Sunday, February 28, 2016

Do you want a job abroad?

The temple tank of Sri Sundareswara Temple, Periya Kothur

Sometimes, the will of God is beyond our comprehension....well, why sometimes, most of the time! It was in the year 2014, that Arun Kumar, a young man, wrote to me after seeing my interview on television. He mentioned that his brother Balamurugan, employed in New Zealand, along their his father Mr Mohandas was attempting to reconstruct the Sundareswarar temple in his native village Periya Kothur, in Tiruvarur district and wanted me to write an article to raise awareness on the temple. I promised to help, but the opportunity to visit did not present itself till June 2015.

The original vimana and structure of the Sundareswara Temple at Periya Kothur
Even after that, despite a miracle happening right in front of our eyes, for some reason, this temple did not get featured either here or in the series I write in Deepam called Arputha Aalayangal. A few days ago, a lady from the US wrote to me about this temple. That is when I thought that the time has finally come true to feature this magnificent temple here.

Renovation happening now
The Sundareswara temple, true to its name, was once beautiful, it slowly started falling prey to vegetation. The original name of the temple was Thiruvidaikadudaiya Mahadevar temple. The brick vimana covered with lime plaster was the first to get eaten away. The rows and rows of inscriptions on the exterior walls prompted the villagers to ensure that the stones were removed and reused in the construction. Unfortunately, they could not save the vimana and it is a pity that it is now being redone in concrete. But considering the costs involved and valuing the primary objective of the villagers - to make sure the temple exists instead of crumbling to dust, one has to learn to put up with modern methods of construction.

Inscriptions from the time of Kulothunga III and Rajaraja III 
What really moved me were the deities that were stored in a nearby school shed right next to the temple pond. With the highest number of cases of idol smuggling (of course most of them have been bronze) but a stone icon of the 12th century is definitely a valuable piece)reported in Tiruvarur district, it really is very important that they are moved to some place safe at the earliest.

Temporary abode of Gods
An inscription at the temple states that the temple complex for Thiruvidaikadudaiyar was constructed by a merchant group called the Kulothunga Chola Perilamaiyaar, through the instructions of the King Kulothunga III in the 12th century CE. A very interesting inscription of a total of 97 lines belonging to the time of King Rajaraja III (1227 CE) speaks about the people of the village of Urangudi who have joined hands with the enemies. The inscriptions says that the village council had appealed to the revenue officer not to allow them to come back and also not to collect the taxes that were due from them for temple festivals and based on his acceptance the order was being inscribed on the temple wall.

According to an inscription from Kulothunga III period (1183 CE)A person called Thirunavukkarasu son of Kandhamangalamudaiyan Putridangondan has gone around collecting alms for installing the idols of the Devaram authors, Saints Appar, Sundarar and Gnanasambandar in a seperate shrine in the temple. He has also donated lands for the daily offerings to the lord. Today only the idols of Gnanasambandar and Sundarar are found. Appar is nowhere to be seen.

Another inscriptions reconfirms this information and mentions the name of the sculptor of this temple as Sokkakootha Sirpasari. A couple of inscriptions speaks about village resolutions on the methods of harvesting the temple lands and handing over the produce collectively by the villagers are also recorded.

Gnanasambandar at the temple
The idols belonging to the temple are all exquisite. Right from the beautiful Nandi found in a seperate mandapa outside the temple, to the Narthana Ganapathy, the Pancha Ganapathy, Dakshinamurthy, Bhairava, Subramanya and Chandikeswara each a specimen of the rich sculptural beauty of the Cholas.

Lord Sundareswara is found in the sanctum sanctorum which has been more or less left intact. The Goddess Soundaranayaki is still awaiting installation. The construction work is progressing slowly as it is majorly funded by Mr Balamurugan. Other help is trickling in occasionally.

Pancha Ganapathy
When we visited the temple we were told that Lord Sundareswara grants prayers of those who wish to go abroad for employment. Several youth and their parents come to the temple, where worship is currently happening even though construction is going on in some parts, on Thursday and worship the Lord with Bilwa leaves to see their prayers granted. A couple of friends had accompanied me. The son of one of them had been given soft notice by his company due to technical layoff, and he was under stress to find an alternative job before expiry of his contract and visa.

Lord Thiruvidaikadudaiya Nayanar aka Sundareswarar
On the day we were visiting, he had already given seven rounds of interview in a reputed travel firm, and was awaiting personal interview. The mother prayed to Lord Sundareswara that her son should somehow get the job. He had called earlier to say that he had not done the last round very well and felt that he only stood a 50% chance.

However, as we collected the Vibhuti prasadam and stepped out of the temple, the mother got a call from her son, saying he had been selected. He said that in the last few minutes of the interview, he had become blank and did not remember what he had answered. We were really amazed. Today, the young man has joined the company and is doing very well for himself and his mother is full of gratitude for Lord Sundareswara!

That was our personal experience and Mr Mohandas, who has been taking great care of the temple narrates a number of such instances where young people have benefitted from worshipping the Lord! So if you want a good career abroad, this is the place to go!

How to get here: Periya Kothur is in Tiruvarur district, near Vadapathimangalam Sugar mill. One can come by auto from Kamalapuram also. Please contact the number below for detailed travel instructions.

If you wish to lend a helping hand to the construction of the temple, please contribute generously to this account number.

Shri Arulmigu Sundareswarar Alayam, Tiruppanikkulu, SB A/c No. 30854146423,
State Bank of India, Vadapathimangalam Branch, IFSC Code: SBIN0001897

Contact details: Mr Mohandas 04367-0295674, 9629271212

Thank you Blog Adda for choosing this post as Tuesday Tangy Post! 1.3.16


  1. An excellent write up as always after a long break....hopefully the breaks will be shorter in the future...

  2. Congratulations! Your blog post was selected for Tangy Tuesday Picks edition on March 01, 2016 at BlogAdda.

    Please find it here:

  3. Yes Excellent post.I am lucky enough to know about this temple from this excellent blogger and visited the temple on 29/6/2015., a Pradhosam day.Worshipped this Lord Shiva during Pradhosam Pooja and abhishegam .Happy to see this post though belated.Right Time has to come for everything including the completion of renovation of this temple.As mentioned in this post the Nandhi is so beautiful with excellent features.

  4. Hello, if I want to do poojai or abhishekam for any of these temples could you please guide me on how to go about it? I also want to correspond with you to inquire about certain other temples offline, could you please share your email id?

    1. Hi, you can write to thanks Priya

    2. Hi, you can write to thanks Priya

  5. Excellent blog. One of the temples above is our kuladeivam. Any guidance on how to do archanai or abhishekam would be highly appreciated. Also I wanted to discuss offline about a few other temples. If you could communicate over email that would be appreciated.

  6. Please let me know temple timings and Pooja timings in temple. Do we have good hotels for eating food nearby temple

    1. There are no set timings. You can contact the temple before hand to inform your arrival. Nearest hotel would be in Tiruvarur