Sunday, March 10, 2013

Save the Temple!

This is not the first time that after visiting a temple I have wanted to write about it, but due to some reason or the other, the article is delayed, and suddenly out of the blue, the time comes true for it to be written.

I had visited the Thachanallur Siva Temple a few months ago, along with REACH PRO Mr.J Chandrasekaran. Thanks to Podhigai Kudumban, who took us directly from the railway station in the pouring rain, to this temple. On the way, he briefed us that a portion of the temple was going to be demolished for road widening work undertaken by the Public Works Department.

The Thachanallur Siva Temple is one of the ancient temples in Tirunelveli town. This was the area where the sculptors involved in the construction of the Nellaiyappar temple stayed. They had made a replica of the Swayambu Nellaiyappar for their worship.

Saint Thavamaninathar:

Thavamaninathar, or Thavamani Siddhar as he was popularly known, was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva who spent many a year in Shenbaga Devi falls in Courtallam, in worship and meditation. He set out towards Thirunelveli, to get a darshan of Nellaiyappar. On his way to the main temple, he rested for a while at the Shalivadiswarar Temple at Thachanallur. It was here that he got a divine vision of Nellaiyappar. Before he could go to meet the Lord, the Lord was eager to meet his devotee and gave him his divine darshan at Thachanallur itself.
Bronze Idol of Thavamani nathar at the Temple
From then on, Thavamani Nathar stayed at the Shalivadiswarar Temple at Thachanallur and worshipped the Lord here. He had two disciplines, Vedamoorthy and Mandhiramoorthy, who assisted him in his worship. They also spent several years here in the worship of Lord Shiva.

Thavamaninathar on a pillar outside the Gandhimathi Ambal Shrine
The Lord is called Shalivadiswarar (This is the Sanskrit equivalent of Nellaiyappar). The Goddess Gandhimathi is in a seperate shrine with a divine smile on her face, waiting all alone, for any devotee who might find time to visit her.

Vedamoorthy Swamigal and Mandhiramoorthy Swamigal Temple:

There is a seperate temple for the two devotees of Thavamani nathar, namely, Vedamoorthy and Mandiramoorthy within the temple complex. It is this structure that is now under threat of demolition for road widening work of the Public Works Department.

The Sanctum Sanctorum has two Vinayakas side by side and is said to be the Athistanam of Sri Vedamoorthy Swamigal. There is a Kettle (Gendi) to one side of the Sanctum Sanctorum which is said to be the Aikiyam of Sri Mandiramoorthy Swamigal.

Sri Mandhiramoorthy Swamigal Aikiyam
The heriditary trustee of the Vedamoorthy, Mandhiramoorthy temple is Sri Namaschivayam. He showed us the works of these two saints as well as the copper plate that has been part of the temple for many years.

Shri Chandrasekaran holding up the copper plate
A portion of the front mandapa of this temple containing beautifully sculptured pillars of the Pandya times is what is expected to be lost during the road widening work.

Hereditary Trustee of the temple Shri Namaschivayam
Mr. Namaschivayam, despite being physically challenged, has been actively meeting different people and appealing for finding an alternate route or a compromise through which the road would be widened without touching portions of this heritage structure. Through the efforts of REACH foundation, Times of India also carried an article on this subject.

A beautiful Vahana made of wood but coated with Copper at the temple

 I hope many of you would remember a similar issue with the Panayapuram Puravarpanangateesar temple, which has recently got resolved, with the Highways Department finding an alternative route. We sincerely hope, this temple, which has housed many divine saints who have seen the vision of God here, will also be saved.

How to get here:

Thachanallur is two kms away from the Tirunelveli Junction. Several buses and autos are available at the Junction.

Temple Timings:

Morning - 7 am to 10 am
Evening - 5.30 pm to 8 pm

Contact Details:
Priest - Shri Harihara Sarma - 94420 61598
Hereditary Trustee - Shri Namaschivayam - 94435 01215


  1. Please inform us about the availability of any signature campaign for this noble cause,so that we can join in the public petitioning.

  2. Lot of ancient temples are ignored and vandalized.

  3. Hmm..Sad to know this.Appreciate you for this post..:-)

  4. I pray, the almighty shows an alternative to the authorities.

  5. Please write about the 108 Sivan temples of Kanchipuram, most of them are in a bad state...

  6. Thank you so much for bringing to light the ancient glory of this temple. This is our kuladeivyam temple. So we are also desparate that no harm should be done. Thanks again and thank you Namas. Your efforts are great