Friday, June 18, 2010


Tekkalur Temple renovation

All heritage enthusiasts and Vishnu bakthas are invited for the Vishnu Temple Samprokshanam (Kumbabhishekam) Consecration ceremony to be conducted on 24th of June 2010. The invitation is here for you all to see. This place is about 12 kilometres from Tiruttani bus stand.
REACH renovated this temple in record 30 days with a budget of just 1.60 lakhs. The committee is celebrating and also adding for for Corpus to maintain the temple and do nithya poojas for another 1.5 lakhs. Members may see the invitation for the details and do the needful.
Update as on July 2010: Please see the consecration ceremony photos HERE


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Monday, June 14, 2010


Top priority in saving - need HELP

Dear All,
Even though thousands of temple are in south India, few are very rare in terms of size, antiquity, rare artifacts, sculptures and mythology behind it.

We give below few rare and beautiful temples which need HUGE donors and philanthropists to take up. Many may belong to the said village or town, and they can bring back their ancestral temple back to glory. Most of them lie in and arounbd Kumbakonam and we think that one must have a permanent office at KUMBAKONAM to foresee renovation and have a technical team there planted at Kumbakonam if we really want to take up all these work in gusto. Any Kumbakonam residents may donate space for office to kick start these projects...

We prioritize in terms of magnitude of renovation work in that order, but in no way one is less important than the other, all need funds URGENTLY. Click on the temple's name, you'll be guided to the picasa photo album of the temple.

1. Thukkachi - Near Kuthanoor Saraswathi temple near Kumbakonam.

This is a 7 prahara mandapa temple with rare sculptures and the irony is the Swami is called Abadh Sahayeswarar (one who saves you from danger) but the temple of the Lord is itself in danger. Many hands have knocked the doors of ASI and state archeaology, we wonder why they do not take up such rare temple. A beautiful 6 feet tall Sarabeswarar (believed in modern days the one who will ward of court cases and legal problems to his devotee, myth has another story to say).

2. Kamarasavalli

The name suggests the meaning Essence of Love. But do anyone today really love heritage? If that is so, how can they see this temple crumbling before their eyes and also build a bad gaudy cement vimana over the shrine to further damage the site? Sculptures and icons, pillars are bound to be robbed off if care is not taken. Total re-estimation and renovation is a MUST

3. Manambadi

This is a never- miss temple on the Chennai Kumbakonam Highway where in this village comes just before another historical place called Sholapuram. This comes on the left when you travel from Chennai before entering Kumbakonam. The highways department had crudely cut through the high way across the temple but thank GOd this Rajendra Chola temple (900 years old) with inscriptions first time mentioning the word TAMIL and some eloquntly carved goshta devatas are lying uncared.

4. Poundareegapuram or Pundareengapuram, near Uppliappan Kovil, has some excellent goshta devathas, especially the Ardhanareeswara, Gajasamhara murthy and the breath taking Mahishasura Mardhini. Luckily the stones which have fallen apart are seen around and a full relaying of the weather coarse above the roof top needs a full re-lay up and pointing and grouting of the granite structure..

5.Periamarai which has the rare white stone Shiva Linga.

Those who care for our heritage please spread the word and start working towards funding on each project specifically. REACH has IT exemption (80-G) for Indian donors and for NRIs who can donate through their Indian friends and relatives.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Perumathoor a temple near Chidambaram

Perumathoor Vishnu temple struck us by its imposing temple Gopuram making us wonder if it was made of trees! So muach vegetation and worser on closer look the base granite structures were stones pulled out from some other erstwhile Shiva temple and relaid to build the foundation of a Vishnu temple, ages before. So it seems wrong temple renovations happened earlier too :(
Now, when REACH members were returning from the symposium conducted for Uzavarappani members in Chidambaram, 0n 7-3-2010, the noon itinerary had this temple visit and live demonstration of how to use tree killer chemical to uproot vegetation on Gopurams and Vimanas. Now after taking it up for renovation, thanks to the effort of REACH Chidambaram chapter chief Mr. Aruneswaran, the M.D of Hotel Akshaya at East Car Street,. Chidambaram, the progress of removing trees and renovation has been rapid. The photos are here for you to see.

Compare with Perumathur Gopuram before the trees were removed... with the current status of the Gopuram after the trees were removed in May 2010 !

Efforts are on to constitute a local committee and then renovate with least cost..

REACH team

Thursday, June 10, 2010


TEMPLES REVIVAL: Vepathur - Village Vishnu temple

TEMPLES REVIVAL: Vepathur - Village Vishnu temple


Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Vepathur - Village Vishnu temple

The antiquity and heritage value of a rich village lies in its contents. Compared to the University of Prayag (Allahabad) was another non-descript village in Tamilnadu, near Kumbakonam which boasted of the best University quoted in ancient texts! The greatest of all seers Kanchi Mahaswamigal, H.H. Shri. Chandrasekara Saraswathi mentions this in one of his lectures, Deivathin Kural (தெய்வத்தின் குரல்) and wonders who would unravel the mystery around the small hillock lying in this village. Indeed, he was the one who pointed out that the hillock is not what it is, but a submerged Vishnu temple of the pre-Pallava era (560 AD) and wished that some one would come and renovate the temple in its original style and glory. His prophecy had indeed come true that our founder Dr T. Satyamurty has now taken up the task of expediting, and re-exposing the huge three tiered Vishnu temple. Many findings were unraveled and the work is on... Members interested can have a visit to this village which is just 7 kms from Kumbakonam. This is what Dr Satyamurthy reports on this temple:


“Among the Educational and philosophical centers of Ancient India, Prayag, modern Allahabad in UP and Veppattur in Tamil Nadu stand as contemporary centers of par excellence during the early Pallava period” says the Kanchi Seer Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati. Besides other literary evidences, he bases his research on the ancient temple remains “Vittirunda Perumal Koil”(Vishnu temple) in the village datable to pre Mahendra Varman period (560CE). This brick temple constructed with out the use of stone indicates its earlier phase and remains of Pallava Paintings are still traceable in the main sanctum here. It was one of the well established Chaturvedi Mangalams that flourishes during Pallava, Chola and Vijaya Nagara period.

This may be the only known Pallava period brick temple in Chola mandalam as the Cholas converted all earlier brick temples to stone ones during their rule. Cholas and the Vijayanagara rulers also patronized the temple by embellishing the temple with mural paintings of their period. A lithic record Rajendra Chola datable to 1021 CE inscribed over the Ardhamandapa walls of Vedapurisvara temple at Thirukazhitittai, located in the adjacent village mentions this place as Vempattur, alias Sri cholamartandachadurvedi Mangalam.

(Deivatin Kural Part IV, pp 302-303 (1985) ,Chennai) & ARE 292 of 1908

Originally stucco seated Vishnu adorned the sanctum, but subsequently during 17th CE probably it was found to be destroyed and replaced with a stone seated Vishnu. The reason for abandoning the temple is not known but in spite of even no care it survived all the natural calamities and vandalisms and stand in skeletal remains of the Pallava period.

It is remembered by the villagers that during the beginning of the last century the stone sculpture of Vishnu was brought down from the top of the sanctum to prevent its destruction from the falling temple. Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswati who visited the temple sometime during the middle of the last century wishes that the temple should be rebuilt. Again during 1990 there was another attempt to shift the stone sculptures to another temple and Mahaswamiji asked the villagers to shun away from such proposal and felt that it will be rebuilt with ancient glory and asked them to try all possibilities.

Recently the temple Renovation committee requested the REACH FOUNDATION to take up the conservation of this ruined temple. The HR& Ce department has given permission to the village committee headed by Shri.Srinivasan. On inspection it was found that the temple remains cannot be re conjectured as the original plan. Elevations are not traceable. As a preliminary step the debris are being cleared more scientifically to expose the remains. It is stupendous task as the debris are subjected to natural calamities like rain and heat and completely got buries under a blanket of accumulated earth. Very skillful digging only will bring back the original shape of the temple.

Initially even laborer was not ready to approach the temple and carry out retrieval operation as they scared that the overhanging bricks of the shrine may collapse. However the presence of archaeologist like us has encouraged them and now the ancient balustrade steps and front mahamandapa with the balipita Gardhasana etc.

A close observation of the Vimana remains indicate in the inner core for binding the bricks lime was used and for the outer core mud plaster was applied. The mud plaster was so thin like a filmy layer that it cannot be seen from outside. This made the outer brick façade look like joint less metal-mould finish appearance. The present status of the temple indicate that whenever there were external shear thrust on the Vimana the outer core moved with out transforming the force to the inner core. The embellishments like Karnakuta etc have collapsed but the inner core survived all calamities and vandalisms. This technique protected the Vimana for the past 1500 years. We bow down to the knowledge of ancient Indian Architects.

See the beauty lying before your eyes...

Pictures of

Stage 1 in April

Stage 2 in April end 2010

Stage 3 in May 2010

Stage 4 in July 2010 most of the outer prahara walls excavated and the shrine dug down another 2 meters almost! The outer most wall is almost 50 x 50 meters...!

Stage 5 in July 24th/25th to find out the real soil level and digging out stone age artifacts...

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