Friday, November 17, 2017

Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane – History

Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane – History
The temple was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century, subsequently expanded by Cholas and later by the Vijayanagara kings in the 15th century. The temple has several inscriptions dating from the 8th century in Tamil and Telugu presumably from the period of Dantivarman, who was a Vishnu devotee. Thirumangai Alvar, the 9th century Alvar also attributes the building of temple to the Pallava king. From the internal references of the temple, it appears that the temple was restored during 1564 CE when new shrines were built. In later years, endowments of villages and gardens have enriched the temple. 
The temple also has inscriptions about the Pallava king, Dantivarman of the 8th Century. The temple was extensively built during the Chola period and a lot of inscriptions dating back to the same period are found here. One can also see inscriptions of Dantivarman Pallava of the 8th century, Chola and Vijayanagara in the temple. The first architectural expansion of the temple took place during the reign of the Pallavas (Tondaiyar Kon) as vividly described by Tirumangai Azhwar.
Reminiscent of this is the inscription of the Pallava King Dantivarman (796-847 A.D.), which is preserved in the temple. The gopuram was also built by a Pallava king - Thondaiman Chakravarthy. There are inscriptions that record the contributions of the Chola kings Raja Raja and Kulottunga III and Pandya King Maravarman. The temple was extensively built during the Chola period and a lot of inscriptions dating back to the same period are found here.
The temple witnessed a major expansion during the rule of the Vijayanagar kings like Sadasiva Raya, Sriranga Raya and Venkatapathi Raya II (16th century). Many sub shrines and pillared pavilions (mandapas) like the Thiruvaimozhi Mandapa were added. For a while the East India Company administered the temple. The temple is administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu. The temple follows the traditions of the Thenkalai sect of Vaishnavite tradition and follows Vaikanasa Aagama.
The temple had internal conflict from the 1750s till the end of the century between the two subsects of Vaishnavism, namely Thenkalai and Vadakalai. The two sects were grounded over the right of reciting each of their own version of concluding verses in the temple. A petition was received by the ruling British government to decide the religious dispute. English records mention petition during the year 1754 filed by local inhabitants and merchants seeking to resolve the dispute. They suggested that the Thenkalai Brahmins could recite their Srisailesadayaptram in the Parthasarathy shrine, while the Vadakalai Brahmins could recite their Ramanujadayapatram in the Telinga Singar shrine.
The council agreed that the suggestion in the petition be accepted and publicly announced. There were further petitions in 1780 from the Tenkalai Brahmins that since the temple was built, recitals were made only in Srisailesadayaptram, which should continue. It also asserted that the trustee Manali Muthukrishna Mudali favored Vadakalai resulting in the issue. While both the sects were claiming theirs should be the practice followed in the temple, the English administrators in India has deep rooted belief that old ways were the only solution to preserve tranquility. The Thenkalai sect had the sanction of antiquity and custom resulting in Thenkalai gaining precedence.
The bearers at the temple were traditionally fishermen of Triplicane. During the temple festivities, they carry the festival idol in their sturdy shoulders in an atmosphere of wine and toddy shops. They bargained for additional rights in the temple in 1928, which eventually ended their ties with the temple. Bharathiyar, the legendary Tamil poet and independence activist was struck by an elephant at the temple, whom he used to feed regularly. Although he survived the incident, a few months later his health deteriorated and he died.