Saturday, January 17, 2015

Where the Lord is worshipped through a hole!

The Kodi Kodutha Nathar Temple 

Oru Kodi - is not just a number (denotes one crore in Tamil) or the prize money in a popular game show. It is also the name of a non-descript village about 7 kms from Villupuram. How did this village come to be known as Oru Kodi? and what is so special about it?

It is believed that one crore saints (oru kodi siddhars) got together to perform a mega penance and created a Shiva linga for this purpose. They installed the linga in the middle of the forest, put all their manuscripts and other invaluable treasures before him and sealed up the temple. An opening of the size of a brick stacked vertically was made in the wall through which the Lord could be worshiped.

The hole in the wall before the Nandi through which the Lord is worshipped at Oru Kodi

Several centuries passed. The place where the Siddhars congregated came to be known as Oru Kodi. Those who were destined to worship the Lord were blessed with great wealth and prosperity and the Lord came to be known as Kodi Kodutha Nathar (The God who gave crores).

As time went by, the Kings who were blessed with abundant wealth by worshipping the Lord wanted to expand and improve the temple. Shrines were added for Lord Ganesha, Dakshinamurthy, Chandikeswara and Goddess Abirami. Around the fifteenth century, the temple was opened up to include the Goddess Shrine, and provide access to worship the Lord like a normal temple.

Chandikeswara at Oru Kodi Temple
It was then that the huge amount of manuscripts were discovered within the sealed walls of the temple. The golden treasures are said to have disappeared miraculously from within the confines of the temple into the well outside of it. People say that even a few years earlier, when a stone was thrown into the well, a sound similar to that of a stone hitting metal was heard.

The well has subsequently been renovated. There is still water in the well.

The stone well supposedly containing the treasure now having been reconstructed.
The Goddess came to be known as Yedu Paditha Nayaki (the Goddess who read the manuscripts). The villagers say that the manuscripts contained very rare medical combinations and cures. No one knows what happened to them though - they might have been stolen or taken away by those who had the ability to read them.

The view of Goddess Olai Paditha Nayaki from the entrance
Even though the temple has been opened up, people prefer to worship the Lord through the opening in the wall as recommended by the Siddhars and use the entrance to worship the Goddess from outside.

Although the opening is very small that you almost have to view the Lord with one eye, it is surprising how one is able to get a very clear view of the sanctum sanctorum and the deity inside.

A view of Lord Kodi Kodutha Nathar through the opening in the wall.
To me, the vision was almost like a Mukha Lingam. I could actually see a forehead, eyes and nose on the Lingam. I moved back thinking it was my imagination. But in a few minutes, my mother-in-law said the same thing to me. It was indeed a very divine experience.

Today, the Lord who gave crores to several devotees is in a very pitiable environment. The shrines are all cracking up and Mr Singaram,who is the committed caretaker of the temple, is patching them up with concrete or constructing new ones as and when a stray visitor comes along and donates some money.

Lord Ganesha has been moved from the beautiful shrine on the right to the concrete
shrine on the left 
Lord Ganesha has been moved from his beautiful habitat into a concrete shrine that has been constructed recently while Lord Dhakshinamurthy's shrine has been patched up.

Lord Dhakshinamurthy at Oru Kodi

The area inside the temple is quite pathetic. Reeking of bat excreta and dampness due to minimal use, the walls are stripped of cover. The wall along the Goddess's shrine has been recently plastered.

The interior of the temple at Oru Kodi.
Apart from these deities, there are other old icons that are strewn around the temple. Some of them are really old and similar to the ones seen at Marangiyur in the same district. The article on Marangiyur can be accessed here.

Icons at Oru Kodi
It was difficult to photograph these idols in the fading light. Clearly there were a Durga/Kotravai and an idol quite similar to the one found in Marangiyur (probably of the same period - Kalabhras?) and also an idol of that of Mhudevi or Jyeshta Devi.

Jyeshta Devi at Oru Kodi

Clearly these icons talk about the ancient nature of this temple. The temple is desperately looking for funds for its upkeep and maintenance as well as for renovation. At the moment as I had mentioned the caretaker is building/repairing in an adhoc fashion depends on the funds he receives here and there. If there is a focused initiative to renovate using the existing materials or traditional methods of construction, the temple would be restored to its lost glory and Kodi Kodutha Nathar can give Kodis to many many more devotees.

The crumbling beauty at Oru Kodi
How to get here:

On the Villupuram - Mambalapattu - Thirukoilur route (State Highway 7) , there is a village called Thogaipadi at about five kilometres from Villupuram. Take left at a board which reads Kanai. You will come to the Venkatesapuram Railway Gate. Oru Kodi is less than 2 kms from here. The Perumbakkam Perumal temple is quite close to this temple.

Google map Coordinates: 11.9267919, 79.4389612

Contact Details : Mr Singaram through Mr Karthikeyan - 94437 92233

Temple Timings : The deity can be worshipped through the day through the opening in the wall. The caretaker is also available through the day at the temple.

The crumbling temple of Oru Kodi

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