|Kandasamy Murugan at Vayalanallur|
This post is two years late. Although I had visited this temple first in 2015, and then several times since, even taking people on heritage trips, I never got around to writing about the Lord who had become one of my favourites. As I have always seen in Aalayam Kanden, everything happens with His will and he has willed that this post be written on the account of Kanda Sashti in 2017 and so here it is.
Two years of documenting the temples along the Cooum threw open several rare heritage treasures. One such priceless treasure is the Murugan temple at Vayalanallur. The Topographical List of Inscriptions of Madras Presidency Volume 8 by T V Mahalingam was one of my guiding documents for my study and it spoke about three temples in Vayalanallur, one of which was a Kandaswamy Murugan temple, the second a Durga temple and the third, the Shakthimutreswarar temple.
|The current status of the Kandasamy Murugan Temple with the Aditya I inscription luckily intact|
Our search of the temples led us first to the Komaleeswaranpet temple, at Kolappanchery. We met Nagahariharan, the priest at Kolappanchery who incidentally mentioned that he was the priest at the Vayalanallur Murugan temple and offered to take us there. He has been conducting the poojas as a volunteer for some years now, purely because his Kuladeivam (family deity) is Murugan.
We were touched by his commitment and followed his two-wheeler into a narrow lane. What would have once been a huge temple, has now been reduced to a single shrine. " Nobody comes to the temple, except on important festival days such as Panguni Uthiram or Thai Poosam where we somehow collect enough money to offer food and prasadams to attract a decent gathering,"said Hari as he opened the door of the temple.
We were awestruck by what we saw. By far, the most magnificent of the Brahma Sasthas that we have seen in that region, stood before us on the floor. Over seven feet tall, with an Akshara Mala in his hind right arm and a Gendi on the left, he stood with a smile turning up the corner of his lips. There was no pedestal below his feet, no garlands around his neck nor any adornments. Just a humble vastram was all that he had.
|The magnificent Murugan at Vayalanallur|
Hari offered the prasadam he had carried from his house and performed Harathi. We were moved. All that remained of the antiquity of the temple, was the inscription from the time of Aditya I (895 AD) about a gift of land made to the temple by Gunakirti Nambadugan, the Kilan of Ayandampakkam for Sribali and other services at the temple which is still found on the footsteps of the temple.
The Shakthimutreswara temple next to the huge temple tank had been lost to time. A look at the gigantic deity gave us an idea of how large the temple would have been in yore. The three inscriptions of this temple, two from the time of Parthivendravarman and one from Rajaraja I have disappeared along with the original temple and several deities that stood there.
|The Shakthimutreswara when we saw him first in 2015|
When we enquired with Hari about the Durga temple he did not know much as to where it once stood. However, he remembers villagers saying a huge goddess was lowered into a well because it had become damaged!
Several deities have been found while excavating around the original site of the Shakthimutreswara temple out of which a Bhairavar has been installed in the Vishnu temple and the Surya placed next to the Shakthimutreswara.
With the grace of the Almighty and generous patronage from the loyal supporters of Aalayam Kanden, we have been successfully supporting the Thai poosam festivities at the Kandaswamy Murugan temple over the last two years.
|Supporting the Thai Poosam festivities through the Aalayam Kanden Trust|
The Shakthimutreswara temple has since been rebuilt in a small way, and the deity has found a secure place inside the sanctum.
The Kandaswamy Murugan has since became a member of the Aalayam Kanden family and he was gracious enough to bless the first copy of "The Gods of the Holy Koovam" which was the compendium of ancient sites along the Koovam.
|The Kandaswamy Murugan with the first copy of The Gods of the Holy Koovam|
The temple still has very little support or patronage. As we celebrate the victory of good over evil on this Kanda Sashti, let us do our bit to protect and patronise the rare heritage treasures still left among our midst!
|Kandasamy Murugan in all his glory after Thai Poosam alankaram|
How to reach here: The temple is about 2 kms from Kolappanchery. From Kolappanchery head North. Pass Chokkanallur bus stand and turn right. The temple is on the left. Bus route 54C from Poonamallee to Thandarai is available once an hour. GPS Coordinates : 13.08565622, 80.06954102
Temple Timings: Please inform the Gurukkal before going and he will ensure the temple is opened.
Contact Information: Naagahariharan 90031 54640