Thursday, 26 February 2015

Kamalalayam, largest Hindu temple tank - Thiruvarur

Largest temple tank,Kamalalayam, Thiruvarur, TN,
Kamalalayam temple tank,Tiruvarur. ,largest in India.
The ancient Sri Thyagaraja temple at Tiruvarur town, the district capital in Tamil Nadu, India  is dedicated to the Somaskanda aspect of Lord Shiva, the cosmic dancer and destroyer. This huge temple complex holds the record of having  the most number of shrines - sanctums ( Sannithis in Tamil) in India. 

The sprawling Kamalalayam temple tank of Tiruvarur, a historical heartland of the Cholas, is part of the temple complex, but covers an additional area of 25 acres (100,000 m2) and is the largest of its kind in the country. The tank forms a distinct landmark in the middle of the busy town and the sight is just breath-taking and awesome.  Visitors to this  historical, semi rural and part modern town will never miss the tank and the vast sheet of water. 

One amazing aspect of this ancient tank, built several centuries ago, is  the water will never go dry even if there has been continuous failure of rain and poor show of water in the rivers. Monsoon rainy seasons failed  for three consecutive years,  the river Cauvery was almost dry in this delta region  in the past but the waters of Kamalalayam never went dry.  The water tank gets replenished by  numerous underground wells.

The ancient legend has it the Goddess Kamalambika had a strong determination to  marry Lord Thyagaraja, who was in perpetual penance, The Goddess'
intense prayers, though remained unfulfilled, She kept praying to the lord. Local people say in Tamil, "kallu thaeer oodinaal, kaalai maadu paal kuduttha, Kamalalayam vadthi ponaal, Kamalambikaikku kalyanam" (if a stone chariot could run, if an ox could yield milk, if the Kamalalayam runs dry, only then will Kamalambika be married). This brings forth the uniqueness of  'Kamalalayam' , the temple tank  and the careful planning by the builders of this temple. A shrine of Naganathar is located at the center of the tank..

Now renovation is going on in the tank, located in the busy area of the town, without disturbing its heritage value as the embankments frequently get damaged for various reasons.

Another aspect of interest in this temple is the temple chariot or car is the largest of its kind south of the Vindhya mountains  weighing roughly 300 tons. For pulling the thaer during the festival, huge bulldozers are used for convenience.

 In this temple complex all the nine Navagraha idols (celestial planets) are placed towards south in a straight line  and the Navagraha shrine is in the  northwest corner of first  corridor (prakaram). 

It is worth visiting  this temple complex and its vast water tank that are living examples of creativity and extraordinary talents of the ancient rulers.

Other famous places of interest are Velankanni Church, Nagore Durgah and Subramanya (Murugan) temples at  Sikkil and Ettukudi. All are located near the  coastal town of Nagapatnam.