Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Big Temple, Thanjavur, TN getting ready for 'Kumbabishekam (consecration) in February, 2020

Brihadeeswarer temple, Thanjavur, TN, pinrest com
As a prelude to the 'Kumbabishekam (consecration) to be held in February 2020, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)  had already begun chemical cleaning of the ‘ towers' /'gopurams’ including the tall one one right above the sanctum (garbagriha) of the  world famous Big temple, a ''Unesco'' recognized world heritage site. This 1000 plus year old temple (built between 1003 and 1010 AD),  entirely made of granite stones is dedicated to God Shiva who is known as Brihadeeswara. Inquiries reveal that the ASI  does periodic chemical cleaning every five years and the present cleaning work coincides with the proposed ‘Kumbabishekam.
old kalasams, atop the tower dismantled Ht. 10 4 feet.maalaimalar.com/d

brass pots to be kept in Yagasala, presentlyin Sri Natarajar shrine. .maalaimalar.com
It was in 1998, the 'Kumbabishekam of this temple  was held and since then, it has not taken place. The consecration was postponed  due to  millennium celebrations of the temple that were held on a grand scale in September, 2010 in which 1000 Bharata Natyam dancers from many parts of India  performed at the same time on the temple premises under the direction of Bharata Natyam exponent Padma Subramanium (daughter of  famous Vintage Tamil Movie director  Sri. K. Subramanium) right before the former CM late Thiru Karunanidhi and his entourage, and  a huge audience.
Owing to vagaries of weather, and alternating hot and cold seasons normally temple towers fade or turn black. This is true of many historical temples. The entrance tower  to the temple called ‘Maratta entrance’ was cleaned by men from ASI to its original pinkish color. This one was followed by second entrance called  ‘Keralandhagan Gopuram’ and this one was cleaned as well.

The workers had already began the tedious task of cleaning the  216 feet tall Rajagopuram  called Rajarajan Gopuram including the cupola atop the tower. The towers of other shrines  were  cleaned as part of periodic upkeep by the ASI. 

As for systematic cleaning process, according to the ASI officials: Moss and lichens growth is the major problem in the Gopurams of Big temple. First, they are cleaned with coir pith brush, then ammonia liquid is used to clean them and finally chemical coating is given to prevent moss and lichens growth,” 

 As  the ‘Kumbabishekam’  has to be done soon, the ASI, State's  HR and CE department and Palace Devasthanam headed by Sri Babaji Rajah Bhonsle, senior prince and hereditary trustee of ‘Palace Devasthanam’ have announced the date. It will be held on the 6th of February, 2020 (after a lapse of 24 long years), by the time chemical cleaning and other urgent works will be over.

The chola rulers were great builders of temples. This temple was built by Raja Raja I. The other  Unesco world heritage  sites  under “Great Living Chola Temples”are Iravatheswara Swamy temple at Darasuram near Kumbakonam built by Raja Raja-I, and Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple  built by Rajendra Chola, son of Raja Raja-I in Perambalur district. "King Raja Raja was also known as Sivapada Sundaran which means a man devoted to the feet of Shiva," according to expert Mr Nagasami. The brick flooring is also going to be replaced  in the prakara, etc at big temple for which Rs 50 lakh had been sanctioned, ASI officials said.
Brihadeeswarer temple, Thanjavur, TN, pinrest com
 On 02 December 2019 special rituals - Palalayam, etc  were done after that the  sanctums of all shrines were closed. Later, Thailakappu (anointing with herbal oil; Ashta Bandana Kappu Saaththuthal) was done to the ''Thirumanis'' (divine deities) - tall Shiva Linga,  the  stone idol image of  lord's consort Periya Nayaki Amman  and other deities, images of Vinayagar, Murugan, Valli, Devaayai, 252 Shiva lingas all along the prakara, etc (a total of 388 divine images. Repair works, etc are going  on in Siddhar Karoorar  shrine right behind the  Rajagopuram. These  rituals were  witnessed by Govt. officials including District Judge.  Strenuous Scaffolding work and fixing of wood planks, etc., are going on  all around the tower with meticulous care,  covering the entire height to facilitate  temple pundits physically to carry the  holy water from the Yogasala  to the top of the vimana to be poured on the  12 ft and 4 inches tall gold-plated kalasam (pot).  After doing special initiation puja to Sri Vinayagar, they removed the old  kalasam  part by part  and brought it down. It will be replaced with a new one  of same size in which dhanyas  will be stored as per  temple Agama Sastra. The   kalasams on other shrines will be replaced. This work is undertaken
by expert  sthapathis  from Madurai and Coimbatore who will refix them atop the big and small towers before the officials.

Poorvanga Puja will begin on  the morning of 27th of January  at 9 am and will conclude on and the first  of  February 2020 around noon;  same evening first Yagasala puja will begin by the Veda Pundits - Sivacharyas.  Yoga sala Pandal work is going on in the near-by 'Bethannan Kalaiarangam' in the Sivaganga Park.
After a pretty long gap this consecration ceremony is to take place and the devotees and admirers of this temple across Tamil Nadu and India anxiously  look forward to this great event.
 https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/230918/thanjavur-big-temple-cleaning-taken-up-in-big-way.html
 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/big-temple-facelift-speeded-up-for-kumbabishekam/articleshow/71605303.cms
https://www.maalaimalar.com/devotional/devotionaltopnews/2019/11/29101238/1273761/Big-Temple-kumbabishekam-work-start.vpf