Thursday, July 8, 2010

Maratha links to Chennai temple


It was the collapse of the temple tower at Srikalahasti in Andhra Pradesh that spurred experts to inspect the ‘rajagopurams’ (towers) characteristic of Chennai’s temples. What they discovered were not cracks or fissures but rare sculptures including one of the Maratha king Shivaji, which embellish the intricate carvings on these structures.

“While climbing up the tiers of different temple towers across the city, we stumbled upon rare idols whose existence was unknown,” said an expert.

After the Srikalahasti temple tower collapsed in late May, it was reported that the 236-feet-tall ‘rajagopuram’ in Srirangam, Tiruchi too had a crack. A team from Chennai, consisting of officers from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department, IIT professors, highway department officials and sthapathis (sculptors), then rushed to Srirangam to conduct an inspection. Soon afterwards, the team also visited other temples across Chennai and its suburbs to check the strength of these towers, which usually grace the entrance to the shrines.

“We noticed a sculpture of Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar sitting cross-legged, with some palm leaves in his hand, at the Kalikambal temple in Broadway. Another sculpture depicting the marriage of Shiva and Parvathi was found at the Karneeswarar temple in Saidapet,” said an official. “The Kalikambal temple also has a rare painting and a sculpture showing Goddess Kali blessing Chhatrapati Shivaji.” It is said that Shivaji visited the temple in the year 1677 and offered prayers to the deity.

Historical records indicate that Shivaji’s army came down south up to Kancheepuram, then under the sway of the Nawab of Arcot, who owed allegiance to the British. Legend has it that he visited the temple one night during a recce after he heard that the presiding deity was Kali, his favourite goddess.
A long line of Maratha kings, who were descendants of Shivaji, later controlled the Thanjavur region for nearly two centuries.

Our View
The above shows the abject neglect of our own temples even in cities and towns. If we continue to do so our next generations would not be able to understand the importance and greatness of our great rulers and kings. Unfortunately our marxist influenced history books devote very little to highlight the importance and the widespread benevolent rule of our great Chathrapathi instead focussing more on the mughal barbaric rule.

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