these stopovers.
Clearly there were far more stopovers and mandagapadis than was expected (directed).

 இந்திரனோடு பிரமன் ஈசன் இமையவர் எல்லாம்
மந்திர மா மலர் கொண்டு
மறைந்து உவராய் வந்து நின்றார்

சந்திரன் மாளிகை சேரும் சதுரர்கள் வெள்ளரை நின்றாய்
அந்தியம் போது இது ஆகும்
அழகனே காபிட வாராய் - Periyaazhvaar's Kaapidal

The scene at Kollidam
A sizeable crowd had gathered at a completely dry Kollidam by 10am but there were no signs of Thiruvellarai Perumal and Thayar. Even more Mandagapadis all along the way meant the divine couple were past Nochiyam after 11am and on to the North end of the Kollidam banks. It required an extraordinary effort and highly devotional commitment on the part of the Sripatham to carry Perumal and Thayar from the North end to the South in the sand on this scorching Sunday. Rolling of a long mat across the river bed may have been a good idea but the mats came well after the Perumal and Thayar had reached the South end where a Pandal had been laid out. Soon after they placed the divine couple, many of the Sri Patham were short on breath after almost a 12 hour over 10kms trip from Thiru Vellarai to Kollidam.

Arguments Galore
Much against the run of play, a mini battlefield opened up. It started with the archakas of Thiru Vellarai refusing Shatari to the Sri Patham. This unexpected announcement angered the already tired Sri Patham personnel that were short on numbers for this trip with just around 40 of them having carried Perumal and Thayar on separate Pallakkus through the entire trip (many of these service personnel would have to get back to college and office on Monday morning and that would make the return trip on Sunday night even more challenging though there would not be those big numbered Mandagapadis).

Sacred boxes arrive late, Vadaparuppu forgotten
The boxes containing the alankaram items had not arrived though the tractor had left Nochiyam before the divine couple entered Kollidam. To complicate things further, the archakas found that Vadaparuppu had not been sent from Thiru Vellarai. The series of events put off the Sripatham personnel and a few of them walked away for lunch while a few other angry members continued to express their angst to the archakas. 

By now, the service personnel from Ranganathaswamy temple, Srirangam arrived with the Mariyathai and they too had to wait it out for the arrival of the boxes.  Sridhar, the maniyakarar of the Srirangam temple too reached the venue ( It was his assurance that the Shatari would be presented to the Sri Patham that cooled the carriers of the Thiru Vellarai Perumal.
Sridhar told this writer late on Sunday night that shortage of personnel was making it a nightmare to manage utsavams across the Divya Desams in and around Srirangam. In this case, he said if he had been alerted on Sunday morning, he could have organised the vadaparuppu from the Srirangam Madapalli. An overdose of mandagapadis leads to a delay in the processional schedule. Earlier in the day, he narrated as to how just ahead of the mega Samprokshanam in Srirangam, he had carried the Lord on this trip with minimal service personnel in the 1980s. But now communication channels were far better and issues such as those faced today could be handled easily through better communication.

It was well after noon when the screen came down for the alankaram but over the next hour there was bitter argument between multiple service personnel that could be heard outside amongst the devotees who were eagerly waiting for a darshan of the Serthi Sevai.

Food Plates scattered on the Kollidam bank
And as is the case on such big occasions, food was served by devotees (Ubayadarars) to those present. While the Perumal and Thayar were being decorated, it was time for devotees to have their lunch. Very soon the entire sacred Kollidam banks was dirtied with food plates thrown around outside the Pandal. 

மன்றில் மாம் பொழில் நுழைதந்து
மல்லிகை மௌவளின் போது அலர்த்தி
தென்றல் மா மணம் கமழ் தர வரு
 திரு வெள்ளறை நின்றானே

உயர்கொள் மாதவிப் போதொடு உலாவிய 
மாருதம் வீதியின்வாய்
திசை எல்லாம் கமழும் பொழில் சூழ் 

திரு வெள்ளறை நின்றானே- Periya Thirumozhi- Thiru Mangai Azhvaar

It was 1.30pm when the screen finally opened for the devotees to have darshan of the divine couple.

Former correspondent of PTI and a kainkaryapaka at  the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple Singan points to the the unique term Vazhi Nadai Ubayams and the several stipulations laid by Poorvacharya for this. 'The main one is that the deviation should not exceed 10ft. But mysteriously the number is increasing beyond limits, affecting the schedule and shortening pooja procedures. The objective is  to give rest to the deity as per agamic principles. And, definitely not to treat the deity as a toy."

This Sunday morning was to be a devotional morning at Kollidam but it was overshadowed by the series of events that took place in full public view.

While the HR & CE administers the temple, no senior officials were present to ensure that the event took place as per schedule. With the devotional wave across TN temples, the mandagapadis are increasing in number but there is shortage of service personnel across Divya Desams. The madapalli is short staffed leading to challenges there. Attention to detail is missing- in this case, there was no responsibility taken to ensure that the sacred boxes arrived on time and that the vada paruppu was in order to present to the adyapaka, araiyar, theerthakarar and service personnel. Added to this was the emotional outbursts after a long trip in the hot sun.

In some of the historical temples such as Srirangam and Thiru Vellarai (, the Lord is still carried by the traditional Sripatham on their shoulders even on long trips to Jeeyapuram, Uraiyar and this one from Vellarai to Kollidam. It is important to take care of them. This section had a few years ago featured a story on how the Sripatham bore the brunt of a stony path all night trip from Srirangam to Jeeyapuram ( Today, it was yet another tiring trip including a final long burst from one end of Kollidam to the other. On the Jeeyapuram trip, this section had asked as to the presence of senior HR & CE officials on that night long trip. Here too the JC / his senior members were missing. 

If such traditional endeavours are to continue in the future like it has for centuries, coordinated and concerted efforts will be required amongst the multiple stake holders to make such trips lot more devotionally engaging.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Super Kings Academy Madras Indians TNCA League

A few youngsters from SKA showcased themselves on Saturday at a  TNCA lower division league match
Left arm spinner Laxman Rahul turned the ball square and tied the rampaging batsmen in knots
This section had featured a story on Super Kings Academy and its expansion plans in October last year( A number of league clubs had been taken over by India Cements to provide opportunities to SKA players. This section had also subsequently broken the news of Sriram Krishnamurthy ( back from New Zealand to take over the role of the head coach of SKA.

On Saturday this writer umpired a lower division match featuring one of those clubs. In recent months, this writer has umpired several matches but this one was a different experience. The impact of the academy was clearly seen in the way the players approached the game. 

The top order batsmen were confident against one of the best new ball combination that this writer (umpire) has seen in recent times in lower division cricket. Interestingly it was a top of the table clash with both Madras Indians (SKA players) and Milky Way having won 5 out of their 6 matches. It came as a relief to the Madras Indians’ batsmen when one of the new ball bowlers was taken out of the attack after he had bowled four overs giving away under 10runs (that’s lower division captaincy for you!!!).  

The confidence with which the openers approached was refreshing. While the big runs on the day came from two non- academy batsmen including captain Arun Pandian who scored 86, the overall thought process was positive. Of course, two aspects that I have found in lower division cricket quite surprisingly remained unchanged. For a major part of those 50 overs, there was no calling between the batsmen and no words at all from the non-striker (complete silence through an entire innings!!!). These are things that the academy should focus on – a bit more on the basics… backing up at the non striker’s end, a yes or no call after a stroke and some communication from the non striker.

From Kanyakumari and Salem
Milky Way had posted over 400 in a recent league match and it was no surprise when they came out after lunch in a typical T20 mode. Fast bowler Milton is from Kanyakumari and has completed his graduation. He came to Madras to showcase himself at the SKA nets and was picked for this league team for his genuine quick stuff. He has still not joined a corporate and is looking to make a cricketing career out of this (his fast bowling skills). Today he was taken apart by opener Suresh who hit five sixers in his 20ball half century. 65 had been posted in 7overs but two young left arm spinners came into play and turned the match around quite dramatically. 

A spinner for the future
Laxman Rahul turned the ball square and was almost unplayable as he created doubt in the batsman’s mind. He is one for the future and cricketing success beckons him if he continues with his current style and approach while Kumar from Salem kept it tight and picked up crucial wickets. A differentiating aspect was the outstanding fielding of the academy players as they latched on to every catch and gave nothing away in terms of ground fielding. While the opposition dropped quite a few catches in the first half, the SKA fielders held on to everything. 
SKA also had a good leggie in Surya who too turned the ball big and took a brilliant catch of his own bowling but did not showcase a googly!!!

A late burst of sixers did not fluster the spinners and Laxman finally brought an end to the series of sixers from Deenadayalan to help Madras Indians notch up a comfortable win.

A Certificate of Appreciation for the performers
The anchors at the Super Kings Academy back at the Santhome headquarters had brought in a novel idea into these league matches this season. The star performers of every league match are presented with a framed certificate of appreciation by the coach immediately at the end of the match. This surely will serve as a great motivation to the youngsters. A token cash award for the MOM has been a model adopted in the past by league clubs but a certificate in appreciation and for the record is a nice gesture from Super Kings Academy and will pep up the players to give their best. It is also something that the star performers of the day can take back home with pride.
This club, comprising of SKA players, is working as one unit and it’s no wonder that they have won six out of the seven league matches this year.

SKA has already had over 400 students at their centers in Chennai and Salem and most of these youngsters are now finding an opportunity in the TNCA league. It’s up to them to showcase themselves and move up the cricketing ladder.  This Saturday the left arm spinner Laxman did just that at the India Pistons ground. He tied the rampaging opposition batsmen in knots and won the match for his team. He is someone to be watched out in the future.

The Super Kings Academy coaches would do well to focus a bit more on the basics - running between the wickets, backing up, calling and communication between batsmen, aspects where most academies focus very little.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Thiru Kannapuram Maasi Garuda Sevai

Late on Thursday evening, on the eve of Kulasekara Azhvaar's birthday, Sowri Raja Perumal goes around the streets of Thiru Kannapuram atop  Garuda as part of the Maasi Magam Utsavam
Thenthiruperai's Aravinda Lochanan presents Upanyasam but Araiyar Sevai was missing this year
There is a certain devotional charm about Garuda Sevai in remote Divya Desams. The devotional fervour of those that have come from far is palpable. They wait with big expectations of the alankaram of Perumal atop  the Garuda Vahana and experience their big moment when the screen opens for the first time on the evening as the beautifully decorated Lord presents himself before the devotees.

It was one such devotional evening at the Sowri Raja Perumal Divya Desam in Thiru Kannapuram this Thursday, on the eve of the birthday of Kulasekara Azhvaar who presented a decad of sacred verses on the Lord of Thiru Kannapuram. 

In the 8th decad, he praises the Lord of Thiru Kannapuram while describing the different events in Rama’s life. He praises Thiru Kannapuram as a temple surrounded by huge fortified walls ingrained with gold and the sacred water being holier than the Ganges. He praises the place as one where Cauvery flowed in full speed. He describes the removal of weeds and the consequent blooming of lotus flowers in the huge tank. Kannapuram was a place where red lotus grew everywhere around the temple. In his Perumal Thirumozhi, he says that Thiru Kannapuram was home to master craftsmen.

கன்னி நன் மா மதில் புடை சூழ் கணபுரத்து என் கருமணியே
களைகழுநீர் மருங்கு அலரும் கணபுரத்து கருமணியே 

Early in the morning, he found bees circling around the temple with a buzzing noise that seemed to be in melodious tunes. Kannapuram, he says, was a place where learned sages lived and one where elders resided.Thiru Kannapuram is praised as a temple by the seashore where strong winds washed ashore jewels and the Lord as one who is seen with fragrant flower garland in his crown

காலின்மணி கரை அலைக்கும் கணபுரத்து என் கருமணியே

Thiru Kannapuram is truly a legendary temple for it is one of the only two temples, along with Nachiyar Koil, in the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham to receive a praise of over a 100 verses from Thiru Mangai Azhvaar. 

In his 100 verses, he provides great insights into Thiru Kannapuram as a location by the Sea Shore, the unflinching devotion of the people who visited the festivals, the green fields around the temple and the handsome features of the Lord. Clearly it was a vibrant location a thousand years ago. High rise buildings in Thiru Kannapuram seemed to touch the water bearing clouds in the sky. Huge crowds thronged the temple to invoke the blessings of the Lord. Also, one saw love filled devotees during auspicious festival days. The town reverberated with Vedic Chants right through the day. They tended to the sacred fires offering sacrifices and kept the Vedas alive.Situated by the lashing ocean, Thiru Kannapuram had fertile fields where one saw an abundance of Mullai, Karumugil and Sankalunir flowers around the temple. Punnai Trees cast shade and light over the waters.
The vast fertile fields that had a rich growth of flowers spread a sweet fragrance all around Thiru Kannapuram. One could inhale the sweet scented lotus at all times at Thiru Kannapuram. Red Paddy plants were seen waving like fans.  There were Pearl like buds that gathered by the waves. There were well grown coral branches. Red corals grew with branches spreading light everywhere. Ripe Paddy grew tall in the fields. The streets were wide with fragrant groves.

The Sacred Tank
In the rain fed lakes, sharp peaked water birds pounced upon Fish which then ran helter skelter in fear of being consumed. The lakes were clear and the fragrant blue water lily seemed liked the eyes of the Lord and the red lotus bright like his face. Swans in lakes learnt the art of graceful gait from the young girls.

The Sea Shore
Thiru Mangai Azhvaar refers to this place as ‘Wealthy Kannapuram’ and says that the roar of the sea could be heard at the temple, praised as one standing tall near the sea shore. Boats seemed to be carrying the riches and crowded the shores at all times. Thiru Kannapuram was lashed by the ocean that threw up great resounding conches. Pearls were washed on to shores following the high waves.

கரை எடுத்த சுரி சங்கும் கணபுரத்து எழு கொடியும்

Peacocks danced around in flocks all over Kannapuram. The harvesters’ sickle brought out the rabbits from their burrows. The huge number of Fish danced in a trance in the fertile fields. Lotus blossomed everywhere thronged by bees that sung in beautiful humming tunes.

வாய் எடுத்த மந்திரத்தால் அந்தணர் தம் செய் தொழில்கள்
தீ எடுத்த மறை வளர்க்கும்
திரு கண்ணபுரத்து உறையும்

Devotees and Celestials flocked to Thiru Kannapuram for worship seeking an elevation of spirit.
தொண்டரும் அமரரும் முனிவரும் தொழுது எழ

That was a thousand years ago. The greenery is still intact. As one walks through the one km newly laid road from Thiru Pugalur to Thiru Kannapuram, one finds huge fertile fields on either side. However, there is no hint of any the temple’s glorious past with most of the original inhabitants having left the shores of Kannapuram. The Raja Gopuram and the huge walls wear a faded look with the last repair works having taking place over 15years ago and it should be time for Thiruppani to start in the near future. 

Upanyasam on Pillai Lokachariyar's Artha Panchakam
Bhagavathas from across Tamil Nadu gathered for this big occasion in Maasi. The huge temple complex allows them to sit in different corners and there were those reciting slokas through the evening.  Following the pathi ulathal just after 4pm, Thenthiruperai’s Aravinda Lochanan, now residing in Thiruvallikeni, has been presenting upanyasam at this Divya Desam for the last many years during the Maasi Utsavam. This time, over five days, he presented Pillai Lokachariyaar's Artha Panchankam describing Jeevathma and Paramathma, ways  to attain moksham, causes for this materialistic life and things to perform after attaining vaikuntam.
                         Aravinda Lochanan

No Araiyar Sevai this year
Centuries ago, Araiyars resided in this town. Their house still exists but their descendants have stayed away from their traditional art of presenting before the Lord. In recent times, Araiyar from Srivilliputhur had made it to this Divya Desam during the Maasi Utsavam. As in previous years, the expectation of the devotees was to watch the Araiyar Sevai but the Araiyar from Srivilliputhur did not turn up this time on the Garuda Sevai day much to their disappointment.

Bhattar confined to bed
Raghava Bhattar, now in his 70s, had performed archaka service at this Divya Desam for a few devotees from the 1980s in financially challenging times. His daughter secured well over a 1000 marks in her SSLC examination. And yet she could not fulfil her educational dreams for want of an institution in the temple town.  A paralytic attack has confined him to the bed and over the last decade, it has been his brother, Sampath Bhattar, who has taken his place at the temple. The revered Sowri Rajan Bhattar ( who has been at the temple performing kainkaryam for five decades was away through the evening with his service at the Kannapuram Thayar Sannidhi. For almost two hours, Sampath Bhattar decorated Sowri Raja Perumal atop the Garuda Vahana while devotees enjoyed the group dance presentation on the Northern prakara.
                           Raghava Bhattar

Sacred food had been organised at the Ramanuja Koodam for traditionalists and ahead of the procession, the visiting devotees  had a sumptuous puliyotharai and dhadhyonam.

The devotee family that has been taking care of the Garuda Sevai during the Maasi Utsavam for generations arrived just after 8pm. An hour later, devotees had  further gained in strength. Sri Patham personnel who belong to this Divya Desam arrived in large numbers for this occasion and carried Sowri Raja Perumal around the prakara in a majestic display. The legend has it that Perumal asked Vibheeshana to come to Kannapuram to have darshan of his 'Walking Beauty'.

Its past 930pm when the Lord made his way on to the North Street where Prabhandham members including those from Kesava Perumal Koil,  Mylapore and Thiruvallikeni were waiting for Thodakkam. 
The four sacred streets have been newly laid making it easy for the Sripatham to carry the Lord on their shoulders. It’s been a tradition on the Garuda Sevai evening in Thiru Kannapuram for the Lord to be carried till the Chariot by the Sripatham and then for him to be mounted on to a specially designed chapparam. Devotees were waiting in large numbers near the Chapparam to watch the Sri Patham load Sowri Raja Perumal on to the Chapparam. Bhagavathas who had come a long way for this utsavam began their Bhajans while the Prabhandham members led the procession with the presentation of the sacred verses.

The original inhabitants in the agraharam that had been vibrant till the 2nd half of the previous century have all gone away seeking greener pastures and they were missing on the night but the devotion of the villagers was beyond measure as they sought the blessings of the Divya Desam Lord with folded hands. The delight of a Garuda Sevai darshan could be seen in their eyes as they began pulling the rope to move the chapparam along the streets of Thiru Kannapuram.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Semmangudi Varadaraja Bhattar

Plight of a Remote Temple Priest
He has been performing daily aradhanam at multiple village temples for decades for financial survival but the Salary and Thattu Kaasu are now proving insufficient to run a family
Varadaraja Bhattar (referred to as Vardhu Bhattar in temple circles) is a prime example of serving in remote non Divya Desam temples. He has spent the last four decades in Semmangudi (Sembangudi), residing in the agraharam where the renowned musician Srinivasa Iyer once lived. He learned the agamas from his grandfather and even as a young boy accompanied him to the Varadaraja Perumal temple in Semmangudi.

The salary at the temple was quite low and Thattu Kaasu almost non-existent. But the temple had handed his forefathers farming land from which they earned some income to run their family. His appa had been bed ridden for many years before he passed away. 

Varadaraja Bhattar has been enterprising in his devotional endeavor to meet the monthly financial requirements to run a family. He identified around 10 remote temples in the area that had been left unattended and secured a couple of them for each of his brothers to perform archaka service. He himself has also been performing pooja at the Varadaraja Perumal temple in Sri Vanjiyam (, about 10kms from Semmangudi. In addition to the three Kaalam pooja at Semmangudi, he has also been performing daily pooja in a couple of other remote village temples. While he used to cycle his way to these temples in earlier decades, he now rides a two wheeler each day to these temples. 
Varadaraja Bhattar had received offers from overseas but did not go. Within TN, He had forged an early love for cows and has had at least of couple of them at home over the last two decades. When he lost his parents, he had to sell his cows to perform Pitru Kaaryam such was his financial state. He is now back to bringing up a couple of cows but recently faced another big challenge at home. 
The house that he had lived in the agraharam since his childhood had become dilapidated with water seeping in during monsoon. Over the last year, he has moved to another house near the temple.

The income from the farm lands has not been consistent given the vagaries of the monsoon. With his two school going daughters, the current finances from these remote temples are not proving sufficient. He is hoping that the Varadaraja Perumal temple in Semmangudi where he has served for decades would offer him a higher salary and also rebuild the agraharam house where he has spent close to four decades.
For the moment though he continues to perform service to Varadaraja Perumal just in the way he had performed when he started out decades ago with the firm belief that the Lord for whom he has served for long will take good care of him and his family.

Varadarajan Bhattar can be reached on 9442467631

Saturday, February 25, 2023

New Chepauk March 17 unveiling

The newly-constructed Pavilion and Terrace at MA Chidambaram Stadium will be inaugurated by TN CM on March 17 a week ahead of the ODI against Australia
The Stadium will house a Museum, Cafeteria, Indoor Nets, Gym – A guided tour of the stadium is on the anvil
Four day 1st division, no outstation players, neutral venues/groundsmen could be the way forward
The new TNCA President Ashok Sigamani has a refreshing look about him. On a Saturday afternoon, he arrives at Chepauk for an exclusive chat with this writer in a cool T Shirt and Jeans. He is engaging in his conversations with his team members at the TNCA and as he has always been gives a patient hearing to their views. Operations Manager  and former coach of Santhome, Srinivasa Rao, whom Ashok has known from his cricketing days in the late 1980s expresses disappointment at the non-selection of a few ‘performing’  players(u19 India) in the TNPL auction that ended last evening. Ashok hears him out but at the same time points to the fact that it is a franchisee choice to select and the TNCA could have no say in those matters.

Refreshing Approach, No interference in Selection
Even more interestingly, his 13 year old son Siga Ponmudi – a left handed bat and leg spinner - was not included in the State U14 squad, a fate that Ashok himself met just under 35years ago. He has the same view now as he had in those days when he was a teenager “All those that have interacted with me know about my straight forward approach. I will have no say in the selection of my son in the same way I did not want my appa to have any ( influence) when I was a teenage cricketer. And that is exactly what I have instilled in my son - To perform extraordinarily and get selected will be the model for my son in selection matters.”

He is also aware that if his son does get selected in the future in age group cricket, it will be 'attributed' to his powerful position. 

New Chepauk to be unveiled March 17
Ashok Sigamani is all excited about the reconstructed stadium that will be inaugurated by the TN CM on March 17, just under 10 days before the ODI against Australia. He took this writer on a hot Saturday afternoon providing an exclusive preview to the newly constructed player’s dressing room, the cafeteria, the umpires’  and scorer’s rooms that have all been rebuilt from scratch and compares with the best of overseas stadia infrastructure.  The old Pavilion and terrace had been completely brought down and the work had started after the Pandemic.
“It will have world class facilities. Top notch dressing room, Gym facilities, indoor net facilities with astro turf pitches, cafeteria and a sports shop. On the upper tier will be the corporate boxes and VIP seating."

A Guided Tour around the Stadium
Probably for the first time in the country, there will be an official guided tour inside the stadium with about 20 people per group. Ashok said that he was quite shocked to hear from fellow cricketers from Doctor fraternity with whom he has been playing in many state and national tournaments that they have never had a chance to get inside Chepauk. “Whenever I have visited other countries, I have always made it a point to get to the iconic football stadiums. Hence it is important for us to allow people to have a look at this historic stadium that has been home to several thrilling matches.” 
The museum that will showcase among other things the Tied Test played in 1986 will be another new addition to the new stadium that will be unveiled to the outside world middle of next month. 

The pricing for this guided tour was likely to be subsidized for school and college students. There will also be ‘augmented reality’ that people will be able to experience on this guided tour.

The MCC block has stuck to its old world charm though that space has been completely rebuilt.

Stadium -No name change 
It was expected that the Stadium, like many others across the country, would be renamed after a Politician and that it would be unveiled at the time of the inauguration. But Ashok says that the TN CM was very particular that an existing stadium should not be renamed and despite approval from TNCA members vehemently disapproved renaming the stadium after his appa. 

It is a terrific gesture from the TN CM to allow the stadium to continue in its existing name.

New State coach from Bombay
Ashok is bullish about the induction of a new state coach from Bombay “The biggest change that we need in our state is to give up the ‘selfish’ mentality and play as a team to win the Ranji Trophy. Right from the time I played my cricket to now initiating my son into cricket, the message has remained the same – Team always comes first and only if the team performs exceptionally will individuals gain recognition at the national stage. I will be having a brainstorming meeting with Kulkarni in March to understand his thought process on making TN as a cohesive unit.”

TNPL in Villupuram
As early as the early 1990s, Ashok had set up the first turf wicket in Villupuram. However, not much progress had been made there over the last three decades. Ashok told this writer with great delight that TNPL was likely to be expanded to Villupuram in 2024 “There are two best in class grounds now in Villupuram and Vikravandi, just before the Kumbakonam bye pass. Taking TNPL to Villupuram will be a great boost for cricketers in that region.”

He says that the focus is on building cricket in the districts. “We will be setting up exclusive fast bowling and spin academies in Madurai, Trichy and Theni and will kick off this exercise this summer.”

He is also looking to take an aggressive stance on Talent Scouting in the districts “We will be setting up camps in Coimbatore, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Vellore and Kanchi among other districts to scout for talent, especially fast bowlers and spinners, who could be match winners for the state in the future.”
A Revolutionary idea – First Division League
Ashok Sigamani is mooting the idea of a four day first division league format to help players prepare better for Ranji Trophy cricket. He is also clear that the first division matches will have to be played on neutral venues or pitches curated by neutral groundsman. “We have to move away from the current approach of ‘winning the league championship at any cost’ to ‘what’s best for TN cricket’.” 

He is also against the idea of having outstation players in the local league. He will seek support from the member clubs in this endeavor.

However, his long term view is that some of the revolutionary ideas will need to be implemented by the TNCA for the betterment of state cricket“In the past, the view has always been that these ideas will be objected by some clubs. We have to deliver things that will help in players becoming better equipped for Ranji cricket.”

Over the last decade or so, Ashok Sigamani’s days were well planned. Serving his patients in the hospital till 6pm and a round of shuttle and engaging interactions with family members in the evening was how he spent his time. While managing the hospital continues to be his profession, cricket has been his passion right from his childhood days and he says that there is something special about one’s passion “It’s so close to your heart that you want to do something productive and constructive for TN cricket. I am firmly fixed on doing 'what's best for TN cricket'.”

He is clear that TN cricket comes first in his role as the President of the TNCA and that he will try to implement things that will go towards the betterment of cricket in the state.

A strong Review System and placing accountability
Very soon, all matches till third division will be played only on turf wickets. He is also putting in place a strong review system at all age group levels as well as the senior state level to make everyone accountable. Only recently, he personally had a long interaction with a state age group team and with the set of selectors “I asked them – the selectors and the captain- honest questions on the performance that took quite a few by shock. But I want everyone to be accountable with the single minded objective of giving the best for the state as a team.”

Come the ODI against Australia later next month, Chepauk will witness seating to full capacity for the first time in a decade. And soon after, all the stands is likely to be packed in full after several years and  fans will be entertained with a full round of IPL matches at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. For the new TNCA President, its now four months since he has taken charge. His patients at the hospital are missing him badly ( and lodging complaints!!). His mind in recent months has been solely fixed on TN cricket and he is now fully focused on making the TN players perform to their fullest potential. Knowing him, it is unlikely he will have a sound sleep till then!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thiru Putkuzhi Srinivasan Bhattar

The Hereditary Priest has been performing service at this Divya Desam for the last 45years
Father Son Duo now serve at this Thirumangai Azhvaar praised Vijaya Raghava Perumal Temple
Among the Divya Desams in and around Kanchipuram, the Vijaya Raghava Perumal temple in Thiru Putkuzhi is the odd one out. In the infra development over the century, this Divya Desam remained left out. Located on the Chennai Bangalore NH, express buses did not stop here. In the century gone by, bus service was infrequent and devotees found it difficult to reach this Divya Desam. While Kanchi developed as a tourist centre and crowd thronged Divya Desam in that temple town, there were minimal devotees at Thiru Putkuzhi. It was against this backdrop that Srinivasa Bhattar took charge of the temple as an archaka in 1977 after he completed his agama education.

He had lost his appa when he was only 10 years. He had school education at Kanchi till class VII and then went to Thirumalai for a five year Pancharatra Agama initiation. Soon after completion, despite the financially challenging scenario at Thiru Putkuzhi, he chose not to explore opportunities elsewhere and began performing kainkaryam here. He also had hereditary archaka service at Ulagalantha Perumal Divya Desam in Kanchipuram ( and he alternated every fortnight between the two Divya Desams to keep the finances in order.

அலங்கெழு தடக்கையாயன் வாயாம்பர் கழியுமாலேன்னுல்லாம் 
புலங்கெழு பொருநீர் புட்குழி பாடும் 
போதுமோ நீர் மலை கென்னும் குளம் கெழு கொல்லி கோமளவல்லி 
கொடியிடை நெடுமழைக் கன்னி 
 இலங்கு எழில் தோழிக்கு என் நினைந்து இருந்தாய் 
இட வேந்தை எந்தை பிரானே - Thiru Mangai Azhvaar

Devotional Commitment to Vijaya Raghava Perumal
Not once during those times did he think of moving away from temple service. With no devotees around, there was no fixed time at the temple till the turn of the century. He says that it was after the Samprokshanam at Thiru Putkuzhi in 1998 the then EO Lakshmikanthan asked if he could serve exclusively at the Vijaya Perumal Divya Desam and issued an appointment order as the hereditary priest.  It was then that a time was fixed for the opening and closure of the temple in the morning and evening. 
Srinivasan Bhattar says the crowd has improved especially on amavasya day where devotees come and offer their prayers with prarthana to Maragadavalli Thayar for wedding or child birth. During the Brahmotsavam, devotees from all the neighbouring villages congregate at the temple for the procession especially Garuda Sevai, Chariot Procession and the Horse Vahana that is unique to this temple,. Theppotsavam takes place in a grand way in Thai ( 

Sripatham personnel turn up in good numbers from Kanchipuram for all the utsavams. Ghosti members too are present for all the utsavams. 

Son now joins Divya Desam service
His son Sesharaghavan underwent Agama initiation for 8 years at the Patshala in Thiru Nangur and returned to Thiru Putkuzhi recently. Srinivasan Bhattar is pleased that his son has committed himself to service at this Divya Desam “He had no second thoughts on continuing the hereditary service at this Divya Desam and has joined me here.”
Having served as the lone archaka at this Divya Desam over the last 25 years, Srinivasa Bhattar now has his son for support. A year ago, Sesharagavan Bhattar married the daughter of Mangai Nallur Varadaraja Perumal temple Bhattar ( And last week, at the Maasi Brahmotsavam, for the first time, he tied Kaappu much to his appa’s delight. 

To Srinivasan Bhattar, contentment in life has helped find peace of mind in this kainkaryam even when there had been financial challenges during the initial phase of his temple service. 

With the devotional commitment of the next gen, this remote Divya Desam is safe in the hands of the devotional father – son duo for the foreseeable future. 

Thiru Putkuzhi Maasi Brahmotsavam Horse Vahana Procession

In recognition of the devotional commitment of the Sthapathy who constructed a unique horse, Vijaya Raghava Perumal pays a special visit on the 8th day of the Maasi Brahmotsavam to the place where he committed suicide
The Sthapathy of Thiru Putkuzhi constructed a one of its kind horse on which Vijaya Raghava Perumal would provide darshan on a procession during the Maasi Brahmotsavam. So impressed were the personnel from other Divya Desams that they were keen for him to construct one such special horse for their own temple. However, so devotionally attached was this sthapathy to Vijaya Raghava Perumal that he refused to make a horse for any other temple.

When he was forcibly taken away, he returned under the guise of having forgotten a tool and committed suicide in Thiru Putkuzhi.

In memory of his great devotional commitment, Vijay Raghava Perumal makes his way on the 8th day of the Maasi Brahmotsavam on this special horse vahana to the tree where he hung himself.

It was a big festive occasion at this Divya Desam on Wednesday (Feb 22). Several hundreds of devotees gathered by 6pm at the temple ahead of the Horse Vahana procession. Bhagavathas presented bhajans at the entrance of the Raja Gopuram while archakas from Mannargudi Raja Gopalaswamy temple and Thiru Cherai Saranatha Perumal temple (, who had specifically come for this occasion, decorated the Lord for this once in a year procession.

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar has praised this Divya Desam in the set of verses relating to Nithya Kalyana Perumal, Thiru Vidanthai (

அலங்கெழு தடக்கையாயன் வாயாம்பர் கழியுமாலேன்னுல்லாம் 
புலங்கெழு பொருநீர் புட்குழி பாடும் 
போதுமோ நீர் மலை கென்னும் குளம் கெழு கொல்லி கோமளவல்லி 
கொடியிடை நெடுமழைக் கன்னி 
 இலங்கு எழில் தோழிக்கு என் நினைந்து இருந்தாய் 
இட வேந்தை எந்தை பிரானே 

A steady stream of devotees make their way to the Perumal and Thayar Sannidhi. Hereditary Priest Srinivasa Bhattar who has been here for over five decades shunts between the two sannidhis. 
Just after 7pm, the devotee crowd gathered steam. There is devotional excitement all around even as the cover is taken off the vahana with devotees getting a first glimpse of the beautifully decorated Perumal atop the horse. Perumal makes a majestic fast paced procession around the prakara to the entrance of the Raja Gopuram.

 A special feature of this 8th evening of the Maasi Brahmotsavam is that Vijaya Raghava Perumal goes on a procession South of the temple to the location of the Sthapathy’s demise. No thattu is collected till the descendants of the Sthapathy community are first honoured. 
Its 8pm and the entire East street is dotted with kolams with devotees lining up in several hundreds in front of the tree. The Sthapathy’s descendants present huge garlands to Vijaya Raghava Perumal and to the Golden Horse.

The Special Horse for this Brahmotsavam
Sri Patham Kannan who leads the procession in several Divya Desams in Kanchi is here with his team of 40 members for the procession. He has been the Sripatham anchor for decades with his forefathers too having been in this service. He provides an exclusive glimpse of the unique three divisions of the horse that the Sthapathy had sculpted – the head, the body and the back. The horse vahana that is segregated into these three pieces is brought together only on this 8th day of the utsavam every year.

Presenting Grass to the Horse
Another interesting feature of this procession is a historical episode that is played out on this 8th evening of the Maasi Brahmotsavam. When the residents of this temple town complained that the horse was walking over the farming fields and destroying them, the community brought grass and presented to the Lord before feeding the horse!!! This event too was played out on Wednesday on the far corner of the East street. It is such a special day for the descendants of the sthapathy that they organize ear boring and tonsuring ceremony in their family for this year only on this 8th day of the utsavam. They were honoured with Parivattam on this evening. Soon after this event, the Sripatham thrilled the devotees with three rounds of Voyali Esal near the tree. It is only after the descendants were honoured that the archakas began accepting Thattu from the devotees. By now, Vijaya Raghava Perumal was decked with huge flower garlands and so too was the horse. 
Vijaya Raghava Perumal is the Kula Deivam for residents from 25 nearby villages and they were present on this evening to watch the event of honouring the horse and its maker. This temple is a prarthana sthalam for the unmarried and the childless. 

Veda Narayanan Bhattar of Mangai Nallur Perumal Koil ( near Therazhundur too was present on the occasion for this was the first year his young son in law, Sesharaghava Bhattar, had tied Kaappu for the Brahmotsavam.
Shortly after the trip to the sacred tree, Vijaya Raghava Perumal made his way around the Mada Streets and moved on to Balu Chetty Chattiram for Mandagapadi before returning to the temple late in the night bringing to end the once in a year Horse Vahana procession.

Thiru Putkuzhi Divya Desam is about 85kms from Chennai off the Bangalore NH and 10kms from Kanchipuram. Buses every 15minutes from Kanchipuram towards Vellore/Arcot. The temple is open from 7.30am to 12noon and from 4.30pm to 8pm.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Thiru Ninravur Bhaktavatsala Perumal Kainkaryapakas

Dasa Nambi Veera Raghavan performed Kainkaryam of lighting lamps and carrying Theevatti for over six decades till well into his 80s
Madapalli Srinivasan is carrying his family's tradition of serving at the Madapalli
Octogenarian Veera Raghavan has lived all his in Thiru Ninravur with his entire life revolving around service to Bhaktavatsala Perumal and Unnai Petra Thayar. In the 1960s, life for Kainkaryapakas turned for the worse in temples across TN.  Most original inhabitants began leaving their home town in search of a job in the corporate world. This was the case in Thiru Ninravur too. By the early 1980s, historical theppotsavam came to a halt. Hereditary priests gave up their service at the temple and moved away from this Divya Desam praised by Thiru Mangai Azhvaar.

Six+ Decades carrying the Theevatti
Veera Raghavan joined the temple in the late 1950s when there was still vibrancy in the agraharam. His monthly salary in the first decade was Rs. 3/50.  He has seen three Samprokshanams during his time at the temple, the earliest being in 1962. Now aged 84, he stepped aside last year following the Pandemic but continues to visit the temple every day for he has known nothing else in life other than service to the Lord. He looks back at his first decade at the temple “All the four Mada Streets were full of original inhabitants. All the Utsavams were celebrated in a grand way. There was a certain positive vibrancy when one entered the temple.”

As seen earlier in this section in many other Divya Desams in TN, there was a drastic reversal in fortunes starting the late 1960s arising out of the new political climate. He looks back with sadness the fate of this Divya Desam in the 1970s and 80s “Most of the iyengars in this Divya Desam left seeking greener pastures and the streets wore a deserted look. There was no income at the temple till the 1990s. Temple used to close by 7.30pm. The streets were dark and one feared walking around after 7pm. Devotees were very few in numbers and we were always looking for the next set but most times it proved elusive.”
It was a financially challenging life for Veera Raghavan but his devotion to Perumal and Thayar led him to light the lamp in every sannidhi every day over the last 65 years without a break. He also carried the Theevatti during every procession at the temple during these six decades even though his salary did not increase meaningfully even after several decades of service. He recounts the torrid decades of the 70s and 80s “We ate only minimal food through those decades. There was no income and we did not have enough to even buy rice.”

Theppotsavam has come to a halt in the early 1980s and he is saddened that this historical float fest has not taken place for four decades now with the tank turning dilapidated and contaminated water entering the tank.

Despite all the financial challenges, Veera Raghavan feels totally blessed at having had the opportunity to serve Bhaktsavatsala Perumal for over six decades. When he bid adieu last year, his salary after 65 years had increased to Rs.2000!!!!

Continuing Madapalli Service
35 year old P Srinivasan joined the Madapalli at this Divya Desam a dozen years ago to continue the service that his grandfather Krishnamachari had performed for several decades. As with Dasa Nambi Veera Raghavan, Krishnamachari too was unmindful of the low salary (Rs. 60) and performed this as a service to Bhaktavatsala Perumal. After he passed away in the late 1990s, his son Parthasarathy took over at a salary of Rs. 600.
Srinivasan had worked in a private firm for a few years but his mind was with Bhaktavatsala Perumal for he had grown up in this temple having studied in the Government school in Thiru Ninravur. And soon he quit the corporate job and joined the Madapalli in 2010. He is proud to continue in the traditional way of cooking “We still use firewood here and well water for cooking and am happy that I am able to continue the traditional service that my father and grandfather had performed here. We adhere to the six kaala service at the Madapalli.”

The Brahmotsavam attracts huge number of devotees especially for Garuda Sevai and the Chariot day. He says that the ten days of the festival is the period when he is at his busiest "I make 100 dosais and 50 Vadais each day in addition to Pongal for Thirumanjanam Sevai and Sundal.”

On the Garuda Sevai morning (March 12 this year), he is at the temple at 3am to prepare kesari, sundal, dosai and vadai.

He says that being at the madapalli and preparing the sacred food for Perumal and Thayar gives him a blessed feeling. “My parents were keen for to continue the madapalli service at this Divya Desam. I have found great peace in the time I have been here and it has been a devotionally enjoyable experience. My wife too has been encouraging of me to carry out this service.”

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar's Praise
When Thiru Mangai Azhvaar chose to give Thiru Ninravur a miss, Ennai Petra Thayar requested Bhaktavatsavala Perumal to get the Azhvaar to sing praise of this place.  Perumal finally located Thiru Mangai Azhvaar at Thiru Kadal Mallai and got him to refer to his visit to Thiru Ninravur:

“நீண்ட வாத கருமுகிலை எம்மான் தன்னை 
நின்றவூர் நித்திலத்தொதார் சோலை 
காண்டவத்தை கனலேறிவாய் பேய்வித்தானை 
கண்டது நான் கடல் மலை தலசயனத்தே ”
When Perumal came back to Thirunanravur with just a single paasuram, Thayar wanted him to get more. And he went back again to track Thiru Mangai Azhvaar. At Thiru Kanna Mangai, Thiru Mangai Azhvaar welcomed him thus:

“ஏற்றினை மைதுலேம் மீசனை 
இமையை மறுமைக்கு மருந்தினை...... 
நின்றவூர் நின்ற நித்திலத்தொத்தினை 
காற்றினை புனலை சென்று 
நாடி கண்ணமங்கையுள் கண்டு கொண்டேன்”

Bhattars - From Hereditary Service to Salaried Appointment 
While Dasa Nambi carried out Theevatti service for over six decades and the madapalli family have been here for three generations, the hereditary bhattars let go their service at the turn of the century for the low salary had taken a toll on them. Initially, the hereditary bhattars gave up their hereditary rights and took a monthly salary. When an overseas opportunity came his way, the then existing bhattar let go his appointment at this Divya Desam. And thus, a completely new set of Bhattars came into this Divya Desam this century

Exclusive Perumal Sannidhi Bhattar
Therazhundur’s Manivannan Bhattar had been working in a construction firm in Nanganallur. His forefathers had been the hereditary priests at the Pallikonda Perumal temple in Therazhundur but given the challenging financial conditions, like so many others in remote temple towns, he chose to move to Chennai and into the corporate world. For the last two decades, he has been the chief priest at the Bhaktavatsala Perumal Sannidhi with a salary that interestingly is multiple times higher than those in remote Divya Desams.

With his experience in construction, he wanted his son too to continue in the real estate space and hence led him into BE-Civil. However, his son has shown interest in the temple space and is inclined to perform service at this temple.

A new Exclusive Bhattar for Thayar Sannidhi
43 year old Balaji Bhattar hailed from Raja Mannargudi. While his grandfather Kannan Dikshithar had performed service at the Rajagopalaswamy temple, his appa moved into corporate life given the same financial challenges that most priests experienced in the second half of the previous century. Balaji Bhattar too began on the corporate path in Madras and did design work at a printing press for a few years but he did not quite enjoy the corporate work and his mind was inclined towards temple service. When Tirumala Periya Jeer who administers the temple (along with HR & CE!!!) offered him a posting at the Thayar Sannidhi, he grabbed it with both hands and moved full time to Thiru Ninravur a dozen years ago.  Now, he is keen for his 17 year old son to join a Patshala so he can continue the temple service.

Renovation after two Decades
It has been a couple of decades since the previous consecration. The Raja Gopuram wears a faded look. Plans are afoot to start a renovation exercise later this year. The exercise is also expected to include refurbishing the temple tank. It is hoped that following the consecration, the Theppotsavam will be revived after a break of four decades.  

The temple is open from 730am-12noon and 430pm-830pm. Contact: Manivanna Bhattar @ 93805 16055 / Balaji Bhattar @ 72000 13191