Lord Sundararaja Perumal also called Kallazhagar is the presiding deity of the temple at Azhagarkovil, 18 km from Madurai city, Tamil Nadu. One among the 108 Divyadesam
|Azhagarkovil temple car. www.thehindu.com|
shrines, this popular temple did not have a temple chariot for about 300 long years. Chariot festival held annually is part of the tradition in countless temples of Tamil Nadu - be they Vishnu or Shiva temples. Even Mariamman temples do have a car festival every year.
The new car was made possible by donations from devotees and philanthropists. The work on the car began in 2013 and according the principal Stapathi the team consisted of 15 people who were well versed in this kind of work on temple cars. As for wood, Vengai tree wood was used for main structure and Burma teak wood for delicate carving of small images and sculptures. The work was a delicate one, the Stapathis had to maintain the old tradition in the new car, replicate the old craftsmanship on the pretty old car without deviating from the old design and artwork. The unique feature about this new car is there are more than 500 intricately designed sculptures of sages, celestial beings and deities on it. The car is fitted with strong wheels to bear the weight with proper breaking system. In 2015, the chariot carrying the procession deity of Kallazhagar ran for the first time after a long hiatus ie. 300 long years.
Earlier “The Anandhanarayanan Thiru Ther was used by the temple for the last 300 years for the annual procession during Adi festival,” according to Sundaranarayana Bhattar, the head priest of the temple.
The total cost of this new car was 81 lakh rupees and it is being used for Adi utsavam festival at the temple. The local people were happy that this famous temple got a new car for the annual car festival. This temple comes alive every year during the Chithirai Thiruvizha (April-May).