Continuing with Thirumayam in the Pudukottai Trip. This name is derived from Thiru Meiyyam. Thirumayam temple complex has 2 temples - one of Lord Shiva and another of Lord Vishnu.
We first ventured to the Vishnu Temple.
|Copyright: Ashok Krishnaswamy|
First, right inside, the huuuuuuuuuuge reclining Vishnu, its amazing... Thanks to Ashok Krishnaswamy for letting me use this pic shot & edited by him. In real, its a 3 walls scene with 2 pillars in between. Ashok's fabulous editing has made what you're seeing now, possible! This is the most unusual, exquisite and complicated Vishnu I've ever seen in 15 ft length! Vishnu was reclining on a 2 tiered Adhiseshan the snake. The Adhiseshan here is the most furious, I've seen so far. 3 of its 5 heads, have their mouths open and fire is flying from its mouth to Madhu, Kaidaba who are at the extreme right. Vishnu's right hand is on Adhiseshan trying to calm it down. His consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi are on his head and foot. Brahma, Ayudha Purusha-s, Celestials, Naradha, Tumburu, Surya, Chandra are all seen atop. Garuda is at the extreme left. This cave temple is age old - most probably of 7th - 8th C. However the rest of the temple was constructed later on in bits. The Gopuram is very much of the Late Pandya style.
|Purusha Mirugam spotted.. Ever since came to know of Raja Dikshathar's |
research on this, I manage to spot one everywhere...
The Maha Mandapam has several huge, larger-than-life sculptures protruding from pillars of the Nayak Style (16th C). There were Manmatha, Rathi, Kuravan, Kurathi, Man on Horse etc etc etc... The best part is that each sculpture is of just 1 stone on the whole!!! Apart from these there are separate shrines of Chakrathazhvar, Andal, Krishna, Lakshmi Narasimha etc.
The separate shrine for Sathyamoorthy Perumal is present which was also built during the Late Pandya era. However anything that was supposedly built by late Pandyas, also has a little controversy that says it was built by Mutharaiyars. An old inscription says that 'It was renovated by Perumpirugu Mutharaiyar'. However, what he renovated and where is unknown. The imp. things to be noted here are of the pillars. A particular pillar infact reminded me of a lamp-post? Doesn't it!!!
However no confusion about the Pillars. Its all Nayak Era - thanks to the epitome of the Naga Bandham on the Pillars!
From there, our next target was the Shiva Temple located in the same area, just a few metres away. That's Sathya Girishwarar. Here again the exquisiteness of the Dwarapala should not be missed. It cannot be missed, even otherwise, its so prominent and compelling!
Here, the Dwarapala-s have 2 hands unlike the later depictions with 4 hands. They do not have vampire teeth too. The club in their hand has a python twisted on it. So this must have been sculpted before Raja Raja Chola's era, thanks to the iconography, that's must be 7th or 8th C.
The sanctum sanctorum had a Shiva Lingam which was sculpted from the rock of the cave itself, so its practically attached to the cave and not separately kept. The ceiling has a beautiful carpet design which is now almost gone. On the right is fabulous relief sculpture of Lingothbhavar. He unusally has the hair which is generally not shown in the later depictions. Here he also doesn't have the swan and boar shown later on, as well. This must have been sculpted before the legend came up. Legend is that Brahma and Vishnu took the shape of Boar and Swan to search the feet and hair of Lord Shiva, as he's considered endless!!! Here again the front Gopuram is of Late Pandya era.
Out of the sactum santorum to the left was this narrow passage. In that was the inscription of major importance - 'Parivadhinitha' sculpted in a bordered rectange!
There are just 3 musical inscriptions and 1 dance inscription in the whole of Tamil Nadu, and all the 3 are in Pudukottai. In all these 3, is this rectangular heading called 'Parivadhinitha'. What does it mean? Could be a musical instrument! Or it could be a heading! Or Lord Shiva's another name is Parivadhini, so this could be something that denotes something Given by Lord Shiva! Or this could be the style of the music that evolved here!
But the sad part is that the inscription was scrapped off during 13th C, as they did not understand it then, and they deleted it to inscribe a judgement that tells that two-fifth of the fund goes to the Vishnu temple and three-fifth must go to Shiva temple, during the Pallava-Hoysala unrest.
|Saw something like Mahab's Krishna's Butter Ball|
The whole hill houses a fort, the Thirumayam Fort. This was originally built in 1687 by Ragunatha Sethupathi of Ramanathapuram.
Pudukottai wil continue...
From Chennai: 400 km via Villupuram, Trichy
Trains to Rameshwaram go via Pudukottai.
Trains / Buses can be taken to Trichy and regular buses are available from Trichy.
From Trichy: 50 km. Regular buses are available.
From Madurai: 115 km via Tirupatthur
From Coimbatore: 300 km via Dharapuram, Dindigul
Thirumayam is located 20km from Pudukottai towards Thirupathur.
Photography of the Reclining Vishnu by Ashok Krishnaswamy and the rest by yours Bhushavali...
Dedicated to Prof. Swaminathan, Prof. Muthazhagan, Prof. Jambunathan, and the whole group...