A delightful sculpture of the tiger legged saint -Madhavizhagam

I am fortunate to have met so many eager friends in the past 2-3 years – thanks to the net, without their tireless efforts and constant encouragement, this site would’nt have even been conceived. One such is Chandra – for his size, he packs quite a punch, never seen such a dedicated person, oferring constant advise, suggestions, ever eager to assist, take up issues, spearhead movements – selfless acts – such is his devotion to the cause of temple renovation.

He has today shared a very unique and beautiful sculpture of Vyakarapadar / Puli kaal muni ( tiger legged saint) – we have already seen his story in the earlier post of him in the pillar of the big temple.

This exquisite sculpture is from Madhavizhagam , a non-descript village seen next to Vayalur, an ASI monument. What struck me with this sculpture is the unusual seated position of the saint, for a second just close the top half of the sculpture and view the bottom half – you can see the classic lines of a seated or crouched tiger. Such is the beauty and intellect of the artist – that he did not just stop with depicting the feet of the saint as tiger claws, but he has shown the characteristic seated post of a tiger !

Otherwise the sculpture is splendid, the elaborate hair do of a wandering ascetic, his rosary beads, the classic poses of his hands, the sublime devotion expressed in his face – the benign smile, the closed eyes – he is lost deep in devotion.

Sadly the temple roofing is totally gone and needs water proofing. The Flag staff ( Kodimaram) is stripped out of its copper and the bare trunk ( athi maram) is exposed.

Thanks again to Chandra for sharing this amazing sculpture with us.

13 thoughts on “A delightful sculpture of the tiger legged saint -Madhavizhagam

  1. Dear VJ,

    You mention the saint as Pulikaalmuni in the snaps. Of course everyone does know that in the temples at both Chidambaram (Natarajar koil) as well as at the Amritaghateswarar at Melakadambur… we do have saint with tiger body and paws… i.e. saint Vyaghrapadar — it seems Vyaghrapadar had some link with Simha Vishnu the Pallava King who originally laid the foundation of the Chidambaram temple (He was also called Hiranyavaranan – it is said that he had some debilittating skin disease and that he was advised by Vyaghrapadar to take bath at the Chidambaram pushkarini to get cured)… Then Simha Vishnu (Hiranyavaranan) created the temple of Siva which acted as a sanctuary of worship for Saint Vyagrapaadar. Of course, the great shrine that Chidambaram is undoubtedly, nurtured with selfless and unrelenting devotion over thousands of years by the Thillai Iyers, it had the benefit of being cared, nurtured, expanded and developed by so many dynasties like Pallavas first, then the Cholas, the Pandiyans and to an extent the Nayakars first under Vijayanagar and then by themselves independently.

    I think if you ever did storeys on Chidambaram Natarajar koil, then Vyaghrapadar cannot be missed. I heard that Kulothunga I was particularly fond of saint Vyaghrapadar whom he got etched in stone in one of the greatest but lesser known Siva temples, the Amritaghateswarar at Melakadambur. The scores of statues of Vishnu at Melakadambur Amritaghateswarar temple also put a lie to Kulothunga I being biased against the Vaishnavite sect….

    Your take on this.

  2. வயலூர் அல்ல, வாயலூர் விஜய். மாற்றிவிடவும்.இந்த வாயலூர், சென்னை மகாபலிபுரம் ECR Highwaysல் உள்ளது.

  3. Lovely comment from Dev,

    வ்யாக்ரபாதர் (புலிக்கால் முனிவர்) எப்போதும் ஆடவல்லானுடன்
    சேர்ந்தே கணப்படுவார். தனிச் சிற்பங்களில் அவரைக் காண்பது
    அரிது. இங்கோ அவர் தனித்திருந்து த்யானம் செய்கிறார் ஜபமாலையுடன்.
    அவரது இடக்காலினருகில் பூக்குடலையையும் கண்கிறோம்.
    மரங்கள் மீதேறி மலர்கள் கொய்வதற்காகவே அவர் தவம் செய்து
    ஈசனிடம் புலிக்கால்கள் பெற்றதாக வரலாறு.
    மிக அரிய சிற்பம் !
    ஊர்ப் பெயர் ‘மட விளாகம்’ என இருக்க வேண்டும்.


  4. hi kavitha

    No need to be sorry, glad to find a fellow enthusiast. Feel free to go back and see the previous posts ( there are about 90 as of tdy – target 500 – hopefully with help from friends and well wishers!!)

    Thanks for leaving the comment and feel free to put in suggestions as well and share pics if you have.


  5. Dear Vijai,

    This is the first time I am coming to your site, really I have missed your site.

    This sculpture is really unique, as sdiyen has seen viyakrapadar in standing position but this one is in sitting position.

    Blessings for you for your yeomen service.

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