Saturday, February 15, 2014

Madurantaka Choleeswara!

The entrance to the Madhurantaka Choleswara Temple
In today's busy world, temples are often sought as a place to go to be relieved from problems. Several temples provide solace to prayers for marriage, childbirth, property issues, studies, diseases etc. and thousands of devotees get relief by praying sincerely at these places of worship.

There are also many of us, who think " I have nothing to ask of You than your divine presence with me always, I would love to concentrate on You, to thank You for all that you have given this universe, and ask of your generosity forever". Well if you are one of the second variety, then this is the temple for you - the temple that was created as a serene spot for deep concentration on God.

I was amazed when I saw the pictures and read about the interesting and unique features of the temple in the facebook page that Mr Rajasekar Pandurangan,has so painstakingly created. He and Mr Periyaswamy, the Gurukkal at the temple have been working very hard in spreading awareness about this wonderful temple to attract visitors, in order to ensure the temple is protected and sustained.

We reached Thozhudur early on Pongal day. Expected the local villagers to be at the temple, we were disappointed to find the temple empty but for the Gurukkal. The temple is clearly a treasure trove of unique sculptures.

The walls were tattooed with the remains of the stone inscriptions. Three of these inscriptions have been cleaned and transcribed.

From the inscriptions, we come to know that this temple originally dates back to 967 AD and subsequently it was expanded and the front mandapam was built in the year 1210 during the period of Kulothunga Chola III. 

Inscription at the Madurantaka Choleeswara Temple
There are a number of unique features in this temple:

While the Lord Madurantaka Choleeswara faces East, the main entrance to the temple faces South and there is a small opening as one enters from where they can directly worship the Goddess Brahannayaki (Periyanayaki).

The Goshta Deities around the temple are all so adorable. To start with, is a petite Ganesha who is surprisingly called "Ucchishta Ganapathy"

The Dakshinamoorthy here is unique in the sense that he has a Yaali  looking up at him near his foot.

Dakshinamoorthy at Madurantaka Choleeswara Temple with a Yaali at his foot
(Photo Courtesy: Rajasekar Pandurangan)
There is a large Ganesha with a mango in his left hand in a separate shrine behind the temple. 

The Mango Ganesha at Madurantaka Choleeswara Temple                                      
Subramaniyaswamy is found in a shrine next door with his consorts Valli and Devasena. He holds bow,arrow, conch and discus apart from spear among his twelve hands. One of the idols of the consorts has been recently broken above the waist by miscreants due to lack of compound wall or any other protection in the temple.

Gajalakshmi is found in a separate shrine. Mr Rajasekar told us the young children from the village had helped in clearing the circumambulatory path around the temple. This was so nice to know that young children had come forward to support a noble cause.

The Gajalakshmi shrine at Madurantaka Choleeswara temple covered by vegetation
Lingodhbavar, Goddess Durga, Chandikeswara and Bhairava are also found in their respective positions in the temple. Nandi is found in a small mandapam facing the Lord. Recently, with the efforts of Mr Rajasekar and Periaswamy and a few other villagers in the temple, Pradhosha pooja has been started, in an effort to attract atleast the local villagers to the temple.

After completing the circumambulation, when one enters the temple, Goddess Brahannayaki or Periyanayaki as she is known in Tamil is found in a separate shrine to the right. She is by far the most beautiful deity I have so far seen. With her eyes showering love and compassion, she is waiting to welcome devotees and shower her blessings upon them. The notable feature in her is the presence of the third eye on the forehead.

Goddess Periyanayaki at the Madurantaka Choleeswara Temple
(Photo Courtesy: Rajasekar Pandurangan)
And finally the Lord, the resolver of birth and death, who grants the atmosphere to meditate on him, without any distraction, sits humbly in the sanctum sanctorum. Celebrated and worshiped by the Chola Kings of yore, today the sad situation is that there is no money for even providing daily prasadam to him. The temple has acres of land, and even an Illupa field to provide oil for lamps, but there is lack of awareness or interest to support the temple in sustainability. The situation brought tears to my eyes.With millions of noble hearts out there, ready to support causes such as these, can we let the Lord go without food?

Sri Madurantaka Choleeswarar
The Gurukkal, Mr Periyaswamy says that it is very significant to visit the temple at noon and meditate before the Lord. He also mentioned that there have been a number of visitors to the temple stating that the Lord had appeared in their dreams and asked them to come here and worship Him. 

The vibration at this temple is truly amazing. Concentration is effortless and you are soon sucked into a vacuum with no thoughts.. This is a unique experience to be experienced by all serious seekers.

Another view of the Madurantaka Choleeswarar Temple
The Vimana is covered with thick vegetation and the weather course on the sanctum sanctorum and Artha Mandapa has been lost due to passage of time, resulting in water seeping in like from a shower at the time of rain. The beautiful bronzes of the temple have been stored in a temple nearby for want of security and protection at the temple.

By far the most exquisite among them is the life size Nataraja. 

The Nataraja of Madurantaka Choleeswara Temple, Thozhudur
Words cannot express the beauty of this Nataraja. With snakes swaying on either side of his open locks, he dances with ecstasy. One of the notable feature is the presence of Gandharvas on the Thiruvaasi around Nataraja. The priest Mr Periyaswamy mentions that the bronze idol of Subrahmanya has Bala Dhandayudhapani on his spear, which cannot be seen anywhere else.

With an abundance of unique features, this temple is waiting for kind hearted souls to reach out and support maintenance and renovation. Appeals have been made by the villagers to the Government as well, to sanction funds for renovation. Right now,as mentioned earlier, there is paucity of funds even for daily pooja and Naivedhyam.

With support and patronage, this wonderful temple can regain its lost glory!

With Mr Periyaswamy and Mr Rajasekar at the Madurantaka Choleeswarar Temple
How to reach here:

Thozhuthur (or Tholudur) is off the Trichy -Chennai National Highway (NH 45). It is part of the Tittakudi Taluk of Cuddalore district.

Temple Timings:

At the moment, the priest performs One kaala pooja in the morning. But he is available on mobile phone and can open the temple on request at other times.

Contact Details:

Periyaswamy Gurukkal - 83444 62232
Mr Rajasekar Pandurangan - 87546 32320/ 97860 68908    

The little volunteers at the temple who worked hard to clear the path around the temple 


  1. Must see place to have see priceless jewel

  2. Must see place to have see priceless jewel

  3. This is such an interesting temple. Thanks for sharing this. It is a must visit I suppose. Lovely Post!

  4. Extremely rejuvenating to know this place.. I will surely share the info about this temple..