Too much is too many…maybe it the bane of our heritage treasures. How else but to explain the sad plight of this delightful gem living precariously on the banks of the Tambraparani, its life blood slowly draining away, having stood for a thousand years, it makes a mockery of our grand visions of cultural renaissance and ingrained spirituality - The Ramaswamy Temple of Cheranmadevi. They called it the Nigarili Chola Vinnagar - Abode without parallel ! read on to see its pathetic state for surely it will not be long before the newspaper headlines lament its demise and pseudo enthusiasts will cry fowl.

The pillar sculpture of Hanuman, in all his humility, affectionately held by his Lord Rama seemed an regular rendition when we entered but as we finished and returned, the posture seemed to gather a new meaning.


As we stepped in, there was nothing extraordinary about the front porch and it resembled any of hundred of temples we see in our villages.


But as we took the few steps towards the main shrine, what awaited us made us hold our breath.


its not often you get to see a pristine pre 10th Century Vimana, a Pandya one at that.

Thanks to Pradeep, we had some inclination of what to expect and the introductions to the Priest had ensured that we could do our work unhindered.

For starters - the temple is unique for its one of the very few Astanga Vimana shrines - three tiered Vimana, with forms of Vishnu - Standing, seated and lying in the three sanctums lined one on top of the other.

At the entrance of the main sanctum, we were greeted by one of the most stunning bronzes - Rama group.


When we wanted to climb to the upper storey, the priest asked us again - if we really wanted to go up ! Little did we realise why he did that, till we saw the narrow stairs and got swarmed by a colony of feisty bats whom we disturbed.


Restaurants with roof top gardens seem to be the fashion these days, but it was really heartbreaking to see a stunning edifice left to rot like this.


As we turned towards the Sanctum in tier one, we spotted this.


The central beam had cracked and the weight was being held by the wooden pillar. My heart filled with dread at the thought of what might happen if it gave way.


And in the midst of all this, there he was seated ( please note he is not carved out of stone but made of stucco - and hence the fractures can be easily mended)


The intricate stucco work and the faint colors seemed to remind us of his glory days. Even the walls seemed to have outlines of vestigial paintings.


We willed ourselves to climb to the next tier and there he is, sleeping peacefully on the coils of his devoted sesha, his two consorts in attention, hoping against hope that some good still lived in the hearts of the people he loves.


As we stepped out, we looked again at Hanuman - he seemed to asking us to help, but not wanting his master to know, for the Lord’s answer would be ” I have the entire universe for me !!”

Leave a comment »

Category: Sculpture

Tags:  , , , , ,

Related Posts:

Read this in தமிழ்தமிழ்

This entry was posted on Friday, January 13th, 2012 at 14:40 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

15 Comments so far


hi pradeep, i have already linked ur article link


January 13th, 2012 at 14:57

Really Sad state of affairs. “Too much is too many…maybe it the bane of our heritage treasures” Seems very appropriate.

Dont feel the importance till we loose it forever

January 13th, 2012 at 15:08

Dear Vijay. There is one Rathnavel Pandian Centre of Arts and Culture which was founded by Justice Rthnavel Pandian who takes more care about Thirupudaimaruthur Temple. If we found someone who can take this matter to the Centre and request some thing can be done to save the temple, instead of requesting HR and CE.

January 13th, 2012 at 20:04

Truly, what a beautiful temple. and how dreadful that it will just disappear bit by bit. This is the story of many of our temples - many in villages, where the Lord is spared and offered hardly a glass of milk. There should be some sort of heritage protection, by HRCE too, other than just sealing the undiyal poottu.

January 14th, 2012 at 11:14

May we write to ASI for thier support i think its only way possible or to TVS Trust

January 14th, 2012 at 12:07

Thank you for writing about this ramaswamy temple. Our forefathers worshipped there and we go there atleast once a year.. loved it every time.. lots of parrots as well!
we couldnt go around the temple as there were too many bushes..
Thanks again vijay, hats off for all your work..

January 14th, 2012 at 14:52

lovely Ramar and pillar murthis

January 15th, 2012 at 20:00
Ayyampet Balachandran

“இணையற்ற விண்ணகர் என்ற பெயர்கொண்ட இந்த அற்புத ஆலயம் கூடிய விரைவில் இடிந்து விழுந்தது என்ற செய்தியை பதிப்பிக்க பல நாளேடுகள் போட்டி போடும், பலர் தங்கள் ஆதங்கத்தை ஊடகங்களில் வெளிப்படுத்துவார்கள், அரசாங்கம் ஒரு குழு அமைக்கும் ….ஒரு வாரத்திலோ ஒரு மாதத்திலோ வழக்கப்படி எல்லோரும் எல்லாம் மறந்து மீண்டும் வெற்றி நடிகனின் நூறாவது படம், நடிகையின் கிசு கிசு என்று ” இயல்பான ” வாழ்க்கைக்கு திரும்பிவிடுவோம்” தங்களது சால்லொண்ண துயரத்தை அந்த பெருமாள் உணர்ந்து ஏதேனும் செய்ய மாட்டாரா? விஐய்க்கு பெருமாளே அருள்புரியும்.

January 16th, 2012 at 22:44

What a beautiful temple and really beautiful pictures too.

February 4th, 2012 at 4:00

first time i saw u r blog

April 9th, 2012 at 19:29

Please send this information to Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Something good may happen to the temple..

April 19th, 2012 at 18:01

இதுபோன்ற கோயில்களை எல்லாம் புனரமைக்காமல் வீதிக்கு வீதி புதுக்கோயில்கள் கட்டிக்கொண்டிருக்கிறார்கள். நல்ல பதிவு.

January 7th, 2013 at 7:23

thanks everyone for your comments. Hope there is some good come out of all this.


January 11th, 2013 at 15:43

Suggest that the matter should immediately brought to the attention of our C.M. I am sure our CM will do the needful.

October 15th, 2013 at 22:55

Leave a Reply

Name (required)(*)
Mail (will not be published)(*)