Saturday, July 14, 2012

A treasure trove waiting to be explored!

Tiruparkadal has been closely linked with Aalayam Kanden for a long time now. When I visited the Prasanna Venkatesaperumal Temple at Tiruparkadal recently, the Bhattar Mr.Vengatrangan wanted me to visit the Karapuranathar temple nearby. I was aware that the temple was a Devara Vaippu Thalam and jumped at the opportunity to visit.

Vengat further explained that the temple had very little patronage and had not been opened regularly ever  since the Gurukkal who had been performing prayers there had passed on. However, he said, a family had been brought to the village recently for this purpose and that we could actually visit and worship at the temple.

The temple as expected was deserted. The three tiered gopuram lead into what used to be a temple tank many years ago, now just an expanse of sand. This temple is one of the five Shivalayas of Tiruparkadal. Appar (Saint Thirunavukkarasar) has mentioned this temple as Karapuram in his Kaapu Thiruthandagam. (Tamil verse here)

The main deity of the temple "Karapuram Udaya Nayanar" sits inside a very humble sanctum sanctorum, only a piece of white cloth adorning him.

The archagar Mr. Sairam showed us a tunnel right in front of the main shrine. This is said to lead upto the Margabandheeswarar Temple at Virinjipuram near Vellore. During the muslim invasion, this tunnel is said to have been an escape route between temples to move idols and valuables. The priest also said that snakes still come out of the tunnel and when he opens the temple in the morning, they are often found on the shivalingam, but slither away without disturbing anyone.

The entrance to the tunnel

The Goddess Abhithagujambal is seen in a seperate shrine. And she, just like her lord, is clad in simple clothing and jewellery, with not even a lamp lit in front of her, waiting for devotees to bestow her grace.

Goddess Abhithagujambal
The archagar Mr. Sairam, showed us a yellowing piece of paper, the remains of an invitation printed in the year 1926 for the Laksha Deepam Festival. This document is probably the only piece of information available in readable form about the temple. The complete information from the invitation can be found here.

The invitation speaks about the temple existing in what was then called "Avani Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam" or "Karapuram". The temple is said to have been patronized by the Chola King Madurai Konda Koparakesari Varman,(985 CE), Parthivendra pallava (967 CE), Velaar    Bhuti Vikramakesari (10th Century CE) and Karimangalamudaiyaar - this refers to a king of the present day Dharmapuri in Salem District. I am not sure who it is.

Is this the only evidence available? Definitely not.Practically every wall in the temple is filled with inscriptions, sadly covered with wall putty. Rows and rows of inscriptions waiting to be transcribed.

I just shot pictures of a few walls as a sample. Some of them are faint, while others are quite prominent and could be read well if the wall putty is removed.

Yet another wall....yet another tale!

And more!

Even the external walls of the temple have a tale to tell!

The temple is a typical example of the construction style of over 1000 years ago where a covered platform goes around the sanctum sanctorium. This raised platform is called "Thiru Nadai Maaligai".

Interesting idols can be seen as Goshta Devathas.
Sanhata Vinayaka
Lord Muruga with his consorts
The Lord Muruga here has been sung by Saint Arunagirinathar. The hymn that he sang at Karapuram can be accessed here.
We are now near the Durga idol and stop by to witness something peculiar. Here is an idol of Jyestha Devi alias Mhoodevi.
She is seen here with her son,the Bull headed Manthi and daughter. The story of Manthi is interesting.Ravana wanted to have an immortal son. In order to facilitate that, he captured seven planets, and asked them all to stay in the 11th place, so that his son would be born immortal. However, Saniswara, taking the advice of Guru Sukracharya created Mandhi from his sweat and body secretions outside the 11th plce, and it is Mandhi who is said to have been the cause for Indrajit's death.

Mandhi is normally found with Jyestha Devi. Worship of Jyestha Devi was popular upto the 10th Century. It is believed that women worshipped her every day and offered food to her before eating themselves, in order to make sure that poverty and famine did not affect their lives at any time.

The priest mentioned that still a few women from the village came everyday to worship Jyestha Devi.  They light lamps in front of her and perform archana to Karapureeshwarar to ensure prosperity and harmony in their households. Visitors from other places also come back to worship Jyestha Devi once they know of her presence in this temple.

The Bhairava found in this temple is also unique. He is seen without his Vahana - The Dog. Clearly this temple needs attention. With proper transcription of the various inscriptions as well as maintenance and upkeep of the temple with enough flow of devotees, this is indeed a treasure trove that needs exhibition and patronage!

At the time this article comes to you, I heard that the archaka family has left the village due to lack of patronage and the trustees are on the lookout for another priest!

Contact Information:
R.Shanmuga Mudaliar - Trustee - 99763 60865
R.Vengatrangan - Bhattar, Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Temple - 94868 77896/ 84284 80210

Temple Timings:
10 am to 12 pm, 5 pm to 7 pm. The temple could be opened on request if intimated via phone.

Directions to the temple:

Kaveripakkam is on the Chennai Bangalore Highway. Turn left at Kaveripakkam junction if travelling from Chennai and drive down about 3-4 kms. There are enough signposts at the junction and along the lane to Tiruparkadal. At Tiruparkadal, the temple is walking distance from the twin temples of Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal and Ranganathar.


  1. Unfortunately in most of these temples they paste lime and cement and obliterate all the inscriptions. Nicely written account.

  2. There is a Malaikottai temple in Trichy which has the same type of tunnel. There's a myth they believe that you can reach the Tanjore via the tunnel with in 10-20mins

  3. Dear Madam, Please plan your visit to parvathamalai, which is a serene place. The prelimnary information regarding that can be had from "". Please enlighten the blog readers with information about that malai after your visit.

  4. During a tour of worshipping 108 Shivalayams around Kanchi on MahaShivarathri day on 27/2/14 ,we saw the renovation work in progress for this temple.Hope soon they will organise Kumbhabishegam too.