Thursday, March 26, 2015

Theperuma Nallur Viswanatha Swamy Temple

A temple for liberation from Sani Dosham and financial crisis
Lord Shiva is seen with a Rudraksha Malai – Rudraksha Archanai performed here

Located 1km North of Thiru Nageswaram is the Raja Raja Chozhan period Viswanatha Swamy temple in Theperuma Nallur.

Sage Agastya was to come here and undertake penance. Since Agastya was destined to have re-births, Shiva directed Makarantha Rishi to prevent Agastya Rishi from undertaking penance as those who visit him here will be relieved the cycle of re-births. Makarantha Rishi feared acting against Agastya rishi but convinced of protection from Lord Shiva, he took the form of Makarantha flower that bloomed only once in 48years and one that was equivalent to providing Kailasa darshan.  The entire place was filled with Makarantha flowers much to the surprise of Agastya Rishi who then politely requested the flowers to move away as he would not stamp the flower on his way to having darshan of Lord Shiva. When the flower refused, Agastya Rishi realised the true story and cursed Makarantha Rishi to turn to a Lion faced form.

For 44years, Makarantha Rishi undertook penance here with one new flower every day. Finally, one day when he went around Lord Shiva, his leg slipped and the Rudraksham fell on Shiva’s body that then shone instantly as 12 Lingams. The rishi who performed Rudraksha Archanai was liberated from his curse and merged with the Lord.

Raja Raja Chozhan builds the temple
On hearing the legend relating to this Lord, Raja Raja Chozhan expressed interest to have darshan at this place but was prevented by his ministers as it was not possible for all to have darshan of the Lord here and that it was not advisable for him to go there at this point of time.

Disregarding the advice, Raja Raja Chozhan came here on his horse. Since the king’s feet was not to touch the ground here, the intelligent horse is believed to have taken his King on his back around the Lord 12times that led Lord Shiva to exclaim that in this great Chozha kingdom even the horse is intelligent. It is believed that the Lingam changed to 12different forms during this time. At the end of this process, the dutiful horse is believed to have presented himself to the Lord at this same place as a sacrifice for the well being of the king and his vast kingdom.

A pleased Raja Raja Chozhan is said to have built this temple with a unique mix of Honey and Slaked Lime in a way that the rays of the sun falls on all the days of the year except one.

Lord provides an ‘Ananda Swaroopa’ Darshan here at this temple and only those who are blessed will be able to visit this temple.

Serpent King’s Penance
For 12years the Serpent King undertook severe penance invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva. On the ‘Eclipse’ day, the Snake attained Moksham. On this day, seen in its full form, the Serpant King prevented the sun’s rays from reaching the Lord.

While Shiva was leaving to provide Vishwarapooram darshan at Kumbeswarar temple in Thiru Kudanthai, Lord Sani was to stop him for 7 1/2 Naazhigai as per the direction of Narada. At first reluctant as he was likely to incur the wrath of Shiva, Sani agreed to undertake this as Narada suggested that he would be failing in his duty if he did not do so.

Shiva had to make it to Thiru Kudanthai that morning and hid himself inside a pit in the Peepal tree and asked his consort Parvathi to chant the Vedas and to send off Sani from this place. However, Sani refused to leave and continued to sit here waiting for Shiva.

Finally, when the already late Shiva came out, Sani in his arrogance indicated that Shiva had not escaped from his clutches and that his hiding in the pit meant that he had succumbed to Sani and that in itself meant that he had been held back by Sani as was required of that morning.

Lord Shiva became furious on hearing this and took the Mantra Bairava Avatara and tore apart Sani into two pieces.

Sani’s powers will not work here
Viswanathan Swamy and Visalakshmi reached here to liberate Sani and bring him back to his original form for he was required for the creation and survival of the world. Hence, Sani is seen here at this temple in a ‘Garva Kolam’ (arrogant posture). As he was defeated by Shiva here, Sani’s negative powers are believed to not work here in this place. Hence those who come here and offer their sincere prayers will be relieved from Sani Dosham and financial problems.

Ambal’s Posture and Name
Ambal is seen in a unique posture with her right leg slightly ahead of the left. As she is seen chanting the Vedas, she is referred to here as Vedanta Nayaki.

Special Features
The sanctum is seen as being pulled by a chariot with wheels
One of the Nandis at this temple has only one ear
Only temple where Lord Shiva is seen with Rudraksha Malai
Saneeswarar seen in an ‘arrogant’ posture

On Pradosham days, Ambal's dance steps can be heard at this temple to those devotees who offer
their sincere prayers.

Angry at Sani for his disruptive act, Lord Shiva directed all the planets to inter change their positions and face Surya.
In centuries gone by, Four Lords from in and around Kumbakonam used to congregate here for Theerthavari Utsavam during Maasi Magam. During this festival, it is believed that Rahu took bath in the sacred tank and got Moksham.

Quick Facts
Moolavar : Viswanathan Swamy (Rudraksham Swamy)
Ambal     : Vedanta Nayaki
Time       : 7am-12noon and 5pm-9pm
Contact   : Prakash Gurukal@ 97908 94408 

/ Swaminathan Gurukal@ 94435 27247

How to reach
The temple is 1km North of Thiru Nageswaram and 100yards south of Thiru Nageswaram Railway station.

Auto from Naganatha Swamy temple will cost Rs. 30. Contact: Auto Senthil@ 94432 75004

When here, also visit Thiru Nageswaram Naganathaswamy templ

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ramanathan Krishnan

The Gentleman Tennis Legend from Tenkasi
Refused a Large Professional Contract at the peak of his career so he could continue to play at Wimbledon as well as in the Davis Cup
Vijay Amritraj was truly inspired by the pronouncement made by his coach TA Rama Rao in the context of making a career choice - ‘There are many doctors, engineers and lawyers in India but (there is) only one Krishnan.’  This prompted the 9year old Don Bosco School boy to bunk class (he was severely punished the next day at school) and walk to the Egmore Stadium to watch Krishnan play in the Davis Cup match against Mexico in the first week of December 1962. It was the first time he had watched Krishnan play.

Tennis was a very expensive sport and Vijay’s parents did not have much money. However, this statement from Vijay’s coach was enough for his mother to get Vijay (a sickly child) to pursue tennis seriously. From that time, Vijay was always inspired to be out of the ordinary and to achieve something special in life.

That is the legendary Ramanathan Krishnan for you – an iconic personality, a true gentleman, both on and off the court and an inspiration for an entire generation of aspiring tennis players in India. He was India No. 1 for almost two decades, Asian Champion for five years and a National Champion 8years in a row. He still remains the only Indian to have reached the Semi Finals at Wimbledon twice.  During the late 50s and early 60s, he beat most of the greats of world tennis including Rod Laver, Andres Gimeno, Neale Fraser, Chuck Mckinley, Sven Davison and Barry Mackay, all the time being a great ambassador of our country.

Early Tennis days in Tenkasi
It was rather a strenuous beginning for Krishnan at his home town in Tenkasi. The boy was all of eleven years and he had just come back after spending a few years in Delhi. There was no electricity in the town. Nor was there drinking water available at home. In 1948, there were only bullock carts and a few buses in Tenkasi, with just a couple of cars. He would ride 6kms every morning to the Courtallam Falls to bring water home and then leave for the District Board High School.  This became almost a daily routine for the youngster.

Born in Bhoothapandy (his mother’s home town) near Nagercoil, Krishnan spent his first three years at Tenkasi before shifting base to Delhi on his father TK Ramanathan’s Govt posting there. Watching his father (Ramanathan was Delhi No. 1 and National No. 3) play led Krishnan to taking to Tennis very early on in his life while schooling at Madrasi High School in Delhi. As a young boy, Krishnan would play regularly at the Talkatora Club along with his father who also doubled up as his coach.

Back in Tenkasi after completing his stint in Delhi, Ramanathan took over and maintained the only tennis court in the district, at the Taluk Office, where the young Krishnan would practice hard every day. Krishnan’s father was a great coach and a hard task master, and believed in speed of improvement.

By the time he was 12, Krishnan had played tournaments at the Kovilpatti Union Club, the Gymkhana Club in Tuticorin and also in Virudhunagar. This was particularly noteworthy because in those days tennis was not meant for school boys. Krishnan was probably the first school boy in India to play in leading open tournaments.

School boy in a College Tourney!!!
In May 1950, two reasons led to Ramanathan moving to Madras. His daughter had completed her schooling and there was no college in Tenkasi. He saw some early signs of tennis talent in his son Krishnan and felt that Madras would help him develop his skills better given the increased number of opportunities available in the city.

(After many decades, Krishnan recently made a nostalgic trip to Tenkasi taking along with him his grand children to whom he relived his childhood days of playing under the Courtallam waterfalls)

September that year was time for the Stanley Cup Tennis Tourney at Loyola College. It was a tournament meant for College students. It was only a few months since Krishnan had shifted base to Madras. And this young 13year old boy was almost completely unknown to anyone in the city.

Ramanathan persisted relentlessly with the physical director and the principal of the college to give this young kid an entry. It did not seem to make sense to allow an unknown school boy from RKM (Main) into a tournament that was conducted exclusively for college students. But finally Ramanathan’s persistence prevailed and Krishnan was allowed an entry. It was expected that the young boy would be soundly beaten and that it would be ‘practice time’ for the seniors playing against this school kid.

To their shock and to the delight of the huge crowd, Krishnan beat them one after another including Seshadri and C Ramakrishnan of the Law College and won the tournament. Tennis fans in Madras welcomed new comers. And Krishnan became an instant hit and gained their immense support, one that stayed on throughout his 20year tennis career.

First Singles and Doubles Victory at the Mylapore Club
In the Prestigious Mylapore Club tournament, he won the Singles on the Eastern Court and then combined with his father to bag the doubles crown as well. As he now goes around the Mylapore Club, he is saddened to find that this favourite Eastern court where he first won the singles and doubles titles is no more part of the Club.

It was also at the Mylapore Club that Krishnan first met with TV Balagopal, a renowned tennis player of that generation. Watching Balagopal play inspired Krishnan and spurred him on to perform better.

He made his first overseas trip in 1952 when he made it to the Wimbledon Juniors. Two years later, he became the Junior Champion at Wimbledon beating Ashley Cooper in the final (the first Asian to do so) and also became the No.1 Junior player in the World.

By then, he had won the Men’s Nationals and had become the No.1 player in the country. He had had a rapid and an unprecedented jump to the senior grade. He had also represented India in the Davis Cup as a 16year old.

Davis Cup SF wins – Father and Son
The joke in the 60s was that Ramesh went from Cradle to the Tennis court. Grandpa Ramanathan coached Ramesh from the time he was just 5years. In 1981, Krishnan moved over to his current residence on Oliver Road where he also set up a grass court to coach his son Ramesh. He still proudly maintains the grass court!!!

Krishnan rates winning the crucial 5th rubber against Brazil in the Davis Cup SF in Calcutta in 1966 to take Indian into the Davis Cup Final as one of his best moments in his tennis career. He was warmly supported that day by many of the Mylapore Club members who came all way to Calcutta to watch that match.

Just over two decades later, Ramesh brought back pleasant memories for Krishnan when he beat Wally Masur (once again in the deciding 5th rubber) to take India into the finals of the Davis Cup (A fortnight before the match, Ramesh made a long trip from Mylapore to Vijay Amritraj’s house in Los Angeles and the two practised hard, day in day out, to try and get India victory against the seemingly invincible Aussies and it paid rich dividends).

Krishnan’s daughter Gowri was a national champion as well (his son in law TS Tirumurthy is a High Commissioner in Malaysia).

Highest Recognition
He was awarded the Padma Shri, Arjuna Award and Padma Bhushan as early as the 1960s – all by the time he had turned 30 such was his phenomenal contribution to Tennis.

He is particularly proud to have played in every nook and corner of India unmindful of the lack of proper facilities. In the 1960s, several thousands of tennis fans thronged the court at West Boulevard Road (near Main Guard Gate) in Trichy to watch him play an exhibition match against Neale Fraser. Krishnan counts the passionate support from fans across the country as one of his most memorable experiences of his life.  

He had a Demi-God status where ever he went - be it in Madurai, Coimbatore, Cannanore or Ernakulam, the interior districts of AP or even the remote rural locations across North India. He was never fussy about ‘comforts’ even though he was a top ranked player, globally. To him, playing tennis came first. The venue or the facilities, off court, just did not matter to him.

Refused a big Professional Contract
Impressed with his top class performances through the 1950s, Jack Kramer came up to Krishnan in 1959 with a seemingly irresistible offer  - a big professional contract that would have helped Krishnan make millions of dollars in a short period of time. The contract offer was kept alive for three years but Krishnan turned it down.

Krishnan considers this as one of the greatest decisions he took in his life, that of not succumbing to the ‘dollar pressure’ and living a simple and contended life. There is lot of money and glamour in the sport now. It wasn’t so then and the prize money in even the leading tournaments would not cover even the basic expense of Krishnan. Viewed against this back drop, the decision to reject that offer says it all about Krishnan. Playing at Wimbledon and for India in the Davis Cup meant everything for him.

As I prepare to leave his house that is full of Tennis photos, he jokes, reminding me of Vijay’s statement of Krishnan being incredibly funny ‘If I had accepted that global professional contract, you may not have been able to meet me today, for I would have been in a big bungalow in a high profile location in the US’!!!

(Since the early 1960s, Krishnan has been running the Indane Gas Agency (IOC) on ThiruvengadamStreet in Mandaveli )

Krishnan’s Best

Best Year       : 1959 - RANKED World No.3
Best Period    : 1959 – 65- RANKED in the Top 10 in the world
Best Match    : Beating Roy Emerson in Straight Sets at Wimbledon, 1961
Record          : Reaching SF at Wimbledon twice a feat unsurpassed by an Indian (Singles)

TS Santhanam’s intro at Wimbledon

Krishnan was playing at Wimbledon. He heard big and consistent cheer from the stands. At the end of the match, the man came up to the young Krishnan and introduced himself, words that Krishnan simply cannot forget almost 60years later ‘Sir, they call me TV Sundaram Iyengar’s son.  I really enjoyed your game today. Congratulations on a great win.’ Later that year, Krishnan heard the same voice shouting for him at Forest Hills (in the US).

‘At that time, TS Santhanam was already a renowned personality in the corporate sector having achieved big successes in the auto space. It was the kind of introduction that was so typical of the man’ says Krishnan. ‘He was affectionate and unassuming. For him to walk up to me to introduce (himself) in the way he did and to wish me well was a humbling experience.’

‘I was so happy when I heard that the Mylapore Club, with support from the TVS Group companies, was conducting an annual tournament in his memory. It is befitting that there is a national tournament named after him for he was such a great patron of Tennis all his life.’

TK Ramanathan spotted the spark in N Srinivasan
Ramanathan started the first tennis coaching camp in Madras (in RA Puram) in the 1950s. N Srinivasan was part of that camp. He was a very young boy but Ramanathan immediately spotted the spark in him. He was giving it a good fight against boys much senior to him. NS was one of Ramanathan’s favourite boys. Well over 5decades later, Krishnan remembers those words of his father made at the tennis court then ‘Whatever this boy does in his life, he will not give up easily.  Even when he is back to the wall, it is likely he will fight till the end.’ Krishnan can see that spark in NS even today as he fights off so many challenges in his career, both in the company that he runs as well as in cricket administration.

Krishnan’s Story Telling was ‘Incredibly Funny’ and ‘Extremely Clean’ - Vijay Amritraj
‘When we were growing up, we always felt that when Krishnan played in India, he could not lose. I was born in the year that Krishnan won his first nationals. Interestingly, 18years later, I beat him to bag the National Championship’

Vijay played under Krishnan’s captaincy for several years and then took over the captaincy of the Indian team from him and held the Chair till the end of his career. Ramesh played under Vijay’s Captaincy and Vijay’s son Prakash under Ramesh’s. ‘The two families remained ‘professionally’ connected for several decades and I was fortunate to have played with both – the father and the son.’

Vijay credits Krishnan for inspiring him in his long and fascinating tennis journey that gave him everything in life ‘When Krishnan was in the captain’s Chair, it gave me immense confidence. In between points, I would just glance at him and that was enough for me to be guided into what I should be doing next. Such a confidence is tough to instil but Krishnan was able to do that. Having spent all those years with Krishnan, I think I was able to instil the same confidence in Ramesh when I took over in the Captain’s chair.’

Incredibly Funny
‘It is difficult to believe that Krishnan, who was a man of few words in public, was an absolutely different personality when he was 1-1 with us. His anecdotal way of explaining complex things and his storytelling ability was ‘incredibly funny’ and ‘extremely clean’, a unique combination which is very hard to do, really.’

‘In the early days, I enjoyed playing the Davis Cup because of his presence at the Chair. Both on and off the court, he brought out the true spirit of what India, and more particularly what Madras, stood for. He was a true ambassador for both the sport and the country, and a role model for every aspiring tennis player of my generation.’                            

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Peri Azhvaar Protection from impure thoughts

We have impure thoughts and utter harsh words every day and hence have no right to go back to God

Yet, we have no choice but to sing praise of him and seek redemption!!

Peri Azhvaar follows up his advance prayer for help in time of need (
by now pleading helplessness given the impure state of our mind. .
வாக்குத்  தூய்மைஇலாமையினாலே மாதவா உன்னை
வாய்கொள்ள மாட்டேன்

நாக்கு நின்னை அல்லால் அறியாது
நான் அது அஞ்சுவன் என்வசம் அன்று

He says that we are impure in our thoughts and words and that it is pointless to  go in front of God and sing his praise after having uttered those harsh words and having had not so good thoughts through the day.

But  at the same time, he asks what else do we know and what choice do we have at the end of the day other than thinking of God and seeking his protection by singing his praise.

It is likely that God will be angry at this lack of purity in our thoughts as well as our mindless choice of words.

Despite this, we have no choice but to go and redeem ourselves by singing his praise and to hope that he will forgive us.

மூர்குப்  பேசுகின்றான் இவன் என்று
முநிவாயேலும் என் நாவினுக்கு ஆற்றேன்

காக்கை வாயிலும் கட்டுரை கொல்வர்
காரணா கருளக்  கொடியானே

There is no doubt we are foolish for we go to him after having committed the mistakes.
But we cannot just shut our mouth with the the guilt of having uttered these wrong words and stay away from him.

Peri Azhvaar justifies this and provides us an opportunity to redeem ourselves by saying that even a crow's words are seen as an omen.

Given this, we too have to seek his blessings to help us have pure thoughts and utter the right words in our everyday lives...

- Peri Azhvaar Thirumozhi 5-1-1

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kurayur Venugopalaswamy Temple

Venugopalaswamy seen playing the flute at this Pandya Period Temple
Located 6kms East of Kallikudi off the Madurai-Tirunelveli NH is the Pandya period Venugopalaswamy temple in Kurayur, where the handsome Lord Venugopalan flanked by Rukmini and Satyabhama is seen in a standing posture playing the flute.  This is the Kula Deivam deity for many people including those from Srirangam.

Belief is also that this is a Guru Dosham liberation temple.

Old Inscription
There is an ancient inscription found inside the temple dating back a few centuries.

King Musukontha rested here at this place as he was down with an upset stomach. He was relieved from the stomach ailment immediately after he invoked the blessings of the Lord. As a thanks giving gesture, he installed the idol and built the temple at this place.

The Sthala Vriksham is Uranga Puli similar to the one at Azhvaar Tirunagari Divya Desam.


In centuries gone by, Horse Vahana Procession on last Saturday of Puratasi and Garuda Seva on Sri Jayanthi were celebrated in a grand manner. A few decades ago, the Utsava Idol was stolen from the temple. 10years later the thieves confessed to having stolen and buried the idol in a nearby place. The idol was located and is now kept in safe custody at the Siva Temple in Thirumangalam.

Once the idol is returned back to the temple, it is hoped that the Vahana processions will restart once again, though the Vahanas are currently in a dilapidated state. 

Thirumanjanam on Rohini every month

The temple is open between 7am and 930 am in the morning and between 5pm and 7pm in the evening. Contact : Balaji Bhattar @ 90251 77691 / 0452 2342782

How to reach
The temple is about 15kms North of Virudhunagar (Bus No. 13C) and around 20kms from Thirumangalam (Bus Nos. 1, 1A, 48). Direct buses ply every hour from both places to the temple.

Share van @ Rs.10 from Kallikudi bus stand (on the Madurai-Virudhunagar Highway)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dinesh Karthik Tamil Nadu Cricket

Dinesh Karthik one of the most expensive cricketers in the IPL does not think much of the prestigious and the highly rated first division league in Madras or at least his actions indicate that. 

A few years ago, at the Vivekananda College ground that India Cements maintained at that time, his India Cements first division team had finished their batting innings and the entire team was ready to go out to field.

And to everyone’s surprise, DK had changed into a coloured T Shirt and Shorts. With a music system wired on to his ears he ordered the ground marker to bring him another chair which he then used to stretch his two legs. And for the next two hours he was in a world of his own while his team were struggling on the field to get the opponents out.

And all this happened with the then Joint Secy of the TNCA Dr. Natarajan sitting right behind him. Dr. Natarajan was furious but had no words to say for DK had become far too big for the India Cements management (or for that matter the TNCA) to be pulled up - a man as vocal as Dr. Natarajan had to bear this in silence (he had a quiet word with me about an anecdotal story relating to the player but that will be kept for another day).

Earlier this Ranji season, Dinesh Karthik decided that he would not keep wickets and specialist keeper(!!!) Sushil was roped in to do the job ( One of the selectors said this evening that DK had had an injury in his hand and hence he could not keep in the first half of the season. Another source said that TN wanted to try another keeper). TNCA nodded, Dinesh Karthik did not keep.

MSD retires, DK dons the gloves
As soon as news broke out in Australia about MSD’s sudden decision to hang his boots, DK did a U-turn in Madras and decided that he was ready to keep again. And the TNCA nodded to this as well. And poor Sushil was out of the team.

And here in the final, after TN had given away a huge lead and there was State Pride at stake to not give away an outright Victory to our fiery neighbours ( we had been beaten outright by the same team in the same opener), DK decided that he would not bat at No. 4 (even though the team lost early wickets), his position right through the season, for the Trophy had already been lost. Sources said he would have been tired after keeping for 200+ overs.

He did come into bat later (on the final morning) at No.6 and scored a brilliant century at better than run a ball and then in his typical style gave it away after tea by lofting to deep cover with the match into the final session (another hour or so of determined batting and TN could have avoided the embarrassment of an innings defeat).

Compare this with a Dravid who comes back from international duty and plays for his local league team in Bangalore and scores a century and a (Mike) Hussey who uses a day’s break from his country’s net session to go back on a Sunday to play for his local league team ( not even the state team- his club in the local division league) and then rejoin the 'country nets' on Monday morning!!!.

That explains the state of affairs of cricket in Tamil Nadu. Rank turners on home ground helped the team qualify this season for the knock out but  attitudinal change and pride of the TNCA cap is what is required if we are to keep our state flag flying. 

PS: The bowler who spun TN to victory in those league matches and aided in the progress to the knock out was not good enough to figure in the team in the knock out stages!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Abhinav Mukund a case of missed opportunities

Just over three years ago, this column wrote about the need for Abhinav Mukund to focus on his game and not be talking about his life style and his favourite cars ( It was also around that time that his confused mind was shifting from the longer version of the game to the T20s. He was keen to prove himself as a capable One day and T20 player (it may be recalled that Kohli and Abhinav went on the same flight to the Youth World Cup several years ago).

He has lost out a few years in that process of trying to ‘convert’ into the T20 mode.  The way he played the first over against Rajasthan in that huge 600 + chase in the Ranji Trophy Final at his home ground a few years ago was indicative of that (it was shocking especially given how the Rajasthan openers had applied themselves in the first half of that game).

Two years ago, he was in contention for the TN Captaincy but was hesitant to take it as he was keen to focus on his batting to try and make his way back into the Indian team (and hence Balaji continued  as the captain for a year or so longer!!!).
                                                      The Young Abhinav in his early days

Unfortunately, Abhinav had two bad years in Ranji prior to this season (except for one odd century and double century). Hence when the captaincy came his way mid season this year, with the injury to Prasanna, Abhinav accepted it albeit two years late, with the prospects of his India cap having faded.

New comer KL Rahul has grabbed his opportunities with both hands in Australia. Not just that, Rahul has come back from Australia and shown the kind of intensity in scoring runs in trying circumstances in Ranji Trophy that seems to be lacking in Abhinav – he has gone into a dead bat mode this year.

Rahul has scored almost the same number of runs as Abhinav in half the number of chances ( including batting on one leg in the final to score close to a double hundred) in the Ranji season. And many of those have been when the team has needed it most similar to Vijay’s knocks that have helped TN win a couple of crucial matches.

Captaincy dries up runs
And after taking over the captaincy, Abhinav has been in miserable form (that was one of the reasons he had hesitated to take up the captaincy a couple of years back). He scored a century in his first match as captain but since then he has struggled to get runs (his only half century was a meaningless 2nd innings knock in the Semi Final when the match had been decided). Also, it has been stressful to watch him bat – very slow and dogged, something that is definitely not inspiring for the batsmen to follow ( The message was sent across to him by the 'management' that it was time for him to get some runs).

His knock of 35 on the first day of the Ranji final this week also left a lot to be desired with absolute lack of intent to score even given the fact that TN lost early wickets.

(On the positive front, away from his batting contributions or the lack of it, he has led TN into the Ranji Finals from a stage earlier this season when they were looking like missing out on the qualification for the knock outs)

He has scored just over 800runs and if Karnataka’s innings ends sometime over the next few hours on this fourth day, Abhinav may still get some runs over the next 100overs to close in on the 1000mark for the season but those will remain for the statistically interested and will not have any impact on the Trophy.

During this period, Abhinav has also clearly gone out of favour in the T20s - his style is not suited to that format of the game (he was dropped last season both from the TN one day and T20 team) though he did make a comeback in the one dayers this season for TN.

Technical deficiencies
Sources in the team including the coaching staff have indicated that Abhinav does not listen to suggestions on taking ‘corrective’ steps to his technique (his mode of dismissals this season is another indication of how he has been getting out).

An earlier coach had indicated that he was not suited for the opening slot given his technique and style of play (though he has scored all of his first class runs as an opener - he has been an opener for the time he lifted a bat).

Earlier this season, during the summer break in Madras, he had taken special permission from the TNCA to miss a few league matches here to play in the minor county league in the UK and scored a lot of runs there. But really, despite early runs in the season, he has flattered to deceive yet again. 

Another season has passed. Irrespective of how much he scores in the 2nd innings (that will be inconsequential), he has lost out on several opportunities this season where he has played all the 11matches.

With newer players coming in at the top of the order, he could well be losing time to get back to the Indian team.

One hopes that he will work hard during the end of season break on trying to get back his favourite strokes getting away from the dogged mindset he has got into of late and become the run machine that he once was ( 

And for that, he has to show some positive intent to score and not just 'dead bat' at the start of the innings.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Azhagiya Shantha Manavalan Temple Vathirairuppu

Tenkasi Pandyas Period temple with 800year old inscriptions
Beautiful Stone Sculptures inside the temple

Located 11kms North West of Krishnan Kovil off the Madurai- Srivilliputhur highway is the Tenkasi Pandya period Azhagiya Shantha Manavala Perumal Temple in Arjuna Puram near Vathirairuppu (Watrap), where the handsome Lord Azhagiya Manavalan is seen in a standing posture flanked by Sri and Bhoo Devi.

The temple’s legend dates back to the Mahabaratha and is also closely associated with Ninra Narayana Perumal Divya Desam in Thiruthangal.

The story goes that on their way to Malai Naatu Divya Desams, the Pandavas passed through this place.  Arjuna brought relief to this drought struck village by striking his powerful arrow that pierced the earth and had water gushing out of this place. In memory of this event, this village is referred to as Arjuna Puram and the river Arjuna Poigai.

As the Dharma Putra led Pandavas stayed here, the place has come to be referred to as Dharmaranya Kshetram.

Association with Thiruthangal Divya Desam
A fight arose between the three Devis - Sri Devi, Bhoo Devi and Neela Devi- as to who was the senior most among them and also the favourite of the Lord. Sri Devi was guided by the Saptharishis here at Vathirairuppu to undertake penance at Thiru Thangal, around 30kms from here. Pleased with her prayers, Lord Narayana appeared before her and acknowledged that she was indeed his favourite. The place where she was guided and shown the place to penance is called Vyaktra Puram which in course of time became Vathirairuppu.

Tenkasi Pandyas Period Inscriptions
Inscriptions at the temple dating back to the rule of Tenkasi Pandyas indicate the temple having Artha Mandapa, Maha Mandapa and Mukha Mandapas. There is a huge ancient well north of the temple complex. A 13th Century AD inscription on a Stone near the well refers to the rule of Kulasekara Pandya and names Nakkan Sokkan Villi as the digger of the well.

During the 15th Century AD, this place was referred to as Sendaneri.  Consecration of the temple took place in the 2nd half of the 15th Century dating back to the rule of Venrumalayitta Vira Pandya Deva with a donation of 20ma of land being made towards rituals, repairs and renovation of the temple. Yet another inscription provides insights into the grant of a temple tank for pooja at noon and for daily food offering for the Lord. There are several beautiful stone sculptures in the Vasantha Mandapa and Ekadesi Mandapa.
The temple is open between 7am and 12noon and 4pm-6pm.
Contact 96774 19184 / 94431 41884 before going to the temple.

How to reach
Buses ply every half hour from Krishnan Kovil/Srivilliputhur to Watrap. From there, one can reach the temple by auto (1km).