Friday, August 21, 2015

Kailaaya Eswaram!



The Kailaaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar Temple at Kesavaram
Kesavaram is a small village in Tiruvallur District. It is here that a dam has been built across the Cooum river splitting it into two, diverting one branch into the Poondi reservoir while the other continues to flow as the Kusasthalai or Koratalaiyar river. In many ways, the dam whose sluice gates probably have never been opened have ensured no water has flown in the river beyond this. This has resulted in palm trees growing in the dry river bed and with no option of a natural flush out, the city has diverted its solid waste into the river bed, thereby converting the once holy river into a nauseous cesspool.

Kesavaram is the current twisted abbreviation of Kailaaya Eswaram. In the past, the Kesavaram village was a small island surrounded by the waters of these two rivers. Since the Koratalaiyaar flows in a South - North direction, it was believed to aid Mokshaa and hence was known as Moksha Nadhi. The island which was formed in between the two rivers was called Mokshadweepam or the island of Moksha. It is here that Ezhulagamudaiyaal, wife of Kulothunga I, gave grants to construct a temple for Kailaaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar.

Inscriptions at the temple
The village of Uriyur which is currently about three kilometres from Kesavaram was provided by the King Kulothunga I as tax free land in order for the regular poojas and worship at the Kailaaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar temple. An inscription at the temple talks about this temple being the Dakshina Kalahasthi, equal to Kasi and Gaya Kshetras, and anyone bathing in the Moksha Nadhi and worshipping the Koodal Sangameswarar atop the Panchatchara Giri and then Kailai Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar will be relieved from future births and attain Moksha.

Well let us look at the status of the temple today.

The status of the Kailaaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar temple at Kesavaram
The Moksha Nadhi has dried up. The Panchatchara hill does exist, but only fragmental remains of the Koodal Sangameswarar temple that once existed can be seen. The Kailaaya Eswara Mudaiya Mahadevar temple that gave the Kesavaram village its name, today lies unkempt and dilapidated.

A closer look at the crumbling structure


Greedy individuals have usurped all the lands that belonged to the temple, that one has to walk through the private agricultural lands in order to reach the temple. It was saddening to hear that the private landowners are even reluctant to provide a pathway to reach the temple from the main road.

The beautiful stone vimana at the Kesavaram temple


The beautiful stone vimana that can be seen in other Cooum sites like Sivapuram, is being held together with metal reinforcements. The front mandapa is crumbling and a beheaded Nandi which shows signs of having once being beautifully bedecked welcomes us.

The remains of a beautiful Nandi at the temple
The Goshta Devathas are all stunning. A beautiful Ganesha, a heavily damaged Dakshinamurthy with an oversized Muyalagan at his feet, and a stylish Durga hold us enthralled. The Gajaprasta vimana has Narasimha over Lingothbhavar which is a unique feature here.

Beheaded idols of a Dwara Ganapathy, and Uma Sahitha murthy lay dumped in a corner. The villagers speak about efforts made by certain miscreants to steal the statues in the goshtam, which was however thwarted by the caution of the local people and volunteers. It seems such a shame that such treasures are being allowed to rot and ruin.

The damaged Uma Sahitha Murthi at Kesavaram
After witnessing all the damage and destruction outside, if you stepped into the Artha Mandapa, all peace engulfs you. In the dim natural light, the Lord of Moksha, sits quietly, awaiting the lone devotee who might brave walking through the narrow bunds of agricultural fields just to see the Lord in all his glory.

Kailaaya Eswaramudaiya Mahadevar at Kesavaram

Goosebumps spring up in your hands in his calming presence. What can you do but to pray to him to change the situation that the temple currently is in? There is encouraging news. There have been a group of volunteers who are taking efforts to repair the temple and reinstate it to its lost glory.

Dakshinamurthy at the temple
The villagers share numerous tales of people who have come to the temple after seeing the Lord in their dreams. They speak about recent episodes of people with loco-motor disabilities getting cured after praying here. Yes, the Lord is most benevolent and magnificent! Provided people reach out to him.

The Durga at Kesavaram

How to get here:

The Kesavaram temple is about 6 kms from Thakkolam.

Temple Timings:

The temple is open through the day. However, make sure you reach before it gets dark as it would be difficult to maneuver yourselves through the narrow bunds in the agricultural fields once it becomes dark.

Contact details: 81222 74612