Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Pinna Vaasal Sowri Rajan Bhattar

Father and Son have performed archaka service at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Ayyur for six decades at a salary that has not topped Rs. 100
The temple has been in a dilapidated state with Thiru Kottaram and Madapalli almost unrecognisable with fallen roofs and walls - Will the HR &CE restore the temple to its ancient glory and revive the once grand Brahmotsavam and Garuda Sevai on Vaikunta Ekadasi 
I want to see the Restored Temple Samprokshanam before I attain Moksham - 86 year old Rajagopalan Bhattar, who performed service for over four decades
                         Sowri Rajan Bhattar 

For over four decades, D Rajagopalan Iyengar of Pinna Vasal, a location 10kms South of Tiruvarur, cycled 7kms one way twice a day to the centuries old Varadaraja Perumal temple in Ayyur to perform archaka service. He was paid Rs. 30 a month and 6Kalam of Paddy for this service. Till the middle of the previous century, Brahmotsavam was an integral part of this temple. Garuda Sevai on the Vaikunta Ekadasi day was a procession that the devotees eagerly looked forward to every year.There was a 5 veli land belonging to the temple and the temple was managed out of the income accruing from the temple land. Hereditary Trustee Pankaja Ammal took care of the temple management and the utsavams. Sokka Paanai on Karthigai was another event that devotees were part of. In Margazhi, Thirupalli Yezhuchi was a daily event in the morning with devotees gathering early for darshan and presentation of the sacred verses.

After finishing pooja at Ayyur (7kms South of Pinnai Vaasal), Rajagopalan Iyengar came back to Pinnai Vaasal and then  walked or cycled 3kms North East to the Ramaswamy Temple in Vayalur off Maavur. This was his routine each day of the year. He was paid Rs. 100 per month and about 2Kalam paddy every month for his service at the Ramaswamy temple. 
He is 86 now and short on eyesight but the glory days of the service at Ayyur and Vayalur is still fresh in his memory “Utsavams were celebrated in a grand way, devotees came in from the agraharam for darshan and processions of Varadaraja Perumal around the four streets were well supported by the devotees. The hereditary trustee ran the temple well.”

He lived a contented life in the agraharam at Pinna Vaasal, where he continues to reside. However, as decades passed by, the finances were not enough to sustain the family. Rajagopalan Iyengar’s son Sowri Rajan went to school in Mayiladuthurai and later took up a job at SPIC in Madras. At the start of this decade, when Rajagopalan Iyengar’s health began to fail, Sowri Rajan quit his job and returned to Pinna Vaasal to take up the archaka service at these two temples. For close to two decades, he has been performing daily service at Ayyur and Vayalur and four other temples!!!

Following the takeover by the HR&CE of the Varadaraja Perumal temple in Ayyur, things went worse. The temple is almost unrecognizable now with a dilapidated Raja Gopuram. Once upon a time in the not too distant past there was a big sized Kottaram where Paddy was stored and measured. There was also a fully functional Madapalli to the South of the Raja Gopuram. Service Personnel including paricharakars were active at this temple. 
In the recent past, Thiru Kottaram has collapsed as has the Madapalli. There was a huge Nandavanam in the outer prakara but it now resembles a mini forest. The most scary of them all is the entrance into the Varadaraja Perumal Sannidhi. Every morning, as Sowri Rajan Bhattar enters the Sanctum, he invokes the blessings of the Lord to take him back safe to Pinna Vaasal that day for it resembles how Erettai Tirupathi (https://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2017/02/erettai-tirupathi-transformation.html) was in the 1980s. Big stones, that have fallen by the wayside from the roof, lay on either side of the path leading to the Sanctum. Thick bushes have grown leading to the possibility of presence of dangerous reptiles inside the Sannidhi. There are cracks on the walls. There is no lighting inside the temple. 

Unmindful of its present state, Sowri Rajan Bhattar is at the temple every morning to light the lamp in the Sannidhi and to perform the Thiru Aradhanam. He also brings the Thaligai from home and presents it Varadaraja Perumal. For over a decade he too cycled his way to both the Ayyur Temple as well as the Vayalur temple. With him now taking care of Thiru Aradhanam at 6 temples around Pinna Vaasal, he travels by a motor cycle and finishes the morning pooja in these temples between 7am and noon every day. 
For his daily aradhanam at the Varadaraja Perumal temple, he is to be paid a monthly salary of Rs. 100 and 5 kalam Paddy. But this has been pending for the last four years and he has not received anything in cash or kind (paddy) in this period. Photos of the dilapidated state of the Ayyur temple have been sent to the HR & CE but so far no action has been taken to restore the temple. 

In addition to the temples in Ayyur and Vayalur, Sowri Raja Bhattar, now past 50, also performs Aradhanam at Palayur, Paangal, Velathur and Kothangudi. He lights the lamp and presents Thaligai from devotee contributions but in periods when there is no support from the devotees, he funds these from the income received from these other temples. 
Maha Mandapam - Roof has fallen off

While the larger temples in the state including the Divya Desams are reasonably taken care of well by the devotees, temples such as these dating back centuries have been in neglected state. The HR & CE has not been interested in these temples as the Hundi income is minimal / nil and it is not financially worth their time and effort to take care of these temples. The EO of the Varadaraja Perumal temple in Ayyur is stationed in Nagapattinam but he rarely visits. Sowri Rajan Bhattar continues to carry the aradhanam service that had been performed by his father for four decades but one has to wonder as to how long one can continue a service at an ‘unpaid’ salary of Rs. 100. 
Sowri Rajan Bhattar at the Sannidhi - Pathway to the Sanctum

It is hoped that the HR & CE will take efforts to restore this temple and revive the utsavams including the Brahmotsavam and the Garuda Sevai at Ayyur.  Consecration has not taken place in over a century. 86 year old Rajagopalan Bhattar, whose eyesight has deteriorated in recent years, has as his one last wish the opportunity to have darshan of the Restored Temple Samprokshanam before he attains Moksham. He has the fullest faith that Varadaraja Perumal will fulfil this wish of his.

How to reach:

Pinna Vaasal Agraharam is 10kms South of Tiruvarur on the Thiruthuraipoondi highway after Mavur. Ayyur is 7kms South East of Pinna Vaasal and 3kms South East of Katchanam off the Thiruvarur- Thithuraipoondi Highway. First Town bus from Thiruvarur to Pinna Vaasal at 4.30am. Regular buses ply every half hour between Thiruvarur and Thiruthuraipoondi.

Broad Gauge rail services too has resumed between Thiruvarur and Thiruthuraipoondi with Stations at Mavur and Thiru Nellikaval.

51 comments:

Seshadri said...

Hope you might have brought this to the Tamil Nadu HR&CE dept., in particular that department Minister Mr.SekarBabu. If so we may expect some action I hope

Anonymous said...

Very sad. When lord Varadarajar cannot help his sincere archakas who devoted their life for him where will other public devotees be.

Unknown said...

Yes, I also heard that the temple is in worst condition and any big wind or cyclone would definitely demolish the structure of this temple. In spite of several past cyclones / natural calamities, it is still surviving. Shri Sowrirajan bhattar is doing his best to perform the daily Pooja though he is having some financial difficulty. The HR&CE department should definitely look into these kind of unknown temples, which are centuries old in villages, and do the needful to renovate and maintain its hereditary.

Unknown said...

let us salute the service .God will never let down .don't equate money for teligiob. Thapdhanam is the greatest dhanam says Bhagavatham

SANTHANAM said...

Sowrirajan resembles his mother. Rajagopalan looks exactly like his elder brother rangachari ar, my athimber. I have been to Sri.rajagopalan's house before sowrirajan was born.
I am at a loss to know any means to set right this situation.

manayya said...

Contributions can be made into the temple account or the Archaka's account for the upkeep of the temple and to carry out the minimum rituals on a daily basis. Mean while , the HR & CE has to be pressurized for restoration of the temple with basic infrastructure and maintenance. Otherwise, the temple will be erased from our Temple heritage.

Narasimha said...

Is there anyway we can help? Please inform

Wanderer said...

Can someone please post the account details of the temple or archakar for sending contributions...

Anonymous said...

need of the hour

PRabhu S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Unless and until we are united in supporting whose who would help us thru elected rep, we can't expect any form both kalagams...vv sad...BE STRONG AND FACE THE ODD BY UNITY

Shailaja Khanna said...

How are you involved?

PRabhu S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PRabhu S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rekha bajpe aggarwal said...

Thank u for your hard work and dedication. Highly appreciated Sir! 🙏🏼🙌🏻

Unknown said...

We can all join hands together and do something for this.

SHIVA'S SPACE said...

அவரவருக்கு முடிந்த உதவியை கட்டாயம் செய்யணும்

Shambu Shan and Six faces said...

Lol..It's there plan to not do anything..If we all get together we can renovatethe temple and get it out of the hr&ce cluthches

Unknown said...

Ahobila mutt approach is the only solution..dmk is busy with god jewels looting

Unknown said...

How can we personally contribute for the revival of this temple

K Krishna Kumar said...

If there is a way to contribute to the Archakas, happy to be of some help. I guess that is a first. Slowly basic improvements can be made towards restoration of the temple.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Prabhu,
Shri. S.V. Badri (@svbadri on Twitter) has been trying to contact you to help the Bhattars.

Request you to check your mobile and call back.

Chittoor Sreenivas said...

Yes, All have to come forward

Anonymous said...

Makes for sad reading. Unfortunately, too many such cases of neglect …

Venkatesh Babu said...

Humble suggestion to everyone is to make a trip to this divine place and meet Shri. Sowrirajan bhattar and Shri. Rajagopalan Bhattar to express our solidarity that we are with them and offer our hands of support in kaingerium to emperumaan!
By forming a group within like minded people, we can plan routine trips to do kaingerium.
Please count me for any support that is required. Om Namo Narayana.
Venkatesh

Venkatesh Babu said...

Humble suggestion to everyone is to make a trip to this divine place and meet Shri. Sowrirajan bhattar and Shri. Rajagopalan Bhattar to express our solidarity that we are with them and offer our hands of support in kaingerium to emperumaan!
By forming a group within like minded people, we can plan routine trips to do kaingerium.
Please count me for any support that is required. Om Namo Narayana.
Venkatesh

PRabhu S said...

Very nice thought. That's the way to be.
Prabhu

Unknown said...

Wish to contribute to the noble cause. Please provide account details.

PRabhu S said...

Request you to call 94440 40748

Unknown said...

Happy to contribute for this temple. Pl provide bank account details. Srimathi.

PRabhu S said...

Request you to call the above number

PRabhu S said...

Those posting comments reg bhattar's number-request you to read above.

Thank you
Prabhu

Giridhar said...

Very sad to see a temple in such a dilapidated condition. Is there anyway to restore the temple to its glory through public contribution.

santhanam said...

Why the HR&CE board as not at all taken any action to renovate the temple. Reasonable salary to be given to the priest.

Unknown said...

Pity, today DMK is in power. And the way we are hearing temples may not get much support from that government. The Architecture of these temples seems nicely done by may be some donors or kings ruled. Today present it requires huge money to renovate or replace the construction to its original condition. If any trust is their they must appeal to concerned department or appeal to central government. But state government must help to renovate the temple to its original condition and also give nominal honorary pay to Archaka for their life . There must be some permanent solution.
My father was a archak .he never get any proper support from state. He decided to renovate the temple and begged lot in and around villages. The temple came to life with fine compound. Temple renovated. It was years struggle people supported temple. But as archak he took nothing neither any salary or any grants. He was teaching music and earned some support. Most temples serviced in india by Archak leading and creating support from people of that area. In Karnataka temples are getting support from government and also from Dharmstala .why Tamilnadu known for temples failing telke ruled government

Vishnu Dev said...

Sir, you are doing a commendable job by bringing to notice about these temples. Please also provide Google map links to them.

Periya karuppan said...

sir, please share some restoration plan.by hearing this news, i am restless...but we are far away from this location. only we can able to offer our own money.

PRabhu S said...

Thank you for this.
Will definitely update you.
Prabhu

krishna790245 said...

Please share my the contact details. We are willing to do something. Sincere applauds for your dedication

PRabhu S said...

Sir,

Thank you. As mentioned above, I request you to call the above number.
Prabhu

Unknown said...

So sad to know the condition of the temple and archagas. Ahobila mutt should come forward to revive the sanctity of the temple.

Sampath said...

May be the people belonging to this village who have migrated elsewhere should initiate
Second, suggest that our Acharyas request their shisyas to contribute. Their magazines can give space for a free publication about this temple and similar temples.
We should reduce our dependence on HR& CE but for retrieving properties belonging to this temples
Whoever had seen the message about the temple, make a visit and extend support to Archagar monetarily
Persons belonging to that village to start with a trust; plan for renovation and Samprokshanam ; collect money
Create a sizeable corpus funds to take care archagar permanently
Dadan
Arasanipalai S Narasimhan

Unknown said...

Very sad to hear the poor condition of the ancient temple in tiruvarurtaluk I pray to lordvaradharajar to take speedy action to renovate the temple and archaka salary and temple nithyapadi at the earliest I am ready to do my support regards krishnan mylapore 9840224752

Gopalan Ramachandran said...

Glad to contribute to my mite. Please share the account or Google pay mob. details

Unknown said...

Is there a way we can contact the archakar at the temple? We're planning to visit since we'll be going through that way.

If there is an account number also, we're happy to donate.

PRabhu S said...

Request you to call the above number.

Prabhu

PRabhu S said...

Bhattar has requested not to transfer any money now. If there's a requirement will update.

Thank You
Prabhu

PRabhu S said...

No money transfer required now - a request from the bhattar.

Prabhu

Anonymous said...

Please don't send money to Temple account. That will be swindled by HR&C to divert to Mosques.

N R Lakshminarasimhan said...

Pl let me know how to contact the archagar of this sri varadharaja perumal temple at aiyoor at thiruvaroor

PRabhu S said...

Request you to call the above number
Prabhu